Soundtrack Review: LIFE OF PI (Mychael Danna)


Music composed by Mychael Danna
Label: Sony Classical
Catalog: SK 547725
Release Date: November 19, 2012
Rating: ****

Canadian composer Mychael Danna treaded a very exotic path on this score. Danna is already used to allegory, gathered from works like The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and his usual tendency to mix up electronic/orchestral minimalism with non-Western sounds, which makes him a pioneer in the field. For those who are not very fond of his work, it might be due to lack of exposure rather than lack of skills.

Regarding the soundtrack itself, a very distinctive phenomenon happens: from the composer perspective, it seems über exciting to flavour and spicy things up whilst playing with a different song palette but on the other hand, the outcome might not be exactly the same for the listener and things can go west or east (the pun is intended). It goes without saying that this is tremendous technical work, superbly done and it will certainly only kick in for the new age or world music fans out there.

Taking that world edge, there are symphonic moments that resemble the London Symphony Orchestra, loads of Indian leitmotifs and even French music like on “Piscine Molitor Patel”. It seems quite clear that the whole score should be taken as an allegory for water streaming in the ocean and consciousness, to help the film captivate the imagination of the viewer. Allegory serves also to illustrate the search for spirituality which is something far bigger than religion, even though many people cannot realise that.

Taking what has been said into consideration, the tracks “Which Story Do You Prefer?” and “Back to The World” can be called the restoration from all that has been lost amidst the convolutions of the story, on which the former presents the story and the latter acknowledges reality. Reality is when the boy, its instincts and desires (the Tiger called Richard Parker) can co-exist in the same space in order to survive, represented by the ethereal, hopeful Pi and Richard Parker.

Summing up, Mychael Danna pushes the envelope towards the fantasy to enter a world where extraordinary things happen, and the unlikely is almost certain on a screen by Ang Lee.

Track Listing:

1. Pi’s Lullaby
2. Piscine Molitor Patel
3. Pondicherry
4. Meeting Krishna
5. Christ In The Mountains
6. Thank You Vishnu For Introducing Me To Christ
7. Richard Parker
8. Appa’s Lesson
9. Anandi
10. Leaving India
11. The Deepest Spot On Earth
12. Tsimtsum
13. Death Of The Zebra
14. First Night, First Day
15. Set Your House In Order
16. Skinny Vegetarian Boy
17. Pi And Richard Parker
18. The Whale
19. Flying Fish
20. Tiger Training
21. Orphans
22. Tiger Vision
23. God Storm
24. I’m Ready Now
25. The Island
26. Back To The World
27. The Second Story
28. Which Story Do You Prefer?

Total Time: 65:11

Atila Paton

7 thoughts on “Soundtrack Review: LIFE OF PI (Mychael Danna)

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