Soundtrack Review: LOOPER (Nathan Johnson)


looperCDMusic composed by Nathan Johnson 
LabelLa-La Land Records
Catalog: LLLCD 1227
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Rating: ****

Director Rian Johnson has always been prone to bring something quite original to the screen and afterwards leave an overwhelming impression that makes you go home and think over the matter for at least one excruciating week, and that what happens exactly on Looper.

Moving towards the soundtrack the director’s cousin, Nathan Johnson, is a talented and extremely fond of musique concrete, i.e., sampling ordinary objects sounds such as crumbling bricks, broken glasses and turning them to sound musically appropriate and the result is startling to say the least. He gathered a group and went to the streets to record sounds that in the end would comprise the score’s bulk and the overall feeling is this uproar, streetwise, breathtaking in the first act. But do not get the good fellow message wrong, on the background there is still the usual well-crafted synthesised strings that work so well with sci-fi films, plus electronic percussion and textures.

Furthermore, every now and then you can hear a piano that reminds you that emotionally there must be something more going on the screen that you might be missing, as if it were telling you, look around and pay more attention, this is not just pure thrill and taking the bad guys with multiple shots. Johnson has not littered the Soundtrack Composer Manual entirely, he went further on bringing different pieces using musique concrete but he uses leitmotifs all the time that can only be heard after carefully listening the score several times.

Looper raises loads of questions in terms of justice, hope, believing and self preservation taking a nitty-gritty fashion of analysis. The first part of the soundtrack shows Blade Runner overtones all over since the film first act also follows that direction. When you move further is possible to see quite clearly how much the Johnson’s admire Chris Nolan and Hans Zimmer since the screenshots and overtones are directly influenced by the two Hollywood top professionals.

Thinking of the film’s magnitude, there is nothing like that in terms of soundtrack. Nathan Johnson deserves an award not for only going forward, but blending the usual recipes with new ones and turning them into a completely different animal. Animals, which is a recurring theme throughout the film, are depicted as human beings somewhat stuck in a rut of drugs and empty lifestyle in a sort of Brave New World and 1984 condition. Nonetheless this theme tends to work in a very low profile and background position. For many viewers the third act is quite overwhelming, due to the telekinesis and set changing to the farm contrasting to the concrete jungle from the first two acts, that are very urban and city-boy alike.

Looper will make you reconsider what is good or bad, motivations and the sequence of events that leads to a prime outcome. If you want something entertaining that makes you think, watch it and pay special attention to the tracks “The Rainmaker”, “Hunting The Past”, “A Life in a Day” and “The Path Was A Circle”. Hidden-meaning warning!

Track Listing:

  1. A Body That Technically Does Not Exist (1:21)
  2. A Day in the Life (1:10)
  3. Closing Your Loop (2:56)
  4. Seth’s Tale (2:54)
  5. Run (2:49)
  6. A Life in the Day (2:22)
  7. Time Machine (2:40)
  8. Hunting The Past (2:55)
  9. Following the Loop (1:42)
  10. Mining for Memories (1:54)
  11. A New Scar (2:34)
  12. Her Face (2:37)
  13. City Sweep (0:46)
  14. Revelations (5:12)
  15. The Rainmaker (4:26)
  16. La Belle Aurora (1:01)
  17. Showdown (1:36)
  18. The Path Was A Circle (4:51)
  19. Everything Comes Around (2:41)
  20. Withdrawals (0:32)
  21. Closing Your Loop (Film mix) (2:32)
  22. Hobo Attack (1:36)
  23. Thirty-Two (1:24)
  24. Run (Film mix) (3:04)
  25. Comundications/City Sweep (Film mix) (1:23)
  26. Theme From Looper (Solo piano version) (5:28)

Total Time: 64:26

Atila Almeida
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