Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Red Riding 1974 & Red Riding 1983 by Adrian Johnston & Barrington Pheloung (Review)

Red Riding was originally adapted from the four novels that comprised Red Riding Quartet by David Peace. Back in 2009 they were made into 3 feature length television events that aired in the United Kingdom. They were released here in the states recently as 3 seperate films. The films chronicle the investigations of serial murders dealing with the Yorkshire Ripper case. This British Noir delves further and further into a web of corruption. So, I guess you could say it’s similar to David Fincher’s Zodiac if you need a reference except it spans 3 films.

The first and last films are entitled Red Riding 1974 and Red Riding 1983, and they were scored by Adrian Johnston & Barrington Pheloung. Let me start off by saying that I had no idea what to expect from this, but again I was introduced to an amazing score I would otherwise never even seek out. The first track sets up the minimalist theme that will continue to structure the score. It’s a simple guitar cue, but the arrangement gives it a sense of uneasiness while still maintaining a sense of calm if that makes any sense.

The rest of the score falls into traditional noir fashion. Lots of strings creating a sense of curiosity and always a sense of uneasiness. There are some quiet tracks that give it a little suspense, but nothing in the realm of horror music.

What we have here is a really nice compilation of music from 2 of the films. The simple melodic theme is a great jumping off point and it carries you through the score with a few other themes along the way. It carries some classic noir elements and overall is worth checking out. It may feel strange that the second film was released as a separate album, but it makes sense to group all of the same composers' work together.

Overall, this is great that these two albums got a release. It’s a nice collection of music to discover something you probably never heard of unless you are aware of the novels or these adaptations. The scores may lack any everlasting impact on the listener, but there are some great themes and atmospheric stuff here.

1 comment:

  1. What's great about this series is the variety of vintage songs played in the background, not the mushy soundtrack. None of the songs that create the atmosphere of the film are included here, just the insipid score.