Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema by Alan Lazar (Review)

Jerusalema (or the Americanized title Gangster’s Paradise) is a very familiar story about youth growing up in the slums and finding a life of crime as a way to rise to the top. It’s Goodfellas mixed with City Of God. The score was done by South African native Alan Lazar whose score is a simple tapestry of cultural flavors that pulse life into the story.

Percussion makes up the majority of the score and its structure. Almost all the cues are percussion based. Usually percussion is associated with aggression and action based cues, but here it’s not the case. Lazar successfully creates arrangements that cover a wide array of emotions beyond typical rhythmic thumping.

There is some beauty that emerges from this score and emotion flows from the solo instruments and vocals used, however most of the immediate impact is lost due to the incredibly short cue times. Most of the tracks fall between the 1 and 2 minute range so the score never has a chance to fully take off. The score is worth a venture and is a small undiscovered treat. It lacks thematic structure and any lasting impact, but makes up for it with the overall character and identity of the score.

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