Music By Nathan Johnson
LaLaLand Records LLLCD1127
26 Tracks – Disc Time: 64:29 Grade: B
Looper is the latest sci-fi action-thriller opening today starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and Emily Blunt which has already garnered some great reviews thanks to writer/director Rian Johnson’s very creative storyline. In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits like Joe (Levitt), who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self (Willis). The film should be a solid hit and one that fans of the genre will really enjoy for years to come.
Adding to the thrilling aspects of the story is composer Nathan Johnson, who is the cousin of director Rian marking his first full forte not only into a bigger film realm but also expanding his musical tapestry from his previous films, Brick and The Brothers Bloom. The score is based on alot of pulsing and energetic electronics, samples, percussion and to my surprise, an orchestra! To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from this score before I heard it and I was really surprised at how engaging it became as it went along. It reminds me of Thomas Newman’s brilliant work on The Adjustment Bureau from last year and Looper certainly does hold it own with that work, but not quite however.
“A Body That Technically Does Not Exist” opens up with Thomas Newman-esque feel with pulsing electronics and a ringing bell motif that segues into one of the score’s central themes in “A Day In The Life”, which is a cool pulsing track with cool orchestrial and electronic effects playing effectively together and will remind some of John Powell’s theme from Paycheck. “Closing Your Loop” establishes the suspense action motif of the score with more pulsing electronics, percussion and a prepared piano motif that is really energetic and sets the tone of the score. There’s plenty of suspense and ambiance throughout the album which really does get better with each listen with highlights such as “Run”, “Hunting The Past”, “City Sweep” (a great brief energetic track that evokes a little of John Williams’ Minority Report) and “The Rainmaker”. Along side those moments of tension and thrills are the more pensive, but also have their share of those elements are “A Life In A Day”, “Her Face” (which is the score’s love theme) and “Revelations”, the longest of these tracks and a nice reflective track with a nice keyboard solo.
This is the first album I’ve had the pleasure to review belonging to Nathan Johnson, or hearing for that matter and surprisingly, its one of the more inventive and original scores I’ve heard all year and that’s hardly a stretch. Looper is an original score really does work and work quite well on its own and the more you listen to it, the more engaging it really is. It is a clever work that I do recommend and might just be this year’s The Adjustment Bureau or close to it. Well done.
(Please Note: This is the version of the soundtrack sans the bonus tracks not featured with the digital download of the soundtrack. Otherwise, the material reviewed here is 95% of what’s on the album)