Bliss (Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Amazon Prime’s new original movie, Bliss, is getting a right royal roasting. But I quite liked it. I’m not about to mount a huge defense but in a world where utter fucking cack like Behind Her Eyes and allegedly clever time-filling series’ such as Russian Doll can capture imaginations I’m just curious to know why Bliss was deemed such a huge failure. Yeah, it’s got some clunky dialogue and the suspension of disbelief to enable the premise is a large leap but the performances are solid and there’s a heart to this film. It twists and its ending, I thought, was bloody wonderful. Actually really powerful.
But I will instead big up the music – which was one of the things that kept me hooked into the film I think.
Will Bates is a British-born musician known for his music production company, Fall On Your Sword. Under that alias or via that company he has done some great film and game and ad music – particularly strong with documentaries – and his score for Bliss is a thing of often quite mesmerising beauty (Home) mixing deep orchestral (Kendo) and electronic works (You Have To See If For Yourself).
The album kicks off and closes with a song featuring Skye (aka Skye Edwards of Morcheeba fame). The opening credits theme-song is a mood-setter that reminds me of the way Eric Serra would set up a film score; it’s almost Bond-theme esque in fact. In its album-closing version, the torch ballad (You And I) is presented as a lurching dark throwback to late 90s drum’n’bass inspired creations in its Fall On Your Sword remix.
In between those ‘songs’ the instrumental cues that make up the heart of both this record and a large part of the film feature many highlights – even in brief, mini-studies – such as This Is Real Life with its delicate strings and lush piano voicings (almost like an Aphex Twin moment). Just as often though the piano will set up a rhythm for the strings to soar against (Rabbit Hole) and I’m reminded of some of Kronos Quartet’s film score moments, and Philip Glass is surely a touchstone for Bates here.
I’ve been playing this music a lot since seeing the film. Sometimes it brings back a thought of the film – I simultaneously wonder if I was hookwinked at all, or if others have been unwise to dismiss it. But just as often this is now the soundtrack for its own escapism. Just beautiful lush music (Great Overwhelming) that has its own ambient flow when listened to away from the pictures it was made for.
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