MusicReviews

THE SIGNAL Soundtrack creates a feeling of dread and paranoia – Review

The Signal has drawn a fair amount of attention and success (if not critical enthusiasm) for a modestly budgeted, mostly independent sci-fi film. But with its trippy concept, paranoid aura and distinctive visual style Universal seems to be banking on The Signal’s potential for long term cult success and its giving wide release to the film’s score to help bolster said potential.

The Signal’s score composed by Nima Fakhrara bears a certain fraternal resemblance to Geino Yamashirogumi’s iconic Akira score (apparently the movie does as well so it’s fitting), with just a soupcon of Trent Reznor’s aggressive soundscapes of David Fincher’s films. But as far as antecedents go there are worse ones to have. And for the most part The Signal soundtrack is an effective piece of work. Striking, moody, its circular rhythms and themes fitting the film’s tone of paranoia and dread.

the-signal-soundtrack-review

There aren’t any real break out tracks on The Signal. These are unapologetically mood pieces, similar in tone, broken for the most part into two minute chunks (a four and a half minute track qualifies as an epic). There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. It’s a score that’s built to serve the film first and presumably it accomplishes what it needs to in that context. Just don’t expect to find a certain single to circle back to on your iPod. The Signal’s score is built to function as a whole, not in highlight reel parts.

By this metric The Signal is a success, built around idiosyncratic instrumentation and low key, sinister reoccurring motifs. If you’re a fan of the film you already know if you want this. If you haven’t seen the film but have for some reason dedicated yourself to collecting the scores of up and coming indie genre films all I can say is that the score has enough heft to it to stand on its own. Unobtrusive yet evocative it’ll make for good writing music or a superbly disquieting housekeeping soundtrack.

Tracklist:

1. Good Luck (2:42)
2. Get The Pony (1:30)
3. Penly Ln. (2:07)
4. Clocks (1:14)
5. 4, 5, 6 (0:51)
6. Hallway Roll (4:48)
7. Agitate (1:16)
8. Wake Up (3:01)
9. Door Kick (1:54)
10. Your Protection (1:27)
11. Hailey (1:19)
12. What’s Wrong With You (1:00)
13. Road (0:56)
14. Reunion (1:46)
15. Visitor Center (4:28)
16. Check Point (1:21)
17. Jonah (2:31)
18. Goodbye (4:37)
19. I Am Sorry (2:35)
20. Nomad (1:32)
21. The End (2:48)
22. 2.3.5.41 – Free The Robots & Nima Fakhrara featuring William Grundler (3:47)

Check out the official trailer for The Signal:

Synopsis:

“Nic (Brenton Thwaites of The Giver and Maleficent), Haley (Olivia Cooke of Bates Motel), and Jonah (Beau Knapp of Super 8) are three college students pondering the future. Haley is relocating for a year, and her devoted boyfriend Nic and his pal Jonah are helping in the cross-country move.

But their road trip across the Southwest experiences a detour: the tracking of a computer genius who has already hacked into MIT and exposed security faults. Nic and Jonah have piqued this mysterious hacker’s interest, and vice versa. The trail heats up, provocations are traded online, and the trio find themselves drawn to an isolated area. Night falls, contact is made, and suddenly everything goes dark.

When Nic regains consciousness, he is in a waking nightmare. His friends are nowhere to be seen, but he is determined to locate them – in whatever form they may still be alive. His only lead is the man who now meticulously interrogates him, Dr. Wallace Damon (Academy Award nominee Laurence Fishburne). Damon voices concern for Nic’s safety, and tries to evaluate.”

The Signal is currently in select theaters.

The Author

Bryce Wilson

Bryce Wilson

Confirmed film geek and literary nerd. Writer for Paracinema and Art Decades Magazine, columnist for the San Luis Obispo New Times and author of Son Of Danse Macabre. Resides in Austin, TX.

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