Geoff Barrow’s Invada has really fallen wholeheartedly into the soundtrack business over the last few years, releasing the interesting sounds of a number of fairly big films. Here we have Barrow and Ben Salisbury following up on their popular Drokk with Ex Machina, a dark and dread-y collection. 2 CDs or 2 LPs.
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 14 May 2015
Hmmm. How to review a soundtrack for a film that you really want to see? Well, for starters, I’m going to confine it to the ‘score’ disc only, the bonus material can remain your surprise. Grasp of the plot only goes so far as ‘AI goes wrong’, but at least Geoff Barrow is an anchor to the familiar. The Bristolian production guru lends his dark electronic touch to the soundtrack, with Ben Salisbury fulfilling the ‘music boffin’ role, the adulterator for Barrow’s unrestrained playtime.
I know, that probably doesn’t do their collaboration justice. It is clear that Mr Salisbury gained his rep from scoring nature documentaries, but it’s hard to know where one musician ends and the other begins. Some guitars interweave on the 4th track, John Murphy style, which could be either; Salisbury has worked fairly extensively with bands. An emphasis on both pretty and nasty synthwork probably comes from Barrow. Who knows. This is a null point.
It’s all very sparse. To be honest, Clint gave this to me because “nothing happens”, which is apparently the criterion for providing me with reviews. The industrial futurist wails and boiling distant rumbles have become the soundtrack to my betrayal, no doubt accompanying some dystopian shit on-screen. It’s not all grim though, the gentle chimes of ‘Ava’ signifying some love interest or emblem of hope. They return for track 8 but disappear after a few minutes to be replaced by a brutal wall of distortion. So yeah this album is an electronic soundtrack and it’s quite good, have an 8.
8/10 The Drift Customer review, 17th August 2015
Whist watching the movie I became drawn to the soundtrack given my interest in electronic music. It's always a little risky buying soundtracks as they will not always give you a desirable listening ark given film music is mostly used to underscore the narrative and action or simply manipulate a mood for the onscreen image. I'm confining this review to the actual score rather than including the bonus material (essentially the first LP in the vinyl edition).
The score is minimal and atmospheric of which some is reminiscent of Eno's ambient work. Having said this there are some beautiful pulsating passages that can become very intense and punctuate the underlying atmosphere to great effect. I mentioned the listening arc earlier and I have to say this product works extremely well as a stand alone piece of music; there is a slow gravitational pull (not dissimilar to the slow narrative arc of the movie) that gradually takes you to more rhythmic passages without losing the glacial quality of the ambience because these passages are generally short lived. Side two evolves into a strong harmonic sequence and pulse before giving way to the ambience and melodic motifs that were introduced earlier, before reaching a climax with driving guitar textures on the penultimate section. The final section has a simplicity which one may associate with John Carpener A thoroughly enjoyable piece of music that works well as a film score and a concept in its own right.
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- Ex Machina (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury
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