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The Underground Railroad - Nicholas Britell


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The second and third volumes are out today, and after listening I've found that they don't add a great deal to the first release besides a few variations, a lot more muddiness and meandering (especial

Here's the first cue released:    

If this had been prior to SUCCESSION, I would have had no interest in it. I think all the stuff that people rave about is very overrated. But after the wonderful music for that series, I'm kinda curio

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Soundtrack Albums for Amazon’s ‘The Underground Railroad’ to Be Released

 

http://filmmusicreporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/vca-13.jpg

 

Lakeshore Records will release the official soundtrack albums for the Amazon limited series The Underground Railroad featuring the show’s original music composed by Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Nicholas Britell (Succession, Moonlight, The Big Short, If Beale Street Could Talk, Vice, Battle of the Sexes). The first volume will be released digitally on May 14, 2021. The pre-order link will be added to this article within the next day. The Underground Railroad is directed by Barry Jenkins and stars Thuso Mbedu, Joel Edgerton, Sheila Atim, Chase W. Dillon, Aaron Pierre, William Jackson Harper, Amber Gray, Chukwudi Iwuji, Peter De Jersey, Damon Herriman, Lily Rabe, Mychal-Bella Bowman, Irone Singleton, Marcus “MJ” Gladney, Jr., Will Poulter and Peter Mullan. The 10-part drama based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead chronicles Cora Randall’s desperate bid for freedom in the Antebellum South and her discovery of a railroad beneath the Southern soil. The full series will premiere on May 14 exclusively on Amazon Prime.

 

Here’s the track list of the Volume 1 album:

1. Genesis (2:06)
2. But I Am (1:51)
3. My Brother James (1:35)
4. Arnold Ridgeway (1:41)
5. Caesar’s Theme (3:16)
6. A Soldier (0:53)
7. It’s Time (4:35)
8. The Journey (5:36)
9. North (3:02)
10. A Spirited Nature (3:05)
11. Bessie (2:08)
12. When A Lady Enters (0:58)
13. Queen of Egypt (2:01)
14. Welcome to Your Future (1:13)
15. South Carolina – Social Waltz No. 1 (2:30)
16. Aria (feat. Julia Bullock) (1:03)
17. Glass Boxes (0:58)
18. Penny Candies (3:14)
19. This Is Science (7:57)
20. Compromised (2:30)
21. De-Pillatory (6:41)
22. Resurrection (Outro) (1:22)
23. Searching (Foundation Track) (3:25)
24. Mabel Violins (Foundation Track) (2:04)
25. Caesar’s Theme (Foundation Track) (4:09)

 

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I'm so excited for this score. Beale Street is a score I can keep coming back to, its outstanding. 

 

This is a completely different sound again, but its great. 

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4 hours ago, Edmilson said:

Here's the first cue released:

 

 

 

This is nice. I'm very much looking forward to this series and score.

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I like the bright, consonant style of it (but afraid it again will not translate into a memorable thematic idea beyond the basic chords offered here), but let's wait and listen.

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1 hour ago, publicist said:

(but afraid it again will not translate into a memorable thematic idea beyond the basic chords offered here)

 

Yea, this is often the problem I find with some of these new "rising stars" (Britell, Mosseri, etc). But Britell at least seems to have an ear for palette, and given the scope of this project, I'm hoping we get more of Beale Street than Moonlight.

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Indeed. Moonlight is one of the most overrated scores of recent memory. Hollow piano noodling that got as far as it did with the voters on the film's aesthetics alone. Good movie though.

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Barry Jenkins has teased that the music will be released in three volumes:

 

Good news! I'm liking this trend of TV scores getting these longer, spread out releases. Very much looking forward to what I'm sure will be one of my favourite scores of the year! The track posted above certainly shows promise, and I'm here for any new Britell.

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Britell's Succession is fantastic - a massive mixture of melodies played to diverse classical styles and standards. A real showmanship in musicology.

 

This version of the end theme is a massive beauty (each episode has the theme in a different orchestral style): (yes, he won the fucking Emmy):

 

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7 hours ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

Barry Jenkins has teased that the music will be released in three volumes:

 

Good news! I'm liking this trend of TV scores getting these longer, spread out releases. Very much looking forward to what I'm sure will be one of my favourite scores of the year! The track posted above certainly shows promise, and I'm here for any new Britell.

 

I'm not sure I like that trend. Too many composers already put out too much music on their albums. One of the reasons I've never really felt compelled to get into Ludwig's Mandalorian stuff with too much detail.

 

But I'm definitely curious about this. Hopefully it's the large release is full of substantial music, and not meandering filler stuff.

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Almost an hour of Britell's score can be heard underscoring this series of portraits that Jenkins shot on the side:

 

 

There's a bunch of meandering stuff in there. But the ending music is absolutely gorgeous.

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Yeah, I forgot for a moment that this was another Jenkins. I haven't really liked any of his films, nor the scores for them. That, plus what someone posted above about the extremely excessive album presentation, makes my expectations for this plummet back to zero. But I'll also wait with a final judgement untill I've sampled the soundtrack.

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7 hours ago, publicist said:

Which is about 1 minute long. Otherwise my worst fears confirmed: long-held chords with hardly any musical movement at all.


Yeah, sounds like some digging will have to be done to get into any meaty stuff. But I’ll give the album a chance.

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The first volume is out today, and after listening I've found it to be just ok. Caesar's Theme, Bessie, Searching, and This Is Science are clear highlights here. I've curated a shortened playlist clocking in at 45 minutes that cuts out the meandering and muddy bits, so hopefully it might prove useful to those who are mildly interested in this one. I'll be sure to do the same for the next two volumes, even if only for my own purposes.

 

And here's the full album:

 

 

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On 5/14/2021 at 8:06 AM, The Illustrious Jerry said:

The first volume is out today, and after listening I've found it to be just ok. Caesar's Theme, Bessie, Searching, and This Is Science are clear highlights here. I've curated a shortened playlist clocking in at 45 minutes that cuts out the meandering and muddy bits, so hopefully it might prove useful to those who are mildly interested in this one. I'll be sure to do the same for the next two volumes, even if only for my own purposes.

 

 

 

Thanks for the playlist Jerry! It definitely plays much better, though I think it's missing the "Journey" cue and the Outro. The former is probably the highlight of the whole thing.

 

Watched some of the first few episodes, after the first episode, the score is pretty sparse and ambient in context.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I suspected as much from hearing the underscore in the show. There definitely is not enough material to warrant three whole albums. Most of it sounded like minimal variations of album one material anyway.

 

I’m sure your playlist will do a lot more for Britell’s scores than these entire albums do. Will check it out. Thanks Jerry!

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7 hours ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

Feel free to make use of any of these playlists! 

 

Thanks, i did.

 

I tried to catch some of the show an Amazon, but it's the hard-suffering 'Beloved' kind of material that i could bring myself to endure in the cinema (once you got there and paid your ticket, there's a hell more motivation), but here i turned it off after 30 minutes.

 

The music by Britell is a bit opaque in its dirge-y parts, it lacks statements to warrant all those slow parts, but there is something to it. It's certainly not the kind of chord-mongering we're used to these days, it offers some welcome elegant touches especially in orchestration and recording...and good woodwind solos.

 

Here's what i compiled from the three volumes (it's the same length as yours but a different selection):

 

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The show becomes much more interesting near the end. It’s first half felt too much like conventional episodic tv for my tastes and shies away from the magical realism of the premise that makes it more compelling as you go forward.
 

And I like the score. I just wish he was able to extrapolate its core ideas in more interesting ways than just verbatim renditions with an alternative solo (ex. piano over voice). Or that there was more thought to the way ideas and phrases are musically quoted throughout the work. And I’d argue that there definitely is some chord mongering in there. The albums certainly don’t help.
 

He’s got all the right colours, and pretty rich visual content he’s writing for, there just could have been more. 

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24 minutes ago, KK said:

And I’d argue that there definitely is some chord mongering in there. The albums certainly don’t help.

 

It probably helps that i didn't even consult the albums, but just edited the playlists above. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/29/2021 at 5:47 AM, KK said:

The show becomes much more interesting near the end. It’s first half felt too much like conventional episodic tv for my tastes and shies away from the magical realism of the premise that makes it more compelling as you go forward.
 

And I like the score. I just wish he was able to extrapolate its core ideas in more interesting ways than just verbatim renditions with an alternative solo (ex. piano over voice). Or that there was more thought to the way ideas and phrases are musically quoted throughout the work. And I’d argue that there definitely is some chord mongering in there. The albums certainly don’t help.
 

He’s got all the right colours, and pretty rich visual content he’s writing for, there just could have been more. 

I thought the show was about the ' real' effort to transport slaves to freedom.

Do viewers even get that the railroad was just a metaphor, not a real thing?

Anyway, I have to adjust my expectations if I have any chance of enjoying this.

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