Taboo Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the television score Taboo by Max Richter.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 100
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 44.1
Album Excellence: 100%
Taboo is a 2017 British television drama series created by Tom Hardy, Edward Hardy & Steven Knight and starring Tom Hardy, Leo Bill & Oona Chaplin. Adventurer James Keziah Delaney, long believed to be dead, returns home to London from Africa in 1814 in order to inherit his late father’s shipping empire. All is not what it seems, however, as Delaney encounters numerous enemies intent on making his life back in the United Kingdom very difficult. Focused on building a shipping empire to rival the imperious East India Company, Delaney’s other wish to seek vengeance for his father’s death means conspiracy, betrayal and bloodshed are also in the cards. As he works to accomplish that, Delaney must also navigate increasingly complex territories in order to avoid his own death sentence. The score is composed by Max Richter.
I saw the pilot episode of this series last night and Tom Hardy’s character has got to be one of the weirdest character on TV. Very unique and interesting. I liked the story as well. Musically it didn’t blow me away, but I bet it sounds more impressive on album. Max Richter is a guy I have come to trust almost completely over the years, both in television and film work. His style speaks my language so I’m excited for this one. The score opens with the ‘Openings’ a haunting emotional theme built on moods and strings. It’s very powerful, and pretty much what I had hoped and partially expected from Richter. In the episode that I saw, the music sort of phased in and out, but I couldn’t quite get a handle on how great and powerful the music was, but on album it impresses again and again.
Man, the moods Richter creates are truly perfect for the darkness of London in the early 18 hundreds. Some of you might know that I absolutely loved his score for “The Leftovers” thanks to amazingly good themes and lots of ostinato. In ‘The Inexorable Advance Of Mr. Delaney’ there’s a similar pattern with a superb finale. It’s not the only one either. Like Bernard Herrmann, Richter is spinning us into madness in a beautiful way. Sometimes it feels like a horror story and sometimes, it feels like a somber drama. There’s very little happiness on this score and if the first episode is anything to go by, it’s not very present in the show. I saw Hardy smile once and I got scared. Richter is fully embracing the darkness of the show with some incredible soundscapes, some immense moods and textural music while giving us these little bites of thematic scoring. And sometimes, he surprises with a more timely piece of music for the era. Richter has saved the main theme for the end with a couple of versions. It all works pretty great and turn this score into a must-listen.
2. The Inexorable Advance Of Mr. Delaney *
3. Song Of The Dead
5. A Lamenting Song
7. This Little Pig Went To Market
8. Zilpha (Recollection)
9. Song Of The Beyond
10. I’d Hoped To Settle This…
12. The Onrush Of Events
13. Zilpha Alone
14. Attend To The Matter
15. Lamentation For A Lost Life
16. Taboo Lament (Antimatter Dellini Waltz)
17. Celesta Taboo Lament (Title Edit)