The Drift Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Drift by James Griffiths.
At a glance:
60 minutes of score
Geek Score: 93.7
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 46.08
Album Excellence: 77%
Buy or stream? Buy
The Drift appears to be an independent sci-fi movie that came out last year. Directed by Darren Scales, I don’t think the budget was particularly big. It was produced by sci-fi fans to create an original space adventure. Still, it’s impressive work on a very small budget. The 3D looks like the cut scenes of a 90s video game, so there’s nostalgia right there and it looks tense and exciting as the crew of the mining ship discovers something evil that want to devour them all. I’m particularly pleased that the score was released. The composer is James Griffiths and I believe this is his first major film score. Congrats James! So what does the score sound like?
It is a very dark affair, dark as space itself. It’s a horror sci-fi so I expected nothing else. ’Opening Sequence “Darkwave” starts with a deep and dark synth, the dark brass sound is pushing forward and so I’m surprised when a beautiful piano motif starts playing at 0:24. It’s minimalistic and beautiful. When the flute hits at 0:50 I get goosebumps. This is really great stuff, both atmospheric and melodic. Strings starts playing and it’s all good, but where’s the terror? In the middle, around 2:20, the brass is back and it is building up very slowly and it hits some quite heroic strings accompanied by the reverberating piano. This is gorgeous. Love it.
As a horror score in space, I expect a mood to be set. It can’t all be based on beautiful motifs. ‘Helpless Massacre’ is setting the mood alright. It’s starting with some dissonant atmospherics, synth pads and a percussion that feels like a slow heartbeat. Then the percussion gets harder and at 0:56 we’re in full horror action mode, shrieking strings, massive percussion and brass. I have to say that the score sounds really impressive, way beyond the scope of the movie budget. Anyway, back to ‘Helpless Massacre’ which gets my pulse going. There’s an “old” piano playing a creepy motif at 2:30. This is horror stuff, plain and simple. ‘The Descent’ is a percussion based action cue and a very impressive one. ‘The Graveyard’ is short, but has an impressive piano motif.
‘The Approach Suite’ is another impressive piece of music. I love the piano that Griffiths use in many of the cues. It can mean many things, but to me, it’s a sense of hope in all the madness. It’s only temporary calmness and beauty though as the fate of these brave men and women seems sealed in space against these aliens. ‘Finding Astra’ is the cue that has me convinced that Griffiths must have had some inspiration from the great Terminator scores. There’s a brass sound there that reminds me of it. It works well. ‘Inhabitants’ is another cue that enforces that belief. I love the action. It’s so alive and I particularly have to praise the percussion. ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ is another belter. Starts with some quick string play, but the meat of the score is one of wonder, the wonder of space. There’s an optimistic space opera theme within that is astounding. This is wood for the fire of imagination. ’Finale “Lightwave” is a big and bold farewell to our heroes, perhaps a bit too big and bold? Nah, there’s no such thing. Loving it. It’s the proper end to a space opera really, and not a low budget tense sci-fi film except it doesn’t end there. ‘End Credits’ is the final cue of the score and the piano is back with more reverb than ever, making it sound a lot more space-y and dreamy. It ends beautifully.
The Drift is the best score that no one has heard. Really, you need to look beyond the mainstream and find gems like this. I would have missed this too if I had not been told about it. There is beauty out there, gems that needs to be discovered and listened to because it can bring us experiences like this. I had no intention of watching the movie after seeing the trailer because of the trip down the graphical memory lane, but I am simply too curious about how the music fits the movie. It’s too good to be missed.
1. Opening Sequence “Darkwave” *
2. Helpless Massacre
3. The Descent
5. The Approach Suite
6. You Can Still Be Saved
7. Finding Astra
13. Rock, Paper, Scissors *
15. Finale “Lightwave” *
16. End Credit *
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