John Williams

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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For his 17th collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, film composer John Williams finds himself in familiar territory. Though drawn from the unmade project pile of director Stanley Kubrick, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, with its science-fiction theme and central character of a child, is strongly reminiscent of previous Spielberg/Williams works, none more than E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, with which it even shares a similarity of title. Once again, Williams is able to explore his gentler and more lyrical musical nature, though he doesn't have as much of an opportunity for the kind of lush, heroic melodies he has enjoyed in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. Here, his major influences seem to be contemporary classical composer Philip Glass and new age music. Glass' style is heard in the film's main theme, "The Mecha World," which employs short, quickly repeated notes in percussive patterns running up and down the scale. Williams adds other elements to the pattern in "Abandoned in the Woods," and by the third track, "Replicas," has gone to an ambient sound that recalls much new age music. "Hide and Seek" is delicate and charming, and after the more demonstrative "The Moon Rising," there are several cues featuring the wordless vocals of Barbara Bonney. "For Always," a song with lyrics by Cynthia Weil that is presented in both a solo version sung by Lara Fabian and a duet version by Fabian and Josh Groban, is attractive but emotionally distant and unlikely to score a hit for the composer. Nevertheless, this is one of Williams' better scores, and all the better for managing to find such an appealing tone while remaining true to the film's remote, wistful themes.

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