Jed Kurzel

Alien: Covenant [Original Soundtrack]

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The 2017 Ridley Scott sequel to Prometheus (the prequel to Alien) was highly anticipated, as was it's score. Following Marc Streitenfeld's score for Prometheus, Harry-Gregson Williams was originally tipped to compose the sequel, but had to drop out due to other commitments. Scott then decided to draft the talents of Mess Hall bandmember and accomplished composer Jed Kurzel. Kurzel is no stranger to depicting menace in his compositions, having written the music for 2014's independent horror film The Babadook and for his brother's directorial debut, the 2011 crime drama Snowtown. Unsurprisingly, where Kurzel's Alien: Covenant score boasts most its strength is in its toe-curling, threatening ambience. While incorporating elements of familiar scores, Kurzel also brings a fresh layer to the palette, with the occasional thudding of electro-bass and subdued kick drums that ring out through continuous reverb, swallowing up the mix as foreboding strings cut in and out. "The Med Bay" is a prime example of such undeniably cautionary music. "The Covenant" and "Alien Covenant Theme" make eclectic use of Goldsmith's theme for the original Alien (also evident in "Planet 4/Main Theme"), with forlorn brass and strings cushioning eerie woodwinds before giving way to hopeful, yearning, and bright cellos that hark back to the somewhat unexpected score of Streitenfeld's Prometheus (aspects of which sounded akin to a score for Star Trek, effectively pinning down the theme of discovery and philosophy evident in Scott's prequel). There are other intriguing sounds here, as when "Neutrino Burst" makes eclectic use of the chilling, whirling ambient drone sound that Kurzel had used in his score for Snowtown. Not everything is entirely awash with foreboding menace; tracks such as "A Cabin on the Lake" and "Chest Burster" twinkle with lone piano notes, as well as violas adorning the mix with rich sustain. Both as an album and a film composition, the score for Alien: Covenant doesn't break any new ground, but if you're a fan of the auditory nature of the movies, and particularly Kurzel's previous work, it's an eclectic score concerned equally with harmony and sound design, successfully depicting the many avenues of horror, discovery, and threat surging throughout the Alien saga.

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