Composer Peter Golub's score for writer/director Lucy Walker's nuclear proliferation documentary Countdown to Zero combines two basic musical elements. He employs a string orchestra, usually to play deliberately paced wistful themes. Underlying and frequently contrasting with those themes is featured musician Steven Schick's percussion. Schick's beats prevent the string themes, which are solemn and serious, from being too solemn or serious, at least most of the time, the odd colors of his various struck instruments adding a quirky tone to the minor-key melancholy of the orchestra. Things become gradually more ominous, however, until the penultimate cue, "Scary Proliferation," in which the tempo picks up and the music turns from sad to threatening. This musical suggestion of nuclear war is followed appropriately by the seven-plus minutes of "Aftermath," in which the strings and the percussion finally make peace with each other and work together toward a calm and sober conclusion.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Countdown to Zero|