Michael Brook

Into the Wild [Original Score]

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Michael Brook's instrumental score for director Sean Penn's film Into the Wild (as distinct from Eddie Vedder's song score) evokes the solitude as well as the scenery of the story, which concerns a young man who travels across America largely by his wits, until his luck runs out. Brook's primary instruments are acoustic and electric guitars, but he also brings in keyboards, drums, and harmonica here and there. The soundtrack has 36 cues in 54 minutes, so none of them is very long. The styles include folk, rock, blues, and country, as well as ambient and new age accents. Given the brevity of these pieces, it is often just after Brook has established a set of chords and a mood that the track is over. Sometimes, as in, for instance, "Swimming & Horses," the listener may expect that some familiar folk-rock singer/songwriter, in this case the Neil Young of Harvest, is about to weigh in, but that never happens. Toward the end, in cues with titles like "Starving," "Chris Dying," and "Final Heartbeats," the music reflects the final tragedy of the story. But there also have been upbeat moments along the way. (The Into the Wild score was released by Lakeshore Records.)

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