A.R. Rahman

127 Hours [Music from the Motion Picture]

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Director Danny Boyle followed up his Oscar-winning Mumbai fairy tale Slumdog Millionaire with the true story of a mountain climber who saws his own arm off with a utility tool while trapped beneath a boulder in a Southern Utah canyon. While the two films couldn’t be further apart in terms of subject matter, a common thread was established by utilizing composer A.R. Rahman, who trades the Bollywood excesses of his work on Millionaire for a more subdued, atmospheric set of compositions that embrace a more Western approach. Peppered with a handful of tracks from the likes of Bill Withers, Sigur Rós, and Free Blood, Rahman's score is introduced on “The Canyon,” a sensual, string-laden daydream of a cut that echoes the vastness of the American Southwest. A suite of pieces that fall under the name “Liberation” serves as 127 Hours' backbone. Tense and largely guitar-driven, the pieces ramp up as the soundtrack nears its end, occasionally exploding into action-packed staccato cues bursting with Indian pop mysticism. The collection closes with “If I Rise,” a duet between Rahman and Dido that echoes Peter Gabriel and Sinéad O'Connor's "Blood of Eden."

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