Thomas Newman

Passengers [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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By the time Thomas Newman was recruited to write the original score for Passengers, a 2016 science-fiction drama, he had over 30 years in the field to his credit, as well as over as dozen Academy Award nominations. Released the same year as his whimsical symphonic score for Disney Pixar's Finding Dory, Passengers finds Newman turning to an electronic palette (sometimes accompanied by full orchestra) and a much more atmospheric tone. Mechanical effects, twinkling electronics and keyboard percussion, and treated acoustic instruments such as piano enhance the film's setting, a spaceship with malfunctioning "hibernation pods." Passing melodic-harmonic passages, such as in "Crystalline" and "Build a House and Live in It," are balanced by jittery ambience. The two meet on tracks like "Zero Gravity" and "The Sleeping Girl." The latter has harp, female vocals, and erratic electronic effects eventually fortified by brass, strings, and tympani before it strips back down to simmering mechanical sounds. A unique entry in Newman's discography to date -- not counting the Pixar film WALL-E, it's his first foray into science fiction -- Passengers is also one of the more interesting scores of the release year.

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