Christopher Young

The Vagrant

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Christopher Young's 1992 breakthrough effort The Vagrant remains one of the most challenging and innovative film scores of the post-Herrmann era -- an intricately structured mosaic of sounds and voices, it is music for the eyes as much as the ears, evoking the visual lyricism of cinema as much as it complements it. Young's sprawling ensemble includes women's voices, strings, bansuri flute, and kalimba, but even the most exotic instruments pale in contrast with his choice of percussion instruments -- employing everything from snapping fingers to typewriters to garbage cans, the composer creates a kitchen-sink symphony that is both mundane and otherworldly, creating beauty and order from a seemingly random arsenal of sounds and source materials. The Vagrant is both immediately familiar and disarmingly alien, and as a pure experiment in sound it's an unqualified success -- it's a shame it comes attached to such a mediocre and little-known film.

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