Original TV Soundtrack

Traffic: The Miniseries [Original TV Soundtrack]

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Jeff Rona's score for the USA Network production Traffic: The Miniseries mixes electronic, orchestral, and world music elements in a way that recalls several other scores, particularly Cliff Martinez's music for Steven Soderbergh's Academy Award-winning film interpretation of the original British miniseries Traffik. The bulk of Rona's score is built on the kind of atmospheric drones and washes -- both electronic and organic -- that Martinez used to such great effect on the film's soundtrack, but other influences pop up as well: some of the more percussive electronic tracks also recall some of Jan Hammer's more restrained work on the music for Miami Vice. The world music influence on the score is widespread, and emphasizes Middle Eastern instruments such as the duduk and saz; this makes tracks such as "The Illegals" bear more than a passing resemblance to Peter Gabriel's work on Passion, the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, as well as John Debney's score for The Passion of the Christ. Latin influences also pop up on "Above the Hills," and "Hospital/Russian Story"'s balalaikas give it a prickly tension as well as an aptly Eastern European sound. Rona's work isn't quite as distinctive as that of Martinez, Gabriel, or Hammer, but he still does a good job of conveying the intrigue, paranoia, and culture clashes that the miniseries explores. The pristine electronics of "Into the Dock" and "Cityscape," as well as the distorted loops of "Foot Chase," are some of the highlights from this soundtrack, which is rather lengthy at over 70 minutes; however, the fact that the score was written for a six-hour miniseries makes its size understandable. Some of the longer pieces are almost too atmospheric to work as music outside of the context of the miniseries, and some of the tracks are fussier than they need to be, but overall Traffic: The Miniseries is a strong and evocative score.

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