Nick Zammuto

We the Animals

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Nick Zammuto composed the soundtrack for We the Animals, Jeremiah Zagar's 2018 coming-of-age drama based on the novel of the same name written by Justin Torres. Interspersed with clips from the film, including two a cappella songs by one of the film's stars, Josiah Gabriel, Zammuto's music is somewhat closer to the more experimental ambient music he made during the late '90s and early 2000s than the collage-pop of the Books or the sophisticated electronic rock of his eponymous band. Most of his pieces are brief and consist of softly shimmering synths, quietly setting a scene and expressing a certain feeling for a moment before moving on. The occasional clips from the film are necessary inclusions, as they spell out the themes of betrayal and alienation which aren't always obvious in the music. Still, some of Zammuto's pieces are tense and exciting. "We Wanted More," near the beginning of the album, is a swiftly accelerating techno beat which abruptly ends with the sound of glass breaking. "The Kitchen" begins with a soft, heartbeat-like thump before building up to clicky IDM with beats approximating clanging pots and pans, sounding busy and productive. Much more menacing is the gritty suspense of "Bad Bad Bad," as well as the similar "Bad Nightmare." The longest piece, "Fly Away," encapsulates much of the album's emotional range, beginning soft and detached before accelerating to a racing pulse (accompanied by the scribbling sound present throughout several of the album's tracks), then becoming calm and reflective again. The sudden bursts of fury and panic keep the soundtrack fresh and invigorating.

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