Bruno Coulais

Winged Migration [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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This ode to nature is a varied work adorned by strong vocal performances. For the main songs, composer Bruno Coulais recruited two of rock's most distinctive voices, the crooning Nick Cave, here at his most heartfelt, and the emotionally charged Robert Wyatt, with his inimitable frail voice. "To Be by Your Side" sung by Cave and "Masters of the Field" and "The Highest Gander," delivered by Wyatt, are the recurring themes that keep popping up wrapped in new forms and arrangements. They are the thread that gives an otherwise eclectic score its consistency. The other singers and vocal groups range from high-pitched children's voices to men's bass choirs, but they all share a strong musicality and create an uncanny atmosphere. Birdcalls and wing flaps are subtly incorporated into the music adding to its organic quality. Tribal drums, strings, and voices are often superimposed to give the score a rich texture. Whether the music leans toward Russian music's dark side and impressive might or slows down to reveal a myriad of details, it vividly renders the hardship birds encounter during their migrations. Disconnected from the pictures they are associated with, soundtracks can often be disappointing. Winged Migration stands on its own and is arguably a highlight in Coulais' career.

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