ROBOT OVERLORDS

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AUDIO REVIEW: ROBOT OVERLORDS / COMPOSER: CHRISTIAN HENSON / LABEL: MOVIESCORE MEDIA / RELEASE DATE: AVAILABLE NOW (DIGITALLY), APRIL 14TH (ON CD) 

Christian Henson's score to the 2014 Jon Wright film Robot Overlords unfolds much like the film itself: it starts out with an intriguing premise, then simply grows tiresome and repetitive. If the film would've been better-served as a short, then Henson's score would work best as an EP.

It's not that the film or the score are particularly bad so much as they just stretch their concepts far beyond what's actually interesting. The composer said in a press release that he was attempting to go over-the-top with everything: “A lot of modern action scores today are descriptive by merely creating a musical impression of what is onscreen. We tried to populate the score with 'the truth' for all the players - this means when we are scary, we’re impossibly horrific. When we’re tragic, all is is lost. And when we’re heroic, we’re totally shameless. And like all kids, we had the ability to turn our emotions on a six-pence in the moment.”

What that means is that – much like Robot Overlords ‘the film’ – Robot Overlords ‘the score’ is completely lacking in all subtlety. Mother Earth and The Watchmaker are so maudlin as to feature literal sad violins, to name but one set of examples. And, on the other hand, the electronic aspects of Henson's score go so far in the other direction as to become meaningless.

Stealth Activities is the only melding of electronic pulses and intense strings to really be at all effective, and that's primarily because it's the first instance thereof. More Stealth Activity and Brainscan are only two of the myriad pieces which use (or, rather, overuse) the electronic degradation effect to denote some aspect of the robotic masters or danger related to them.

All in all, Christian Henson's score for Robot Overlords is much like the film, in that it's alright and capable but offers no surprises or deep pleasures for anyone who's been near the genre before. It's standard sci-fi/action music with some attempts at trying something new, but even those stabs at novelty quickly become trite and tiresome.
 


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