Review Summary: And so the black clouds came down, consuming us all…
Love, Happiness, Disappointment, Sadness, Death. Emotions fuel our lives. They can make us do stupid things, reckless things, irrational things. However, they also make us do amazing things, incredible things. Emotions are the essence of life. As it happens, The Fountain
is a film based on life and deep and intricate feelings. In the contemporary composition scene, where many a composer has found solace in progressions as completely stale as C, G, Am, F, Clint Mansell’s heart-felt, instrumental representation of The Fountain
hits the listener right in the feels. Mansell craftsmanship is so expertly executed that he manages to construct a gut-wrenching story without the need for a single word to be spoken or sung. In short, if you’re a fan of lying in the pitch-black comforts of your room, with a constant stream of wind attacking your face whilst your ears feast on the music and your mind is oh so far away, listen to this album.
Mansell has always had a great command of the musical spectrum, and had already begun to make a name for himself with contributions to the Pi
soundtrack, and then the desolate and eerie works of Requiem for a Dream
. With The Fountain
, Mansells transcendence continues. His detailed works are not, like many modern-day composers, layered with unnecessary instruments, but instead, layered with emotion and sincerity. One can literally feel the sheer sorrowful emptiness of tracks like ‘The Last Man’ and ‘Stay With Me’ crawling up their skin, eating away at their insides, molesting and defecating all sense of belonging and happiness they may have once had. This is done in the most beautiful of ways, and the absolute strength of the album is enough to render anyone close to tears, wondering what they’ve done with their life and how all too real mortality actually is.
Behind the sometimes eerie but ever-attractive string arrangements is a powerful rhythmic section, which can easily be considered as the driving force behind the album, and even though it can be sometimes subtle - hidden beneath the layers of strings, guitars and choirs- it is always noticeable. Instead of taking the scenic and boring route, Mansell (with the help of post-rock giants Mogwai.) implement a frequent percussion vibe that - not only helps add to the profuse ethereal atmosphere entrenched within every melody and every phrase-, but takes every emotion you could think of and shoves it down your throat, where it is gratefully accepted. The intertwining of Mogwai. Into the soundtrack was a master-stroke by all parties involved. The rocky and realistic edge that they provide really brings this album to a new, energetic life, where the utter desperation of the music is put on a vigorous display.
Even if the majority of the album felt samey, murky, and boring (which it is anything but) The Fountain
would still be an essential listen simply due to the fact that the track ‘Death is the Road to Awe’ exists. The song is reminiscent of a rollercoaster, it takes the listener on a rocky adventure through time, space, life and death. The 8 minute behemoth builds and climaxes multiple times, ending in one of the most mind-blowing, eloquent 20 seconds of music to ever be recorded.
Listen, embrace, feel
And cry yourself to sleep.