Before the RainsLike a mix between an Enya album and a disc of mediation music, composer Mark Kilian’s work on Before the Rains is both entertaining and relaxing. Listening to this album, it’s easy to forget that this is the score for a movie and drift away in a world of floating rhythms and gentle melodies. Kilian, first brought to prominence by his work on the South African film Tsotsi, went on to score the next Gavin Hood film Rendition. But it’s his focus on world music (mixed with modern classical and electronica) that provided Killian with his latest job on Before the Rains.

Set in India in the 1930s, Before the Rains is a tale of ambition and loyalty, directed by acclaimed Indian director Santosh Sivan. To make the most of his opportunity here, Kilian traveled to India and conducted much research (and it shows). The score has a vaguely ethereal quality, particularly during the various vocal performances of Satya McGarry and the backup choir. Some portions of the percussion are deep and lingering while others are accelerated and driven, but it all fits together well and holds the score together. It’s not your typical dramatic score – and this is definitely a good thing.

There are a few moments of standard piano fare, such as at the beginning of “Chase and Standoff,” but this is usually immediately replaced with the more Indian sounds of various percussion instruments, played with moving vigor.

The wordless vocals on “Before the Rains,” along with the delicate background strings make for some of the most meditative music I’ve ever heard on a film score. It’s even more impressive that Kilian seamlessly blends the solo vocals of the first few minutes of the track into a multi-voiced chant backed by pounding drums – all of which bleeds perfectly into the slightly eerie “The Kammadan,” laced with faster drums and various percussion and humming. Though there are moments of intensity – such as in the ironically named “All Quiet” and the aforementioned “Chase and Standoff” – the majority of the album might have been constructed for meditation purposes. It’s a wonderful listen from start to finish and leaves audience with the promise that Mark Kilian is just getting started.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Relaxing on a yoga mat
Stay Away if: You’re looking for more classical, string-driven scores
Buy this on Itunes: “Before the Rains”

To purchase the soundtrack for Before the Rains, visit Amazon

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