Music for the Motion Picture Into the WildNot to be confused with Eddie Vedder’s recently released Music For the Motion Picture Into the Wild (pictured to the left), the Into the Wild Original Score is now being released exclusively through iTunes by Lakeshore Records. Featuring the entire 36-track score by guitarist and composer Michael Brook, this punchy and daring piece of work does more than just evoke the emotions of the film; it pulls the listener into a world of loneliness, intrigue, and pure musical expression.

While Brook has been on the scene for a while, the Canadian musician has recently begun to enter the more mainstream film scene with his work on such blockbusters as Transformers, Mission Impossible II, and Black Hawk Down. His composing efforts have also begun to edge into the more mainstream, though he’s kept a decidedly clear slant, working on the recent green documentaries An Inconvenient Truth and Who Killed the Electric Car? in 2006. But it’s his Golden Globe-nominated work on Into the Wild that is sure to propel him into the higher echelons of composers and ensure that he has a place in the music department of any eco-friendly film he’d like.

With a mix of guitar, harmonica, some drums, and a dash of violin (among other things), Brook has created a veritable masterpiece of audio presentation, matching the film’s intense portrayal of Christopher McCandless’s memorable tale frame for frame. Occasionally providing harmonica-laden simple blues/rock tracks like “The Combine & Wayne” and “Carthage Grain Sale,” and other times giving off a Nickelcreek-y bluegrass feel (such as in “Chris Reads Tolstoy” – another harmonica track), Brook knows his way around the recording studio, and knows his way around a film score. Often alluding to the Oscar-winning work of Gustavo Santaolalla on Brokeback Mountain, Michael Brook’s Into the Wild is still a strikingly original piece of work.

In the track “Violence at Home”, the ominous and repetitive low picking, highlighted occasionally by a few quick high notes clearly illustrates the calm-before-the-storm mentality Brook is looking for. If the title of the song leaves any questions unanswered, the repetitive notes drive the point home, and the slow descension into a reverberating nothingness leaves the intentions of the track abundantly clear. Other haunting tracks like “Chris Meets the Bear” and “Falling in the River” also provide dark but stirringly deep sensations to the score, while the sudden appearance of quick-paced strumming in “River” evokes the water’s beautiful but dangerous movements.

“The Rapids” is where Brook really lets loose though, with all kinds of drums and a beat-driven guitar riff that will draw excitement even from the most uninspired. The expressive violin in “Swimming & Horses” is achingly melancholy and hopeful at the same time, the kind of brief performance that reminds listeners how a violin should be played. No track is much longer than three minutes, and “Devil Slayer,” the closing track, is no exception. With muffled drums and a moaning guitar, Brook succeeds in both celebrating and mourning the passing of a rebellious legend.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Anyone who wants to hear a fully realized film score
Stay Away if: You prefer orchestra-heavy, big-budget scores

To purchase the score for Into the Wild, visit Lakeshore Records
For more information on Michael Brook, visit his Myspace page
For more information on the movie, visit the film’s homepage

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