Long Walk Home: music from The Rabbit-Proof Fence

The Rabbit-Proof Fence soundtrackPeter Gabriel has always turned out fairly interesting soundtracks, whether they’re built on the same blocks as his solo non-film releases (Birdy) or completely original material (Passion: Music From The Last Temptation Of Christ, or, arguably also a soundtrack, OVO). Long Walk Home manages to fall under the latter category while also delivering a very tantalizing preview of Gabriel’s seventh solo album, Up.

The preview element comes from the fact that many of the musicians who lent their talents to this film score – perhaps most notably the legendary gospel group, the Blind Boys Of Alabama – are also playing a part on Gabriel’s next solo album. On its own, Long Walk Home is a hauntingly atmospheric accompaniment to an Australian film about three Aborigine children kidnapped and sold into servitude. They escape, using the rabbit-proof fence that divides the country to find their way back home. Given the movie’s subject matter, the emphasis on dijeridoo on the first half of the CD is appropriate, but it’s also beautiful. Gabriel has become so well known for using elements of Middle Eastern music in his own works that it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of other styles we haven’t heard him employ, and this redresses the balance nicely.

Toward of the score, the Blind Boys of Alabama take center stage, gradually beginning to add a soulful, wordless vocal to the music, and the effect is breathtaking. On the first listening, I was thinking to myself, “Well, that’s an interesting choice. Now it almost sounds more like music from a movie about the American civil rights movement.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the parallel is utterly appropriate, and either way, the music is strikingly beautiful and haunting. It’s not background music. It still stops me dead in my tracks whenever the voices of Blind Boys of Alabama rise into the mix.

4 out of 4Now I’m starting to wish that The Rabbit-Proof Fence, the movie for which this music was composed, were available on this side of the equator. Ah well…I suppose that’s what multi-region DVD players are for. In any event, the soundtrack is a must-hear, even if you’re slightly disappointed that it’s not Gabriel’s new solo project. Once you hear Long Walk Home, I think you’ll get over any such disappointment.

Order this CD

  1. Jigalong (4:03)
  2. Stealing The Children (3:20)
  3. Unlocking The Door (1:58)
  4. The Tracker (2:47)
  5. Running To The Rain (3:19)
  6. On The Map (1:00)
  7. A Sense Of Home (1:59)
  8. Go Away Mr. Evans (5:15)
  9. Moodoo’s Secret (3:03)
  10. Gracie’s Recapture (4:40)
  11. Crossing The Salt Pan (5:08)
  12. The Return, Parts 1, 2 and 3 (10:26)
  13. Ngankarrparni (Sky Blue – reprise) (6:01)
  14. The Rabbit Proof Fence (1:07)
  15. Cloudless (4:50)

Released by: RealWorld
Release date: 2002
Total running time: 58:58

Left Behind – music by James Covell

Left Behind soundtrackLagging behind the release of the songtrack by several months, this is the orchestral soundtrack of the sleeper hit Christian film Left Behind. While many of the songs were entertaining, the score – performed by the London Symphony Orchestra – was exceptional. As pleased as I am to hear it released on CD, I’m also surprised. Left Behind wasn’t exactly a box office smash, and it was a movie aimed squarely at a specific niche audience which doesn’t normally demand the orchestral accompaniment to a movie. I was stunned to see this release at all.

Covell’s score is sensitively assembled and arranged, with some lovely choral work drifting in and out of the proceedings. It would’ve been easy to make the music overbearing, but instead Covell sticks to some time-honored film scoring traditions, doing some of the best work with a movie’s main theme motif this side of John Williams. For the movie’s more unnerving action segments, some very slick synth work comes to the fore, featuring a nifty bit of electronic percussion which is an excellent test of the bass speakers in your car (I discovered this by accident). The final of these unnerving sequences – the unveiling of the Antichrist – is some pretty effective and creepy stuff.

Three tracks – “Prologue”, “Rapture” and “Seven Years” – include some sound clips from the movie over the beginning of the music. Depending on my mood, I find this either annoying or terribly effective at setting the 4 out of 4tone of the music which follows. (It’s at least better than the treatment given the Apollo 13 soundtrack, which overlays big portions of the music with movie dialogue.)

Overall, I found the Left Behind score most enjoyable, memorable, and worthy of repeat listening – just as the movie stands up to more than one viewing.

Order this CD

  1. Prologue (0:27)
  2. Left Behind – Main Title (3:22)
  3. Surprise Attack (5:17)
  4. Rayford’s Conversion (1:55)
  5. Dirk’s In Trouble (2:06)
  6. Rebuild The Temple (2:13)
  7. Rapture (2:50)
  8. Rayford Comes Home (4:02)
  9. Loss Of A Friend (3:18)
  10. Buck’s Mission (2:46)
  11. Chloe’s Choice (2:58)
  12. One Left, The Other Taken (4:14)
  13. Goodbyes (3:03)
  14. I Don’t Want To Lose You (1:48)
  15. Prayers For Buck (2:00)
  16. Seven Years (4:27)
  17. The Final Chapter (2:52)

Released by: Reunion
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 49:38

Ladyhawke – music by Andrew Powell

Ladyhawke soundtrackAn atypically anachronistic score for a medieval-fantasy movie, this album was composed by Andrew Powell, longtime orchestra arranger/conductor for Alan Parsons. Which brings us to why I even sought this album out, not having seen the movie – Parsons produced the soundtrack album, and the band which comprised the core of Parsons’ Project circa 1984 or so is prominently featured on many tracks. So it’s no exaggeration to say that this album sounds like a missing page from the Alan Parsons catalog, and in many cases the music was inspired by earlier Project instrumentals. Ladyhawke director Richard Donner listened to Alan Parsons Project albums all during the production of the movie, and had several specific requests and suggestions regarding the film’s music, based on existing Project pieces such as Powell’s long “Fall Of The House Of Usher” orchestral suite from Parsons’ first album, among others, so the resemblance is no mere coincidence. The Project rhythm section is, as always, incredibly precise and intricate, and the music would sound perfectly natural played next to 4 out of 4anything from Parsons’ Vulture Culture or Stereotomy. I like this album a lot, because it combines some nice – if occasionally predictable – orchestral passages with the signature Parsons sound, but I’d really only recommend it to diehard Parsons fans, or diehard fans of this movie in particular.

    Order this CD in the Store

  1. Main Title (2:59)
  2. Philippe’s Escape (1:40)
  3. The Search for Philippe (3:25)
  4. Tavern Fight – Philippe (2:08)
  5. Tavern Fight – Navarre (2:38)
  6. Pitou’s Woods (4:04)
  7. Philippe Describes Isabeau (1:11)
  8. Bishop’s Procession (2:50)
  9. Wedding Music (1:41)
  10. Navarre’s Ambush (4:53)
  11. Imperius Removes Arrow (1:33)
  12. The Chase / The Fall / Transformation – album version (2:06)
  13. Cezar’s Wood (5:29)
  14. She Was Sad At First (2:06)
  15. Navarre Returns to Aquila (1:36)
  16. Turret Chase / The Fall – film version (2:46)
  17. Wolf Trapped in Ice (2:34)
  18. Navarre and Isabeau’s Dual Transformation (3:23)
  19. Navarre and Marquet Duel (4:22)
  20. Marquet’s Death (1:59)
  21. Bishop’s Death (2:26)
  22. Final Reunion / End Title (8:14)
  23. Ladyhawke Theme – single version (3:35)

Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1985 (issued on CD in 1996)
Total running time: 70:06

Passion – music for The Last Temptation of Christ

 soundtrackAn entirely instrumental, world music-flavored album of music assembled for the unfathomably controversial film, this is quite different from most of Peter Gabriel’s other fare, though the result is undeniably stamped with his sound. Many of the more rhythmic tracks are well worth a listen, though the best piece on the album is the ethereal “With This Love”. Apparently Peter thought so too, including it in two forms – a contemporary arrangement and an entirely choral rendition which is hauntingly inspirational. But every moment of pleasure on this album is purchased with a moment of chaotic confusion, 4 out of 4such as the seemingly random “Gethsemane” track. All in all, your tastes alone will determine whether or not you like this very eclectic soundtrack, though I’d recommend you have a healthy appreciation for instrumental music with an ethnic twist.

Order this CD

  1. The Feeling Begins (4:00)
  2. Gethsemane (1:23)
  3. Of These, Hope (4:05)
  4. Lazarus Raised (0:36)
  5. Of These, Hope – reprise (1:06)
  6. In Doubt (2:07)
  7. A Different Drum (6:05)
  8. Zaar (4:44)
  9. Troubled (2:46)
  10. Open (3:18)
  11. Before Night Falls (2:16)
  12. With This Love (3:36)
  13. Sandstorm (2:55)
  14. Stigmata (2:24)
  15. Passion (7:36)
  16. With This Love – choir (3:19)
  17. Wall of Breath (2:25)
  18. The Promise of Shadows (2:12)
  19. Disturbed (3:07)
  20. It Is Accomplished (3:30)
  21. Bread and Wine (2:23)

Released by: RealWorld
Release date: 1989
Total running time: 65:53