Next week's "Transcendence," a trippy thriller starring Johnny Depp as a scientist who, after a catastrophic attack, uploads his consciousness into a supercomputer, certainly creates an atmosphere -- one in which technology has made anything possible, where dread and paranoia creep into the edges of human advancement, and where all of our pointless dragging and clicking could also be our undoing. All of these heavy themes and visual flourishes (including tiny robots glinting in the sun like pocketfuls of glitter) require the appropriate musical backdrop, one that is found in the ominous score by Mychael Danna.
And now we have four exclusive tracks to share with you!
We're going to be tiptoeing around their placement in the film both because we don't want to ruin anything and because we're under strict orders from Warner Bros. not to talk about the movie just yet (and, as we all know, snitches get stitches). Still, these four tracks will give you a better understanding of the mood of the film and how they are established through Danna's thoughtful orchestrations (Danna is a frequent collaborator of Ang Lee's and was nominated for the Oscar for his score to "Life of Pi").
The first track, "Transcend," is probably the closest the movie has to a theme -- a piece of music that is occasionally soaring but also uneasy, one that feels jittery and electrically alive. The second track, "Building Will," is utilized in a montage where Depp's Beautiful Scientist Wife With Fabulous Hair (Rebecca Hall) and his Handsome But Trustworthy Best Friend (Paul Bettany) are constructing the apparatus that will allow his consciousness to go into the machine (it involves so many wires you wouldn't believe). Again, this is moodier than usual montage music; it's amazing how the electronics of the piece are delicately woven into the more percussive backbone of the track. The next track, "Get Off the Grid," takes place when the movie makes a sharp left turn and so there's not a lot we can divulge. This is one of the more purely electronic moments in the score, which is fitting given its placement in the film... And the last track, "The Only One He Trusts," swells with an unexpected emotionality fitting for (again) where it takes place in the movie, and perfectly dramatizes the struggle between the artificial and the natural -- a tug-of-war that is presented in the score just as eloquently as it is in the movie. You can preorder Danna's score on iTunes by clicking here, and watch the movie in theaters, everywhere, next Friday, April 16. Transcend y'all.