Late last month, an indie science fiction film hit a small number of theaters — Prospect, based off of a short film released back in 2014. It’s a really neat little film — my colleague Bryan Bishop enjoyed it, and I concur with his review — about a father/daughter prospecting team that lands on a mysterious and deadly alien world, hoping to strike it rich. They come up against a bunch of disreputable characters, and are forced to make some hard choices, etc etc. One of the things that I came away from was that it has a fantastic soundtrack.
The score is by composer Daniel L.K. Caldwell, who also did the music for the original short film. It’s a beautiful score, one that complements the film nicely, but it also hits a nice balance between driving the action, and enhancing the film’s surroundings.
An inescapable point in this film is the surrounding planet. There’s a tendency in science fiction to surround one’s cast and characters with sharp, inorganic lines — think the interiors of spaceships in the black of space. Prospect is set on the ground, its characters surrounded by lush, bright forests and vegetation, its characters closed off from the atmosphere and toxins in the air (alien pollen, maybe?) in space suits, or huddling down in makeshift shelters. Caldwell’s score drones — it reminds me almost of insects buzzing in the trees at points, while there’s other, ethereal sounds that feel like they play off of the beauty surrounding the characters. That’s not to say that there aren’t points where he drives the action home with pounding drums, but those points are spare, and their rarity really makes those moments all the more effective.
I’ve got a running playlist on my computer of music to listen to while I’m writing, but I’ve been listening to it quite a bit while driving — it makes for a great background to just about anything I’m doing, whether that’s walking, driving on the highway, or writing.