I know atonal music is not melodic and not especially liked by film music fans, but it should not always be vilified. There are many works written in this style that are perfectly listenable and have great orchestral quality. Take the works of Toru Takemitsu or Gyorgy Ligeti whose compositions have been performed in the most prestigious concert halls and have attained the status of masterpieces.
The concept for the composition of “Rough Magic” came to Craig Safan while visiting the prehistoric caves of the old continent, especially here in Spain. From this ancestral inspiration Safan wrote an atonal score in which the synthesizer, flute, percussion, and brass approach the sounds of these ancient worlds and those who passed before us. It does so with a very successful, diverse, and at times mystical language.
In the piece “Make The Sun Dance”, the flute is used along with sharp percussion and other elements, such as the synthesizer, creating an extremely dynamic ambience. Voices take on a highly visible importance as the work progresses, at times dark, fitting perfectly with the other primitive sounds. Craig develops this “sound palette” throughout the entire composition, at times reminiscent of Horner’s score to the Mel Gibson film “Apocalypto” (2006).
As I said, this music is difficult to listen to for the aficionados who know the more melodic work of this composer, but if they listen attentively they will see that this is a work of exceptional quality which captures the amazing strength and simplicity, at times clothed in a halo of mysticism, of these primitive humans. I think and believe, as Safan does, that our ancestors had a special connection to all of nature. They knew how to both listen and communicate with her. I don’t know if you could call it a gift, but it is certainly something which we have lost through the passage of time.
The disk has been edited by Perseverance Records. It is 48 minutes long made up of 13 pieces.
I recommend it… You will find another Safan, totally distinct from the one you are accustomed to, but equally interesting.