5 Questions with Laurent Eyquem

Recently we sat down with composer Laurent Eyquem and discussed his latest musical creation, Momentum.  Laurent is most familiar to U.S. audiences for his work on Winnie Mandela, (2011) and Copperhead (2013).

1. Describe your latest soundtrack on Varese.

A: Momentum is a hard-driving yet fluid, action score that is as much orchestral as it is electronic. My goal was to create a customized sound signature for the film that used both orchestral music and electronic sounds in unexpected, somewhat non-traditional ways. So the soundtrack is definitely a hybrid of electronic and orchestral, but I've stayed true to my melodic roots. The film itself is fairly intense, revolving around a woman who is a former CIA agent and who is on the run from the first frame of the film through to the end credits. So the score has a definite and persistent thread of forward movement underscored, even in the long torture scene. The interplay of orchestral and electronic sounds reflects the dichotomy of the main character - feminine and beautiful yet tough, driven and ruthless.

2. Did the director give you any interesting instructions or feedback to help you create the tonal palate?

A:  I had the real luxury of a 'Carte Blanche' in exploring different musical options and creating the score. The use of high-tech weaponry and costuming by the onscreen characters led me to integrate electronic sounds and texture, but I wanted to make a departure from the more typical approach where the electro is often appears as a rhythmic, pulsing backdrop. Rather, I decided to write the electronic sounds as if they were organic instruments, often blending them with the movement and melody of the orchestra.

3. Which scene did you score first and why?

A: To give the Director and the Producer a sense of what I had in mind for the score, I wrote The Parking Lot Chase first. In the middle of the cue, there is a very fast string movement that is completely intertwined with a fast movement in the electronic sounds. The effect is surprising, and I felt it would be the best way to demonstrate where I planned to take the music for Momentum.

4. What is your favorite Varese title in your collection?

A:  John Barry's Out of Africa is my hands down favorite. [editor's note: this is Joel McNeely & the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's version of John Barry's Academy Award-winning score for Out of Africa]

5. What kind of ensemble did you use to record the score? Did you use any interesting or unusual instrumentation or soloists who deserve a shout-out?

A:  We had a 44 piece orchestra, and a large brass section comprised of 13 brass players (including Cimbasso, contrabass Trombone) and one Contra-Bassoon to add the low end and depth needed. Solo instruments: piano and percussion, to add a different dimension to the action or to underline the human aspect of the onscreen characters.

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