To Order the CD and hear audio clips of the score go here: https://tinyurl.com/2p8wuasw
Having already released a couple of volumes of Lee Holdridge’s music in their composer-based “collection” series, Dragon’s Domain now presents his score for the 1999 NBC mini-series Atomic Train. The two-part thriller finds Rob Lowe called in to help stop a runaway train headed to Denver, that just happens to have a bomb among its cargo. Holdridge was one of the go-to composers for TV films in this era, and this is just one of several he scored for the 1998-99 season. Atomic Train is also the second mini-series disaster score by Holdridge to be issued by the label, with the other being 10.5 (2004).
Holdridge’s music is usually driven by fine thematic writing, and in Atomic Traintwo primary ideas quickly come to the forefront. A menacing series of dark harmonies and dissonance bursts forth in “Railroad Crossing,” which shows off a metallic, percussive edge to the motif, helping to depict the train itself. “Ultrasound” follows with a touching, lyrical thread that provides contrast to some the more visceral material. This more traditional sounding Holdridge fare also depicts Lowe’s character’s connection to his family as the danger increases.
While the score is orchestral, there are electronics present that lend a contemporary vibe from time to time. Similarly, the electronic percussive elements propel the action forward, further simulating the forward movement of the train. The film’s explosive climax is followed by some wonderful large-scale orchestral writing, particularly during the final emotional arrival as things wrap up with a huge statement of the theme. The touching “End Credits” is another solid example of Holdridge’s gorgeous orchestral stylings.
Atomic Train is a successful blend of orchestral writing with electronic textures and percussion. The frequent shifts between the tension-building fare and the lyrical passages make for a diverse listening experience. In all, this a solid work for a very forgettable telefilm, but fans of the composer will want to seek out its thematic rewards. For more information on the limited edition album of 500 units, and to check out samples of the score, visit Buysoundtrax.com. —Steven A. Kennedy
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