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THE RECRUIT – Klaus Badelt

January 31, 2003 Leave a comment Go to comments

therecruitOriginal Review by Peter Simons

Ever since John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams left the Media Ventures studio, Klaus Badelt has been busier than ever. We are barely halfway through 2003 and already the young composer has scored five movies, including the Aussie drama Ned Kelly, the Matrix rip-off Equilibrium, and the swashbuckler Pirates of the Caribbean. And then there is this one: The Recruit. A thriller directed by Roger Donaldson, starring Colin Farrell as a brilliant CIA-trainee who is asked by his mentor (Al Pacino) to detect a mole operating within the Agency. If nothing more, Donaldson has created an entertaining movie. Donaldson is a bit of a stealthy director in Hollywood, despite several entertaining high-profile movies such as Species, Dante’s Peak and Thirteen Days. For the music Donaldson has turned to a different composer for every new movie, creating an impressive track record of having worked with the likes of Vangelis, Maurice Jarre, Mark Isham, Chris Young and Trevor Jones. For The Recruit, he turned to Klaus Badelt.

Remember the days when spy thrillers were accompanied by jazzy riffs and rhythms, marimbas and muted trumpets? Well, those days are long gone. In this day and age spy thrillers are scored with techno beats, synth pads and electro loops. Needless to say, such is the case with The Recruit. Badelt combines some simple string themes with bubbly basses, deep synth pads and percussion that ranges from ambient to full-on techno. The main theme basically consists of four notes, reminiscent of ‘Patricide’ from Gladiator, and is repeated throughout the score and eventually gets a reasonably dramatic rendition in ‘Target Is Burke’, the score’s final track. It’s hard to point out any stand out tracks on this album, since most of them tend to sound the same, but ‘To The Farm’ has a nicely uplifting performance of the main theme accompanied by lightweight electronic sounds. ‘A Bug For Breakfast’ is arguably this score’s roughest track, though it may sound a bit too sterile for its own good.

In terms of atmosphere and melody, The Recruit strikes me as a mix between Hans Zimmer’s The Fan and James Newton Howard’s The Fugitive, though it’s not nearly as original or rewarding as either one of those. It also reminds me of Jeff Rona’s The In Crowd and Craig Armstrong’s The Bone Collector. However, that’s not saying this score is bad or anything – the trouble with Badelt (or at least the trouble in reviewing his music) is that although he may not be a very original composer, he also isn’t a very bad one. It’s very difficult to praise Badelt’s efforts, but at the same time it wouldn’t be fair to bash them. Not having seen the movie I do not doubt, though, that the score serves it perfectly. And it is, in fact, even quite enjoyable on CD, despite having several flaws. It is, in all honesty, a bit too repetitive and a bit too one-dimensional. And while the score is atmospheric, it is not emotional. It creates a nice loungey mood but it never really takes off. If you want to hear a near-perfect modern electronic spy score I’d recommend Harry Gregson-Williams’s Spy Game instead. And if you want something more comedic, go for Edward Shearmur’s Johnny English.

Production of the album is top notch. The recording is crystal clear and Varèse grants us a generous fifty minutes play time. But I still don’t know what to make of this Badelt guy. He sure knows his way around the studio and he sure knows how to entertain us, but he has yet to deliver an original score.

Rating: **

Track Listing:

  • Main Title (2:22)
  • Spartacus (1:29)
  • To The Farm (3:14)
  • CIA Training (3:39)
  • Lie Detector (1:50)
  • Talking Over Crabs (1:13)
  • Hijacked (6:47)
  • You’re Going To Langley (1:46)
  • Layla (2:32)
  • Under Covers (1:52)
  • A Bug For Breakfast (7:08)
  • Aftermath (4:28)
  • Nothing Is What It Seems (6:31)
  • Target is Burke (4:30)

Running Time: 49 minutes 46 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6433 (2003)

Music composed and conducted by Klaus Badelt. Orchestrations by Klaus Badelt and Bruce Fowler. Additional music by Ramin Djawadi. Recorded and mixed by Alan Meyerson. Edited by Alex Gibson and Christopher S. Brooks. Album produced by Klaus Badelt and Christopher S. Brooks.

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