Chronicle of a Genocide Foretold
Ambiances Magnetiques René Lussier / composition
Film scores often suffer from one problem: while a twenty-second cue on celluloid sounds fine, a string of them on CD can be extremely disjointed. The best film score CDs deal imaginatively with this problem, either developing the music and re-recording it or mixing it up with dialogue to create a filmic feel. The rest do what this one does: line up the cues end-to-end to produce a less-than-satisfying listen. Add to this the fact that the film in question is about the genocide in Rwanda (making rather facile comparisons with Hitler’s Germany: well, that’s thoughtful film-making for you) and you have a problem. While a film about Rwanda is by no means a bad idea, writing music about it seems pretty pathetic, like sticking a drawing pin in a whale.
Ignore the subject-matter and program out the short, go-nowhere tracks, and there’s at least half a CD’s worth of nice music here. The group has a cold, dissonant sound more often associated with Scandinavian composers, and Lussier’s strangulated guitar makes an occasional, welcome appearance. Ultimately, though, another case of lazily putting out whatever was recorded for the film, combined with too much emphasis on the “message” of the movie (which seems expected to carry over to the music), flaws the whole project. Richard Cochrane
René Lussier web page