White Lines – Tom Holkenborg

As a Dutch film music critic, I have always kept my eye on Tom Holkenborg, since he is the most successful Dutch film music composer in Hollywood at the moment. I know Holkenborg mostly for his bombastic orchestra sounds, which are often accompanied by a lot of percussion. However, in recent years I have seen quite some change in his music. My curiosity was piqued by the announcement of the Netflix series White Lines. This series is about a woman who is investigating the murder of her brother on the Spanish party island Ibiza. The story sets the stage very well for Holkenborg, as the composer for the series, to dive back into his previous successful career as the DJ JunkieXL. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to watch the full series of 10 episodes. I only watched a part of the first episode to get a feeling for the music, so I will give the music the “leit” treatment, instead of an in-depth review.

There are two major things that I noticed about the music. The first one is the presence of the old JunkieXL vibes. Wonderful dance tracks can be found on the album, which takes the music back in time more than 20 years. The second thing I noticed is a sequence of three notes that appears throughout the whole score. You can hear it in all kinds of variations. A very clear version can be heard in “On the Road,” played by a guitar, but Holkenborg did his best to use it in almost every track in some kind of way. In some cues you can hear these three notes clearly, in others you have to search for them. 

There is also a pattern on this album, which recurs from time to time. It consists of two parts, each containing five notes that keep repeating, but in the second part, there is one note that is different and sounds much higher. The pattern can be heard best in “Manchester Life” where it is played by the piano. That one note is extremely important, because together with other important notes in that pattern, you will be able to recognize the three notes from the other sequence. In “Closure,” which is a wonderful orchestral piece, you can hear both the pattern and the three-note sequence.

It’s no surprise that Holkenborg is able to create a soundtrack with perfectly executed dance tracks, because that is a part of his musical identity. But if you listen closely to the music, you can hear that there is much more behind it, not only in the dance tracks, but also in other cues on the album. Holkenborg has shown quite some potential in the last few years and to me he is no longer the composer who always goes for the bombastic orchestral sounds. This score is another showcase of Holkenborg as a versatile composer, who puts a lot of thought into the melodies and sounds for his soundtracks.

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The highlights are in bold.

  1. Zoe’s Arrival (1:36)
  2. Time Gone By (1:50)
  3. Darker Night (3:23)
  4. Missing You (2:10)
  5. On The Road (0:49)
  6. Ibiza Bar (2:09)
  7. I’m Happy For You (1:02)
  8. Live Life (2:56)
  9. Manchester Life (1:58)
  10. In The Club (1:49)
  11. Boxer (3:08)
  12. It Was Ours (1:15)
  13. Infinity (9:29)
  14. The Past (1:18)
  15. Repercussions (2:07)
  16. Romance (1:46)
  17. Retrace The Path (2:53)
  18. My Goddess (5:52)
  19. New Day (1:06)
  20. Discoveries    (2:43)
  21. Accident (2:06)
  22. Closure (2:06)
  23. Diving For Prizes (1:16)
  24. Family Troubles (1:18)
  25. Memories (2:29)
  26. Zoe (2:51)

Total length:1 hour and 3 minutes
Milan (2020)

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