The East – Gino Taihuttu

Many countries have their own movie awards, with the famous Oscars being the best example. In the Netherlands The Golden Calf Awards are probably the most prestigious ones, and I have been announcing the winners in the category Best Music for a couple of years, but I have never reviewed the music of one of the winners. It is time to change that by having a closer look at the music for the movie The East, by recently award-winning composer Gino Taihuttu

I have to confess that I had not heard about the movie, or about Gino Taihuttu for that matter, which is not really a surprise, because, after looking on IMDB, I saw that he has only composed a handful of scores. When I started to listen to the music for this movie, which takes place in Indonesia just after the Second World War, I could see why it piqued the jury’s interest. Almost all the music on the 33-minute score is performed on a handful of different mallet percussion instruments. Especially the combination of using metallic and wooden instruments at the same time creates an interesting soundscape. With these instruments Taihuttu has created, in many tracks, a simple, soothing and repeating pattern of only a handful of tones, with “JOHAN” and “CELEBES” being perfect examples. Some other tracks are a bit more sound design, with “JUNGLE BY NIGHT” being an intriguing example, with all kinds of weird and freakish sounds on various flutes.

As a reviewer, I should inform my readers whether a soundtrack is good or not, and, to be honest, I have a hard time giving a good answer to that question. On the one hand I love the choice of instruments, but on the other hand, some of the cues are quite repetitive and not enough is happening to keep me interested. The score is not one I will be actively listening to after this review, but it makes for a pleasant listening experience when I am doing something else with this soundtrack in the background.

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The highlights are in bold.

  1. JOHAN (2:14)
  2. FIELDS OF JAVA (2:04)
  4. THE LETTER (2:04)
  6. CELEBES (2:00)
  7. JUNGLE BY NIGHT (2:55)
  8. MATTIAS (2:28)
  10. NO WAY BACK (1:25)
  11. GITA (1:46)
  12. THE PURSUIT (1:57)
  13. THE TURK (0:58)
  14. PINK CAMOUFLAGE (2:12)
  15. BURNING KAMPUNG (1:45)
  16. SILENT KILL (1:25)
  17. HANUMAN (1:53)
  18. MATJAN LIAR (0:47)
  19. THE CHURCH (0:31)

Total length: 33 minutes
Barsong Family (2021)

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