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Sharknado (Ramin Kousha)

January 29, 2015

Cover_Sharknado1SHARKNADO

Ramin Kousha, 2014, Lakeshore Records
13 tracks, 28:33

Sharks in a tornado. You may be forgiven for thinking Ed Wood has come out of retirement (and back from the dead for that matter). Even more impressive is that we now have a soundtrack album… or two.

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

“Enough said”, says the tagline. Directed by Anthony Ferrante, “Sharknado” tells the classic tale of… oh forget it, it’s a rubbish film about a freak tornado that sweeps up sharks from the ocean and throws them on to the land. Death and destruction follow. It sits nicely amongst a host of films that depict godless creatures such as sharktopusses or big assed spiders. The ‘acting’ is barely worth being called acting and the special effects are very far from special. Still… this made-for-tv film became a cult classic, prompting a sequal “Sharknado 2“, whilst yet another has been announced.

What does it sound like?

The original score to “Sharknado” is composed by Iranian-born and classically trained Ramin Kousha and it’s not half bad! In fact, it may well be the best thing about the film. Needless to say, it’s best to take the music with a grain of salt, but Kousha pushes all the right buttons; especially if you enjoy a ‘Remote Control’-style approach.

“There were textural and melodic themes used throughout the films that were established early on the process of scoring and can be heard throughout the score,” says Kousha.  “Melodic elements were not as important as the textural items.  It was more important to create a mood for the film rather then specific characters.”

Ostinato strings, brass clusters and thunderous drums are the main ingredients for… well, most of the score, but opening cue “Sharknado” in particular. Although it sets the tone, it’s not the most convincing track on the album. Screeching and stabbing strings provide “Storm’s Dying Down and various other cues with the right sort of ‘horror’ attitude.

Towards the end of “Sharks, I Never Saw That Coming” Kousha introduces a mellow and melancholy motif for echoing guitar. It continues more prominently in “I Never Saw THAT Coming” and it makes for a nice, reflective moment. There are a number of less interesting, atmospheric cues to be found; such as “They Took My Grandfather”, “Los Angeles Has Been Saved”, “It’s Too Dangerous” and “That’s A Tiger Shark”.

However, “We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Chopper” is a pretty cool electronic piece for percussion, synths and some piano. The score’s highlight has got to be “Sharks In A Tornado”. The composer combines propulsive rhythms with a seriously exciting, syncopated string riff (okay, it’s an ostinato but I think ‘riff’ better describes the vibe of it). The is no melody as such, but that string riff is pretty darn catchy all on its own. The album closes with “They’re Behind EVERYTHING”, which again combines ostinato strings with driving percussion and brass chords – though rhythmically it’s considerably more straightforward than “Sharks In A Tornado”.

Is it any good?

Ramin Kousha’s “Sharknado” is surprisingly good fun. Tracks like “Sharks in a Tornado”, “I Never Saw That Coming”, “They’re Behind EVERYTHING” and “We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Chopper” are far better than this film deserves. The rest may be more mediocre, but still pushes all the right buttons. The score is entirely sampled; and whilst it does show, it’s not at all distracting. It shows a composer who knows what he’s doing and who is likely capable of scoring bigger and better films than this. But I have to say, that at a shade under 30 minutes, it is the right length. I’m surprised at how much fun this score is, but it’s not THAT great. So, by keeping the album nice and tight, it’s an easy listen that doesn’t outstay its welcome. On a sidenote: it’s interesting to see Nima Fakhrara credited for synth programming. He’s not doing too bad himself, having scored “The Signal” amongst others.

Rating [3/5]

Tracklisting

1. Sharknado (1.11)
2. Storm’s Dying Down (2.14)
3. Sharks, I Never Saw That Coming (4.36)
4. I Never Saw THAT Coming (1.49)
5. They Took My Grandfather (2.35)
6. I Really Hate Sharks (3.25)
7. Los Angeles Has Been Saved (3.39)
8. It’s Too Dangerous (1.13)
9. We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Chopper (1.29)
10. He’s Got A Chainsaw (0.55)
11. Sharks In A Tornado (2.18)
12. That’s A Tiger Shark (2.01)
13. They’re Behind EVERYTHING (1.08)

Availability

Available digitally via the usual channels.

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