Day Break (2006)
Creator: Paul Zbyszewski
No score soundtrack release
Music clip 1, 0'30"
(357Kb) [End credits]
Music clip 2, 0'40" (472Kb) [SFX/atmosphere/music mix]
Music clip 3, 0'08" (101Kb) [Scene-end gliss]
Music clip 4, 1'06" (778Kb) [Strings and piano - comforting and unnerving]
A cop conspiracy thriller spin on Groundhog Day, Day Break uses the (frustratingly) unexplained sci-fi concept targetting the Detective Brett Hopper's day from hell in order to allow him to solve the complex plots surrounding him. Paul Zbyszewski and co swap comedy for sweaty action but the ploy works well and the audience is sucked into a world of dirty cops, kidnapping, murder, shoot-outs, a car crash and the usual friend and family relationship issues. Kicking off this heady mix, Chris Beck supplies the music for the pilot episode and half the music for the first episode, but, understandably, the style of his opening music informs that of the rest of the season.
This may be a comparatively low budget score for a composer working almost solely in film now, but Beck certainly doesn't hold back on complexity. Most noticeable is the hard-boiled, no nonsense scoring by Mark Kilian and Beck which features in the end credits (clip 1), which blends together percussion and manipulated (often reversed) samples to form a stylishly industrial action voice. Beneath this, however, there are cues underpinning other aspects of the drama: in many scenes, where suspense and growing intimidation are key, Beck builds up forbidding textures of synths and screachy dissonant strings, punctuated by occasional batterings of low brass or percussion. In fact in many ways the score doubles as atmosphere and sound effects, occasionally hammering home crashes, affecting a heart-beat, droning eerily like an urban skyline, and in some cases this may not even be Beck's work, but the mix is incredibly fluid and effective (e.g. clip 2). Notable too are where scenes ascalate in desperation for the lead character - Beck will build his textures to a crash in much the same way he did in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (e.g. clip 3). Also important are the interludes that contrast, easing the tension back a nudge so future scenes have more impact. These mostly underscore moments of tenderness between Hopper and his girlfriend but also when trust is built with other characters and in the few pauses when some kind of emotional assessment is called for. Beck knows not to plough in too heavily here, keeping his cues low-key, gentle low-to-mid-range strings, piano (which also doubles as the sting of unease) and extremely sensitive use of woodwind (e.g. clip 4).
Link a low budget computer game, Beck has constructed score cues and stylistic references which, with guidance, will adapt easily to future episodes without jarring or feeling repetitive. His method has been to keep themes as unimpressive as possible, concentrating on maintaining the correct atmosphere, but adding in enough inventiveness to his textures to set them apart from your average cop show scene setters.
Music by Christophe Beck
Theme by Mark Kilian and Christophe Beck
Music supervisor: Frankie Pine
Music editor: Matthew Shelton
N.B. No songs; no opening credit.