19 Sep 2020
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Arli Liberman - Soundtrack Review: Savage

17 Sep 2020 // A review by Mike Alexander

Arli Liberman is a natural fit for a movie score. As anyone who has listened to his three solo albums - Arli Liberman, Fata Morgana and Allegra will have noted, the Israel-born guitarist has a flair for visceral, beautifully textured and other-worldly soundscapes.

He’s also no stranger to the big or small screen. As a member of the Whiteflag Project, he was the subject of the award-winning documentary Playing with the Enemy, and credits that experience as a major influence on his ambient guitar sound, which took on "cinematic proportions" in the music for Jessica Sanderson’s poignant 2019 New Zealand drama, Ways To See.

All of his skill in accentuating the dynamics of imagery is beautifully and sometimes darkly captured in his score for Savage – director Sam Kelly’s brutally honest and thought-provoking journey into the makings of a gang leader.

The music is spun out over 19 'episodic' pieces that both envelop and stalk the narrative, sometimes suggesting observational tension at others direct engagement.

As you would expect, there’s some deeply evocative 'manipulated' guitar work – Flo and the closing piece Peace, in particular, stand out – which recalls the style of Michael Brooks but is quintessential Liberman. TrinityRoots and Little Bushman front man Warren Maxwell features on four pieces – Arms Up, Savage, Mirror and I’m Done (with General Fiyah) – but his voice is used more as an ethereal and guttural instrument than in the traditional sense.

The real testament to the lure of Savage, is that Liberman has created a moving beast of a piece of music that stands on its own.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

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