This Week in Soundtrack: Contagion (2011)

Starting today I am going to start a new series at OH MOVIES. I have noticed I am a fan of film composing, like a lot. Especially when I look at my iPhone cause my music has more songs/scores from a movie then actual popular music. So why not focus on some of my favorites from time to time? This week I look at the opening number from a combo of one of my favorite Director’s and favorite Composer.

Track: They’re Calling My Flight

Composer: Cliff Martinez

Movie: Contagion (2011)

Starting off with a bit of a doozy because Cliff Martinez is exceptionally hard to define. His electronic beats are nothing like what you hear in most films today (even though a lot are TRYING to copy his style). I think what makes his tracks unique is how much emphasis he puts on ambiance and tone. If you listen to any of his work he tries to put some sort of mood in a scene and even if it the weirdest instrument or beat it somehow fits perfectly. (The Knick comes to mind cause a 1900 setting with 80s style electronica shouldn’t work but does amazingly.)

With this opening track for Contagion we have the start of another collaboration with Martinez and Steven Soderbergh. These two are like a fine wine and only a handful of other filmmakers I can think of have this kind of partnership that mesh beautifully. In “They’re Calling My Flight” Martinez sets the tone perfectly for this paranoia thriller involving disease. The opening scene showcases how easy it is to transmit a fatal disease, unknowingly, across the planet and the continuous beats from Martinez hammer it constantly. But then all of a sudden a shocking riff from a guitar, or more likely an electronic synthesizer, comes in to point out a moment of outbreak in a particular setting. Even if you have no idea what Contagion is about you can easily tell bad news is about to start with this opening track.

This will not be the last time I will cover Cliff Martinez in this new series. Heck, I’ll probably review current films he’ll be involved with as well so expect his name to pop up frequently on this site. If you are intrigued by this opening track I urge anyone to give Contagion a try or at least find and/or buy the soundtrack as well. You’re in for a trippy and moody experience guaranteed.


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