The trailer for Gravity, the Oscar buzz science fiction film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, featured music by Arvo Part, a contemporary Estonian composer steeped in minimalism and Eastern Orthodox spirituality. It was a beautiful choice, reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s decision to use Gyorgy Ligeti in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But in the end, Gravity’s director Alfonso Cuaron opted to commission an original score.
The result, released as Gravity: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (WaterTower Music), is high tech and textural, as synthetic as the artificial environments that permit humans to probe the vastness of space. Composer Steven Price eschews the obvious while making sonic sketches of infinity as the backdrop for the machinery of space exploration. It’s a testament to the music’s utility that it blends into the starscape of the film, never attracting undue attention while supporting the lonesome, often desperate mood of a protagonist (Bullock) marooned in space.