127 Hours – Music Review

The album opener by Free Blood, Never Hear Surf Music Again starts off with an interesting arrangement but then moves on to total pandemonium! If you fast forward that noisy one minute or so, things get mildly interesting again. In any case, whether or not you hear Surf music again, chances are you will never listen to THIS music again! And then enters The A R Rahman with Canyon. There is nothing much in the track, just a strings section with probably some keys in the background. A purely situational piece.  But things start picking up with Liberation triad. The first one, Liberation Begins, is again a functional track with pretty much nothing apart from a guitar strumming on a plain loop. But Liberation In A Dream sees Rahman build on that plain loop to create a haunting track. And in Liberation ARR adds a lot more instruments, reaching a wonderful crescendo!

Acid Darbari is a sedate composition in raag Darbari. The continuum fingerboard and the strings section form a very heart-rending combo. The song has a very South-Indian feel though, complete with the shouting sounds in the background. Touch Of The Sun is another minimally orchestrated situational track, and hence would be better viewed than listened to as a track. RIP sounds quite like a requiem as it should, Harshdeep Kaur doing a brilliant job of complementing Rahman’s orchestration that gets superbly pacy towards the end. ARR’s final track, If I Rise comes in the form of a collaboration with Dido, the composer himself doing the vocals alongside the singer. The orchestration here is mesmerizingly serene, highlighted by the motif on what sounds again like the continuum fingerboard the harpejji (thanks to @aham_sarvam for correcting, and providing the link to the music video where ARR is seen playing it). Towards the end there is also a sweet cameo by the Gleehive Children’s Choir from Mumbai.

Of the remaining tracks, three are reworks of yesteryear classics and need no specific comments, wonderful as the originals were. Bill Withers’ 1977 hit Lovely Day, Esther Phillips’ If You Love Me (which was itself a cover of Edith Piaf’s 1950 hit Hymne à l’amour), Plastic Bertrand’s Ca Plane Pour Moi all sound beautiful. Vladimir Ashkenazy’s tribute to Chopin with his version of Nocturne No. 2 is as much an exhibition of Ashkenazy’s talent as it is of the composition’s beauty. The soundtrack ends with Sigur Ros rendering Festival. The nine minute long track starts off on a very un-Sigur Ros-ish note, before shifting gears halfway through to their typical style.

127 Hours surely won’t enjoy the popularity that Danny Boyle-AR Rahman’s Slumdog Millionaire did, but to me this soundtrack rates above Slumdog as it is such albums that show the class act that ARR truly is.

You can see the complete album credits here.

Music Aloud Rating — 8.75/10

Recommended Tracks — Acid Darbari ,Liberation, RIP, If I Rise, Festival

Sagnik says:

Acid darbari is so so cooooooll…!!! <3 it.!

vishal mahajan says:

selvam plz brush up with GK

RR says:

@Selvam, Rahman is not a Pakistani. He was a Tamil Hindu (Chettiar) who converted to Islam sometime back. He has noting to do with Pakistan. He is an Indian Tamil.

Selvam, Sivagangai says:

A R Rahman’s magic is fading. He failed to win the Golden Globe awards for 2011, although he was nominated. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network wins the award for the Original score. Music for The Social Network is truly amazing.

Selvam, Sivagangai says:

A R Rahman is the only world renowned Pakistani musician. He has built for himself a successful bollywood music career in India. Pakistan and the Arab world is so proud of this muslim musician who has made a humble entry in Hollywood.

johnrespu says:

I know our legend will get Grammy and Oscor awards., am proud to be a rahmaniyan., jai ho..

praveen says:

rahman is the best for ever

Sampath says:

Rahman’s score adds depth to Danny Boyle’s deft and energetic direction in 127 hours. Rahman certainly deserves another Oscar for 127 hours, Danny Boyle and Rahman are proving to be a great combination …

Sampath says:

ARR…. Surely win the Oscar and Grammy awards …. Jai Ho …

Sampath says:

Rahman’s score adds depth to Danny Boyle’s deft and energetic direction in 127 hours. Rahman certainly deserves another Oscar for 127 hours, Danny Boyle and Rahman are proving to be a great combination

Sampath says:

Whether or not you can stomach this film or its equally challenging album, the music serves as even more evidence that the diversity of Rahman’s talents can compete favorably in an otherwise arguably stale film scoring environment in the United States

Sampath says:

Danny Boyle and A.R. Rahman are going for a far more interior moment of transcendence, one that tells us the often-awful fight for life is more than worth it- especially in this haunting fever dream that take a filmmaker and musician to new heights while pondering their way out of a man’s darkest hours.”[

Sampath says:

In his last movie, Slumdog Millionaire, director Danny Boyle showed a sophisticated sense of how music and image can intertwine and intensify each other. With his latest, 127 Hours, he proves his skill again, reenlisting composer A.R. Rahman, who won two Academy Awards for his racing, kinetic score to Boyle’s violent fairy tale set in Mumbai, India

Sampath says:

Following their Oscar-winning collaboration on Slumdog Millionaire, A.R.R provides Danny Boyle’s tale of a mountaineer in dire straits with an affecting core of slow-burn, reflective cues that ultimately penetrate in a big way, supported by a typically eclectic array of exterior tracks from the likes of Free Blood, Bill Withers and, most effectively, Sigur Rós. Rahman’s nine cues are anchored on acoustic guitar and generate a suitably meditative tone, augmented by ethnic pipes (Acid Darbari) and ethereal vocals (R. I. P.). Rahman’s collaboration with singer Dido, If I Rise, closes proceedings with a cathartic and quietly optimistic tone which almost prompts a tear.”

Sampath says:

The music is subtly varied; the soundtrack makes admirable use of silence and natural sound …

“There’s something about the way Danny Boyle uses popular music in his films that’s really exciting for anyone who genuinely cares about the medium. Plenty of directors are good with a score, and he’s no slouch in that department, but the use of songs is a different beast. In both score and songs, Boyle seems to have an inherent ability to understand the moods and emotions music can inspire in people and uses it to augment his storytelling”…

Sampath says:

A.R.Rahman … Surely win the Oscar and Grammy awards

shamsudeen says:

east or west a.r.rehman is best

RAJA says:

ARR is a musical script writer. He gives music which is optimum for a film’s script and nothing beyond. Inception is huge film. Scope for music was comparatively higher than 127 hours. Hmmm its a tough competition among rahman’s 127, inception and alice in wonderland. Hope rahman cliches golden globe and oscar.

shinu says:

its going to a another Golden Globe,,,,

Kisharmakish says:

The way Rahman builds on ‘Liberatoin’ begins to ‘Liberation in a dream’ and then to ‘Liberation’ is mesmerizing!! Fantastic!! The soundtrack rates far far above Slumdog Millionare which was average compared to Rahman’s standards. This year’s Oscar will be a good fight between 127 hours and Hans Zimmer’s Inception.

showkath khan says:

Great album,truly shows ar rahman’s class, superb back ground music.

Manoj says:

Unbelievable rendering from A.R……Sure for an Oscar