BAGMAN – Denis Delcroix

Dripping full of Deadpool references (e.g., breaking the ‘fourth wall’, numerous jokes), Bagman is a 2018 Canadian comedy horror feature film. The character of Bagman wears a brown paper bag on his head and spends his time going round the neighbourhood killing anyone too careless or lazy at recycling plastic. Yep! It’s a movie that appears to have zero budget and it shows in its look and feel. To be honest, it’s a pretty bad movie but it’s admirable in terms of the filmmaker’s enthusiasm for the project and the overall vision. Part of that vision was for the movie to feature an 80s synth score and they turned to Frenchman Denis Delcroix, who brought his extensive experience of experimenting and using vintage synths to create an energetic soundtrack that somehow works remarkably well in the film and is a great little listen as an album.

Delcroix’s score is made up of several different elements (various vintage synth keyboards, snares, claps and kick drums) that creates the required 80s atmosphere. Many of the tracks don’t seem particularly keen on following the movie’s action. Rather, the music establishes a tempo (and therefore an energy) and overall feel that’s based on ostinato patterns. Once this is done, the track just goes with that for a while. The main thematic material is a catchy keyboards-based tune for Bagman that’s based around a short, 3-note form motif that’s can be expanded to a longer version. This allows for flexibility for the theme (e.g., allowing the composer to signal quickly Bagman’s appearance, “Bagman Theme”, “Home Invasion”). Delcroix’s synth ostinato patterns are very catchy (“What Do They Call You?”, “Strangled Desire”), and “Plot Takes A Turn” is particularly memorable as various synths take centerstage showcasing various patterns in turn. What little quieter, creeping-about moments there are in the movie features little music that is wholly ambient – rather, there’s always some sort of rhythm or beat to these parts that eventually transforms to a stronger ostinato pattern or that leads into a statement of Bagman’s theme. The use of these extended repeating patterns also work surprisingly well as tension-generating devices; a tension that’s created from not knowing if or when the ostinato is going to break down.

Bagman isn’t all about extended synth patterns. Reggae-styled rhythms underscore a quite dope-smoking scene (“Smoke Some”) and there’s a couple of house-style tracks for house parties and other social gatherings, etc. (e.g., “Plastic Love”). A piano briefly appears for when there’s reference made to Bagman’s father and this adds a smidgen of emotion to the score (“Father’s Death”, latter half of “A Wonderful Ending”). The climax to film (and soundtrack) features two long tracks that are extended ostinato-driven pieces with occasional statements of the Bagman theme when Bagman dispatches his next victim. Again, these tracks work surprisingly well in the movie. I think that they do work because the movie is such that there’s no real peril or drama – it’s very much tongue-and-cheek – so a constant ostinato pattern is ideal just to give the scene a propelling energy that may be lacking otherwise.

This score is very much based around rhythm patterns and ostinatos and isn’t going to for everyone. Really, it shouldn’t really work in the movie but, having watched it, I think that the musical choices are ideal for the student/fan movie feel of the film and it works. The production values of the music are high. Bagman is also both an entertaining listen away from the movie and would be a great upbeat background album.

The album can be purchased HERE or at other online stores as a digital download or to stream.

Rating: ***/*****

  1. Bagman Theme (2.21)
  2. Father’s Death (1:06)
  3. Should’ve Recycled (1:41)
  4. Home Invasion (4:16)
  5. Smoke Some (1:41)
  6. A Good Daydream (0:52)
  7. What Do They Call You? (2:42)
  8. Plastic Love (3:31)
  9. Bathroom Snap (2:52)
  10. Dreamy Nightmare (1:48)
  11. Strangled Desire (3:54)
  12. Two Love Birds (3:30)
  13. Plot Takes A Turn (5:34)
  14. Kidnapping Detective Dangler (2:32)
  15. Upbeat Store (0:41)
  16. Darkness Is Upon (8:06)
  17. Your The Bagman (1:30)
  18. I’m Coming For You (1:39)
  19. Bush Party (2:24)
  20. Plastic Trap (9:02)
  21. A Wonderful Ending (8:20)
  22. A End To A New Beginning (5:41)
  23. Customs (4:19)
  24. Get On Up (2:24)
  25. Snapchat (4:58)

Running Time: 87:24

Records DK (2019)

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