OS PRÍNCIPES – Gustavo Jobim

Os Príncipes (The Princes), directed by Luiz Rosemberg Filho, is a 2018 drama set in Brazil that follows two men driving around Rio de Janeiro at night to alleviate their boredom. They are looking for sex and violence and pick up a couple of prostitutes to accompany them and help satisfy their needs. The award-winning music is composed by Gustavo Jobim who landed the job because he was working on a score for director Filho’s recently discovered movie, Imagens do Silêncio (1973), and the director felt there were similarities between the two movies. Jobim has come up with a bleak and oppressive score for what looks like an equally bleak and oppressive movie, with the music focusing on the use of unforgiving and somewhat aggressive electronics.

Describing his score as ‘synthwave’ in style and being influenced by the likes of John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream, Jobim’s score uses various electronic elements to establish a wash of aggressive electronic tones, an example of which is the opening “Dissolução”. Sustained rasping sounds establish a claustrophobic aural world from the outset; a property of the score that isn’t far from the surface. There are occasions where the washes of electronica are supplemented by additional elements: “Noite Quente” and “Panorâmica” feature brief and stilted short motifs that are fashioned into extended repeated patterns. But even here, the music feels as though it’s closing in from every angle for the listener. One particularly interesting aspect of Os Príncipes is Jobim’s manipulation of the aural space to enhance the claustrophobia. Lowering the audio levels of some electronic elements, the composer has also restricted the aural spread of to what sounds like a monoaural source (e.g., “Cantando”). He then overlays stereo synths over the top to create an effectively disconcerting sound.

Os Príncipes is a bleak and oppressive score with few warmer moments. The aggressive electronics that play for much of the score don’t often veer off into being unlistenable, but the score is certainly a difficult listen. As well as influences from John Carpenter (e.g., The Fog (e.g., “Ódio”)), vague nods to Howard Shore’s Crash (“Primeira Viagem”) and even Louis and Bebe Barron’s Forbidden Planet (“Segunda Viagem”) surface occasionally and these ‘signposts’ give a very approximate guide to what to expect from this score. Scores such as Os Príncipes are always difficult to rate. On the one hand, Jobim’s score evokes a darkness and depression from the outset and marks the music as being a success at doing the job of supporting the film. But, on the flip side, it’s not a particularly enjoyable listen. At the end of the day, though, it’s how the music serves the movie. Having researched the movie as best I can, and with Jobim’s music quickly establishing a strong feeling upon first listening, I believe that it would be very effective at setting up and supporting the mood of the movie itself. But be warned, it’s not an easy listen.

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

Rating: ***/*****

  1. Dissolução (2:06)
  2. Noite Quente (3:27)
  3. Primeira Viagem (3:23)
  4. Cantando (2:41)
  5. Tema de Três Notas (2:47)
  6. Panorâmica (3:30)
  7. Segunda Viagem (3:56)
  8. Teatro (3:13)
  9. Outro Tema (1:00)
  10. Ódio (3:36)
  11. Poderes (5:13)
  12. Retribuição (3:10)
  13. Os Príncipes (3:41)

Running Time: 41:50

Label: Tratore (2019)

One thought on “OS PRÍNCIPES – Gustavo Jobim

  1. Thank you for writing this review. Indeed it’s a dark, violent indie film, still working its way in the market. Hopefully it will be available digitally in some form. The film also earned 5 other awards at its premiere at Cine PE 2018, the most awarded at that festival, a fact I wanted to expose in the soundtrack cover. Best regards from Rio. (re-posted comment for grammar clarification)

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