8 DAYS (8 TAGE) – David Reichelt


8 Days (8 Tage) is an 8-episode German apocalyptic sci-fi mini-series where a 60-kilometre wide asteroid/meteor is on a collision course with Earth. American attempts to neutralize the threat have failed and Europe is in line to be completely wiped out by the impact. The drama focuses on the final days in the lives of a normal German family and the final countdown is interspersed with flashbacks to fill out the protagonists’ backstories.

German composer David Reichelt has provided the music for the SKY Germany drama, combining a textural sonic landscape with beautiful soprano vocals that, separated from the visuals, takes on the qualities of a 50-minute tone poem that works surprisingly well as a stand-alone listen. It’s Reichelt’s vocal compositions that leaves a lasting impression. Mesmerizingly sung by sopranist Caroline Adler, liturgical texts offer a stark contrast to the electronica. The opening “Eight Days”, with its combination of vocals and church-organ styled keyboards, gives a religious feel to the score. “Freedom” and “Passion” are tracks with strong performances from Adler and feels like a timeless arias. Adler’s vocals become more aggressive in tracks such as “Trafficker” and “Hostage” where a punchier, rhythmic delivery adds variety to the use of the human voice. A breathier version of this rhythmic vocal in “Abortion” weirdly echoes the patterned breathing sometimes encouraged during labour and childbirth. In all cases, Adler’s ethereal vocals are sympathetically underscored by the composer’s enveloping soundscapes: meandering synth washes or delicate pulsing electronic rhythms.

Reichelt’s electronica landscapes themselves offer a variety of moods. Dark, moody electronics dominates with several tracks creating suspense and claustrophobic feelings that offer little in the way of light. Only occasionally does the darkness recede to allow in a glimmer of light (“Memories”, “Nostalgia”) or the tempo accelerates to inject some energy to the score (“Pursuit”, “Desperation”). 8 Days draws to a close with a melding of Reichelt’s lonely and melancholic electronics and an achingly despairing voice which leads into the final track on the album, “Horus” (the name given to the imminently-arriving body of rock), which is the highlight of the score. Forceful vocals and increasingly insistent rhythms build to the score’s most animated point reinforcing the raw power of nature.

A significant proportion of 8 Days is dominated by electronic textural rumblings, ambient atmospherics of low-end synths with added sounds that border on being actual sound effects: not a combination that would suggest a particularly enjoyable listen. But the score is dominated by the presence of the human voice and whenever it appears it’s like a breath of fresh air. So, in a way. Reichelt’s ambient soundscapes are needed for the voice to be so effective. And it’s the successful interplay between both elements that makes the whole such a successful whole.

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

Rating: ***½/*****

  1. Eight Days (1:33)
  2. Bunker (2:14)
  3. Freedom (2:49)
  4. Pursuit (2:50)
  5. Trafficker (3:37)
  6. Memories (2:10)
  7. Passion (3:44)
  8. Anger (2:03)
  9. Hostage (1:54)
  10. Fugitives (1:46)
  11. Baptism (3:15)
  12. Execution (1:15)
  13. Blockade (3:27)
  14. Nostalgia (2:11)
  15. Control (1:30)
  16. Abortion (2:09)
  17. Poison (2:37)
  18. Family (1:27)
  19. Loneliness (1:31)
  20. Desperation (2:57)
  21. Horus (3:58)

Running Time: 50:57

Sony Classical (2019)

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