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Breaking Through by Paul Henning (Review)

posted Nov 23, 2016, 11:50 AM by Kaya Savas

While we don’t explore non-score albums on Film.Music.Media just out of the sheer amount of material out there, every now and then one comes along that is worth shining a light on. Paul Henning’s Breaking Through is one of them. Paul is a fantastic composer and an immense young talent in our film score industry here in Hollywood. As a studio musician, Paul has performed on some of the biggest scores such as Frozen and X-Men: Apocalypse. Paul has worked as an orchestrator and proofreader on scores like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and King Kong. As a solo composer we can finally get a taste of Paul’s voice as a storyteller. And while Breaking Through is not a film score, it puts on display many qualities a filmmaker would look for in a musical storyteller.

Breaking Through is a wonderful testament and love letter to the lush Americana sound that feels both modern yet timeless at the same time. Paul assembled a 48-piece studio orchestra and the album consists of tracks both soaring and intimate. The most important thing about the music is of course the images that it evokes. As a listener, your mind can’t help but be flooded with a sense of expansive imagery and emotions. You feel a story unfolding upon you and you’re swept away in the album’s sound. The music has a brightness and eagerness to it that lays on a bit heavy in a few tracks, and probably would be toned back a bit if this were a score. But as a standalone instrumental album, the musical colors definitely soar high and that’s a welcomed thing. By the end of the brisk yet satisfying 42min, you’ll immediately want to revisit some of the musical portraits Paul composed as the melodic fabrics stick with you.

Breaking Through is a wonderful premiere album from a truly talented composer and musician who is a grand part of the Hollywood film music community. Composers like John Williams, Alan Silvestri and James Newton Howard have relied on Paul's skills and truly make him a shining young talent. This album is just a glimpse of what will eventually come from Paul Henning’s career as a composer. In an industry that relies more and more on technology, it’s refreshing to hear music with cinematic sensibilities come to life with an orchestra, and especially from a fresh new voice worth discovering.