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Camino by Kreng (Review)

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:01 PM by Kaya Savas

Camino stars Zoe Bell as a photojournalist who travels deep into the Columbian jungle to photograph and interview a squad of missionaries led by their charismatic leader. One night she stumbles upon the leader murdering a child and captures the event on camera. Now she must race to escape with the photograph that tells the truth, and her life. In an essence this movie takes what could have been a deep political commentary and turns it into a game of survival where Zoe Bell gets to kill  a bunch of drug cartel. The in your face score comes from Kreng. Kreng is the brainchild of Pepijn Caudron, and initially Kreng was used as the title of  a sample-based project that incorporated sounds from different genres to create a library. Kreng has primarily been approached for music in stage plays, which makes sense this music is beyond theatrical. That being said, it’s a great score to build atmosphere, but is too in your face to accomplish much else and fails as a storytelling device.

Camino is a sound engineer’s dream as it combines tons of sounds, distortion, samples, synths, acoustics and more to create this incredibly tense and unsettling soundscape. I would categorize Camino as a horror score, but it seems as if the score is using horror cliches in an action structure. With that, the music becomes overbearing and constantly amplifies the intensity that's already there. Now, for a stage play this would all work terrifically. But the beauty of film is that you can move and change the composition of a shot to build a scene. You can create an intimacy or intensity different than on a stage. Therefore, any successful attempt at suspense crafted through cinematography and editing is obliterated by the score’s attempt to kick you in the face with shrieking strings and electronic distortion. What Kreng doesn’t understand is the effectiveness of structure and nuance. When someone is getting killed or being chased, we don’t automatically need to replicate that exactly through the music. Score is meant to enhance the story, not mimic it. This was clearly approached to work as a standalone album and have an artsy fartsy cover. The music forgot that it needed to tell a story and develop characters.

There are plenty of admirable sounds and ideas scrambled in here, but Kreng’s strengths lie in sound design and not storytelling. There is no story here, just constant assault of the senses. The clear lack of experience scoring films is evident as the music is way too over the top and theatrical to be effective. What you hear seems more like a musical adaptation of the film instead of a film score. If Pepijn Caudron is serious about being a composer and a storyteller, then he should ditch the “project name” of Kreng and focus on how music should be used to tell a story. A film score is not about how cool or intense the sound textures are, but how they are used to tell a story and explore the characters and their emotions.