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Carmel-by-the-sea by Jim Dooley (Review)

posted Apr 26, 2011, 10:42 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Apr 26, 2011, 11:21 PM ]

Jim Dooley has been one of my favorites ever since he started out doing additional music on several Hans Zimmer scores. When he branched out and started doing solo works I was glad to hear he had a voice and with each new score his voice was becoming more and more refined. Carmel-by-the-sea (originally Carmel) is a small and interesting story about a teenage artist who gets roped into the art forgery world, and Jim Dooley was behind the music. What we ended up with here is definitely Jim's most accomplished work to date and a truly magnificent score. The score strives in its simplicity and we have some of the most beautiful themes that Jim has ever composed.

What struck me first was the simple piano melody that opens the score. The soundscape creates quite a dreary and sad atmosphere for sure. Simple piano melodies can either be scary or isolating and here they are definitely isolating. The feel of isolation is so dominant in the music that the listener can immediately connect with it. The music also uses a couple dissonant melodies to suggest that something is off. Dooley keeps a sense of unnerving danger underneath the score the whole time and you're always waiting for something to answer that. It finally does in the climax of the score and we are then able to get that warm resolution that we've been seeking ever since hearing that somber opening.

I don't know why, but this score really resonated with me. It's just one of those times where you appreciate simplicity and for me that is extremely important in scores. If a score tries to be too complex then it won't compliment the story that is being told by the film. For Jim Dooley I think this a great landmark because while I can pick up certain traits and characteristics of his this is also definitely something that feels new. He hasn't done a score like this before. I urge anyone who isn't familiar with Dooley's work to take a blind leap of faith and dive into this one. The score is available digitally on iTunes or you can head over to and buy a hard copy of the album.

Also be sure to check out FMM's interview with Jim focusing more on Pushing Daisies and other works: Click Here