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Distance Between Dreams by Tom Holkenborg (Review)

posted Dec 16, 2016, 4:30 PM by Kaya Savas

Distance Between Dreams is a new surfing documentary from Red Bull Media. It takes a look at some of the world’s top surfers as they attempt to surf the wave break known as Jaws which is located in Hawaii. As it is with most extreme sports documentaries, the film focuses on the intense training and spirit of the people attempting the challenge. Composer Tom Holkenborg wrote the score for this big-wave adventure and has shows us he can go from fictional surfers in Point Break to real-life ones here.

Holkenborg is a composer who loves experimenting with sounds and electronic textures, and that’s the case here as he lays on some really encapsulating synthetic atmospheres of music to build this narrative. The score feels like an all encompassing blanket of sounds that wrap around us with different swirls and folds. We get to hear lots of cool loops, rhythms and melodies that build this layer of music that provides more of a backdrop for images and talking heads than actually telling a story. The documentary contains some stunning surfing footage and the music aims at accompanying motion within the frame more so than telling a narrative. Sure we have the emotional core of the story baked into the tone of the score, but this isn’t really storytelling music in a full on traditional sense. And that works completely fine here within the context of the film. Think of a really cool GoPro montage on YouTube, and then imagine the story of the athlete in that footage baked in and expanded within that video, and that’s kind of the direction we get here. That comment isn't meant to cheapen the efforts here at all either, this is a fantastically immersive sonic experience done with a fantastically addictive style.

Distance Between Dreams is Tom Holkenborg working magic in his comfort zone. Synthetic soundscapes will wash over you and take you on a really immersive journey. The music is meant to be more of a backdrop for the stunning surf footage of the documentary to stick to rather than an intricate narrative device, and that’s okay. This score provides an awesome stylish accompaniment to the documentary, and is able to tap into the rush of emotions that come with the territory.