Score Reviews‎ > ‎

Fringe: Season 4 by Chris Tilton (Review)

posted Nov 7, 2012, 9:28 PM by Koray Savas

Chris Tilton may not be a composer that you are entirely familiar with, but you should be. Starting out scoring for short films, he worked alongside Michael Giacchino for a good portion of his career, and still continues to do so on occasion. In several cases, Giacchino would write a theme and Tilton would incorporate it into the body of the score, adapting it into his own unique music. He took the composing reigns for Alias after Giacchino left, and a similar situation happened again for Fringe; except this time around he was there from the beginning. The first season of Fringe was an uneven one, both in the episodic writing as well as the musical scoring. The first half is really dominated by Giacchino's themes and Chad Seiter's score, and ranges from exciting to dull rather easily. However, once Tilton steps onto the scene, things reach an entirely new level of awesome. From the end of Season 1 up until the current and final Season 5, he has beautifully brought the world of Fringe to life with his music. Season 4 is very strong musically, and much more somber than the material you might find in other seasons, but it also lacks the distinctive charismatic punch that made those other seasons so superb.

The album opens with the thrilling "The Skill Of The Chase," which is a perfect example of the type of action scoring Tilton brings to this series. You can also find it shortly after in "Shut Your Worm Hole" and "Enemy Of My Enemy." However, that driving sound more or less dissipates throughout the rest of the CD in favor of more emotional character writing. It's all lovely, and really reaches heights of great beauty with cues like "What's The Etta With You?" "The Nine Lives Of Olivia Dunham," and "Henrietta," but it creates a less varied listening experience. Upon first listening to Tilton's music, it may be hard to hear anything besides a variation of Giacchino, but where Chris differs, and shines, is his in textural underscore and use of strings. If you delve into his past scores, you can very easily trace his musical stylings up to Fringe. I personally hear it most in his score for the game Jumper: Griffith's Story. With that being said, I found Season 4 to sound the most like Giacchino out of all of Tilton's scores. "The Singularity Is Upon Us" and "From One Universe To Another" sound straight out of LOST.

Ultimately, the album starts out strong, slows and dips throughout the middle, and then picks back up to finish off with a gorgeous ending. The writing is still steeped in that Fringe universe, but it also echoes some writing tendencies of Michael Giacchino that took me out of the experience. Chris Tilton is definitely my favorite "unknown" right now. He shows great promise and consistently delivers infectious melodic scores contrasted with strong weaving underscore. Fringe is a great place to start if you want to familiarize yourself with his music, and I greatly look forward to how he sends the series off in Season 5.