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Last Knights by Martin Tillman & Satnam Ramgotra (Review)

posted Apr 22, 2015, 1:29 PM by Kaya Savas

Martin Tillman and Satnam Ramgotra are two names you might recognize if you’re a fan of Hans Zimmer’s work. Martin is one of the best cellists around, and Hans uses him as a soloist on many of his scores. Stuff like the Joker’s theme and the bellowing cello of The Ring were performed and perfected by Martin. Satnam is an amazing percussionist who most notably performed on Zimmer’s Inception score. The intense percussion on tracks like “Mombasa” can be credited to Satnam’s skills. Here the two combine as composers for the stylish sword epic, Last Knights. You sometimes wonder how actors of Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman’s caliber take on projects that are hellbent on straight to video quality of writing and execution. Last Knights is quite the awful little film here, I mean the title even sounds like something I would come up with in middle school. Anyway, I was hoping that the plot and genre of the picture would lend itself to some boldly heroic music. Because there are plenty of bad films with decent scores holding them together the best they can. Unfortunately, the score lacks any real shape or structure to give us something worthy.

If you were expecting something like Gladiator or King Arthur then you can keep on moving, because you won’t find that here. The score more or less is a wash of sound that decides that brooding undertones is the best way to approach it from start to finish. The music never takes any shape, we never get any themes or melodic structures. It’s as if someone set up a keyboard synthesizer and just decided to hold down 4-5 keys at a time, then change them every 30 seconds or so. The only real shape the score takes is from Ramgotra’s percussion, which is featured in some standout tracks. It’s not till track 13 that we actually get some melodic builds. And it’s not that the music didn’t have the stage to do what it needed to do, I mean the album consists of 54-minutes of music. I would say only a few of the tracks near the end do something to pull the audience into the narrative, and it’s not by much. There is clearly some Zimmeresque structures going on, but they don’t click. The score never feels like anything but brooding washes of synth soundscapes. The percussion is the saving grace and makes the score listenable. The final act delivers some moments worth checking out, but in the overall view of the narrative it doesn’t do much.

Last Knights is not the bold and exciting score one would hope for coming from two esteemed musicians from the Remote Control Productions family. It lacks any momentum or narrative pull, and instead decides to go with the lumbering and brooding synth soundscape from start to finish. Ramgotra’s percussion makes an appearance in a few tracks, and those are the more noteworthy ones because it actually adds shape and structure. We get a few standard “epic” moments toward the end that try to be very Zimmeresque, but they lack the execution needed to actually work within the narrative. While the score is listenable and worthy of a one-time listen, it’s not one that will impress or stick with you.