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Phantom by Jeff Rona (Review)

posted Mar 1, 2013, 1:12 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Mar 1, 2013, 4:37 PM ]

Jeff Rona is one of the best composers working in the industry. His music sits on a level of emotional resonance that few composers can successfully reach. I’ve been listening to Rona’s work since I was very young. My first introduction to his music was with White Squall, which I adored and still do. Since then Jeff has amassed an amazing body of work that demonstrates his ability to build textures, tone, themes and the ability to connect with the audience. Phantom is no exception. The score is full of everything that makes a Jeff Rona score a Jeff Rona score. The music slowly funnels your focus down a path as it builds a mysterious but tense soundscape around you. 

The score is very focused, and even with a 70-minute album runtime you won’t feel that it drags. The pace of the score is very fine-tuned and keeps you hooked from beginning to end. The many layers of the score really build the characters into the music. There is a slight emotional side to the score as evident in tracks like “Give Her A Message”, but there isn’t too much to the point where it detracts from the sustained tension Rona is trying to achieve. While some tracks could be described as ambient dissonance, that is not what the score is. Rona has a few great melodic motifs and they really ground the music. The use of synths and some light percussion keeps the rhythm going so the listen never becomes dull or diluted. The score has a touch of European influence in the sound, but nothing that ties it down to any nationality. The majority of the emotion comes towards the end, and it finishes with a somber and beautiful final act.

This score is full-bodied and carries a lot of weight. It’s rich in its approach, character and emotional resonance. The listen is definitely one worth revisiting time and again as Rona builds such a unique soundscape for this submarine thriller. While the score is full-bodied, it’s never heavy-handed. The subtle nuances and textures add so much that rediscovering them in future listens should be a joy. Phantom is another wonderful addition to Jeff Rona’s body of work and is worth exploring.