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Sodium Party by Steve Nolan (Review)

posted Oct 19, 2015, 2:32 PM by Kaya Savas

Sodium Party is a psychological thriller about Claire, a young woman who is finally free from her controlling mother once she dies. She meets a guy who introduces her to a world of love and drugs. It’s then that her harrowing and traumatic childhood memories begin to manifest themselves in her real life causing her to question her own reality. The Irish independent film was scored by Steve Nolan who provides the darkly dissonant and ambient score to paint the portrait of our protagonist with a wounded past. The score works immensely well.

Sodium Party starts off by painting the portrait of our main character. Claire enters the world for the first time after living a traumatic childhood under her mother. The music sort of mimics a baby learning how to walk in that sense. The majority of the score utilizes the piano, and you can feel the notes are awkward and dissonant to start. The main motif continues to carry its unique footing, but finds a place of comfort. The music does present a world of discovery and allows the listener to feel what Claire is feeling. There is always a hint of uneasiness about it though. It’s never genuinely something uplifting, but maybe as uplifting as Claire can allow herself to be uplifted. The score takes a darker turn for the second act, and truthfully this is where the score shines. It’s pure electronic ambience that paints a nightmarish world around you. You can feel Claire’s horrid past manifesting itself, and it’s not pleasant. The score wraps up the true darkness and gives us closure, but it still leaves a haunting feel behind.

Sodium Party is a rather interesting score. I truly enjoyed discovering it and it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a composer you most likely never heard from before. Steve Nolan displays some rather interesting techniques to flesh out the main character and then drape her world in a nightmarish soup of spine-tingling electronic darkness. There was definitely some room to lay down a more central emotional core, but overall the score is pretty effective and succeeds in what it sets out to do.