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Where the River Runs Black
(1986)
Album Cover Art
1986 Varèse
2015 Varèse
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, Performed, and Produced by:
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Varèse Sarabande
(1986)

Varèse Sarabande
(October 12th, 2015)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
The 1986 album was a regular U.S. release, but it fell completely out of print and demanded $75 or more on the secondary market by 2000. The 2015 album is part of the Varèse CD Club, is limited to 2,000 copies, and initially sold through soundrack specialty outlets for $16. It was not readily available new through Amazon.com.
Awards
AWARDS
None.
Also See Icon
ALSO SEE
Vibes
Willow




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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... only if you seek a more cerebral variation on the synthetic environment of James Horner's score for Vibes, the panpipes and electronic choir providing pretty ambience for this score but not much more.

Avoid it... if you require more engagement from your listening experiences than a purely atmospheric collection of soft, jungle-inspired rhythms and free-floating, vaguely Latin melodies.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,552
WRITTEN 8/28/09, REVISED 4/13/16
Horner
Horner
Where the River Runs Black: (James Horner) The 1986 fantasy drama Where the River Runs Black was a tremendous flop for MGM, failing to gross even a million dollars during its brief theatrical run. It was shot with great care by director Christopher Cain on location in Brazil, using the jungle landscape as an element central to the other-worldly environment of the story. That plot involves the half-human and half-dolphin people that inhabit the rivers deep in the jungle, their lore carried by local tribes, and the complications that arise when a young hybrid boy is separated from that habitat when gold-diggers exploit the area for riches. When the boy is taken into custody in the city by a priest, the youth identifies the killer of his hybrid mother as a local politician, and in his haste to seek revenge, is forced to flee back to his habitat for protection amongst his kind. A fairly predictable plot (outside of the dolphin/human aspect, which needs to be accepted at face value) was a detriment compensated for by the lovely scenery. Tailoring the music of Where the River Runs Black to the fantastic visuals was composer James Horner, whose career had transcended into the mainstream in 1986 with major awards recognition. Horner had collaborated with the director for The Stone Boy two years prior, and their careers were headed in opposite directions by the time the low budget Where the River Runs Black came along. The ensemble that Horner employed for the assignment, amongst an early all-digital sound mix for the entire film, will be familiar to collectors with the composer's later work for Vibes already in their collections. In fact, nearly everything about Where the River Runs Black will remind listeners of Vibes, the jungle settings and hint of fantasy very consistent across the two scores. Built from keyboarded synthesizers up, these scores both rely upon electronic vocal effects, panpipes, exotic flute, select plucked accents, and a variety of dynamic percussion that balances the organic tones with the synthetic execution. It's a limited set of instruments, but Horner manages to use them effectively enough to accentuate the setting and provide a basic layer of intrigue, mystery, and dread to many scenes that have nothing else in the soundscape. Creativity outside of these elements is sadly missing; unlike Jerry Goldsmith's handling of jungle atmospheres, Horner never used his synthetics (outside of metallic mechanisms to resemble the blowing of wind through trees in subsequent works) to actually imitate the sounds of water droplets or similar sounds of the forest.



Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
119 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.62 Stars
***** 15 5 Stars
**** 20 4 Stars
*** 23 3 Stars
** 27 2 Stars
* 34 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
1 TOTAL COMMENTS
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FVSR Reviews Where The River Runs Black
Brendan Cochran - March 2, 2016, at 2:13 a.m.
1 comment  (186 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
All Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 45:13
• 1. Where the River Runs Black (4:39)
• 2. Underwater Ballet (3:08)
• 3. Serra Pelada (2:47)
• 4. Alone (3:44)
• 5. The Orphanage (3:21)
• 6. The Dolphins (2:26)
• 7. Baptism (4:33)
• 8. Down River (5:53)
• 9. Magic Kitchen (2:03)
• 10. Discovered at the Mine (3:54)
• 11. The City (1:13)
• 12. The Assassin (1:53)
• 13. End Title (5:27)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert of the 1986 album includes no extra information about the score or film. That of the 2015 album features analysis of both.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Where the River Runs Black are Copyright © 1986, 2015, Varèse Sarabande, Varèse Sarabande and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/28/09 and last updated 4/13/16.
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