“A Scanner Darkly” by Graham Reynolds

I‘ve yet to fully embrace Graham Reynold’s score to A Scanner Darkly. Its dark, brooding sounds interweaved with Jazzy, almost Avantgarde outbursts make it the perfect match for Linklater’s Sci-Fi art film. But listening to it on its own is another story. Yet I’m still coming back to it consistently. It’s a definite “grower”.

The original artwork (#1) made quite a few things right, although someone didn’t think it through to the end. The spacing of the text is different above and below the logo. Also the term “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is just a bit too long. That’s a no-go, especially for a movie as visually striking as this one.

In my customs I changed everything to “The Soundtrack Album”. For the sake of consistency I used the original font (Helvetica Bold Condensed) for all textual elements – with one exception (#3). Starting point of almost all covers were the official movie wallpapers. They look pretty dope and greatly transport the elaborate style of the film. I especially like the colour contrast between the pure black background and the character’s headshots (#4 to #8). At some point I was tempted to add a few more textural or graphical elements, but it just cluttered everything up. These are better viewed in their essential simplicity.

6 Comments

  1. As a big Philip K. Dick fan I have to add that the story of the movie is based on his novel of the same name.
    Also Linklater made a movie with the same technique called ‘Waking Life”.

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      What’s your favourite Dick movie?
      And what’s your favourite Dick movie score?

      By the way, I’ve got some more Philip K. Dick stuff coming up in the near future.

      1. My favourite PKD base movie is Blade Runner which also has the unique score by “Vangelis”
        Everytime I’m hearing a piece of that score I’m directly in the Blade Runner world.

        I also recommend to see Impostor (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160399/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_14) . It had no such high budget as Blade Runner or Minority Report but captured the short-story of PKD very good.
        Not sure about the score though. Haven’t seen it in a while.

  2. I’ve had this on Blu-ray for years but never gotten around to watching it- a friend who is a fellow PKD nut hates this film and has warned me off it, so I have no idea what the soundtrack is like! I like the third cover- its quite stark and reflects what I remember as being the mood of the original book. Number four is quite an arresting image though, I like that one too. Not so sure about the individual character covers, they seem a little generic. As images they are are fine, and would work great as individual pages of a fold-out cover inlay, something like that.

    1. You are right about the character covers. Infact the german limited edition dvd featured them as postcards with the tagline: “Everything is not going to be ok”

      http://www.amazon.de/Scanner-Darkly-Limitierte-Version-Postkartenset/dp/B000OOOJL8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1404984748&sr=8-4&keywords=der+dunkle+schirm

    2. Now that you say it, I probably should have made a digital booklet out of the character images. Hmm…

      You should definitely give the movie a try. I don’t know how good it is as an adaptation of the book, but it’s a very well crafted film. The visual style is really unique and not a gimmick by itself, but also relevant to the story. It has wicked characters and a storyline worth thinking about for a day or two. I think Richard Linklater did not only a marvellous job, but has also found the only way to realise this PKD story on film.

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