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When considering a multi-disciplinary artist like Franco Esteve, the force of his influences can often escape newer listeners. On each release he digs into his musical roots while carrying forward the lessons that he has learned from that experience. This makes each subsequent recording all the more complete. In fact his latest album, “Apocalypse: The Doll Chronicles (Original Soundtrack)” might just be his finest release to date. Most of it was originally composed around 2014, during the original development period of the film, but a major part of the footage went lost to dead hard drives, after filming during 2015 – 2016, and as such, the soundtrack ended up in limbo. However once some footage was rediscovered and restored, Franco Esteve set himself to work on rebuilding and refocusing the film, as well reworking the soundtrack.

“The story of the film follows Doll, a woman on the edge of reality, as she explores what seems like a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape, chased by a darkness and a past trauma she must confront to find her future,” explained Franco Esteve. “While creating the original score, as I thought about the transition of this character from the apocalypse in the sky, in her trauma, in her mind, I thought of the inner screams we carry during trying times and how their wail is no different to air raid alarms, which were the perfect metaphor for her apocalypse in every sense.”

“So I used the voice of the strings – cellos, violas, and violins – to create and overlay these wails into a musical landscape that communicated the story, the journey, but also the landscape, both beautiful and desolate,” continued Franco Esteve, elaborating more on the soundtrack’s core elements. “The film’s score is a mix of orchestral and experimental, ambient music to convey the different elements of her journey.” It’s also interesting to note that three main musical pieces were rescued from the original score, which Franco decided to include as bonus tracks. This helps to envision the original idea behind the music and the film.

But the question remains, why is this record so damn good? As with all things to with Franco Esteve musically, the answer boils down to structure and tone. Franco is an exceptional composer and musician, and it is easy to recognize his abilities and proficiency, as he breaks down the barrier between the entertainer and the entertained. Through his music people receive complex moods distilled into moments of perfection. From the moment the album opens with the introductory “Dark Theater (The Doll Chronicles Theme)”, you are drawn into a web of emotions that never lets up until the end.

The soundtrack fully satisfies. Each musical piece grows upon you like vines wrapping around a trellis. The orchestral peaks and valleys Franco Esteve creates, sucks you into a conduit of adrenaline which pumps and then releases. His ability to pull this off across 11 tracks never dulls or wavers. From “Apocalypse” to “The Space Between”, and “The Beyond (End Titles)” to “The Passage (Trailer Version)” the haunting melodies and atmospheres will hold you attention scrupulously as it gradually magnifies in darkness and urgency. Moving forward the plot thickens, and so does the mood.

From track six onwards we are offered a sumptuous share of bonus tracks which come from the original concept of the score. The Original Apocalypse Concept Bonus Tracks, include “Entry”, “Together”, “The Meld”, “Rebirth”, “Struggling Inch By Inch” and “The Darkness Ends”. Each composition serves to pull your heart in multiple directions within an overarching structure of sounds and motifs that grip your attention in a universe swirling with darker forces.

Hauntingly atmospheric and staggering in its scope, “Apocalypse: The Doll Chronicles (Original Soundtrack)” is here to assert itself as deeply compelling evidence for the gargantuan artistic value of Franco Esteve’s scoring work.

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