• Ben Erickson

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

The recent The Dark Crystral: Age of Resistance prequel series was scored conjointly by Daniel Pemberton and Samuel Sim. A journeyman composer, Pemberton took the lead, writing music that was both tribal and organic in how it interacted with the world of Thra. It uses similar features as those that appear in Jones' original, incorporating natural and electronic ingredients, with lovely and articulate vocal work to boot (likely handled by Sim). The score has been described by Pemberton as one that, as a prequel series, is building toward Trevor Jones' original, even airing the 1982 theme briefly on a couple of occasions.

Unlike the original theme, however, Pemberton's new theme for Age of Resistance does not rely on a harmonic trajectory so much as it relies on stratified musical figures. The lute introduction in D minor provides a 'ground bass' effect that runs through the whole of the theme, followed by pivoting recitation tones on the Swedish nyckelharpa and running "magic dreamfast strings" before the theme proper enters on flowing woodwinds with brass support. A notable feature of the new score is that it does not use piano.

The remainder of the score generally relies on string clusters and glissandi, dancing flutes, fiddles, horns, drums, organ, electronics, and a multitude of specialized effects that by and large achieve a similar sense of sound to the original. Several minor themes and motifs, including those written for Aughra, Brea, Thra, the Poddlings, the crystal, and the Chamberlain, produce a rounded sense of internal continuity while at the same time orienting the listener with exquisite ease. Pemberton's score, though never quite reaching the levels of staggering beauty and grandeur achieved by its predecessor, imbues a charming and alluring atmosphere in what may prove to be the next big televised fantasy epic.