Captain Soren: The Sound of Oppression

 
 

When working on the music for IRIS, one of the very first things I explored was the sound for Captain Soren, the "villain" (at least on the surface) of the film. He's a cold-hearted police captain with little empathy for our hero Caiden. He's also religiously loyal to IRIS, the computer system that governs this futuristic world. Throughout the film, he and Caiden debate the validity and ethics of having their world controlled by an unfeeling machine, and Soren embodies this machine in his own demeanor. Soren is literally Scandinavian for "severe" or "serious".

Early on I recognized that Soren is someone who is immovable. He cannot be changed. So I developed a simple musical idea for his character that returns to where it comes from. A slow rising line of three notes that then returns back to the first. In this way, his theme can never go anywhere. It is absolute, like he is.

 Here, Soren's theme is represented on the lower line by the Cellos/Basses. It rises a few notes then quickly returns to where it began (with a little lower note thrown in at the end for interest).

Here, Soren's theme is represented on the lower line by the Cellos/Basses. It rises a few notes then quickly returns to where it began (with a little lower note thrown in at the end for interest).

This being said, Soren has a softer side.

Later in the film, our hero begins to chip away at his rough exterior and it is revealed to the audience that Soren was once in love. It was the loss of this love that turned Soren into the man he is today. For these flashbacks I created a very simple nostalgic motif. Just a few notes leaping upwards.

 Soren's "memory" theme, representing his wife.

Soren's "memory" theme, representing his wife.

To wrap up this blog post, I thought I'd share an early sketch I created with a few ideas for Soren before the film was finished shooting and before I started scoring to picture. In this sketch you can hear early ideas that make it into the film, and interesting variations on Soren's theme that did not. In particular, there is a soft piano development of his theme at the end that was never used in the film, but that I find a very satisfying transformation of his darker theme. Enjoy!