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Original Title:
Yeogo goedam II

South Korea 1999

Jo Sung-woo

Memento Mori - OST

Review: "Memento Mori", being part of the "Whispering Corridors" series, is an unsual film in the sense that it is actually a drama, even though it is an installment in a horror series. Therefore, the movie's motives aren't really those of an actual horror flick. There may be a ghost involved in the happenings on screen, but the filmmakers successfully avoided to depict any cliches. Thus, it's also everything but surprising that the soundtrack isn't your usual stuff either. This is no typical atmospheric background score, that will make you crawl under your sheet in fear. Instead the OST comes along with some wonderful classical compositions, that have been created after the model of the Kyrie Eleyson, a strongly religious kind of music, so to speak. The pieces sung by different choirs naturally stand as the soundtrack's highlights, making this work an OST you won't forget so soon.

"Main Theme" accompanies us into the CD's music with some dreamy piano play, whereas the romantic character of the piece becomes more apparent as the wind instruments and strings start to play along. As a matter of fact, this is a song that somehow sounds familiar, since it is obviously influenced by some works of classical music. However, after a while the track becomes more mystic and enigmatic, which bestows a certain something on the song, until it reverts to its initial motif again.
"Kyrie Eleyson", the second track, is a great piece of music, which is sung by a choir, buildung up more and more tension, while it also has something apocalyptic about it. Which is no wonder, since it is often part of the "Requiem" in many church music-pieces, resp. one of the most sung church-phrases in general. Translated, it means something like "Lord, have mercy". The song is especially impressive because of its fine string motifs, and most of all the fantastic wind instrument played towards the end, which simply makes this track a fabulously multi-layered and melodic song.

Track 3 on the CD is a rather weak one, however. A quite simple melody, played by a piano, accompanied by strings, and some drums that soon become annoying, gives us a feeling of hope and is even positive in tone. But the piece is just too unoriginal and repetitive to make an impression on us.
The next one is "Memento Mori". "Remember (your) Death" or "Remember that you are mortal" is the meaning of this phrase, and it is sung over and over again by the grieving and admonishing voices of a choir. The piece is remarkably moody and the sad-exhorting melody gets right under one's skin. The track can be heard in another version, too, whereas the women's choir sings the melody much higher, which makes the ethereal, and in that version also angel-like, singing even more apparent. By the way, "Kyrie Eleyson" is also to be found on the CD in another version, also being varied in the way that it is sung by the high voices of a women's choir. This time the song is only supported by some piano play, which is why the song has a completely different tone color, of course.

"Memorandum" is a track that best fits what we would have expected from an actual horror movie soundtrack. A dark, melancholic and sinister melody played by a piano. Still, what's pretty noticable is that the song is unusually melodic and emotional. A song you will jump to often on this CD.
Track 6, more or less, is some creepy background score. The piece starts as a tranquil and moody song, yet suddenly breaks with its style and comes along with an unexpected beat, which even has some slight techno-resemblance, even though this might not be too obvious. Nonetheless, this is a song you will most likely want to skip.
Title 7 is once again a piano piece, which plays another eerie melody, yet this time it's a bit more fast-paced, while the sounds still remain creepy in a way. "Eyes of Hyo-Shin" is a gloomy song, which is nice and enthralling thanks to the good ensemble playing of a piano, bassoon, strings and most of all the church organ. At the same time there is also something threatening and suspenseful about this title.

Track 9 is one of the best of the CD. A very uncanny and dark melody, again conveyed by a piano, gets a great and gloomy alternation thanks to a dark sounding wind instrument, until the piano resumes the melody. Wonderfully errie.
What exactly did the composer think when coming up with track 12? This is just some hammering sounds that are supposed to create some tension, but there is almost no melody at all. The next track, however, sounds way too friendly. This is a song you'd expect from a happy end and not from a horror movie OST. Towards the end the song may become more creepy, but still, this piece is of no real importance.
At the CD's end we get the title "Main Theme" once again, this time as a piano version. Concerning its sound layer the track is a bit too simple in my opinion, which is why I prefer the other version of the song.
It's really interesting that the "Memento Mori" soundtrack is still available at a somewhat fair price. However, the "Ultimate Edition" DVD, along with a 180 minutes uncut version of the film AND the soundtrack CD is available at the same price! This is an offer you can't refuse, can you?
"Memento Mori" stands out with some nice and melodic titles, yet, the CD's real strength are the church-like choir pieces. I just love this powerful and dreamy choir stuff. Just grab this OST!

Copyright 2007 AsianMovieWeb

Track listing

01. Main Theme
02. Kyrie Eleyson - Seoul
      National University
03. 열 일곱의 생일
04. Memento Mori - Seoul
      National University
05. Memorandum
06. 내 죽음을 기억하라
07. 일기 속의 기억
08. Eyes of Hyo-Shin
09. 교환 일기
10. Kyrie Eleyson
      (Jeongsin Girls High
      School Choir)
11. Memento Mori
      (Jeongsin Girls High
      School Choir)
12. 사물함
13. 상상의 생일 파티
14. Main Theme (Piano

Running Time = 38:59

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