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Original Title:
Wo de fugin muqin

China 2001

San Bao

The Road Home - OST

Review: "The Road Home" is so heavily appealing because of its dreamy and beautiful atmosphere. With his score to Zhang Yimou's romantic film San Bao adds a lot to the fact that the village the movie takes place in feels like a completely different and warm world of goodness.
Of course you can argue that the soundtrack may be a bit too romantic and fluffy, malicious tongues might even say that the score is somewhat cheesy, but even if that's so then it still always manages to be touching, too. As for me, the soundtrack hits the right notes every time I listen to it and inspires to flee into a world of dreams. The mind becomes calm and stress is driven away by a cozy feeling of tranquility and contentedness. Music which succeeds in achieving this just can't be bad.

Still, one of the soundtrack's biggest problems is, that San Bao settles for mainly just one motif, which he uses over and over again. He plays it through different alternations and with different instruments, which gives the CD a certain kind of variety, luckily. It's also very helpful that the motif itself is very good. Nonetheless, there is always the wish for a little bit more, which we are never granted by San Bao, though.
Another small flaw, at least for some listeners, and which mainly applies to the first tracks, will be the fact that it's very evident that the glockenspiel-like playing and all the string and flute sounds are coming from a synthesizer. That's strange, as later on there are obviously real strings and wind instruments used, so that it doesn't seem to be the case that the producers lacked money, leading to the composer having to rely solely on artificial sounds. Or maybe that was actually the case? However, personally I think, that these sounds made the OST especially appealing. The first few tracks somehow reminded me of those old SNES RPG classics, with its great and dreamy music, which was merely created by some midi-quality like sounds. Therefore, if you are a fan of those games this score will prove to be nostalgia at its best.

"Cart" provides a nice introduction to the tranquil and meditative motif, that accompanies us into another world. The midi-like tones also bestow something refreshingly misty upon the sound, which enwraps us with a soft sheet. "First Appearance" is a very short piece, which presents us with the already recognizable motif coming from the loudspeakers in a more bright and friendly way, thanks to the glockenspiel-like sounds, until the track gets a continuation in "Deliver Lunch". "Drawing Water" on the other hand is a bit more fuggy, yet it's still rather amiable. "Falling in Love" feels somewhat melancholic and is full of yearning. The theme always remains the same one in the different tracks, but is supplemented by several different additional themes, so that this very fact is hidden quite well. You'll only get aware of it after listening to the OST for continuous times, and there is also an upside to it as it raises the soundtrack's quality of having a theme the listener can soon relate to.
"Encounter" is played by the light sounds of a flute, which is accompanied by some soft fiddle sounds, until the piece gets a bit more intrusive in a romantic outburst, after which it calmly fades out again. "Hallucination" again builds some tension towards the end thanks to the strong use of strings until it fades into the main motif in a rather intrusive way once more (some may even use the word "cheesy" to describe it), which by the way is often the case during the different tracks.

Strings, wind instruments and the "erhu" are the main instruments which are used, and which also play the main theme in "Tear Drops" one after another. Apart from that there is also "Funeral", which is almost entirely carried by the pale sounds of a flute and some bell-like sounds of a synthesizer. After listening to the CD for a few times you might feel that there isn't much diversity, but the nice alternations of the dreamy main motif will easily make you forgive this. However, especially after "Diary" it becomes really apparent that San Bao likes to go for only one theme for his soundtracks. From track 19 onwards we get the score to "Not One Less" as a bonus addition, which, however, proves to be too unoriginal. It's almost as if San Bao had a few notes in his head and decided to repeat them again and again with different instruments to prove to himself his own genius and congratulate himself for it. Sadly, the theme is just too boring and worst of all feels almost annoying with the heavy use of the erhu. At least the scores running time could be artificially increased to 44 minutes by adding the bonus OST.

At the bottom line it has to be pointed out that the soundtrack to "The Road Home" is a perfect tool to relax and to search for a place of peace in your mind. For those who have seen the movie this place will surely be the village with its autumnal golden trees and unharmed nature.
However, it may prove to be really difficult to get your hands on this soundtrack. A visit to Ebay or Amazon seems to be the only option, even if you might have to pay ridiculously exorbitant prices.
"The Road Home" is a soundtrack to dream the day away, a score full of longing and warmth. If you aren't touched by San Bao's work, then you should check if your heart isn't made of steel, maybe. As for me, the score really could touch me.

Copyright 2007 AsianMovieWeb

Track listing

01. Cart
02. First Appearance
03. Deliver Lunch
04. Drawing Water
05. Falling in Love
06. Encounter
07. Lunch 1
08. Lunch 2
09. Leaving the Village
10. Broken Bowl
11. Time goes by
12. Hallucination
13. Art Craft
14. Waiting for him in the
15. Tear Drops
16. Funeral
17. Memory
18. The Road Home

Music from "Not One Less":

19. Diary
20. Carry Bricks
21. Go to the City
22. Poster
23. In the Morning
24. Combining the Street
25. Interview
26. Not One Less

Running Time = 44:01

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