To The Depths of Our Past

E.S. Posthumus or as the men behind the name would like to say "Experimental Sounds/Electronic Sounds of all things past". Brothers Franz and Helmut Vonlichten, who as of recently revealed their identities as the true people behind E.S. Posthumus. Undoubtedly rumors had been spreading quite substantially as of who was behind the album Unearthed due to its immense popularity and role played in film and television. The men finally responded with their true identities behind the project. E.S. Posthumus is essentially the philosophy of Pythagoream which states that "music is the harmonies of opposites, the warring of the elements"; well put and straight from the pages of history Unearthed plays exactly as such.

E.S. Posthumus is the epitome of cinematic musical buildup. Dramatic in as many ways as exotic, the album is featured in countless films and TV programs around the world. Only 4 tracks are rarely used as of today and Unearthed could be a standalone soundtrack for most grandiose, high budget, historical films of eventful wars or prominent figures. While the album seems to take a bit of influence from big name composers like Hans Zimmer as seen in "Tikal" and "Harappa", it's understood that these two were never educated to become composers, only having the piano guidance from their mother and Franz's experience in the record studio are the only two things that are actually worthy of mentioning. Frankly, it's quite amazing these two have created such a wide and accessible album to musical score fanatics and studios alike.

Their new age style along with their neoclassical painting by Michelangelo indicates the album has a focused concept throughout. All though it would seem quite ridiculous to go into detailed history of each track as they all pertain to a past ancient city that was once destroyed (many of which that do not exist as of today). Much of the album introduces Middle-Eastern craft smothered in various movements brought by the violin. The foreign hymns that no doubt are Latin helping the album and its long traveling influences. Visually Unearthed
is exceptional as it momentarily grips you in the world that is being captured within the music. Quite odd considering this album isn't attached to a single median. It has yet to be used exclusively to any movie, considering its extensive range of sound that remains an peculiar occurrence. You hear countless references from film and television from songs like "Tikal", "Nara", "Ebla", "Cuzco", "Nineveh", "Lepcis Magna" and "Pompeii", all have distinct sounds that incorporate themselves within everyday television and film.

The scope of this album may seem a bit overconfident or even pretentious, but considering the connection that these track names have with the music itself and the musicians themselves it really doesn't turn out that way. Helmut Vonlichten after graduating from UCLA obtained a degree in Archaeology (soon after teaming up with his brother to create E.S. Posthumus), hence the names of the tracks in connection with one of the brother's past studies. No doubt he would have a keen insight and knowledge on the cultural and traditional musical instruments used within these cities. Unearthed, as it should be is extremely dramatic in its upbringing. Much of the album consists of constant drumming in the background, soaring violins, spacious flutes, tragic Latin vocals and intense buildups. Despite the multitude of cities and problems that could arise with Unearthed they never do. Each track is tightly knit within its own structure, using the inspiration given by these cities. "Tikal" sounds like a match to the death for Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott's Gladiator, while "Ebla", with its illustrious vocals and intriguing synth background makes an memorable track to say the least. Generally Unearthed takes a step forward with each successive attempt upon a new city, despite the obvious inclusion of each city's extensive musical background it works without hesitation or reluctance. The Vonlichten brothers essentially craft an album that please anyone mildly interested in the soundtrack genre, while legitimately breaking a bit of ground within their debut. While the draw of Unearthed is its scope and magnitude from the deserts of the Middle East, to the ancients of Rome, and the exciting history of the samurai in Japan, when it all really comes down to accessibility. And this accessibablty may garner thoughts of generic new age buildups and overly-intensive musicianship, but that's the whole point of this album. E.S. Posthumus' debut is instantly recognizable if you heard a few seconds of any track and once you get the chance to you'll realize why Unearthed is worth your time.

Grade: B+


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