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Soundtrack Review

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Original Television Soundtrack


Composer: Sarah Warne
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 07 May 2021

Sarah Warne's soundtrack for the three-part television drama miniseries Des is released via Silva Screen Records. The series is based on real life events surrounding the 1983 arrest of Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen and one of the most infamous criminal cases in UK history...

The psychological portrait of Dennis Nilsen has given composer Sarah Warne the opportunity to craft an all-enveloping slow tide of pulsating electronic sound. Gently moving through a body of chords and punctuated by tenderly distorted piano, percussion and floating string fragments, Warne’s score provides a cold and meditative space for Nilsen’s character to unravel.

While normally this sort of score would leave me cold, I was rather impressed by the soundtrack tot Des. While, obviously the music works best in the series, on its own it's a rather unnerving exploration of a broken and disturbed mind.

Electronic scores normally leave me cold. That's mainly because they are used as a cheaper alternative to an expensive orchestral soundtrack. But when it's employed to good effect, as in this instance, it works beautifully to disorientate the listener.

It's not all electronic, as Warne occasionally employs various instruments from the string section and piano. At times it's incredibly sad and reflective ('We Need More Time', 'Guilty', 'Seven') but it's mainly comprised of eerie and haunting themes and set pieces.


Darren Rea

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