Mad As Hell
Composed By: Ronen Landa
Distributed by: Tonedropper
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
The documentary, Mad As Hell, follows Cenk Uygur, host and founder of The Young Turks, one of the most popular online news shows in the world. The documentary takes viewers from his journey as an unknown Public Access TV host to his internet celebrity status through YouTube to his national television slot on MSNBC.
The musical score of Mad As Hell was created by musician and composer Ronen Landa. Though he took piano lessons in his youth, most of Landa’s musical training came in the form of listening to rock and jazz albums. He taught himself how to play guitar and began performing with bands outside of Washington, D.C. At the age of seventeen, Landa moved to New York City and was introduced to classical music. He soon began composing for chamber ensembles and orchestra in addition to his performing. Some of Ronen Landa’s composing credits include the scores for The Pact, Cavemen, At the Devil's Door, Festival of Lights, Hell of a View, City of Borders and Eloise.
The Mad As Hell Soundtrack contains electronic score with some guitar and piano mixed in. Many of the tracks have an edgy feel to them and some even include excerpts from the documentary. According to Landa, “…we wanted to capture the energy, passion and sacrifice of Cenk Uygur and The Young Turks as they blaze a unique path in the new media landscape. The electronic textures interplay with the organic vibrations of piano and guitar melodies to help us paint the picture of a technological world where human drive and ingenuity are still at the heart of positive change. We also got scrappy and played some ‘kitchen sink’ funk on buckets, pots and pans.”
As I listened to the Mad As Hell Soundtrack, I initially had no idea what it was about – I hadn’t read the liner notes. But as I checked out the score and read the titles, I got the idea that this might be about talk radio or some related thing. I found the score to be edgy and sometimes angry – this could be the result of score written to express Uygur’s transition to primetime national news and his feeling of being handcuffed and censored at MSNBC. I enjoyed the score and believe it flows well with the visuals of the documentary. Ronen Landa fans will definitely want to get their hands on this album as it shows a unique aspect in scoring. Well worth a listen!