Merchants of Doubt

Musical Score By: Mark Adler

Original Song By: Eg White

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Inspired by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s book, Merchants of Doubt reveals the secretive group of charismatic, well-spoken experts-for-hire who represent themselves as scientific authorities on varying topics, but have truly been hired to create confusion regarding everything from toxic chemicals to global warming.

                The musical score of Merchants of Doubt was created by American composer Mark Adler.  Graduating from UCLA, where he studied film scoring with David Raskin, Adler worked on numerous film scoring projects, including a brief stint as a music editor for such notable directors as Milos Forman, David Lynch and Francis Ford Coppola.  Some of Mark Adler’s film scoring credits include Food, Inc, Bottle Shock, Picture Bride, The Rat Pack and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

                As the movie provides an often satirically comedic view of the “merchants of doubt,” much of the score has a comedic sort of sound.  In order to create that unexpected and ironic tone, Adler used a number of instruments that could create unique sounds, “I used a mandola in a number of places where we were going for an off-center and quirky feel.  There’s a kind of a B-Movie sci-fi sequence in the film in which I played a cheap analog synthesizer with a bit of distortion to create a cheesy faux-Theremin voice.”  With some of the older tales of spin, Adler chose a different style of music, “Because the back-story of these merchants of doubt begins in the 1950s, I went for a retro-jazz feel in some of the cues.  And some have the quality of retro circus music as well.

                The Merchants of Doubt Soundtrack features 31 tracks of score and an interesting original song entitled You Fooled Me by Eg White (gotta love that stage name).  Though the amount of tracks on the album seems daunting, each track is rather short, thus making the album just a little over an hour in length.  The music is quite interesting and well worth the listen.  Mark Adler knows just when to insert a little humor into an otherwise dramatic and anger-inspiring view of fraudulent claims made up to look like professional testimony meant to confuse the public.  An excellent addition to Mark Adler’s film score résumé.


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