Soundtrack Review: Ludwig Göransson’s Original Black Panther Score

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Ludwig Göransson’s spectacular Black Panther score blows other Marvel soundtracks out of the water

A memorable original score has been missing from Marvel’s movie catalogue. Before Black Panther, Marvel’s music has been fairly insignificant, except perhaps the Guardians of the Galaxy “Awesome Mix” compilation. But in terms of composed scores, Marvel films have been pretty lacklustre.

Until now that is. Thanks to Ludwig Göransson, 2018’s biggest blockbuster so far has an outstanding score that rises to the heights of the Marvel universe and blazes strongly within the story, or as its own entity.

Rooted in the sound of Africa where the fictional nation of Wakanda is set, it is rich with instruments and sonics from the continent. Göransson took a long trip to Africa months before scoring the film to entrench himself in small villages and experience their musical roots with the aim of honouring its traditions.

Ludwig Göransson, was tasked with creating a score that strikes a balance between traditional African instrumentation and the epic orchestral that traditionally soundtrack Hollywood movies. The music is such an integral component to the art of filmmaking and Göransson didn’t make any compromises. It took a 132-piece orchestra to capture the scintillating sound of Wakanda.

The music has hit the hearts of audiences far and wide, recently playing during heavyweight Anthony Joshua’s walk-out for his victorious bout against Joseph Parker. Inventive, dynamic and rousing, it heightens the cinematic experience, adding gravity to every aspect of the story, rooted in an emotional context. It does what all great scores do and is utilised as a storytelling device. For example, regal brass soundtracks a wide shot of Wakanda, signifying the glory T’Challa will rule over. Or, how Killmonger’s menacing theme is laced with modern drums and hip-hop high-hats to signify his African American heritage.   

Göransson has proved his musical prowess in the past. He is the longtime collaborator with Childish Gambino and helped craft the funk sound of his 2017 album ‘”Awaken, My Love!” He has been assigned to compose the music for Marvel’s “Venom” releasing later this year. Long may the revitalised Marvel soundscape continue.

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