When we listed Jess Stroup as an honorable mention in our feature On The Rise 2014: 12 Film Composers To Watch, it was based off his work in the upcoming drama “Camp X-Ray.” His unique contributions to the film caught our ear and lingered long after “Camp X-Ray” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and today we have an exclusive preview of his score for the film, so you can get a sense of what put Stroup on our radar.
Starring Kristen Stewart and Payman Maadi, “Camp X-Ray” follows a young woman who joins the military and winds up stationed at Guantanamo Bay. Once there, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with one of the detainees. It’s provocative, powerful stuff, but Stroup didn’t want to hold the audience’s hand with his music. “The most challenging part about scoring ‘Camp X-Ray’ was to avoid leading the viewer too much emotionally, or to let the score influence the viewer’s opinion of the film’s characters,” the composer said. “Since it is set in Guantanamo Bay, the story takes place in a world of conflict, and the detainment of the prisoners is very controversial. One thing we never wanted to do was allow the score to make the mood too sad or obvious in what the viewer should feel.”
As you can hear below, Stroup’s work balances nicely on that line of infusing his work with real feeling but never pushing it to the realm where it becomes a signpost for how to feel or interpret a scene.
The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will be released digitally on October 14th and on CD November 11th. “Camp X-Ray” opens in theaters and on VOD on October 17th. Below, check out Stroup’s work, a clip from the film, and a featurette.