Pixels Soundtrack by Henry Jackman (2015)
Get it: If you like a very orchestral adventure/action score that uses heavy strings and brass
Don’t get it: If you are hoping for something with a little more electronic punch
The soundtrack to Pixels, composed by Henry Jackman and released by Varèse Sarabande, is something Jackman fans should be very pleased with. This fits in line with some of his previous films, such as Big Hero 6 and Wreck-It Ralph. Although this isn’t strictly an animated film, as those two, it does still make sense that the sound would be fairly similar. It can be sharp (in a good way) and full of action — but orchestral action, not just electronic bass and beats. The orchestral timbre is quite noticeable. That’s not to say Jackman doesn’t use a lot of percussive sounds, but rather that the body of the score isn’t based on those types of sounds.
Jackman uses the strings very well to convey both a mysterious feel as well as a little sense of fun adventure (in the beginning). The way he holds back from using the brass early on makes it more impactful for the action sequences later in the score when he does. On that note, it should be said that when he does start to use the brass, he does so with great power in a supportive manner. However, it does not overtake the strings, which are the main consistent element through this score. Woodwinds are used sparingly throughout.
The cues (there are 21) are not very long at all. In fact, 2 minutes is on the longer side for this. The exception is the track “Roll Out,” which is over 5 minutes long. Otherwise, expect 1-2 minute tracks. Overall, this is a good score that will do its job in the film very well. Whether you want to buy it or not depends on two things – 1) if you are a fan of this style, which is pulled off extremely well, or 2) if you liked its use in the film and consequently wish to own it.
Below is a visual preview of the soundtrack: