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Haythem Maubouli – Last Man on Earth Review

What does Haythem Maubouli sound like?

A composer that mixes sci-fi ambience with lush string arrangements for a cinematic experience.

The review of Haythem Maubouli – Last Man on Earth

A growing subgenre of modern classical music is the concept soundtrack to a film or event that doesn’t exist. I’ve enjoyed quite a few over of the years and Tunisian composer Haythem Maubouli released his in December 2022. ‘Last Man on Earth’ mixes together some triumphant and cinematic string scores with sci-fi sound design to tell a full-bodied sci-fi movie. The movie never existed but it certainly lived in my mind during its runtime.

Haythem Mahbouli

Haythem Maubouli knows how exactly what sounds are required for a symphony sci-fi suite. Opening piece ‘The chosen ones’ has AI voice announcements telling you to fasten your seatbelt whilst metallic clangs and noises ring out underneath increasingly anthemic strings. It sets the tone up beautifully and that’s only added to when ‘Farewell to Earth’ brings in slightly alien-sounding rubbery synths like bell tolls. It’s a sombre swell of emotions as the track feels grande and overwhelming with sympathetic strings crooning away in the background.

After this initial richness, Haythem Maubouli settles into more atmospheric sound design. ‘The abandoned ones’ is full of distant industrial creaks and low-key bass notes echo out through emptiness. The track slowly transitions to something more religious with a synth choir adding haunted futuristic hues to the crumbled synths and strings. ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Flashback’ feel like polar opposites emotional pieces but they use the same ideas of Earth sounds and distorted washed-out synths to create their mood. After wandering through atmospherics and clever sound design that sounds straight out of Interstellar, we arrive at ‘New home’. This track brings in the whole orchestra for huge patriotic brass explosions, military drums and a gushing sense of pride. It’s full to the brim of ideas and ways to keep your heart swelling larger. Its transition from murky atmospherics to full-on Top Gun is superb.

The album then closes on a much more ominous and dense note. ‘The great flood’ turns Interstellar into an underground trance piece. A deep bass kickdrum throbs at pace as ruffling strings and tape-worn synths crank themselves up like a suspension bridge. I adore how dangerous and malevolent the track sounds and as it transitions into the forlorn title track to close the album, the two tracks really leave you bummed out. The closing track revolves around a simple piano riff that is blown up with heartfelt strings and synth choirs. Slowly narrating over the top is a monologue of the last man on Earth musing that we’ve taken our planet for granted. It is a sobering end to an ominous but often euphoric journey.

I really enjoyed the sonic story told by Haythem Maubouli. It could easily score a movie but as an album, it feels complete and impactful. The string arrangements are beautiful and the sound design of all the metallic cinematic effects brings life and density to the entire collection. This is an audio journey well worth taking.

Recommended track: The chosen ones

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Haythem Maubouli - Last Man on Earth



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