Soundtracks

Atomic [OST] (CD)

Mogwai – the Scottish purveyors of contemplative, swirling, cinematic instrumentals – have certainly found an extracurricular niche scoring diverse projects such as the documentary Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Darren Aronofsky's film The Fountain, and French TV series Les Revenants. Their latest album, Atomic, is a re-recording of their soundtrack to the Mark Cousins' Hiroshima documentary for the BBC, Storyville - Atomic: Living In Dread & Promise. More of an art-piece than a documentary, Storyville deals with the horror, fear, innovation, and hope surrounding the events of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb with images and moods as opposed to a structured narrative. Mogwai’s Atomic matches the film’s contrasts at every turn with their trademark shifts from shimmering minimalism to grand noise-oriented rock, sometimes in a sinister vein. The dualities of the modern world – innovation and obliteration – are heard in these revelatory shifts. 

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Alice Through The Looking Glass [OST] (CD)

Danny Elfman never lets us down. Be it the bold and cold Batman and Batman Returns scores, the thrillingly heroic and silly Pee-wee's Big Adventure soundtrack, or the iconic and ubiquitous “The Simpsons Theme,” his music has been the soundtrack to the lives of the modern escapists. If you were born in the 1960s or later, Danny Elfman is your Erich Wolfgang Korngold, setting moods in exotic locals and freeing our minds to ridiculous adventure. Say what you will about this latest addition to the collection of Johnny Depp CGI and cosmetic fiascoes, but Elfman delivers in his dependable and effusive way for the Alice Through the Looking Glass soundtrack. Themes and melodies twist and glide, from major key valleys down into minor key caverns and gullies, then resolve somewhere in between. The soundtrack also features Pink’s out-of-place but bumping “Just Like Fire.”

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Star Wars Headspace (CD)

Rick Rubin compiles this album of producers scouring the Star Wars archives for sound effects and dialogue to craft a unique love letter to the films. Featuring Baauer, Royksopp, Flying Lotus and more, it speaks to the cool geek in all of us.

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Heaven Adores You [OST] (CD)
The soundtrack to the 2014 documentary about the life and music of indie rock singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. In addition to having at least one song from each of his albums, the track listing contains over a dozen previously unreleased songs, spanning the length of his career. Read more
Amy [OST] (CD)

The critically acclaimed documentary Amy showed in heartbreaking detail the rise and tragic downfall of Amy Winehouse, who was easily one of the most talented vocalists of her generation. To satiate fans who sadly will never see a third Amy Winehouse album, the Amy soundtrack corrals various live and rare tracks by Winehouse along with Antonio Pinto’s moving score. With another artist, this could feel gratuitous or like grasping at straws, but not so here. Winehouse’s variations on her songs often reveal new shades. A downtempo version of Back to Black’s “Unholy War” supersedes the original, its morose intensity better fitting the lyrics’ torch-song devotion. Triumphant live versions of “Rehab” and “Love Is a Losing Game” show an artist at the height of her powers. “Like Smoke” is the single that could have been, and its demo version is a nice window into the song’s development before adding Nas’ rap. Though nothing could fill the place in fans’ hearts where Amy once was, the Amy soundtrack is a worthy keepsake and companion to the superb documentary.

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Lost Themes (CD)

John Carpenter, known mostly for directing movies such as HalloweenEscape From New York and Big Trouble In Little China is releasing his first ever solo album (not accompanying a film). That’s right, not only is the man a landmark director he is also a pioneer in the minimalist synth genre. In collaboration with his son Cody (of the band Ludrium) and his godson Daniel Davies (who composed the songs for I, FrankensteinLost Themes is an excellent portrayal of Carpenter’s damn near trademark sound that we as moviegoers have unknowingly heard for decades. Without a celluloid backdrop with which to re-purpose these cinematic hypnotic synthesizers or erupting guitars, Carpenter’s compositions take on a narrative life of their own. The nine-track opus starts strong with the menacing “Vortex.” A track which immediately stands alongside any contemporary electronic musician out there today. It is not until you get to “Mystery” that the out and out epic horror feel of the work jumps out. “Night,” the final track on the album, is an atmospheric epilogue that fades out of view as somberly as the imaginary pictures that have danced in your head.

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