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February 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / February /


Mychael DANNA
  VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD6194   [30:34]

A Ben Affleck / Gwyneth Paltrow romantic drama is about as contemporary and mainstream as cinema could be today. It therefore surprised me to see Dannaís name attached. Perhaps he was promised some of the strengths inherent in director Don Roosí previous effort The Opposite of Sex. But despite reasonably strong performances, youíll have to resignedly sympathise with Danna for providing a score to something undeserving.

This isnít a large-scale piece, but it often feels like it. A central theme keeps everything together, and since this is music from a current master of diverse styles, thereís plenty requiring coherence. The composer of The Ice Storm, The Sweet Hereafter, and 8MM has repeatedly demonstrated an ear for ethnic colour and rhythm. Thatís most definitely on show here again, but this time the likes of the Bansuri are tempered by judicious electronic programming. Straight into "Weather", we have a minuteís sweet combination of elements followed by the kick in of a contemporary rhythm section. The introduction of the all-important theme then plays out to the newly developed beat.

Itís a seesaw action between styles kept up for the whole half hour. The orchestral sweet and low works best in "Bed Time" and "So Brave". These somehow lose out to the more plentiful showcases for the often drum and bass styled cues. "Boarding Pass", "Hangover", and "Testimony" being the biggest and funkiest re-workings of the main theme. Thereís some nice solo work for guitar (electric and bass) too in "Now I Am" for example.

Itís nowhere near as impressive as earlier works, but still shines with innovation.

Paul Tonks


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