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Clint MANSELL - Requiem for a Dream: Film Music CD Reviews- January 2001

January 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /January/


Requiem for a Dream  
featuring The Kronos Quartet
  NONESUCH 7559-79611-2   [51:15]

Director Darren Aronofsky follows up the movie Pi by re-enlisting Mansell's aid in carving a unique dreamscape. The electronica for that last collaboration ensured a powerfully lingering aural impression (or 'headache' for short) that was totally appropriate for the subject matter. What we have here stems from the same school of electronic sampling and manipulation, but is for the most part, something that leaves a feeling of through-scored unity.

Divided into 3 sections ("Summer", "Fall", and "Winter"), there are very definite dividing lines. "Summer Overture" introduces the score's impressive main theme; a sawing back and forth performance from Kronos Quartet which misleads the ear for what follows. The sampling and sound effect are a let down after the melodic opening, but once you arrive at the first Conga ("Bialy & Lox Conga") which closes the "Summer" section, you'll never be quite sure what's coming next.

"Fall" begins with a version of the main theme that repeats itself into fade-out. Later in "Marion Barfs" we hear the theme's counterpoint pushed forward and prolonged. Interspersed are yet more taste testing examples of sampled effect (e.g. "Sara Goldfarb Has Left the Building"), before we finish on the even more manic "Bugs Got a Devilish Grin Conga".

"Winter" is the real evidence for a through-scored approach with a new motif introduced infectiously in "Southern Hospitality". It's a use of sampled strings that incessant builds and builds with its digging and clawing. Unfortunately, despite the feeling of an intellectual process, the piece becomes more and more unpalatable as it is tweaked to higher pitch in "Fear", interrupted by tinkling keyboard in "The Beginning of the End", and is then pitched to insane levels in "Meltdown".

Like Howard Shore's The Cell, this is a highly experimental approach to scoring the interpretive arena of dreams. Away from the screen, it takes some passionate appreciation for what it does to the film to make for an enjoyable repeat standalone experience.

Paul Tonks


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