March 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /March01/

Proof of Life

   Amazon UK    Amazon US

There have been a couple of scores from Elfman since Sleepy Hollow, but to collectors paying only scant attention it may not seem like it. This will undoubtedly be the first time since that last collaboration with director Tim Burton that Elfman's name will be on people's thoughts.

Taking all his percussive expertise from years experimenting around the world, then experimenting with the band Oingo Boingo, then experimenting as of Dolores Claiborne, this is about the boldest expression of all that potential rhythmic cacophony. The 6-minute "Main Title" will determine whether you're prepared to sit through the remainder of the half hour. Chaotic, schizophrenic, dissonant, atonal - it's a tough piece to swallow, but if the ear is appreciative of all the above and where the likes of Mission: Impossible and A Simple Plan were headed then this won't be too much of a surprise on top of everything else. There are castanet rhythms being tapped out in some places, incessant guitar strumming, pan pipes that finally don't put you in mind of James Horner, bass electronic samples fading in and out, and plenty of unique samples making individual contributions.

This isn't to say that there's absolutely no melodic touch, because something like the beginning of "Plane To Catch" will fool the ear for a moment. The point about this all-too-brief album is that when it's over you'll be certain that the subtle Elfman doesn't get much play time. The penultimate double act of "Escape" and "The Rescue" will leave a lasting memory of near electronica colliding with orchestra.

Paul Tonks

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