January 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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XXX  
Music composed and conducted by Randy Edelman
  Orchestrations by Ralph Ferraro, Stuart Balcombe and Randy Edelman
  Available on Varèse Sarabande Records (VSD-6423)  
Running Time: 36:56
Crotchet   Amazon UK   Amazon US

xxx

To be (perhaps a little too) honest, Iíve generally been ambivalent about Edelmanís work. I started paying attention at the time of The Last of the Mohicans, when I didnít understand what the story was behind the double credit with Trevor Jones. With the album released at the time, I soon worked out the style heíd been brought on board that project for. And of course the argument is that a unique and identifiable style is a positive thing. The style in question is to dress up orchestral writing in synthetic clothing. Whatís left me ambivalent is the use of that style across historical biopic (Dragon), historical epic (Gettysberg) and fantasy (Dragonheart) just as prominently as anything contemporary.

XXX on the other hand is a bit of a surprise. The synth crashes and string overdubs are certainly featured, but here the orchestral thematic writing wins out. From the opening "Prague Arrival" there are plenty of grand moments. A brass fanfare here. A sneakily incorporated balalaika there. In fact there are some quite tender moments too (e.g. "Elena") which seem to go completely against the grain of the Vin Diesel hard man image. Or indeed the 2-disc song compilation that preceded this score by FOUR MONTHS!

Iím glad to have had the opportunity to hear this album because itís encouraged to be a little more optimistic about seeing Edelmanís name attached to future projects. Iím even sort of looking forward to how he follows this up in XXX2!

Paul Tonks

*** 3

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