Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Carter BURWELL The Corruptor OST  VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6014 [42:17]





The genre of films that concentrate on the spectacle of blood, broken bones and bruises is represented by Corruptor. This film is a violent gutsy police drama set in New York City's Chinatown, It has several more rounded characters than you would normally expect in a film of this type with Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat's Chinatown cop and Mark Wahlberg's trainee as the pivotal players. It achieves a visual quality of merit within the Chinatown locations and director James Foley combines the colour of the locations with an equally colourful expression of the story line.

Although we have seen the buddy film in many guises now ad nauseum this film talks about the changing loyalties amongst the villains and police alike and some interesting comparisons can be drawn from the behaviours of the law enforcers and the criminals.

The composer of the music for the soundtrack of the film is CARTER BURWELL . He counts "ROB ROY" as his third collaboration with Michael Caton-Jones, having previously scored "This Boy's Life" and "Doc Hollywood." He has also composed, arranged and produced the scores for a number of diverse projects, including the award-winning HBO telefilm "And the Band Played On," and the features "It Could Happen to You," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "A Dangerous Woman," "Kalifornia," "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer," "Storyville," "Barton Fink," "Raising Arizona," "Psycho III" and "Blood Simple."

In addition to his screen work, Burwell has written and performed music for several New York stage productions, including "Mother," "The Celestial Alphabet Event" and "Mother Courage." He also wrote and performed the music for "Widows" at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival.

The music on the Corruptor CD has many oriental influences and captures effectively the changing pace and mood of the Film.

The CD opens with The Corruptor theme , this is a haunting melody using cadence to open the listener to the expectation of what is to come. Within the textures created by Burwell are distinctive, almost Celtic anthems hinting at great age and history. The use of indian tabla against breathy and strung instruments is effective and unusual. Beneath The streets repeats the thematic haunting melody of earlier with chinese percussion counterpointing cellos and the building of tension. Release comes through the explosion of sound in a chinese festival. Lamp Store Shootout again has the same build of tension with closed cymbals, chinese orchestra and deep bass leading us into a soft descending ending. Panty Raid brings some nicely articulated string parts reminiscent of a zither with note bending. The central instrument complemented with breathy flute sounds drops into Ginza shooting, where Burwell interweaves the preceding themes across a more indirect cross rhythm. The Old Man is my personal favourite on the CD, although only 1:02 in length there's such an intensity of feeling in the first few strummed chords that it grabs and retains my attention. Drug Raid, Death Drives Through Chinatown, He takes The Hook, A Plum, Chen Betrayed, To The Ship, Human Cargo, Chen Shot, Funeral in Chinatown, Old Happy and Corruptoid finish the track listing.

I enjoyed listening to this soundtrack and what I like particularly is the inventive way the main theme is put into variation throughout the piece. Burwell has incorporated some good guitar chops too, although I don't know who is playing them. They remind me a bit of Joe Satriani's playing in between his good bits! The overall sound and production of the work and the mix of oriental percussion, strings and breath instruments is effective and interesting to listen to.

Sit down with your beer and some prawn crackers and enjoy Carter Burwell's sweet and sour interpretation of the film. This is one to take away.


Warwick Mason


Warwick Mason

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