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Nick Cave And Warren Ellis - Loin Des Hommes: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 8 / 6 / 2015

Nick Cave And Warren Ellis - Loin Des Hommes: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Label: Mute Records
Format: CD


Experimental yet unimposing new soundtrack album for David Olehoffen's film 'Loin des Hommes' from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

The jury's out. I am sitting on the fence, whatever you want to call it. I am not sure about this soundtrack at all. After wallowing in Cave and Ellis' other past exploits, this one has left me baffled. While Cave and Ellis have played together in the Bad Seeds and related projects since 1995, their first suite of cinematic soundscapes was for 'The Proposition' (2005), which was directed by their fellow Australian John Hillcoat and scripted by Cave himself. They followed 'The Proposition' with a trio of pieces for Icelandic actor-director Gisli Örn Gardarsson: 'Woyzeck' (2006),'Metamorphosis' (2006) and 'Faust' (2010). After this they added their worth to two acclaimed documentaries: Geoffrey Smith's 'The English Surgeon' (2007), about an exiled doctor's struggle to bring modern neurosurgery to post-Soviet Ukraine, and Matthew Watson's 'The Girls of Phnom Penh' (2009), a compassionate portrait of three sex workers in Cambodia. Next came what some will say is the pair's best soundtrack to date for Andrew Dominik's elegiac anti-western 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' (2007), which starred Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, before they reunited with director John Hillcoat for his sombre adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's dystopian novel 'The Road' (2009. They then contributed to Everardo Valerio Gout's award-winning Mexican crime thriller 'Days of Grace' (2011). More recently after composing a full score for Amy Berg's true-life documentary 'West of Memphis' (2012), about a notoriously controversial murder case in Arkansas, the pair then went on to join John Hillcoat again to write the music for the blood-soaked Depression-era bootlegging thriller 'Lawless' (2012), which starred Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain. 'Loin des Hommes (Far From Men)', which was directed by David Olehoffen, was a triple prize winner at the Venice Film Festival in 2014 and, starring Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb, was adapted from a short story by Albert Camus. The film is a powerful tale of divided loyalties and colonialist violence during Algeria's war of independence. Most of the tracks on here are built around the duo's intertwined piano and violin melodies, with sporadic use of guitar, flute, mandolin, celeste, percussion and other instruments. Vocals are rare and sparing. The credits will have it that "with its mesmeric drones, pointillist piano jabs, weeping strings and nerve-jangling electronics, this is one of the duo's most emotive and experimental soundtracks to date, sounding both achingly intimate and cosmically vast." This album does have its drones but they feel more listenable than "mesmeric", and there are for me considerably less "weeping strings" than on their other works. The "nerve jangling electronics" meanwhile unfortunately aren't as nervy as one would imagine. It is an enjoyable album, but it lacks the confrontation of their other film scores and masterpieces.

Track Listing:-
1 Far From Men
2 The Teacher
3 Bloody Cheche
4 Dead Horse
5 Setting Out
6 Mountain Scramble
7 Dust Storm
8 Bandits
9 The March
10 Berzina
11 Farewell At Tinguit
12 No Class Today
13 Teacher's Farewell
14 Far From Men 2

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