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- Donnie Darko OST by Michael Andrews
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Donnie Darko is one of only a few modern horror/fantasy films that has really captured my imagination in recent years, and Death Waltz are a label who are totally peeling my onions right now, so this is a dream combo in my eyes. On this record here we don’t have the ‘80s-hit-laden pop soundtrack to Donnie Darko but Michael Andrews’s incredible retro-futurist score, which I’m learning from the liner notes was performed mostly with instruments built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, closing with two versions of ‘Mad World’ Andrews recorded with Gary Jules, the second one having a shuffling trip-hoppy beat and possibly a touch of vocoder separating it from the beatless version from the film...but essentially on this LP we’ve got all the original music that was made especially for the film and none of the ‘80s hits.
Everything on this album is so immediately familiar and warm just from watching the film, but it’s great to be able to get inside this music in a bit more detail. Some of the tracks are swooshing, rumbling ambient vignettes; elsewhere there’s simple, instantly distinctive piano tinklings and submerged choirs; in other places we’ve got warm synthetic chords.
The primary instrument does seem to be the piano, but there’s plenty of Eraserhead-esque ambient creaks and rumbles which punctuate the evocatively paced themes. They were effective in the film and here, separate from the accompanying visual stimuli, it’s easier to hear why and how the film achieved the creepy, detached feel it did, especially in the warped dark ambient creep-out of ‘Ensurance Trap’. I’m yet to hear anything on this label that hasn’t impressed me and ‘Escape From New York’ aside this is my favourite release from them to date. Totally brilliant.
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