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Vinyl LP £17.99 J2002

LP on Sony Music CMG.

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West of Memphis by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
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8/10 Jim 10 June 2014

This album features Cave and Ellis’ score for a documentary about the West Memphis Three; three guys who fought to overturn their convictions for the murder of three boys in 1993 after spending eighteen years on death row. With this in mind I was expecting a harrowing trawl through the depths of despair and injustice, yet what we actually get is a series of vivid, melancholic miniatures. The duo’s experience penning soundtracks is especially apparent, with the deceptive simplicity and lightness of touch to the sparsely arranged pieces exuding quiet confidence.

The sound palette is fairly consistent throughout; the spare piano and plaintive violin interplay familiar from their work on The Road is joined by some gloriously moody synths and atmospheric loops. For me, the synths and loops provide the essential solvent, making this is a far more satisfying listen than any of their other soundtracks. On some tracks they manage to convey an epic sense of space or suggest a deep well of darkness with apparently the most basic of elements.

A most enjoyable listen then, and one that I can imagine appealing to fans of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Harold Budd as well as The Bad Seeds and Dirty Three.  


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