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Erstwhile film soundtrack composer Ryuichi Sakamoto is joined by strict digital minimalist Alva Noto, a frequent collaborator in Sakamoto’s non-soundtrack work. For the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Revenant, the pair fold together dramatic orchestral themes and cold electronic ambience: from listening, I feel like The Revenant might be a tense watch.

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  • 3299039978627 / Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 180g vinyl 2LP on Milan / Warner Jazz
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  • 3299039978528 / Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD on Milan / Warner Jazz

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The Revenant by Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto 1 review. Add your own review. 9/10
16 people love this record. Be the 17th!

9/10 Staff review, 16 February 2016

First off, let me just announce that I’m reviewing this album, a movie soundtrack no less, not having seen the movie.  Which is not necessarily a problem because I have listened to this already and can confirm it works perfectly as a stand-alone suite.  (Of course, I don’t need to see the many faces of Leo to appreciate this; every silver lining.)  Sakamoto contributes his perfectly honed compositional art of the elegiac, sometimes melancholic, with voluptuously full swooping strings and alva noto compliments by adding in atmospheric ambient washes with his own sense of understated, almost not-quite-there melody to ear-ravishingly sumptuous effect.  A perfect illustration of this is the opening track and Revenant Main Theme; also on sixth track “Discovering River”. The whole works well as an aid to relaxation, perhaps surprisingly so when you consider the main theme of the story and the violent acts of retribution it contains; with the following track “Goodbye to Hawk” being an especially serene backdrop with its own sorrowful narrative.

The flow of the album is seamless. Pretty string sections suggestive of wide, green forested vistas open up to ominous moments of dramatic pads. I’m seeing lush verdant hillsides populated by evergreens, punctuated by slow motion battle scenes in babbling brooks. “Church Dream” is full of cascading power strings and following immediately is the brooding “Powaqa Rescue” coming in with deep pulses, slow burning minor chords and multiple layers of those beauty strings. I care less about the film than I do about the joyous fact that these two master musicians continue to bring us music of such magical majesty and produce work of such evocative quality together. Long may Sakamoto and Noto continue to do so.



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