It's an all-out cult classic brawl as the legendary soundtrack to A Scanner Darkly hits our shelves. Composed by Graham Reynolds, the soundtrack introduces a myriad of disparate sounds, each bitesize and extreme, moving between horror soundscapes, surfy instrumentals and twanging country hints. Considering Philip K. Dick's esoteric vision of a paranoid dystopia in the throes of drug addiction, Reynolds' ever-shifting soundtrack feels fitting, refusing to embrace the world it's wrapped up in.
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The state of dependence. It’s a tricky one, because sometimes I depend on the cats to keep me cuddly and warm on those long, dark winter nights in the depths of Yorkshire. But here, the story (I take it) tells of Keanu Reeves, stoned to his core on something called Substance D (shorthand for Death)... like, woaah!
So the soundtrack to Linklater’s adaptation of Philip K Dick’s infamous A Scanner Darkly is appropriately trippy, not to say all over the shop. In a good way, obviously. Graham Reynolds has gone about his task with necessary conciseness and brevity; it’s an economy that means there’s plenty of music and musical styles on show here. There’s the B-movie sc-fi/horror soundtrackery of "Aphids", complete with wobbly theremin parts. Glockenspiel and shimmery strings herald in "Swallowed Up In Victory" -- all glorious 48 seconds of it, burrrp! -- before swiftly switching into the ‘last-dance-in-Cowboy-Ville’ of “Strawberry Pie”, all melodical (qu)easy pedal steel twang and xylophone chimes. It’s 4-plus minutes in length too. Lovely.
Inevitably things take a darker turn pretty sharp-like from “The Dark World Where I Dwell” onward. Sombre strings -- check. Vibrato -- check. Eerie, reverbed glock -- check. Spooky electronics and trip-hop drums up the paranoia quotient (“Sex, Beer And Pills”). Horror-score tapped-out plinky piano with high straining strings fill out “A Farm Near The Mountains”, an epic at a minute thirty-even seconds. Woozy, disorientating wobbly guitars, buzzes, scapes etc creep me out good and proper on “Bug-bite Squared”.
Sound nibbles to ruffle your ears and accompany your mini-crises / comedowns. Good job.
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- A Scanner Darkly (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Graham Reynolds
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