16 June 2006


Thought it was about time I posted another soundtrack and an orgy in rhythm this most certainly isn't.No funky breaks ,no shuffling beats,no low level horns,nothing to loop or sample (or maybe....) - the total antithesis of my usual soundtrack posts.
This is the Cliff Martinez soundtrack for the Steven Soderberg re make of Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris".
This is what Andrew Granade wrote about it at Soundtracknet:

"Martinez began his musical career as a drummer for The Weirdos, Lydia Lunch, Captain Beefheart, The Dickies and, most famously, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (In 1989 he left the Peppers because, as he says, "I decided I didn't really want to be wearing a sock on my weiner for the rest of my life.") His experience as a drummer is clearly evident in his instrumentation in Solaris. To the standard string orchestra with light brass and woodwinds, Martinez adds understated electronics, celesta, steel drum, and a gamelan ensemble. A Javanese gamelan is the Indonesian orchestra of bells, gongs, and drums that has captivated Western composers since Debussy first encountered it at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1889. In Solaris, its delicate, shifting tone colors in a decidedly non-equal tempered scale underlie the remoteness of the action and the sentient planet while the repetitive, cyclic nature of its music provide a comforting space from which the audience can watch the proceedings.
The overall arch of the score is fairly static, with shifting tone colors and textures providing the majority of musical propulsion and interest. This uniformity of sound serves to unify the picture emotionally but a few cues stand out for Martinez's treatment of the orchestra and their narrative impact. "Will She Come Back" opens with delicate electronics that sound almost like pure sine-tones. Then listen how he slowly undergirds and replaces those sounds with close, dissonant strings and begins to softly punctuate moments with bells. Then the full strings finally enter halfway through with an elegiac melody.
"Wear Your Seat Belt" is the antithesis of "Will She Come Back," or at least as opposite as is possible on this homogenous score. It begins with the gamelan pulsations over which strings and electronics play in a tightly woven, dissonant, and eerie cloud. The gamelan slowly takes over the foreground from the strings, moving into a higher and higher register until the bottom falls away, leaving the listener floating free."

It's for his work on Solaris that Martinez is best known, not only because it is widely regarded as his finest work but it also established Martinez's niche in soundtrack work: a combination of electronic sounds and samples with sparse orchestral arrangements which is both very ambient and wonderfully atmospheric.



bacoso said...


baroquedub said...

This is really special - thank you! I remember being particular taken by the score when watching the film and have been looking out for it ever since. A nice homage to Ligeti's music and life too - in a round about kind of way :)