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April 27, 2006

Down In The Valley

propositionsoundtrack.jpg I finally managed to catch Spike Lee's The Inside Man this evening, and as I was leaving the theater, I realized that, discounting the week of festival filmgoing, I can count the number of films I've seen theatrically so far this year on two hands. I don't feel that I've missed too much, but I can think of a few tiny films which I very much wanted to see that darted in and out of theaters before I had the chance to catch them. I'm looking forward to catching up in the near future - school's out next Wednesday - but there has been one pleasant side effect of this draught. When I've been to see a film lately, the sense of routine (no matter how wonderful that routine may be) is gone. When the lights go down, my guard goes with them, and I can feel my excitement rising. Regardless of whatever it is I'm seeing.

Next Friday, I'll finally be seeing The Proposition, by John Hillcoat and Nick Cave. It's been available on import DVD for a while, but I've held off. I want to experience it on the big screen - because I'm a romantic and still go to films for Experiences with a capital E (before I critique them with an admittedly lower-case C).

What I have experienced, though, is the score to the film by Cave and Warren Ellis. It's exactly what one might expect a score by those two bad seeds to sound like. The minimalist orchestration puts Cave's piano and Ellis' violin front and center, the latter coiled tight like wire around the ominous riffs of the former. It's a very minimalist, very organic collection of compositions. The bass line that backs many of the tracks sounds gutteral, almost aboriginal; I may be projecting a bit when I say that the score as a whole sounds distinctly Australian - indeed, there's not a didjeridu or gum-leaf to be found - but, as with his last album, Cave sounds as if he's getting in touch with his roots. He puts his voice to excellent instrumental use as well; his baritone drifts in and out of the cues, sometimes muttering lyrics, sometimes simply lapsing into a drone, and never dominating the music as he generally does in his songs.

There is one proper song on the soundtrack, entitled The Rider Song. After an hour of music that grows progressively darker, this song closes the record with a note of gently epic acquiescence.

No, said the moon that rose from his sleep
No, said the cry of the dying sun
No, said the planets that started to weep
Yes, said the rider and lay down his gun.

If the movie's anything like I'm imagining it will be, then this song can only belong in the closing credits. I can't wait to hear it, as the lights in the theater go up and I stay firmly rooted in my seat.

Addendum: Daniel Robert Epstein has an excellent interview with Nick Cave over at Suicide Girls.

Posted by David Lowery at April 27, 2006 08:35 PM

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