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SONIC DEATH MONKEY Soundtrack Reviews - Collateral & Somersault

Put down that gun Mister Cruise
by Michael Collins

Sonic Death Monkey makes its big debut on the small day of Wednesday with the soundtrack of the big Collateral and the small Somersault. They are films of great contrast and so are their soundtracks.

The Michael Mann directed, Tom Cruise starring, Collateral has some heavy hitters indeed. The film does show some restraint for the most part so I was interested in how the soundtrack would fair.

The film starts with just another night in the big city, the CD opens with a driving unrelenting beat provided by Tom Rothrock. It's edgy, yet still has a glossy feel to it. It tinkers between cred and commercial. Just like the film I guess. Rothcock will be heard again later in the CD with a similarly beatsy, but ultimately forgettable track.

The pop soul of The Roots continues this theme. It's music of the streets, but a clean street. Groove Armada have some great tracks to be heard on the dance floor. Their contribution to the soundtrack is the sweet soulful Hands of Time.

Again nice.

A pattern is forming here.

Things get a little latin and er, Kraftwerk-esque with Calexico. A little too stale that one. As is the case with Destino De Abril. Best forget about that one.

Audioslave do the quiet bit screaming bit quiet bit as we have grown accustomed to them doing.

It's all by the numbers second rate tracks so far, but things take a turn for the best when Miles Davis turns up and raises the standards to the dizzying heights that only he can. Davis contributes a beautiful dreamy track. If only the whole soundtrack was of the standard of this track from the jazz great.

A couple of classical pieces are thrown in for good measure with a performance of Bach's Air in C Minor (ask your grandparents) being as sweet as ever.

Rounding off the soundtrack is some of James Newton Howard's score. All very nice and all, but this soundtrack CD is trying to cover too many bases. Perhaps a concentration on one or two of the genres on show here would have made a more successful soundtrack.

We then move on to the far more restrained, moody, but more consistent Somersault soundtrack by the band Decoder Ring. This CD is a far greater success than Collateral. It aims low with it's ambiance and lightness, but it's such a little beauty.

It's the sort of album you're going to play start to finish to set a steady mood. That implies that there are no highlights. That's sort of true but there are some wonderful features to the album.

The vocals of the singer who goes by the moniker, Lenka, are ethereal and hypnotic reminding me of The Sundays.

There are heartbeats, simple motifs and lots of other gems to be discovered on this soundtrack.

It's gentle, and understated and will reward those listeners who listen closely and delve into the music letting it flow through their ears and into their minds. It's a special this one.

As with Collateral (and about the only thing the two albums have in common) there is an excerpt of the score tagged onto the end of the album. The music gets less and less high lighting and more about mood by this stage, but it is still worth a listen.

Decoder Ring's style of music seems well suited to providing soundtracks. They have certainly made of good job of their first.

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originally posted: 10/27/04 22:39:21
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