Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: The Road (Mute)

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Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: Memory
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: The Road (Mute)

The most difficult test for any film score is if it works in the absence of images, and even more so if it does when the listener hasn't seen the movie.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have had a long association (Bad Seeds, the booze-rock blues-rock Grinderman) and here on the score to the forthcoming film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's dark novel The Road they mostly keep things elementally simple (piano, violin, sometimes a wind ensemble) for some eerie, melancholy and necessarily brooding pieces which capture a sense of great loss and sadness beyond comprehension.

Little here moves beyond a slow, stately and mournful pace and yet there is great beauty in the slightness which allows space for dark contemplation.

Given the post-apocalyptic theme of McCarthy's story it may be that the music in the movie takes a distant second place behind the visuals of blasted landscapes and the plight of the characters. But here on its own it stands up beautifully as lean, focused and moody music which exists independently. 

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