Staff Picks: Soundtracks

This week we like…Soundtracks

In honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, we at Murfie decided to dedicate this week’s staff picks to the film and TV soundtracks that have made their way across our desks recently.  Some are old, some are new, but all have been hand-selected for the enjoyment of you, the Murfieist.

Jacques Loussier/Ennio Morricone: “Dark of the Sun/Guns for San Sebastian”

Dark SunDark of the Sun is a violent adventure film from 1968 set in the Congo, with a score by French pianist Jacques Loussier.  Several tracks from Loussier’s soundtrack were later re-used in the film Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino, a confirmed fan of the original film.  Also included is the score to The Guns for San Sebastian, a Spaghetti Western also from 1968 that starred Charles Bronson and Anthony Quinn.  This score was composed by Ennio Morricone, easily one of the most influential popular composers of his time, and remembered mostly for his scores to several of director Sergio Leone’s best Spaghetti Westerns, including A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Dust Brothers: “Fight Club”

David Fincher’s 1999 adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel Fight Club suffered from one of the worst marketing campaigns in history, and was one of the most critically reviled films that year.  However, after its release to DVD, it quickly became an established cult hit due to its striking cinematography, gleefully dark performances, and of course its playful and haunting soundtrack by The Dust Brothers, known for their revolutionary work with the Beastie Boys and Beck.

Bernard Herrmann: “Taxi Driver”

Taxi DriverMartin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver, a violent tale of the isolation and paranoia of city life in America, was dedicated to Bernard Herrmann, whose score for the film was his last.  Herrmann was well known for his work with Alfred Hitchcock, having scored Pyscho and Vertigo, and is also responsible for the unmistakable theme to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone television series.  Herrmann’s score for Taxi Driver is jarring and evocative, and “Diary of a Taxi Driver” features Robert DeNiro’s iconic opening voiceover.

Air: “The Virgin Suicides”

Sofia Coppola’s 1999 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel The Virgin Suicides is a haunting exercise in both dark melodrama and understated 1970s period style.  The French electronic duo Air supplied a fantastic soundtrack for this film, one which contributed to both the surreality of the film and the palatability of its dark subject matter.  The soundtrack revolves around the bittersweet single “Playground Love,” featuring vocals by Gordon Tracks, and is capable of standing by itself as an album of nostalgic, dreamy electronic grooves.

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