|1. Is That What Everybody Wants|
|2. First Sleep|
|3. Can I Sit Next To You|
|4. Will She Come Back|
|5. Death Shall Have No Dominion|
|6. Maybe You`re My Puppet|
|7. Don`t Blow It|
|8. Hi Energy Proton Accelerator|
|9. Wear Your Seat Belt|
|11. We Don`t Have To Think Like That Anymore|
So it is with considerable relief that Stephen Soderbergh, when having another crack at filming Stanislaw Lem's classic tale of loss and misunderstanding, chose his soundtrack with exemplary care. Long-time collaborator, Cliff Martinez, has produced music that more than meets the challenge.
Lem's novel concerns a psychiatrist's attempts to comprehend the fate of a scientific expedition to the distant planet Solaris, a world shrouded in a nebulous living ocean. On arrival he discovers the planet's incredible secret. It can steal into the subconscious and make our desires real. Without spoiling the plot too much it is not entirely insignificant that Chris Kelvin (said shrink) is still mourning a lost love - the beautiful Rheya.
Soderbergh, in his brief sleeve notes pays homage to Martinez's pivotal role in helping the director to tell the story. While the titles all refer to distinct sections of the film the overall feeling is of a floating, dreamlike wash of sound and gamelan-like percussiveness.
Strings are muted and orchestration so subtle as to be almost non-existent (respect to ex-Zappa sidekick Bruce Fowler for this light touch). In other words the music perfectly captures the mood of the film. A brooding slow, meditative work that is never afraid to leave the viewer/listener to draw their own conclusions. And to be set adrift like Kelvin himself. Not in the vast emptiness of space, but in the infinitely more chilling abyss of the subconscious.
Like Soderbergh's icily muted cinematic palette, Martinez's textures are at once samey, yet never boring. Paradoxical? Yes. But to see the film is to understand what a challenge it was to convey the kind of existentialism that mainstream Hollywood is normally so bereft of. Just for once this is thoughtful stuff; music for adults. --Chris Jones
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
The music is very beautiful, but also somewhat sorrowful and with an air of mystery about it which suits its settings in the largely unknown territory that is space.
I would of rated it a five if it wasnt for the fact that it tends to leave me on a bit of a down and pensive mood!
This was my basis for purchasing his soundtrack album, which delights at times and drags at others: His main themes for the characters and sequences have a weightless grace to them and recall the work of Philip Glass and even Arvo Part - great washes of strings and programming that conjure perfectly the planet Solaris wreathed in clouds and plasma.
Unfortunately, what prevents this score from being wholly successful is an over-reliance on just a few melodic themes, repeated in variations over the course of the album. As such, I find this works as superior background music, but can be slightly repetitive if concentrated on.
That's not to say that there aren't moments here which are enthralling, but they are better taken in small doses than over a full-length CD.
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