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Only Lovers Left Alive
Format: Audio CDChange
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2014
This a strange and seductive collection from Jozef van Wissem & SQÜRL (the band of Jim Jarmusch) which floods your ears with a delightful mix of uneasy but embracing music. It does help immensely if you have seen the movie, but if not it will still leave its emotional thumbprint, just without the haunting images it conjures up.

The music is a mix of lightly blended guitars, some exotic instrument I don't know, drums and more heavy electric guitars. It is both heady and enticing but with a harsh metallic undertow. In a way it evokes the two distinct continents that the movie is set in. The rock sounds of Detroit and the more earthy and rhythmic music of North Africa.

The pace is slow and heavy and can make you feel somewhat drugged by it, almost like being a bit hungover but in a good way.

The album is split into halves, the first being the music from the portion of the film set in Detroit and the second part when they move to Tangier.

I won't go into a track by track review but I will comment on a few of the highlights. The second track is a remix of 'Funnel of Love', it is slowed down to almost be hypnotic and given a grungy flavour. Feeling almost as if it is an old LP set to play on a clapped out and slow turntable with something altogether different playing in the next room. It works well though and as the opening track of the movie it sets the tone of the album perfectly.

As the tracks progress they start to drift from the Motown/Detroit/Rock infused offerings and begin to morph towards the easier listening latter tracks, The pivotal track is 'Spooky Action at a Distance' which you could happily slow dance to in a smoke filled dive, feeling very 'cool' whilst doing it. The tracks after this are all more earthy and warm and are impressionistic of North Africa. The harsh guitar backing is tempered by a more majestic and timeless beat and percussion. 'Sola Gratia Pt 2' is almost processional in feeling and begins to really make the listener appreciate the slow passing of time, a main theme in the movie. 'Hal' sung by Yasmine Hamden is a delightful high point, her voice is beautiful and is a well deserved break in what can be a quite brilliant but oppressive album. By the end of the disc the music slips into a more gothic feel befitting the subject matter it is drawn from.

Although I was greatly impressed with the music on this disc I did miss not having the other tracks that appear in the movie, a second disc of those would have made the album a complete experience. 'Trapped By a Thing Called Love' by Denise LaSalle amongst others are missing. Their inclusion would have added a lighter tone which would have benefited this quite heavy ensemble as they comprise of Motown, Disco and Rock. It would have been given a more rounded feel. Then again it may have broken up the continuity which is achieved by the CD as it is.

About the packaging. The CD is black and comes presented in a digipak with a small photo booklet which shows the film sets. Tilda Swinton as Eve adorns the front, and Tom Hiddleston as Adam is pictured on the back. I was as hoping the CD would be red (as the vinyl release is pressed in red) but alas this may have been expecting too much.

All in all the CD requires a few listens to really appreciate it, at first it does come across as a bit of a strain on the ears and emotions. After a few times though it becomes a work in it's own right and not just a backing sound track for a vampire movie, something which it excelled at.

If you are a fan of the movie then this really is a must for you as it evokes the images that the movie imbeds in your mind. If you are a fan of SQÜRL then the same applies, it's a must. If you are unsure though then maybe listen to a few tracks online and get a feel for this remarkable and unsettling soundtrack. Even better would be to see the film and the music in context. My advice, put in on late a night and swan around your house fancying yourself 'Bohemian'. preferably with a glass of something in your hand and swaying gently to the music as if you are Adam or Eve. It transforms the 'listening' into an 'experience', It's what I do.

Many thanks for reading!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2014
I love Jim Jarmush and his films. Only Lovers Left Alive is no exception. Partly because of the music. Music is one of the most prominent aspects of it. And there is a very good reason for it. It's simply brilliant. Hypnotic, atmospheric and moody. I bought this soundtrack immediately after I came back from the cinema. It is great to listen to in its own right. Highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2014
It's a soundtrack so it probably works best if you've seen the film - but dim and ost are both so hip you'll walk differently for a while after.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2014
Having recently seen the film at our local independent cinema and loved it, I 'needed' to get hold of the music - music is such an integral part of the film, and creates much of the atmosphere. This is an album of experimental sounds, guitars and electronica, evoking the spirit of a broken-down Detroit or Tangier at night. The soundscapes are broad and atmospheric, but not so obscure that you can't dance to them... There is also one song, Hal by Yasmine Hamdan (a Lebanese singer who is briefly featured in the film performing the song), which is as beautiful as the rest of the soundtrack and fits alongside it perfectly. Most of the music is by the film's director, Jim Jarmusch's band SQURL, often in collaboration with Josef Van Wissem. I highly recommend this album in its own right to anyone who loves experimental and atmospheric music with great dynamic range, rhythm and soul, and for anyone who has enjoyed the film, this is a must-have!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2014
Amazing blend of contemporary lute with grunge-rock, not like anything else I've heard. The film is good too, but this soundtrack stands on its own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2014
I fell in love with the music in this film and I had to have the soundtrack. I was not disappointed. Each piece of music is wonderful in it's own unique way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2014
Starting from the sleeve, the blood-red vinyl and up to the mystery-evoking music, this is a complete aesthetic experience. I play it again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2014
I am bias but I loved the movie, and this soundtrack is everything I hoped for.
Melancholy, dark, a beautiful soundscape.
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on 8 March 2014
A wonderful album with interesting evocative music. Great soundtrack for a great film. I highly recommend this for someone looking for something a bit different.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2014
See the film, buy the LP. The vinyl version of this soundtrack claims to be 'blood red', it is red and looks great but not O negative red. The artwork on the album is great, particularly the inner sleeves which have photos of our 'lovers'' rooms in all their dusty glory.
Musically it's a fantastic dark and mysterious journey from Detroit through to Tangier, plenty of dark moody fuzzed guitars mixed with van wissems offerings. The Yasmine Hamdan track is a great contrast to the others on here and even though lighter fits in well with the surrounding darkness. Grab your favourite tipple, sit back and let this soundtrack intoxicate you.
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