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White Lunar

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Sept. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI Music UK
  • ASIN: B002HIEIWE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,302 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

"White Lunar is a selection of pieces taken from various motion pictures and documentaries that we have been involved in, namely The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Proposition, The Road, The English Surgeon, The Girls Of Phnom Penh and a variety of of pieces selected from our vaults. The first CD has the big themes, the orchestra and the songs and the second CD is fractured, haunting and sometimes badly behaved."--Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Accompanying the soundtracks on the second disc are four pieces drawn from the Cave & Ellis archives, all named after craters: "Magma" is constructed from a chorus of Warren's singing, a pitch-shifted riff, "Zanstra" swarms like a storm of hornets besieging a submarine, "Halo" finds pastoral calm in the eager teeth of defeat and “Daedalus” rises sure as the sun, with dewy flute and fluttering piano motes, before a sudden fade. The sequence is conceived as a suite. "Listen to it as you might listen to an instrumental album" recommends Ellis, as "some kind of trip".

BBC Review

Warren Ellis’s greatest contribution to rock music is probably his effortless ability to look dangerous while playing the violin, a deranged role he often performs with Nick Cave’s band The Bad Seeds. But there’s another side to their collaboration that’s emerged quietly over the last five years. This double CD collects highlights of their five film scores – plus a few odds and sods from ‘the vaults’ – and it’s an altogether gentler experience.

The cover shot appears to have been culled from a session for the recent Grinderman project, but White Lunar is closer in feel to Ellis’s other band, Dirty Three, at their most subdued. For much of it, Ellis backs Cave’s limited but effective piano arpeggios with his mournful bowing, occasionally joined by a droning string section, or deft percussion from Dirty Three drummer Jim White. And there are other unspecified ‘musical contributions’ by several others.

Disc one begins with a lovely, tinkling confection of vibraphone, piano and bells from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Things proceed in a sombre, expectant mood until Cave starts to sing the odd, whispered dialogue of The Proposition. And there are six pieces from the forthcoming film of Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalypse novel The Road, which at times recall the luminous, hovering ambience of Estonian classical composer Arvo Pärt.

As the minimal notes explain, Disc two is “fractured, haunting and sometimes badly behaved”. That’s a reference to the jarring coda of sinister industrial noise that shudders into life ten minutes after the ‘end’, suggesting the less compromising output of fellow Australian Paul Schütze. The pieces from The Girls of Phnom Penh are humidly atmospheric, and those from The English Surgeon (another obscure documentary) more unsettling, but remarkably evocative. The previously unreleased material is fairly insubstantial, but works reasonably well as interludes.

White Lunar is less demanding than any other work by these two seasoned players, but in places quite startling in its delicacy. You’ll probably ‘get’ it if The Boatman’s Call is your favourite Nick Cave album. --Jon Lusk

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
There's no need for long words, or long paragraphs here. This double album is an absolute masterpiece. Not one note out of place. 35 tracks, mostly instrumental, just occasional vocals here and there, that weave in and out of one another, bringing the feel of moonlit nights, cold, misty mornings, technicolour sunsets, autumn evenings and the feeling of your heart pulling into the wind.

I wish that everything I do in my life could be done to the sounds of these two discs, just rolling round the inside of my head like a smooth, mellow whisky.

If this album doesn't make you feel sad, pensive, enriched or moved then you are dead inside.

This is one of the best albums ever released.
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Nick Cave and Warren Ellis make beautiful, wonderfully haunting music and this double album is a perfect introduction to it.

It has a slightly limited appeal to die-hard fans, because they'll end up with a pretty much redundant disc 1 when the full soundtrack to The Road is released. For completists it's a must for the previously unreleased material, but as is often the case, you'll end up paying full whack for only a few tracks you haven't heard.

For me it's worth it because the music that Cave & Ellis create is so beautiful, and their output so lamentably small, that anything new is automatically a must-have.

In fact, I'd say to anyone less familiar with their work who buys this and falls in love with it, that the soundtracks to The Proposition, The Assassination of Jesse James (and no doubt The Road) are worth owning in their entirity. And while you're at it, you may as well get hold of everything by Dirty Three (Ellis with two others, but without Cave), which is very similar in style.

Personally, I'd also recommend everything by The Birthday Party, Cave & The Bad Seeds, Grinderman and the 'Death of Bunny Munro' audiobook soundtracked by Cave & Ellis as well, but maybe that's going to far. I'm reviewing one album and telling people to go out and buy dozens more. But in my opinion Cave is an awesome talent (he wrote the screenplay to The Proposition too), and Ellis is a wonderful composer and musician (and the main musical impetus for these soundtracks).

So yeah, musically five stars as always. Four simply for the fact that, as a fan, you always end up having to buy the same song twice. There's always iTunes I suppose...
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I have been meaning to put finger to keyboard about this for a couple of months: and at least part of the reason for the delay is the amount of time I have spent lost in the actual music. For this is deeply immersive stuff.
I had the first version of White Lunar and loved it so much I had to buy this updated offering with the extra disc of earlier recordings. The quality of the latter makes the pain of the repurchase more than bearable.
Cave and Ellis's soundtracks are wonderful things. I was never a big fan of the often erratic Bad Seeds or the abrasive Grinderman, but while elements of both can be found in these recordings the emphasis is generally on restraint. And as mood pieces go, these offerings rate very highly indeed. Too many soundtracks rely on flacid ambience or twee piano balladry, but there is none of that here.
Whether challenging or calming there is a consistency of atmosphere, melody and quality that is quite astounding. It all hangs together like one studio session rather than a collection from several. You simply have to own this.
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A strange album in that it takes the best from Jesse James and the Proposition OST- no bad thing and then it adds 6 tracks from the forthcoming The Road (the tracks have me dribbling over the prospect of that one.) Then there is a disc of unreleased stuff which is equally as good.

The music is absolutely 5 stars but I wonder who the collection is aimed at. I already own both the soundtracks above and assume a full soundtrack to the Road will be released also. Still, if you don't own any of this music and you aren't a mindless Chav then you owe it to yourself to listen to this wonderful and haunting music.
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Bought for my husband at Christmas. He loves Nick Cave and I was trying to find a CD he didn't have - not easy! This is a compliation of music written for films. My husband was very pleased with it.
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Had this album set for years and only recently watched the Assassination of Jesse James. Enjoyed the film, but it doesn't make best use of this soundtrack, and some cuts are plain criminal. Hard to pick a favourite on these albums, because the whole blends and flows so well. But with the thrumming base across the ticking clock theme, and its abrupt end, Moving On is simply magical.
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I'll spare the words... beautiful. The jesse james soundtrack is awsome, this pieces of music are even more.
Strong advise: Give yourself a treat this christmas: buy it.
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a haunting record, very glad I bought it, @ Cd's of amazingly thoughtful music, I love all Nick Cave is involved in.
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