This will be my first review of movie soundtracks so do bear with me as I kick things off with a double bill review for two very different movies. The first is the Cliff Martinez scored soundtrack for Arbitrage, which consists mainly of the film’s score – essentially variations on a theme, some subtle and others more pronounced in mood. Don’t get me wrong, I like the theme and wish it was kept whole instead of sometimes very short pieces of music. Perhaps that is how things are done for serious movie soundtracks, but what do I know?
This original work, composed and produced by Cliff Martinez (Drive), delivers a nice but fairly moody score which paints a sombre picture, with warm pads and swells across a spare but spacious melodic soundscape. The hypnotic central theme is in evidence across most of the original tracks especially on shorter pieces such as: After the Accident, Mistress, and I’m Sorry. There are a couple of full length tracks e.g. Just Go Away and Last Chance, which also offer up more of the same. In fact, by the time you scan sequentially through tracks 1 to 20, you’ll get the picture – no pun intended. According to the Director’s notes, (in the digital booklet of the soundtrack album), Cliff Martinez succeeded in capturing the essence of Robert Miller, the lead character, as a guy who exists “in a frightening place, filled with avaricious players of finance’s deadliest game, with cutthroat rivals lurking at every turn”. Several tracks of the Cliff Martinez original score were written with a couple of collaborators notably, Mac Quayle and the rather appropriately named Gregory Tripi.
The remaining tracks on the album are more ‘proper’ song tracks which feature the likes of Bjork on track 21, with I See Who You Are. Now this has a haunting, quirky and distinctively Bjork sound – definitely one for Bjork fans, but I don’t really get Bjork, so will say no more. Laura Palmers Prom (Track 22) by You Say Party!, is a playful 80s sounding electronic rock piece, boasting what feels like a sped up Twin Peaks sounding bassline.
The last 3 tracks offer mini excursions into the land of easy listening jazz. Track 23. Para Manuchar Meu Coracao is a beautifully laid back, Latino-jazz piece by Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. It’s perfect for that lazy Sunday afternoon in a tropical paradise or some posh old worlde hotel’s piano lounge. Track 24 – Just One More Chance performed by Billie Holiday is a classic bluesy / jazzy number from one of the royalties of American jazz and blues. Chilled out, mellow, with icy mojito to hand. Aaaaah. Finally, track 25, is the instrumental My Foolish Heart by Robi Botos. A mellowed out lounge lizard inspired concoction of piano, double bass, high-hats and light snares. It’s all good and I love jazz, what can I say. Go see the film and / or cop the last few tracks for good measure.