Saturday, December 20, 2014

Favorite Soundtracks of 2014

As a record collector, i am a constantly evolving devotee of whatever niche gets my blood pumping at the moment, whether it be obscure psych rock bands, releases from underground punk labels, or private press oddities.  The last couple of years has seen my collection of vinyl soundtracks and film scores virtually explode, as i hunt down hard to find original pressings and pick up all of the wonderfully and lovingly made reissues.  The film score revival is in full bloom right now, and i could not be happier.  So, here are my top 5 soundtrack releases for the year, both old and new.

5. The Visitor by Franco Micalizzi
As usual, Mondo did a bang-up job of putting this release together, from the beautiful Jay Shaw artwork to the mastering of Micalizzi's bonkers score to Michael J. Paradise's bonkers 1979 movie.

4. Ms. 45 by Joe Delia
Joe Delia's haunting piano-based score to Abel Ferrara's 1981 revenge flick finally saw it's first official release this year thanks to the good folks over at Death Waltz and cover artist Alice X. Zhang, and it is absolutely criminal that it took that long.

3. Looper by Nathan Johnson
The score for Rian Johnson's 2012 film comes courtesy of his cousin Nathan Johnson, and consists of an often cacophonous mix of small orchestra and sampled and processed percussion effects.  At times it's unsettling, at others beautiful, but it pairs perfectly with the film.  Oh, and Mondo's release is absolutely gorgeous, a gatefold LP with a cover of gold bricks wrapped in a burlap sack designed by the ever-amazing Jay Shaw.

2. Only Lovers Left Alive by Jozef Van Wissem and SQURL
It wasn't only a great year for reissues, we had some excellent scores to new films this year as well.  The score for Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive" features an amazing blend of experimental guitar playing and warped rockabilly performed by his own band SQURL and the amazing composer Jozef Van Wissem.  The album plays just like the movie...fucking cool.

1. Under the Skin by Mica Levi
I debated putting Mica Levi's wonderfully haunting and minimalist score to Jonathan Glazer's extraordinary "Under the Skin" on my best albums list, but held it out for soundtracks instead.  The music is all at once spellbinding and nightmare inducing and fits the picture perfectly.  It is mind-boggling that this is Ms. Levi's first film score.  She nailed it.

Next week, i will try to compile some of my favorite movies of the year...but i'm going to try to watch some more of them first.

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