Stoker

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Milan Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/12/2013

If you've seen Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain, or The Wrestler, you've already heard Clint Mansell's music. His work has quickly reached legendary status and his ability to pen sounds ranging from electronic to orchestral has further solidified his genius like creativeness. For his most recent work, Mansell aligned himself with Chan-wook park (my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Oldboy, Thirst) for a thriller, which in many ways has allowed him to make use of all the skills he's collected since his inception into film scoring.

Mansell isn't alone on this venture, though. The always-wonderful Emily Wells collaborates on a couple songs, while Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra are on hand and Philip Glass brings his piano to the party, er, nightmare. Together with the entire crew, they all emit electronic, acoustic, and chamber sounds that are simultaneously beautiful yet haunting.

After a quick sound bite from the movie, Emily Wells leads the disc off with a trip hop masterpiece, a dark and beat driven track that's both spooky and playful. From there, the tone leaps into tense cinematic mode, from hypnotic guitar work to sparse, orchestral templates. A quick whistling tune from Hudson Thames is thrown in to break up the chilling vibe, as is Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood's louder, quicker instrumental that sounds more geared towards a James Bond flick.

The second half of the soundtrack places much emphasis on pianos, from the dramatic "Becoming…" to the more lively Philip Glass contribution "Duet" to the stark beauty of "In Full Bloom." Giuseppe Verdi offers an opera track in with "Stride La Vampa," a much welcomed surprise, and Emily Wells helps close out the listen with the experimental and I imagine purposely cryptic "If I Ever Had A Heart.”

As with most soundtracks, you get some tracks that ultimately fall under background music. However, that's a very small portion of the music here as most of the songs with contributors could be singles and the work that's entirely Mansell’s is nothing short of spellbinding.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Milan Records, and is used for informational purposes only.