Friday, January 17, 2014

Music for Solaris: Two Versions (Artemyev (1972) / Martinez (2002)

I can feel the nerd purists seething already. My death warrant is being signed, right? Well, though this is not a popular sentiment, I love both these scores. I even think Soderbergh's remake of the original film has its good qualities. In case it wasn't obvious, you're hearing this from not only a Tarkovsky junkie, but a Lem junkie as well. Don't me misled, Tarkovsky took liberties with his adaptation of the novel just like Soderbergh did. Sometimes these things are necessary. Deal.

Artemyev's original score is simply bleak. There are scraping sounds reminiscent of live electrical wires, extended pipe organ deliveries and heavy tape edits. Its raw, stark and perfectly appropriate for the incredibly slow pace and visual aesthetic. This is a fine example of a thinking feller's soundtrack. No frills.

Martinez, however, had a tough job. This version of the film had a more traditional Hollywood, a film noir setting. Not only did he have to be more blatant with musical concepts but the consistent presence of melody was necessary to keep the ADD audience's attention. His string and synth pulsing-based style worked perfectly. It does blur a bit with Clint Mansell's work, but there's nothing wrong with that. Gorgeous melodies and great rhythmic scene development here.

Both these have been reissued on vinyl. Grip them soon. Check out both soundtracks below.

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