CD: Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

April 29, 2011 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label: Lakeshore Records/ Released: March 15, 2011

Tracks & Album Length: 19 tracks / (41:13)

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Special Notes: n/a.

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Composer: Cliff Martinez

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Review:

After laying low for several years, Cliff Martinez returned to a steadier stream of film scoring assignments between 2008 and 2011, and his latest release, Lincoln Lawyer, challenged the former Red Hot Chilli Peppers member to underscore a social drama.

Martinez’ approach is to score the hidden, to convey characters’ quiet thoughts before the Big Dramatic Hit, and it’s often the subtle cues that are the most interesting. Cuts like “Did I Get Frank Killed?” could be characterized as ambient New Age, but there’s a deliberate haunting quality that focuses on both the character’s worst fear, as well as the possible repercussions – virtues that save a director from elongating or adding additional scenes.

There’s also the use of rhythmic mobiles, pulses, drones, and textures, plus an array of sounds well familiar to the composer’s fans, but Lincoln has its own distinctive meat. The sustained electric bass notes from Traffic (2000) are readily apparent in the title cut, as are variations on the synthetic chimes which made Solaris (2002) one of the most beautiful, mournful electronic / orchestral scores ever written, but by giving Martinez plenty of room to score an entire film, Lincoln is much more dramatically satisfying than Wicker Park (2004) – a score that begins with such promise, and literally evaporates as cues never developed into more than perfunctory statements, or brief scene transition material.

There are stylistic similarities with Traffic, but Lincoln’s a more satisfying work because the cues are definitive dramatic statements, if not ethereal electronic clouds that cover a deeper range of character angst, and sense of success. A music-from-and-inspired-by song CD is also available.

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© 2011 Mark R. Hasan

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Related links:

DVD / Film:  Solaris (2002)

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External References:

IMDB Soundtrack AlbumComposer Filmography

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Category: Soundtrack Reviews

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