MP3: Regarding Susan Sontag (2014)

January 14, 2015 | By


RegardingSusanSontag_MP3Score: Very Good

LabelLakeshore Records

Released:  December 23, 2014

Tracks / Album Length:  24 tracks (60:15)

Composers:  Laura Karpman, Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum

Special Notes:  Available digitally (Dec. 23, 2014) and on CD (March 10, 2015).





Having not seen the film, the impression of Laura Karpman (Galapagos Affair, The: Satan Came To Eden) and Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum’s score is of a documentary that drifts and smashes between collages of stills, film, and other media, with sound design twirling around the music cues with abrupt twists from experimental, jazz, free jazz, and a collision of all three, with maybe a little sound effects (like car horns in the riff on “Well You Needn’t” in the cue “A Real Bookstore”) worked in.

The connective tissue of the score stems from components of a string quartet which are at times wistful and light (as in “Being 24 – A Loss of Personality” with minimal appearances by woodwinds); breezy and elegant in the jazzy “Paris”; wry and playful in the Latin-flavoured “Remarkable People,” with its hard turns from tango to a slight digression with layered brass; and as initial conveyors of melodic material before feedback and metallic resonance take over in tracks like “On Photography.”

Sontag is not a jazz score but a collage of musical styles tied to jazz standards, and the composers’ original material that pulses and echoes, thunks and grinds. (“New York City” repeatedly wafts between lounge piano, cool string bass, free jazz brass wails, and grinding sounds.) It’s also a score where sounds rise and vanish into silence, allowing dissonance or warm chords to briefly serenade the listener before a refreshing switch to percussion or dissonance that flitters across the stereo image (“Everything I Remember is Dear”).

As an album, Sontag is neither inaccessible nor mainstream, but a peculiar and often haunting work in which bits of idioms manage to co-exist for fleeting moments, leaving the listener hungry for more.


© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



Additional Links:
Editor’s Blog — Composers on IMDB: Laura Karpman / Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum  —  Composer Filmography: Laura Karpman

Select Merchants: — BSX — Intrada — Screen Archives Entertainment

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Category: Soundtrack Reviews

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