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Best Movie Soundtracks

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ATL | 16:32 UK time, Monday, 8 March 2010

Last night seen the movie industry's annual pat on the back in the form of the Oscars. So we thought we'd have a look into the world of movie soundtracks. Pick the wrong music for a film, and it disrupts the whole experience. Then there's the like of John Williams terrifying Jaws score. It's hard to imagine anything else would have worked. So after a chat in the ATL Towers, we thought we'd share some of our favourite soundtracks. And it was a hard decision! We've naturally missed some jems, so let us know your picks!

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Pulp Fiction - Rigsy (ATL Presenter)
Pulp_Fiction.jpgIt's a desperately obvious choice, but the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction really is an absolute treat. Apart from some (very memorable) dialogue, there's nothing new on that CD - it's just a selection of mostly old tracks. But what a selection! Stuff I already knew by Dusty Springfield and Al Green was given a new (grizzly) spin while I was introduced to wee gems by Kool & The Gang and The Tornadoes. And that Urge Overkill cover of Neil Diamond is sublime, even without the vision of Mia Wallace doing that odd little dance. See also: Reservoir Dogs OST.

To Kill A Dead Man- Paul McClean (ATL Producer)
There was some discussion on whether this was applicable but stuff it, it's going in. Around the release of the seminal Dummy album Bristolians Portishead, whose music had very obvious film noir echoes, commissioned a short film from Alexander Hemming. I remember sitting up to watch Channel 4's 'Shooting Gallery' series until around 3.30am just to see this obtuse black and white espionage thriller and promptly fell asleep in the middle of it. Thankfully it's now available on the NYC DVD. The film itself features Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow et al but really the whole thing is utterly overshadowed by the music. It's a zither-filled homage to the likes of Lalo Schifrin. It's cheating maybe, but I love this.

Midnight Cowboy - Joe Lindsay (Alumni and Friend of the ATL family)
midnight_cowboy.jpgTo choose my favourite soundtrack is liken a parent choosing a favourite child in a way. As a kid I actually used to hold a tape-recorder up to the TV to record bits of film I liked, dialogue or music. My love for film soundtracks has never diminished and my 'favourite' list is ever-longer annually. Discovering Les Baxters soundtrack to Hells Belles was a revelation, John Carpenter's entire catalogue, Williams, Barry, Schifrin, right through to our own David Holmes. If I had to pick an all-time favourite it would be John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy. 'Curated' by John Barry and part composed by him, it marries theme music straight from the Western plains, through freak-out funk courtesy of Zappa co-horts Elephants Memory, twisted sunshine pop and Barry's Florida Fantasy, which accompanied my childhood from watching Johnny Morris' Animal Magic. And of course Nilssons Everybodys Talkin'. The whole aspect of Joe Bucks fantasy life and grim reality in one song...

Romeo + Juliet - Amy McGarrigle (ATL Content Assistant)
romeo-and-juliet-soundtrack.jpgFilm soundtracks have introduced me to new types of music; gypsy jazz from 'Chocolate', accordion/piano French folk of Yann Tiersons 'Amelie', the quirky world of Jon Brion's 'Eternal Sunshine...' and the absolute legend that is Danny Elfman being the only man mad enough to soundtrack Tim Burton's universe. But I guess if I have to pick one that soundtracked my life for a time, it would have to be the collection of songs that comprises 'Romeo + Juliet'. It wasn't too cool for skool, but instead had a great collection of pop, rock and disco tunes on one album. Radiohead, Garbage, Mundy, The Wannadies, Des'ree, Butthole Surfers etc. The anger of One Inch Punch to the ecstatic 'Young Hearts Run Free' to the delicacy of Stina Nordenstam's 'Little Star'. It's very much of its time (ie. 90s), but still stands as a great soundtrack.

The Darjeeling Limtied - Chris Jonston (ATL Trainee)
Darjeeling.jpgThis stands out for me for its peculiar mix of French themed mantras and its homage to Indian cinema. Peter Sarstedt's arrhythmic accordion ode 'Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)' has a prevalent presence throughout the film, and 'Aux Champs Élysées' is a jovial ending to the film.

3 tracks from The Kinks opus 'Lola Vs Powerman and The Moneygoround' and The Rolling Stones' slow-burning 'Play With Fire' added to the humid ambience of the film, but the clincher for me is the inclusion of the gorgeous piece 'Clair de Lune'. This soundtrack is the perfect backdrop for a film dealing with wanderlust, dysfunctional relationships and a loose python on a train.


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