Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke

Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke

The Insider: Music from the Motion Picture

Columbia / Sony Music Soundtrax

I missed The Insider in the theaters, but after listening to this impressive soundtrack, I’m definitely planning to rent the video. Lisa Gerrard (formerly of Dead Can Dance) and Pieter Bourke (formerly of Eden) composed most of the music, though they only perform two songs themselves, “Tempest” and “Sacrifice.” Graeme Revell contributed three short pieces that sound like what they are–filler. There are three other songs not composed by Gerrard and Bourke, including a special edit of “Rites” by Jan Garbarek (decent except for the awful smooth jazz sax) and “Safe from Harm (Perfecto Mix)” by Massive Attack (some seriously slinky dance possibilities and a way cool Motown-sounding guitar bit toward the end).

It’s the Gerrard/Bourke compositions that make this disc special, though. Subtle and inventive, with a wide range both in terms of dynamics and musical styles–from classical to dark ambient to tribal — The Insider beats hell out of the cookie-cutter soundtracks one hears all too often. Take the opening “Tempest,” for instance, which sets a paranoid “fight or flight” feel from the booming drums that start the song and harry it throughout to the whispering voices constantly in the background, cramming an incredible amount of percussive brilliance augmented by Lisa Gerrard’s strong, take-no-prisoners singing into less than three minutes. A feeling of foreboding doom pervades the next track, “Dawn of the Truth,” with strings and drums rising and falling on a throbbing ocean of all-encompassing, inescapable sound, but with a hint of hope glinting through in a chiming guitar line as the light of truth dawns. “Liquid Moon,” with its dark synth and electronic percussion, gives a similar feel of being surrounded on all sides, but by a warm, comforting darkness that washes away fears with bright moonlight dancing on gentle lapping waves. And “Exile” and “Broken” both do beautiful and unsettling things with undercurrents of dark cello and keyboards.

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