Lost in Translation
The film Lost in Translation was full of small, seemingly insignificant moments, random meetings and subtle resonance. A tiny two-person world was created in the midst of millions of unconnected people. Thank the soundtrack to this film for going some distance in making this possible. Droning, sleepy notes stretch out on album producers Brian Reitzell and Roger J. Manning Jr.’s tracks like perpetual jetlag behind the staticky, muffled snippets of Japanese dialogue that slowly succumb to the music. Electronic artists Squarepusher and Death in Vegas contribute subdued soundscapes that capture the futuristic/exotic feeling of Japan while still retaining the same tone as the disc’s opening tracks. Only Phoenix’s “Too Young”, Happy End’s “Kaze Wo Atsumete” and The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” break the instrumental melancholy and furtively embrace fleeting happy moments.
My Bloody Valentine leader and semi-hermit Kevin Shields provides four tracks: the fuzzed out, woozy pop of “City Girl,” the teary-eyed daybreak-beat of “Goodbye” and “Ikebana,” and “Are You Awake?,” with its clubland aroma of inhaled backwards guitar riffs. Air contributes “Alone in Kyoto” which features a nice combination of organic sounds (acoustic guitar, piano, wordless vocals) alongside the electronic Asian melodies.
As a general rule, soundtracks rarely hold together, especially when a number of different artists are used. But Lost in Translation is extremely cohesive. It is able to maintain an overall tone throughout while still allowing the personality of each contributor to show through enough to move things forward. It’s an album every bit as good as the film it comes from, and, just like the film, gets even better with reflection.
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