"Pola X" soundtrack Barclay /Universal Music 547 608-2 1999 (55:46)

The Time is Out of Joint ! (1:08)
Light (3:20)
Meadow (2:09)
The Darkest Forest (5:52)
SMOG "Extra Blues" (6:03)
Never Again (1:26)
Fairuz "Iza Kana Zanbi" (8:53)
Giles Fournier "Trang Mo Ben Suo" (1:15)
Giles Fournier "Zai Na Yao Yuan De Di Fang" (:59)
The Church of the Apostles (5:53)
Bombupper (1:39)
River of Blood (1:22)
Sonic Youth "Blink" (5:21)
Running (1:56)
Closing (1:49)
Isabel (6:51)

How ironic is it that Scott Walker, the man best known for his voice and reclusive nature, has of recent written primarily instrumental work and made several appearances?  Walker has been busy the past year with "Only Myself to Blame" on the latest Bond movie soundtrack, two songs for the latest Ute Lemper album "Punishing Kiss" and curator of this year's Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in London, as well as a 'Dance Project' score for said event.  And now this soundtrack, the first major new release from Walker since 1995's rather difficult masterpiece "Tilt".  "Pola X" is a French film (with English subtitles) based upon the Herman Melville novel "Pierre", directed and co-written by Leos Carax.  The basic story is a young author meets his long lost sister and they begin an incestuous relationship.  The soundtrack is composed and produced by Walker, a serious cinemaphile, with 5 tracks by others, and is peppered with dialogue and sounds from the film.  Of Walker's 11 tracks, 34 minutes total, about half feature the Paris Philharmonic as orchestrated by longtime Walker keyboardist / arranger Brian Gascoigne.  Most of these are brief string compositions, beautiful and foreboding.  The remaining Walker tracks are short sound effects / dialogue / sample collages (Walker even samples his own "The Cockfighter" in the opening track) or similar to those found on "Tilt":  bizarre barrages of guitar and percussion.  "The Church of the Apostles" in particular builds a frenzied attack for nearly six minutes.  "Never Again" is a minute of swirling noise slabs interspersed with a heavy duty beat and ragga rap ... possibly the oddest thing Walker has ever done.  Walker's material really whets the appetite for the always on the horizon new 'album in progress'.  And now for the rest of the disc.  "Extra Blues" by SMOG is just plain tedious with inane lyrics and dreadful half spoken / half-sung vocals.  "Iza Kana Zanbi" by Fairuz is nearly 9 minutes of swooping strings and hand percussion, chanting and female/male wailing with a bit of a gypsy vibe, very cinematic and entertaining.  Tracks 8 and 9 are throwaway bits of Vietnamese karaoke.  "Blink" by Sonic Youth is a wonderful surprise as I'm not normally a SY fan.  Kim speak-sings seductively over an ambient mix of drone, very light percussion, guitar taps and pluckings.  Unfortunately, I'm unable to experience this soundtrack within the intended context of the film as I've never seen it (and probably never will), but overall most of it does hold up well on it's own.  Though, the $24 import price will likely keep most away, save for Walker and Sonic Youth fanatics.  Walker is currently at Meltdown through July 2nd and the film is due out in the fall ...

Pola X
"Montague Terrace" Scott Walker fan site

Where did I get this cd? - mail order via Riouxs Records.

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