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Monday, January 22, 2007


Before today's CD review, I would just like to spare a moment to say how sorry I was to hear that David Wishart had sadly passed away. I first met David many years ago, even before he commenced his archival film music releases on the Cloud Nine label. He subsequently went on to work on numerous recordings for Silva Screen records, often writing the liner notes for their releases. The world of film music appreciation has lost one of its true champions.

Fur - An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
Music by Carter Burwell
Lakeshore Records LKS 338932
23 Tracks 47:22 mins

Fans of Carter Burwell's film scores will be very pleased to have this latest offering from the composer, written for a film, which I believe is something of a fantasy based on a photographer, whose name and work I am afraid I am totally ignorant of. The film does however star Nicole Kidman, so it is likely I shall see it at some point.
Burwell has written a small-scale score, only in that it is performed by a select band of musicians. In scope it is writ large, jazz tinged, but with much more to offer. Much of the music is piano lead, courtesy of Bill Mays' fine playing, and there is quite a deal of motion to it, base-driven, rhythmic and very percussive (three percussionists are credited).
Unfortunately, many of the tracks are quite brief, which makes for a fragmented listening experience and the more successful cues are the lengthier ones, where the music is allowed to develop, sometimes going through differing moods before reaching their conclusion.
The theme I most latched on to was the piano-lead jazz walker, first introduced in "Seduction." This theme is given a source-like treatment in "The Tea Party," and goes through a rhythmic, percussive development in "The Shave."
Other highlights include "Water Dream," which starts out somewhat menacing, before warming out on guitar and strings; "Stepping Out," a fine, jazzy mover; "Trap Door Party," which is busy, with a latin feel; "Transmission," which commences with suspenseful piano before blossoming airily; and "Into the Sea," which has a early warmth and an uplifting conclusion.
It's an interesting score, never dull, and very much in the composer's recognisable style, so if you're a fan of his music, what are you waiting for?
My thanks to Carter Burwell and to Stephanie Mente of Lakeshore Records for making this review possible.


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