archive review – original appeared on the losing today site c. mid 00’s ….
MUSIC FOR MOVIEBIKERS
Absolutely perfect musical listening for these long sultry summer nights.
Kaada or more precisely John Eric Kaada has spent the best part of his career crafting award winning soundtracks for independent films released in his native Norwegian territory whilst to date finding time to release two well received solo full lengths one of which a collaboration with Mike Patton. With a press photo (presumably of the mysterious Kaada) whereupon he looks strangely (and worryingly) like Jason King with a hair trim and a ’tache with its own wilfully independent growth pattern you’d be forgiven for sniffing at ’Music for Moviebikers’ his third solo outing.
But you’d be wrong.
Arming himself with a 22 piece orchestra Kaada has perhaps created as seamless and perfect a soundtrack as to have never been conceived by Ennio Morricone – and believe you me I choose my words carefully here when I say think of the heartbreaking magnificence of ’Once upon a time in the West’ (as perfectly encapsulated on the opening ‘Smiger’ with its Roy ‘Get Carter’ Budd intro) meeting head on in a saloon bar ’Paint your Wagon’ dutifully re-scripted perfectly for shared consumption by both the Black Heart Procession and godspeed you black emperor. ’Music for Moviebikers’ is no mere cheapened Morricone copyist, this is a hard earned labour of love exquisitely dissected, re-drilled and re-interpreted, it’s greatest achievement served by the fact that Kaada has got beneath the skin, bypassed the foibles and headed directly towards the very essence of Morricone even observing the much overlooked minor detail of endowing each of the instruments with its own unique voice so that you get the doey eyed chimes, the inebriated banjo arrangements and the mooching exclamatory twangs of the guitar.
All at once captivating, enigmatic, haunting and sensual ’Music for Moviebikers’ parades about with the kind of enchanting romanticism you’d feared pop had all but forgotten. It never dulls in fact in truth it’s the first soundtrack I can ever recall whereby I’ve never once had the urge to press the fast forward button to skip past tracks I’ve considered nothing more than fillers. Each of the tracks here seductively fall into each other giving an unerring sense of quiet communication between themselves – best exemplified by ‘the Mosquito and the Abandoned Old Woman‘ and ‘Julie Pastrana‘ – the former gives account of itself by being bathed in a foreboding storm brewing resilience while the latter elegantly punctuates the sparseness with a desirable pastoral charged ‘calm after the storm‘ genteelness. Kaada never over reaches or neither gets blighted with self indulgence and it that fact that serves as his ace up the sleeve as it were.
Incorporating a delicious canvas of spaghetti western accents, 60’s noire-ism, ominous Sicilian extracts (just listen to the toy box appeal of ‘Spindle’ and ‘Birds of Prey’) and a glacial sheen, the compositions yawn, creak and uplift with a wide screened shanty like appeal that slightly beckon you in. The aforementioned ‘the Mosquito and the abandoned old woman’ has a similar ethereal resonance as bewitched Goldfrapp’s ‘Felt Mountain’ though here treated to the almost sinister vibe as ran through Add N to X’s ‘Add insult to injury’ like words through a bar of rock with the additional spectacle of a Monty Norman meets Link Wray to die for twang. The ploy is similarly recalibrated on ‘Daily Living’ with its Mexican stand off appeal being twisted and fused with a curious combination of sensual astuteness and the abstract nuances that flitted about Alex Cox‘s ‘Repo Man’ soundtrack. Elsewhere ’Mainstreaming’ is ’Hill Street Blues’ when the lights are switched off flirting with the Bronte-an elegance of fortdax then there’s the wonderfully drifting Gaelic appeal of the spectrally lulling ’No man’s land’ while the kooky ’In Hora Mortis’ leads out the set tucking you up ready for sleep with its disarming dreamlike collage.
What more can I say – just buy the damn thing.