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CD: Arbitrage (2012)
Review Rating:   Very Good  

Milan Records

Catalog #:


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September 11, 2012

Tracks / Album Length:

25 tracks / (70:15)


Composer: Cliff Martinez

Special Notes:


Comments :    

For a drama propelled by moral conflicts instead of action sequences, Cliff Martinez’ score functions as an ongoing rhythmic track to keep the film and its dialogue scenes moving steadily, much in the way John Powell used assorted rhythmic textures for the courtroom drama Fair Game [M] (2010).

Martinez’ sound is unmistakable – fluid synth sounds that airily hover and morph into chimes and metallic tones; soothing bass tones; and rhythmic mobiles that pulse, click, and sometimes rush forward in furious clusters – and Arbitrage is exactly what fans would expect from the master of organic / cerebral electronic sounds, but one senses there weren’t enough dynamic characters or extreme conflicts within the film, making the Arbitrage music sound a bit familiar, like a best-of, package of sounds and concepts that support but never transcend its subject matter.

Milan’s crisply mastered CD features 47 mins. of score plus 22 mins. of source songs, but the score components feel oddly brief – perhaps due to Martinez’ knack for writing dreamy cues that seem to have no fixed time signature, length, or formal beginning / end. It’s still a satisfying album, but it lacks the attractive provocative qualities of his collaborations with Steven Soderberg, notably Contagion [M], Traffic, and his masterwork, Solaris [M].



© 2012 Mark R. Hasan

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