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CD: Pusher (2012)
Review Rating:   Very Good
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October 8, 2012

Tracks / Album Length:

26 tracks / (74:35)



Orbital (Paul Hartnoll, Phil Hartnoll)


Special Notes:

Released on CD, as a digital album, and limited vinyl LP.

Comments :    

Perhaps to maintain some stylistic continuity with Nicholas Winding Refn’s original film (not to mention the specific vintage electronic sounds in Refn’s 2012 hit Drive), director Luis Prieto’s remake features a rare full-length score by Orbital (brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll), the electronic dance music pioneers whose film work tended to involve remixing themes (The Saint, Mortal Kombat), or occasional collaborations, such as The Beach (2000) with Angelo Badalamenti, and more notably Event Horizon (1997) with Michael Kamen.

Orbital’s theme is more of a short groove which is regularly reinterpreted in dance, vocal, pulsing techno, stripped-down ambient chords, and elliptical feedback versions, and while that should make the album a bit schizophrenic, the lack of lengthy dramatic cues strangely works. Even when separated from the film, the score functions as a lengthy series of impressions, each tailored for a specific cinematic mood or action event, and for the most part it’s a succinct portrait of gradual mental disintegration.

Fans of the band will welcome the iconic sounds of the gear which manifested itself in countless soundtracks by composers equally versed in electronic instruments. From bopping beats, pulses, or the synthetic metal chimes in “Hoken Bar” which oddly recall bits of Goblin’s prog-rock The Heroine Busters (1977), this is a work that drifts through decades of sounds – organic and recreated – which themselves are reworked before the album’s upbeat final cue. The vocal cuts are part source and theme variations, and they add some variety to the album which otherwise offers a satisfying palette of cues in spite of the often brief lengths.

Easily a musical companion piece to Cliff Martinez’ Drive [M] album, Pusher should offer further film work to the scoring duo, given they’ve either collaborated on scores as Orbital (such as 2003’s Octane, with Simon Boswell credited in a supervisory position), or solo works. Phil Hartnoll’s own credits / separate collaborations include Cregan (2007 and Dummy (2008), whereas Paul Hartnoll lone effort so far is the slasher Tormented (2009).



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

_IMDB Entry______DVD Review______Composer Filmographies______CD Release History
_IMDB Detailed Entry__________Paul Hartnoll / Phil Hartnoll ______Composer Filmography/Discography at Soundtrack

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