With nearly ever David Cronenberg collaboration, Howard Shore stretches his imagination into unexpected dimensions of inner madness, from the cathode ray synth sadism of VIDEODROME to CRASH‘s grinding metal and the slow-boil orchestral murder that accompanied A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE.
In the process, Shore’s found some truly interesting collaborators, particularly as he induced Ornette Coleman’s jazz madness for NAKED LUNCH. But for all of the bizarrely visceral qualities that Shore’s Cronenberg scores have exhibited, they’ve also shown surprising beauty, most recently with the Wagnerian analysis of DANGEROUS METHOD. Now on their fourteenth ride together, Shore’s hypnotic strangeness finds perhaps his most striking bedfellows for the Canuck madman, as the composer joins the Canadian band Metric in the backseat of COSMOPOLIS‘ stretch limo, all finding ample room to accompany a financial whiz kid’s ride to existential Manhattan hell.
Most of Cronenberg’s films take place in some strange, surreal world that might somehow be our own if not for a couple of quirks. In the case of COSMOPOLIS, it’s envisioning a car ride to the barbershop as a dialogue-driven twilight zone for prostate exams, sex and shoot-outs. But it might as well be a neon-lit trance club for the electric groove that Shore and Metric give the bad trip. Having previously worked with the alt. band on songs for the far more normal vampiric affair of the TWILIGHT entry ECLIPSE, the collaborators find equally sanguine trance rhythms for star Robert Pattison here, voices, electric guitars, moody beats and liquid melodies creating an environment of hallucinatory beauty.
There’s a real intelligence to the rock-alt. material here that goes beyond many indie star-composer collaborations. And though Shore’s often a composer of heavy-duty orchestral material, what impresses about COSMOPOLIS is how ethereal Shore’s work is, poetically waving its fingers through the fog of the character’s mind-blown ennui without solidly settling on anything you could discern as a traditional theme. As such, COSMOPOLIS‘ analog rhythms easily rank as Shore’s most accessible experimental score for Cronenberg, as well as his own boundary-stretching musical career. Consider this the far more pleasant version of CRASH‘s backseat rumble if you will.
Beyond hearing how well Metric’s sound can factor into a movie score, the band’s fans will certainly dig hearing their song “Long To Live” (joined by K’naan’s “Mecca”) on the COSMOPOLIS soundtrack – with their perceptions of Metric’s abilities doubtlessly in an altered state by ride’s end.
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