Harold Budd / Robin Guthrie

Mysterious Skin

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A director seeking a spare, evocative, and highly ambient soundtrack would be hard-pressed to find a better duo than ex-Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie and minimalist composer Harold Budd. Such was the case for director Gregg Araki, who got Guthrie and Budd to score his thoughtful drama MYSTERIOUS SKIN, a story of young adulthood based on the novel by Scott Heim. Those familiar with Guthrie's work with the Cocteau Twins or Violet Indiana will recognize his reverb-soaked guitar work, and fans of Harold Budd (whose collaborations with Brain Eno, in particular, are essential listening for ambient fans) will find much to appreciate here.

The opening track, "Neil's Theme," seems to float in a liquid amber, with textural washes of synth and a simple repeating keyboard line twining with Guthrie's guitar. On "Childhood Lost" a ghostly piano plays a spare, plaintive melody while synth-produced sonic atmospheres swirl around like veils. On "Twilight," Guthrie's guitar pierces up through the spectral gloom of Budd's synth treatments, replicating a forbidding twilit landscape to perfection. The soundtrack plays as a piece, with a moody, yet darkly alluring mood prevailing throughout. The soundtrack to MYSTERIOUS SKIN should please fans of ambient, post rock experimentation, and smart, well-executed film music.

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