David Holmes

Out of Sight [Music from the Motion Picture]

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Elmore Leonard stories are inherently stylish, as are many of the films based on his books. Unfortunately, that's not always the case with the soundtracks. Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino's adaptation of Rum Punch, was the exception that proved the rule -- a smart, unpredictable collection of '70s soul that captured the feeling of the film and stood as a great album on its own terms. Only a few months after Jackie Brown, another excellent Leonard soundtrack was released -- one that equals its predecessor in quality and, in terms of pure originality, exceeds it. For his adaptation of Dutch's 1996 novel Out of Sight, director Steven Soderbergh hired David Holmes, an Irish electronic musician, to provide the score. Holmes' albums have always sounded like soundtracks without a movie, but he's never had a chance to score a film. He runs wild with Out of Sight, creating an inventive, unpredictable soundtrack that stands with his own work. On his albums, Holmes cuts and pastes samples, found sounds and original music; it's a dense, layered sound that reveals more with each listen. On Out of Sight he streamlines his music slightly. The foundation is jazzy funk, spiked with techno and electronica. His music is so lively and diverse, it makes perfect sense when the soundtrack segues from originals into the Isley Brothers' "Fight the Power" or Willie Bobo's "Spanish Grease" or Mongo Santamaria's "Watermelon Man" "or Walter Wanderley's "One Note Samba" or Dean Martin's "Ain't That a Kick in the Head." Furthermore, Holmes knows how to incorporate spoken word into his music (as the riveting Let's Get Killed illustrates); he makes the practice of inserting snatches of movie dialogue that sound fresh and unpredictable. Then again, nearly everything about Out of Sight sounds fresh -- Holmes assembles familiar ingredients in new ways, and the result is a soundtrack that is every bit as ambitious and successful as his own albums.

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