Various Artists

The Jackal [Original Soundtrack]

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Just as the 1997 film The Jackal was an update of the 1973 classic The Day of the Jackal, so too does the accompanying soundtrack album update the sounds, stepping above the usual movie fare with a punchy, edgy, completely contemporary assortment of leading electronica artists who not only enhance the frantic pace of the on-screen action, but give the armchair listener a revved heartbeat as well. Kicking off with Fatboy Slim's "Going out of My Head," with its eye-catching samples from the Who's "I Can't Explain," the rest of the album reels out like some glitter-filled who's who. From Prodigy's "Poison" to the Moby mainstay "Shining," and from the Primal Scream classic "Star" to Black Grape's proactive pot-loving club hit "Get Higher," the usual suspects are fingered. But placing the set apart are a few surprises. Massive Attack's heavy, dub-tinged version of Siouxie & the Banshees' "Metal Postcard," "Superpredators," is an inspired inclusion. Originally only available as a B-side on their 1997 "Risingson" single, it becomes a welcome addition here. Elsewhere it's a refreshing dive into the otherwise unavailable BT/Richard Butler collaboration "Shineaway," while the Chemical Brothers wrap their remixers around the Charlatans UK's retro-rock "Toothache." It's not often that one comes away with the feeling that a soundtrack was compiled not only as a Zen match to its film, but also to serve as an important and incredibly cohesive record of genre -- of a moment in time. Utilizing a varied mix of some of the electronica field's finest artists, The Jackal certainly succeeds -- on both levels.

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