Craig Armstrong

Film Works: 1995-2005

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Film Works: 1995-2005 Review

by Andy Kellman

Selected and sequenced to optimum (if potentially tiring) effect, Film Works: 1995-2005 anthologizes a decade of scores composed by Craig Armstrong, who jumped from Massive Attack associate to major film composer in a very short amount of time (though he did do less visible time in Hipsway, Texas, and Big Dish). The disc showcases Armstrong's primary strength -- his string arrangements -- but over the course of an hour, all the grand rising and measured receding can become draining and, as with a lot of film music, the pieces often fall into the background without encouraging deep listening. So it's no surprise that the pieces with more elaborate arrangements, involving drum loops and prominent use of Armstrong's piano, as well as vocalists like Liz Fraser and David Bowie, tend to leave the greatest impressions. Some Baz Luhrmann freaks may be perturbed that moments from Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet have been taken out of their original contexts, but the sequencing here is quite effective. Over a dozen scores are represented, from films as small as Plunkett and Macleane to as big as Ray.

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