Paul Schütze

Regard: Music by Film

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Schutze's early artistic success in his native Australia was as a film score composer, and the three major pieces on this CD ("Tiga," "The Tale of Ruby Rose," "The Last Tall Forests") plus an excerpt from a fourth piece, "D.E.M.," were presumably compositions for films. Much of Schutze's music on this CD can be loosely affiliated with the ambient genre, although the opening piece, "Tiga," aboots the gently overlapping keyboard patterns along with a subtle but propulsive groove. "The Tale of Ruby Rose" consists of 13 quite lovely ambient miniatures for synthesized keyboards, all wispy and ethereal in the best sense, with voicings that sometimes suggest mandolin choruses, and sometimes chimes, gongs and pipe organs. Schutze's ambient work, here and elsewhere, often has an edge, and seldom degenerates into sentimentality. The closest thing to new age prettiness in this set is the Harold Budd-like "In the Absence of Angels," but it is redeemed by a deep, underlying sadness. Another set of seven pieces, "The Last Tall Forests," relies more on long tones and deep reverb, but has a pervasive melancholy characteristic of Schutze's more muted work. The last piece in the set, "The Ash Plain," is downright scary, with a ponderous brass ensemble sound and ominous, thudding drums. The CD closes with "Shark Sex," a jazzy, floating piece with prominent electric bass and a slide guitar sound (however it's made), which is appropriately slinky and dangerous. A good collection overall, which shows off Schutze's keyboard versatility and ear for tonal color.

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