Album: Adaptation: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Adaptation: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Artist: Carter Burwell
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Label: Astralwerks / Emd

Adaptation reunites Carter Burwell (of Coen brothers renown) with director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman, the creative team behind 1999’s Being John Malkovich, with equally noteworthy results. Although selections like “The Unexpressed Expressed” lean heavily on romantic strings, Burwell’s harmonic progressions rarely culminate in obvious resolutions, mirroring the frustration of the film’s protagonist, a screenwriter struggling to translate a nonfiction work into a workable screenplay. Less predictable timbres propel other cuts—”The Evolution of…

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Adaptation reunites Carter Burwell (of Coen brothers renown) with director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman, the creative team behind 1999’s Being John Malkovich, with equally noteworthy results. Although selections like “The Unexpressed Expressed” lean heavily on romantic strings, Burwell’s harmonic progressions rarely culminate in obvious resolutions, mirroring the frustration of the film’s protagonist, a screenwriter struggling to translate a nonfiction work into a workable screenplay. Less predictable timbres propel other cuts—”The Evolution of Evolution” marries kalimba and steel drums to Duane Eddy-style twang guitar and sly bass licks—and, as with Malkovich, the music of Adaptation often feels as though it were emanating from the murky ocean depths or the mechanized bowels of Big Ben. The disc is book-ended by Fatboy Slim’s mercifully low-key “Adaptation” remix (essentially the vibraphone and harp vignette “The Writer and the Crazy White Man” plus a drum loop), and the Turtles’ 1967 hit “Happy Together,” a somewhat incongruous conclusion to Burwell’s dark, riveting score. —Kurt B. Reighley

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