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Clint Mansell (featuring The Kronos Quartet) | Requiem For A Dream (Nonesuch)
Harrowing and suitably creeped-out, the soundtrack to Darren Aronofsky's sophomore feature is equal parts EM creature feature and chamber ensemble nightmare. Taking his cues from the darker ambiences of the Reznor school of synthtronics, Mansell's snippets scowl, brood or haunt their way around and within the Kronos Quartet's minimally sutured minor-key atmospheres. A number of themes established within the first ten cuts are enhanced, unravelled, exploded or truncated throughout the entirety of the CD, the first half of which is given a punctured, menacing tone, no doubt the result of indexing music cuts meant to be spaced on film. As the soundtrack gains speed, however, a lengthy sequence of interspliced motifs churn and develop in parallel fashion, creating an intense and fully realised atmosphere of despair, and an alienation of symphonic proportions. Soundtracks often have trouble standing on their own, but Requiem is one of the most powerful and self-contained soundtracks I've ever come across.
G. C. Weeks