July 23, 2010

Cliff Martinez – Solaris

Solaris, the original score for Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of the Stanislaw Lem novelCliff Martinez - Solaris (and earlier film by Andrei Tarkovsky), is a breathtaking combination of fragile electronic flickers and subtle orchestral flourishes. Cliff Martinez proves himself to be a master of texture, timing and restraint, as the pieces here are beautifully composed to present the ideal balance between light and shade, serenity and gravitas, security and eeriness. Without a single vocal track, zero percussion and generally quite little variation in instrumentation, the music of Solaris still extends itself from the gentle loneliness of “She Will Come Back” and “Is That What Everybody Wants” on through the cautious optimism of “Don’t Blow It” and finally to the emotionally gripping delivery of the album’s centrepiece, the ten-plus minute “Hi Energy Proton Accelerator.” The sparse, ethereal feel of the music allows Solaris to quite perfectly reflect the isolation, confusion and displacement felt by the film’s lead character, thus setting a mood that boasts plenty of emotional pull. Like many of the best soundtracks, it stands firmly as a great album in its own right.