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Your favourite movie soundtracks #2: Alex Mcchesney on Lost In Translation

Posted: August 13th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Soundtrack albums, for the most part, exist just one step above the novelty record. Bought on a whim, spurred on by little more than the warm association with a flick you may have enjoyed, they often don’t survive more than one spin before being reconciled to the dustier regions of the record collection, itself only an intermediate step towards the charity shop. It’s surprising, therefore, that one of my favourite albums to be released in 2003 (and my most-played record throughout 2004) was the soundtrack to Sophia Coppola’s movie Lost In Translation.

Say what you like about the film. I’m a sappy bastard for whom Bill Murray is a cinematic icon thanks to an early trip to the flicks to see Ghostbusters. This, in addition to the standard geek’s fascination with Japan (not to mention husky-voiced girls in pink pants), makes it one of my favourites, but I’m not blind to its faults and wouldn’t try to defend it against a concerted critical attack on most fronts. Except that of Coppola’s choice of accompanying tunage, of course. Lost In Translation works as a soundtrack because its woozy, gently melancholy sounds echo the jet-lagged ennui of its characters. Lost In Translation works as an album because that thematic link keeps it from feeling like a random collection of tunes. That, and it contains Kevin Shield’s most substantial body of published work in years, while Squarepusher rubs shoulders with the Jesus And Mary Chain like a hipster’s wet dream.

Buy Lost In Translation in diskant’s Amazon.co.uk store

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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