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"Solaris OST"

Release date: 16 December 2013
Cliff Martinez – Solaris OST
04 December 2013, 11:30 Written by Slavko Bucifal

Cliff Martinez has had a storied and diverse career. He is known as one of the original drummers of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, an experience which landed him in the rock and roll hall of fame. Most recently, Martinez is best known for his work with film scores including 2011′s Drive which saw major success in the US. Solaris (2002) also saw critical success and the soundscape for that film is a brilliant, unifying part of the overall narrative – or at least that’s the thinking for Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, who’s reissuing a vinyl version via his Invada record label.

And really, why not? Cliff Martinez has created a soundscape that pays tribute to an earlier version of Solaris (1972) whose soundtrack, composed by Eduard Artemiev, was equally compelling. Solaris OST has no trouble standing alongside other celestial ambient offerings such as Brian Eno’s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. Though notably lighter in consciousness than Eno’s darker foray into space travel, there is a delicate, ethereal quality in the soundtrack that certainly captures the loneliness and isolation of space and provides a eerie haunting feeling for the psychological intensity of the film.

But Cliff Martinez’ work on Solaris is not reliant on the film the way the film relies on the music. This is very much an excellent stand alone ambient record, hence the reason for the re-issue. For about 46 minutes, the tracks ebb and flow into each other while maintaining a steady, almost meditative pace; the differences from track to track becoming an exercise in subtlety. The muted strings, synths and soft, percussive Orff type sounds are careful to avoid any intrusions or harsh edges throughout most of the record. The ambient swirls and smooth textures often generate a constant, slightly uncomfortable sort of energy. As a complement to the movie, Solaris OST feels like you are floating in the corner of the universe. On it’s own, the soundscape is a journey inward to the most secretive parts of your subconsciousness; a further recognition that the film and score are inseparable as the plot really deals more with the human psyche and less about actual space. The album can be fully enjoyed without watching the film simply because you would be hard pressed to pick out particular motifs that resonate with certain parts of the narrative. Rather, Solaris creates a symphony of ethereal minimalism capable of a transcendental listening experience.

Solaris OST is music for humanity. It is a refreshing to hear a movie soundtracks delivered without the gusto or crescendo typical of Hollywood. Of course Solaris (2012), which is based on Stanislaw Lem’s classic novel of the same name, is far from a Hollywood story. So it is fitting that its soundtrack searches to invoke exploration within and from afar.

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