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Baker's Dozen

Immersion Through Disturbance: Clint Mansell's Favourite Film Soundtracks
Kiran Acharya , May 14th, 2014 11:46

The former Pop Will Eat Itself singer turned film score maestro tells Kiran Acharya about the 13 soundtracks that have inspired him most

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Eraserhead_1400082028_resize_460x400

David Lynch, Peter Ivers and Fats Waller - Eraserhead
I first saw Eraserhead in the early days of Channel 4. It's one of those things like, what the fuck is this? Back in those days we didn't have home theatres like we do now - you can play your Blu-ray through five channels or whatever - so I bought the soundtrack album and used to watch the film while playing the soundtrack album through my stereo so I could have it as loud as possible. It'd just be going like pppfpffpfwowooom! I loved it. It's a world that's so imaginative and it's somewhere you can get lost and have ideas. Lynch always brings that to you.

Even in his own music that he's doing there's a weird normality that's just off, even when he's doing that twangy, bluesy, fifties, perfect suburban America-type of picket white fence thing. There's always a dark undertone to it. You've got that in Eraserhead but it's also there in Blue Velvet at the beginning where you see the red, white and blue of the fire truck coming by with the fireman waving, you've got the white picket fence, the blue sky… and then it sort of descends into the grass and we start hearing the dark underbelly of the world. It's so poetic, so imaginative and just so much smarter than somebody saying, "Something's not right here, in Perfecttown USA…" I love that stuff. I don't tend to listen to a lot of film soundtracks these days, because by and large they're not that interesting. But there are always certain ones - Jóhann Jóhannsson's score for Prisoners, which was my favourite of last year - these are outside the norm of accepted film music, if you like.


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issey
May 14, 2014 5:43pm

Clint is bang on the button regarding Alex Cox. Moviedrome was essential viewing for his introductions alone.

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Son of Mancini
May 14, 2014 6:19pm

no pink panther, or return of? or the great race?
i expected ghost in the shell... oh well. big mac, fries to go it is then

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Cat Vincent
May 14, 2014 7:11pm

"It reminds me in a very strange way of The Loveless. Like The Loveless, The Loveless opens very early in the morning in the American South, the trucks starting up, and it's really evocative! "

Er...

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Clint
May 14, 2014 7:48pm

In reply to Cat Vincent:

A little got lost in translation there,I think.The other film I was referencing was 'Smokey and the Bandit',believe it or not…also,a little of John Barry sneaked into Picnic at Hanging Rock.Somehow,I created some kind of mash-up with 'Walkabout'

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Johnny Nothing
May 14, 2014 10:35pm

Some excellent pointers. Much obliged, Mr Mansell, sir.

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n
May 14, 2014 10:50pm

i have never bought a soundtrack and never will .it is a load of toss.music in films is an unnecessary. evil..see Dogma 95..oh yeah ..the Pulp Fiction soundtrack for example..that sold like hotcakes and was a pile of shit

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Clive Langer
May 15, 2014 7:54am

Interesting,
The Wickerman soundtrack was one my main influences when writing the 'score' for Brothers of the Head.........funny old world! Thanks Clint.

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Clive Langer
May 15, 2014 7:54am

Interesting,
The Wickerman soundtrack was one my main influences when writing the 'score' for Brothers of the Head.........funny old world! Thanks Clint.

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Marshalsea
May 15, 2014 8:36am

Great interview.

I'm sure there's going to be a lot of "What about this one?", well, I'm sure we can all do this and we can all argue it til the cows come home. What I really enjoy is there are some I not only don't know of as scores, but also don't know the films either! Going to rush out and watch them in the next few weeks.

I think my favourite bit of the whole thing was the last block of text on The Parallax View, a brilliant moment of epiphany that has given us all access to a great talent.

Or maybe (having spent a large amount of time in Brierley Hill!) the contrast of Stourbridge to the South of France. This will be lost on US readers but made me smile. Ah the pork and stuffing rolls at Stourbridge centre... god I miss them now.

Although, I'm sure Clint loves rolling in the royalties and prestige he gets from Requiem For A Dream, I always find it quite annoying that it overshadows a lot of his other work, from the much maligned The Fountain (it's not that bad a film and Clints soundtrack with Mogwai is brilliant - shame it doesn't have the Antony and The Johnsons track on there as well) and to the real fringe pieces like World Traveller, mentioned here - it really is worth checking out the soundtrack, wonderful piece and the bonus track with the monologue is wonderful.

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May 15, 2014 8:43am

In reply to n:

You're confusing a Various Artists of songs featured in a film to the Score of a film. They are very different beasts and serve very different purposes. One is just filler, whereas one is there to aid and manipulate the mood of the listener. There is whole areas of science dedicated to how music works on a physical and a psychological level that these Score artists are tapping into.

Your view just highlights your ignorance... go away and do some some research.

To be so dismissive just shows a willful closed mindedness and a complete disrespectful nature to talent.

But hey, you're entitled to your opinion, even if it's completely wrong.

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Cat Vincent
May 15, 2014 10:18am

In reply to Clint:

Ah, that makes sense!

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Ian
May 15, 2014 1:54pm

In reply to issey:

Really interesting read and pointed me to a few films to check out.

I'd forgotten about Moviedrome. Used to love those intro's.

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mark e
May 15, 2014 5:56pm

isn't the story re the soundtrack to the wicker man just as insane as the film itself ?
pretty sure it was 'lost' until tape were recently discovered ..
that does not detract from the fact that it is one of the all time classics.
oh, and as for assault on precinct 13, well, its a stone classic, as your sampling mates, nasty rox inc clearly realised.

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Mark F
May 16, 2014 12:25am

Cradley Heath (!) Brilliant.

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May 16, 2014 7:56am

Surely it's time Moviedrome came back...Kermode to do the intros?

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May 16, 2014 6:48pm

Brothers of the Head is a absolute classic movie - with cameos by John Simm and Ken Russell- a real rock'n'roll tearjerker - so glad someone else likes it - and the ace soundtrack as much as me - at least theres two of us.

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Francois
May 16, 2014 8:15pm

I too saw "assault" late on TV in Ireland early 80's and was blown away by the soundtrack, imagine my surprise at a rave a few years later hearing Awesome 3's "hard up" which ripped the riff off

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Julia m. Turing
May 19, 2014 7:31pm

In reply to Francois:

If the music were up to me, I rather think that 'Gayne Ballet 3rd suite, 4th movement' quite fitting as it evokes great emotions depicting the loneliness and isolation Alan went through prior to his death. And 'Adagio for strings OP.11' by S. Barber would be very fitting for the scene showing Alan's death, provided that the tragedy of his death is at all in the script. I also liked very much the music used in 'Cast away' when, in the scene, he leaves the island on his makeshift raft and the island that kept him alive disappears behind a soft misty veil of rain showers. It was deeply emotionally moving to me, bringing a tear to my eyes, would go well in depicting deep loss which Alan experienced numerous times throughout his life.

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Paul
Jun 10, 2014 1:58pm

great list with lots of personal faves. your temporal experiences seemed so eerily familiar - afterwards I thought, this guy must be around the exact same age - sure enough you've got just under 2 months on me!

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Bonneville
Jun 20, 2014 12:06am

Clint is absolutely right with his views on The Loveless. I remember back in the late 80's, riding down from the Scottish Borders to the motorcycle Grand Prix in Donington. I started out around five or six o'clock on a beautiful, warm summer's morning. All the while, I thought about that opening sequence with Willem Dafoe in The Loveless. More so, when I stopped at a service station later on for breakfast.
The music from that film was a soundtrack to my little odyssey that day.

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G.
Mar 21, 2016 8:35am

BUT IT STILL AIN'T GREBO

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