Mysterious Skin is a recent independently-produced movie that explores the effect of childhood sexual abuse suffered by two boys and the consequences of their experiences in later life. Director Gregg Araki is keen to acknowledge the extent to which Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd’s ambient-style score adds to the overall nature of the movie; stating in the liner notes that he feels that the score is the “heart and soul” of the movie, with the movie’s “dreamy feel” coming directly from the music. Scottish-born guitarist/producer Guthrie, co-founder of The Cocteau Twins, and American avant-garde, minimalist composer/pianist Budd have collaborated to produce a score that has received widespread critical acclaim with the music being described as “meditative”, “ambient”, “sparse” and “hypnotic”.
Spread over fifteen tracks, the freedom given to the composers in producing this score is clear for they have composed a very personal score, free from any obvious influences and based around dreamy guitar chords, manipulated keyboards and percussion. Much of the score features repetition of small phrases – particularly on guitar – that induces an almost hypnotic trance in the listener (the early cue “Snowfall” is a good example). The use of a low-key synth “wash” that suffuses through cues such as “Neil’s Farewell” and “Childhood Lost” emphasises the ambient nature of the score. unfortunately though, as a listening experience, having listened to the first three or four tracks there’s not much more that’s new in the rest of the CD; cues with titles such as “Neil’s Farewell”, “Halloween” and “Brian’s Nightmare/The Unknown, Part One” all sound pretty similar even though the cue titles suggest that there’s going to a bit more musical variation. Read the rest of this entry »