Music For Films

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“Phillip Johnston has been charming and perplexing audiences for over twenty years with his lyrical music and ascetic wit. The mastermind behind such bands as the Microscopic Septet and the Transparent Quartet, Phillip has spent much of the past five years composing music for films. From silent classics by Georges Mèlies and Tod Browning’s The Unknown, to award-winning contemporary features like Music Of Chance, Phillip’s film music shows him to be a brilliant tunesmith and creative arranger with a sophisticated sense of the dramatic. Music For Films collects Phillip’s finest soundtrack work on one disc. A surprising and marvelous compendium of the best of one of jazz’s quirkiest and most delightful composers.”

“A series of short pieces set a variety of moods, from mournful introspection to waltzy vibraphone pop to upbeat, funk sassiness to the kind of trance craziness that only psychotic banjos can bring. On Music for Films, Philip Johnston shows off his amazing breadth and depth, with compositions for four films: Geld directed by Doris Dörrie; Money Man and Music of Chance both directed by Philip Haas; and Umbrellas directed by Henry Corra, Grahame, Weinbren, and Albert Maysles. The tracks are not entirely in order by film (for example, the songs from Geld are tracks 13-18 and 27-31), which makes it difficult at times to get an overall feel for the music of a particular film. The music within each film, however, is so varied that it makes little difference. This album has the kind of non-obtrusive beauty that makes film music great. It is easy to imagine it colouring a scene and helping to make it unforgettable, and difficult to imagine it distracting or overpowering one. This is a fine addition to Johnston’s work.” SP