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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Dead Man Soundtrack: Preview of Le Noise?

With so much discussion and speculation on the sonics of
Neil Young's upcoming Le Noise album produced by Daniel Lanois, it seemed like a good time to rewind back to another electric solo adventure: the Dead Man soundtrack.

This also revisits discussion back in 2007 of Neil having a new tone on the Chrome Dreams II tour and the followup on some of the technical details on his signature style made us consider one his most distinctive and evocative sonic creations for the 1995 film Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch.

From an interview with Neil Young on FRESH AIR (25 March 2004) by Terry Gross:

GROSS: You did the score for the Jim Jarmusch movie "Dead Man." Did you--did that teach you anything about the interaction between music and what's on the screen?

Mr. YOUNG: Well, there are some similarities between "Greendale" and "Dead Man" because the approach that I took to the--they're kind of off-the-wall similarities, but they are nonetheless--the approach that I took to doing the score to "Dead Man" was I went back to--the concept was that "Dead Man" was basically a silent movie and that, you know, in the old days, in the '20s and stuff, when they had theaters, there'd be an organist or a piano player who would play along with the film, and that--and you'd get subtitles and the live music and that was it. So when I did the score for "Dead Man," I had the film projected on TV screens, and I had, like, about 20 TVs all around me, big ones, little ones, tiny little portables, and wide screens and everything hanging from the ceiling in a big semicircle all the way around me. No, in full circle. And then I had my instruments inside the circle.

So the instruments were always close enough for me to go from one to another, and they were all set up and the levels were all set, and everything was recording. So the film started, and I started playing the instruments. So I watched the show--I watched the film go through, and I played all the way through live. I'd put my guitar down and walk over and play the piano in the bar when there's a bar scene. I played the tack piano. Then when that scene was over, I'd walk over from the piano and go play the organ for another scene and then--a little pump organ I have, and then I'd pick up the electric guitar again and get all my distorted sounds out of that to go with the Indian drums and the things that were happening in the film. And basically, it was all a real-time experience.

Also, see more on the film Dead Man and an interview with director Jim Jarmusch on making the soundtrack with Neil Young. Also, see "Jim Jarmusch on working with Neil Young and use of music in film.

And if you can't wait for Le Noise, you may want to check out the Dead Man soundtrack, in the meantime if you haven't already.

Pre-order Le Noise by Neil Young on (Thanks! You'll be supporting Thrasher's Wheat. NOTE: International readers, use country "flagged" Amazon links in right sidebar to ensure credit to TW.)

FWIW, pre-orders for Le Noise by Neil Young is already ranked has #40 #38 on Bestseller listing.


At 9/04/2010 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

i don't get the comparison.

At 9/04/2010 01:42:00 PM, Blogger sugarmtn said...

The assumption is both have Neil playing solo electric guitar without a band.

At 9/04/2010 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Worthless Recluse said...

Since Dead Man, I've always hoped that he'd do more of that. From comments so far, I'd expect the sound to be fuller and more complex than Dead Man, but it's hard to imagine exactly what it'll sound like from the way Lanois described it.

This reminds me I should make myself an edit of the Dead Man soundtrack without the dialogue as I'm sure some others have already!

At 9/04/2010 10:01:00 PM, Blogger ShittyHorse said...

What a great movie! I think Jim Jarmusch once described it as an Acid Western, perfect description. Having Neil contribute is like the icing on the cake- somehow it was the perfect movie for Neil's guitar.
I think these two projects are kinda like polar opposites of the same planet. Dead Man for the most part lacked the song structure, and obviously, no vocal.
Solo electric can only be pulled off by certain people. Many times it falls flat- one performer I witnessed, whom I can't recall, had me cringing the entire time. Neil has done a superb job of it so far but I also believe the shortness of the shows and the album (35 minutes?) is for a reason. Electric is so different from acoustic. Electric guitar without bass and drums may come off ostentatious on a long song- one man noodling away? Neil has done it right I think.
I have a feeling that Le Noise will receive many more spins on my turntable than Dead Man. The new songs are undeniable and I cant wait to hear them fleshed out somewhat, on the album.


At 9/04/2010 11:24:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Ditto Shitty!

At 9/05/2010 01:44:00 AM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

So the Dead Man soundtrack has the dialogue?? Hum.. Didn't know that. I have the movie. I guess I would rather just go ahead and watch the movie rather than just listen to the dialogue. I thought the soundtrack would be just the guitar work.


At 9/05/2010 02:31:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

The solo accoustic/electric performances on the 'Twisted Road' tour certainly a testament to Neil's ability to carry a song without the need for support from a band and I suppose thats the whole point. However, on the record, I can't help but wonder what the songs would sound like accompanied by a band of sorts. These songs are among some of Neil's finest and could be destined to be classics if not relegated to some experiment. I wish the 'sonics' were provided by Crazy Horse instead of Daniel Lanois.

At 9/05/2010 07:28:00 PM, Blogger RockyDaSquirrel said...

I agree with BigChief in that we all know what we want from Neil. Aside from his 'artistic freedom', usually it's been a tradition that he ends the decade with an album that eliminates any doubt that he has lost the magic that drew us to him in the first place. We as his fans are probably the most patient and long-suffering,and devoted bunch of followers than any other artist can boast of. As for me, I gladly spend my hard earned dollars on everything he puts out and its been that way since the beginning. Once in a while, however, I expect him to throw us a bone. After some less than stellar releases over the past several years, this bone should come wrapped in a bow! Hopefully,working with Daniel Lanois will reignite the creative juices needed to restore the confidence in those of us who feel he has been just going through the motions lately ... just sayin'

At 9/05/2010 10:45:00 PM, Blogger Muskie said...

First I love Dead Man, I own the movie and the Soundtrack. I saw it in the theater in Ottawa during their film festival.

Anyway in a recent issue of the Georgia Straight, the weekly Arts and Entertainment newspaper in Vancouver BC Canada it talked about a local musician and scene constant. He works at "Not just another guitar store" and plays in a local band "Spoon River" he also likes vintage gear.

He was trying to find some 70s distortion pedal, but it just couldn't be had. So he and another fella set out to build one. They made a prototype and then about 30 more. Through various channels they made sure Daniel Lanois and Neil Young got one each.

Daniel Lanois asked for two more...

They formed a little company, it has no website, you basically can't get there stuff as it is handmade in their spare time, but they'll probably start up a list.

I'm not saying this pedal was used on Le Noise, but I am saying it is convenient this story came out in the local paper about two weeks ago and Daniel Lanois and Neil Young are working together and supposedly Neil has a new guitar tone...

Just saying I don't know nothing, but I could get off my ass and walk up Main Street and ask him if he's in the shop... I've seen his band play a couple times, I know people who know him, type of thing...

At 9/06/2010 01:14:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don't know much about sonics but I wonder if Le Noise is going to sound anything like the guitar on the original Times Square version of Box Car. I know that song has other instruments, not just guitar, but I don't think I've heard that reverb effect (if that's the right word) on any other of his songs. It's quite beautiful.


At 9/06/2010 10:59:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

We have no choice but to trust in Neil's instincts when it comes to his signiature guitar sound. Him and D.L. must have really come up with something special for all the talk about 'sonics' and 'tone' that hopefully it will reignite his passion for playing and inspire those creative juices to flow and in that we all win!

At 9/07/2010 09:56:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

The dialogue included on the Dead Man soundtrack goes along with the music, IMO - it's meant to be there, as a sort of poetic spoken word over Neil's playing.

Call it a Neil Young / Johnny Depp collaboration.

Some of the dialogue is actually, IMO, fantastic and spiritual and beautiful sounding over that huge, lonely guitar soundscape.

At 9/08/2010 04:16:00 PM, Blogger rkennke said...

sandyhorne: The Dead Man soundtrack not only has dialogues from the movie, it also has several poems (of the original William Blake) read by Johnny Depp specially for the soundtrack -- they don't appear in the movie at all. It also has plenty of weird noises, stuff that sounds like cars or such. Definitely a sonic experience.

At 9/09/2010 05:16:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

Thanks Matt & Rkennke. I love having this site to get this kind of information. Thanks for sharing.


At 9/25/2010 01:34:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

It's a masterpiece ...

From "Auguries of Innocence"

"...Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day"


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