Release Date: Nov 1, 2011
Record label: Ipecac Recordings
Genre(s): Avant-Garde, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen, Film Music, Modern Composition, Original Score
The Solitude of Prime Numbers is director Saverio Costanzo's rather odd cinematic adaptation of the novel of the same title by Paolo Giordano. Mike Patton's soundtrack contains all of the music used in the film, and more that was rejected by the director; it also contains music inspired directly by Patton's reading of the book in the original Italian and in the English translation. All 16 titles on the disc are numbered by primes (it begins with "Twin Primes," as track two) and ends with "Weight of Consequences," as track 53) -- though all the numbers are ordered sequentially, with the non-titled selections flying by in silence in intervals of a few seconds each.
Having gone through the basic, surface-scratching math that the United States federal government suggests, I, like many, am familiar with the concept of prime numbers in the most simplistic fashion: prime numbers can only be divided by one and themselves. As the number line increases, the prime numbers become further and further spaced apart, which is why twin primes, or prime numbers separated only by a single number in between them, are so interesting. Beyond its mathematical implications, one could read into the twin primes a grander metaphor for a friendship, which is what Italian author Paolo Giordano did in his 2008 novel The Solitude of Prime Numbers.
Mike Patton has always been many things to many people: a powerful singer, an enigmatic frontman, an opinionated asshole, an underrated visionary, a record company founder, and so on. But one of the more recent musical excursions Patton has been undertaking has been in the role of film score composer. Along with his contributions to the soundtracks for A Perfect Place and Crank 2, Patton’s newest offering is the beautifully simplistic The Solitude of Prime Numbers.
Sometime in my mid-teenage years, a friend lent me his copy of Mr. Bungle’s self-titled debut album. The album completely rebuilt my musical skyline. From being subservient to a modest compass of marginally left-of-center pop music, the renowned Patton-led avant-rock band unequivocally oiled the works pertaining to all of my subsequent obsessions.