Release Date: Dec 4, 2015
Record label: San Quentin
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen, Film Music, Orchestral
It has been a busy few months for Soulsavers. In October they released Angels & Ghosts, a collaborative effort with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan and now, just a month later, there’s another new offering. Those with a passing knowledge of Soulsavers will know them from their work with both Gahan and Mark Lanegan. The duo of Rich Machin and Ian Glover might have a fine track record when it comes to selecting vocalists to work with, but quite often the presence of such characteristic vocals pushes their creative skills into the background.
On Soulsavers' second release in 2015 (the first being Angels & Ghosts with Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan), they decided to go fully instrumental. Rich Machin -- one of the two Soulsavers -- found himself with a bit of an obsession with the films of Stanley Kubrick. Falling for the detail and mood of each movie, he decided to make an orchestral album inspired by some of the director's most famous works.
From the droog-inspired video for Blur’s The Universal to Frank Ocean’s sampling of Eyes Wide Shut, pop is steeped in references to Stanley Kubrick films. The sixth album by production team Rich Machin and Ian Glover aspires to emulate his movies’ atmosphere, its eight tracks named after Kubrick characters. Entirely instrumental, all woodwinds and strings, it is a sumptuous, often soothing set but too one-paced to be transportive.
There’s a major conceptual problem on this brief new album from the long-standing duo, who worked with high-profile vocalists previously but here go instrumental. While not wishing to ban conversations with existing artworks, an album of pieces inspired by characters from Stanley Kubrick films misses the point that the movies themselves are grand illusions, sectioning off parts of the characters’ otherwise deliberately elusive lives and constituting the entirety of what the director wants us to know about them. The brilliance of such filmmakers is to pull all the strings, with carefully selected music being a major part of that, and Kubrick was particularly keen to retain control.