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X-MEN: SOUNDTRACK

"Michael Kamen may or may not be a genetic mutant. But as far as Iím concerned, the ease with which he demolishes stylistic boundaries defines him as a freak. The Kamen oeuvre, which ranges from arrangements for Metallica to neo-classically inspired scores like X-Men, unequivocally posits him among that rare breed of musicians who donít merely wish there were no barriers between genres, but ignore them as easily as a kid with a comic book ignores the press of dull reality.

On the surface, the X-Men score might not suggest a composer with one foot firmly in pop pond. There are no cheap ear-grabbers; no instantly memorable melodies or hummable motifs. But you donít team up with Bryan Adams for Oscar-nominated, radio-hugging ballads of the Everything I Do and Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman ilk without an overly-developed pop sensibility, and while Kamen is clever enough to embody it in sophisticated orchestration, his sense of entertainment value is undeniable.

Tense and menacing string arrangements can be terrific mood definers, without being engaging of their own accord. But Kamenís ominous orchestrations, even isolated from cinematic substance, donít simply evoke an ambience, they set the table and lay out a ravishing banquet for the ears.

Commencing with an oscillating piano figure that is as brief as it is unsettling, the macabrely titled opening cue, Death Camp, soon engulfs us in the menacing shadows of its dark and edgy strings. Then midway through, the stark atmospherics erupt in a terrible cacophony.

This is the nature of the entire soundtrack. There are surprises lurking on the other side of every chord and cadence. Frenzies of ascending scales, disjointed brass phrases, waves of strings Ė sustained and pulsing, fanfares and timpani, and an amalgam of classical orchestration and electronic rhythms (a sometimes perilous venture Ė it doomed Morriconeís Mission To Mars) that is utterly absorbing.

Devotees of comic-book culture would have us believe that their fetish deserves to be regarded as serious art. When it inspires music like this, Iím inclined to agree."
Brad Green

(August 30, 2000)

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REVIEWS

TITLE: X-Men (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

ID: 0289 467 270-2
Decca

COMPOSER/CONDUCTOR: Michael Kamen

PRODUCER: Micael Kamen, Stephen McLaughlin, Christopher Brooks

TRACKS: 12







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