Rat Film [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

Rat Film [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

by Dan Deacon


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Most people who are aware of Dan Deacon tend to associate him with the wacky, cartoonish side of his persona: the dance contests, the trippy green skull, the pitched-up voices, the videos for "Crystal Cat" and "Drinking Out of Cups." However, his roots are in electro-acoustic composition -- he earned a degree at the conservatory of music at SUNY Purchase -- and he's been highly involved with the contemporary classical world. His work has been performed by Bang on a Can and So Percussion, he's written music for chamber orchestras, and he performed at Carnegie Hall as part of a John Cage centennial tribute concert in 2012. After previously working with Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov on the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's 2011 thriller Twixt, Rat Film is Deacon's second feature-length film score, and the first to be commercially released. Directed by Theo Anthony, the film is a surprisingly poignant eye-opener that examines the connection between Baltimore's rat infestation and the city's history of segregation. Scenes of Deacon composing the score are incorporated into the film -- in order to write the music, he attached a theremin to a group of rats, and utilized data from recordings of rat brain activity. The soundtrack album opens with "Redlining," which begins with slow, sparse piano notes that frequently erupt into rapid clusters, bringing to mind the impossibly fast prepared piano works by Conlon Nancarrow, one of Deacon's primary influences. "Horn Phase" features a stunning array of Steve Reich-esque phasing patterns packed with a nearly overwhelming amount of tension. "Pelican" is a much smoother guitar-based piece that may or not be a parody of Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross." Pieces like "Reed Clouds" and "Seagull" are ethereal and slightly unsettling, while "Video Game" is nearly industrial, with a jagged, pounding rhythm and a cold sense of bitterness. "Harold's Lament" features visceral strings reminiscent of Tony Conrad, which gradually swarm up like a large group of rodents enclosed in a small, tight space. Even outside of the film's context, Deacon's score is fascinating, brilliantly showcasing his skill at crafting experimental yet reflective sounds.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/17/2017
Label: Domino
UPC: 0192152000127
catalogNumber: 20001
Rank: 157496

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