From Stranger than Paradise’s Screaming Jay Hawkins ‘I put a spell on you’, through to Ry Cooder’s haunting electric chainsaw feedback in Dead Man, music has been a key element in all the best Jim Jarmusch’s films.
His latest, Only Lovers Left Alive starring Tom Hiddleston and Imelda Staunton as Vampire siblings carries on this tradition, but for the first time (to my knowledge anyway) Jarmusch himself has an active part in creating the music.
Written together with Dutch minimalist composer and possibly the most famous lute player on the planet, Jozef Van Wissem the films soundtrack is a dark minimalist(ish) collection of arrangements that compliments the movie, but tellingly still stands up even without the films imagery to fall back on.
Yes, it’s weird, sparse and left-field, like a medieval Sonic Youth jam session, all plucking, candles and you can almost smell the incense. It’s Art-Rock at it’s nerve tingling-ly best and deservedly winner of the best OST award at Cannes last time around.
Just like Jarmusch’s cinematic pacing, the tracks are never in much of a hurry to reach wherever it is they are supposed to be going, instead they’re just enjoying the moment and the journey.
Hopefully hard-core Hiddleston’s fans will propel the movie into the mainstream and some will be keen enough to investigate this record too. Sonically it’s a portal to another universe equally as interesting as Loki’s heavenly abode (and far more peaceful).