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Swordfish - Paul Oakenfold - Soundtrack

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Genre: Soundtrack / Artist: Paul Oakenfold / Explicit Lyrics / Audio CD released 2001-07-16 at Ffrr

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      10.10.2001 03:19
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      Soundtracks are a little bit dodgy in my opinion. In most cases, they re simply an excuse for the movie companies to squeeze that little bit more money from the film they are promoting. And as a result, I find that they can sound a little half-arsed. Soundtracks appear to come in two varieties: 1. The compilation soundtrack - where they simply gather a few tracks together from a variety of artists, and put them onto a CD. They may have a few previously unheard tracks from a few artists on there, but these are usually half-arsed filler tracks designed simply to satisfy the people compiling the soundtrack. The rest of the tracks will come from artists' previous albums, normally quite obscure tracks that will add to that half-arsed feel. Examples: Godzilla, Tomb Raider, Bridget Jones' Diary. 2. The other kind - produced mainly by a single artist or band (or whatever). These are usually the more obscure soundtracks, as they don't contain enough 'hits' to appease the masses. However, although these are usually of a higher quality, they still have this half-arsed feel to them on the whole (unless they are classical-style soundtracks produced by Hans Zimmer or whoever, because they have nothing better to do with their time). Most bands would rather be at work on their new album or touring, and as a result, the soundtracks they produce are likely to be more rushed than their normal work. Air's Virgin Suicides soundtrack is one example, Hans Zimmer's Gladiator is another. The soundtrack I am writing about also fits into this second category, because although there are some tracks that were originally produced by other artists, there is one single DJ/producer who seems to have overall influence. the man in question is Paul Oakenfold. So you can imagine that the type of music in question on this soundtrack is going to be dance music of some kind. Paul Oakenfold is quite a well-respected DJ, and I can't imagine anyone w
      ho hasn't heard at least one of his productions, even if you hate all kinds of dance music. The Big Brother theme tune? That was his work. Well, partly, at least. To be fair though, I have said of the second category of soundtracks that they don't contain many 'hits'. However, some of the tracks on this CD have been 'hits' in a certain capacity. Muse, N*E*R*D, and even Afrika Bambaataa are featured on this soundtrack, although Paul Oakenfold has applied his touch to them, with mixed results. Now I admit, I have not actually seen the film 'Swordfish', so I cannot tell you how the music relates to the film. However, to be fair, this opinion is about a CD, not a film. The CD is an entirely different product to the film, and I am going to treat it that way. Just because a film is good or bad does not necessarily mean that the soundtrack is the same. The soundtrack begins with an intro, which is mainly John Travolta talking in character over some synths. And if all of the characters are as arrogant and self-righteous as this, then I know I am not going to like the film. "You know what the problem with Hollywood is - they make shit. Unbelievable, unremarkable shit." This seems to me to be an ironic statement, which means that the film is probably shit itself, but as I said, we're not talking about the film here. This intro merges into the next track, Dope Smugglaz's 'The Word'. This in my opinion is the best track on this CD. Jarring vocals that sound like a chain saw cutting through metal, dark synths, and a continual vocal sample through the track gives the track a very uneasy feel. The breakdown in the middle is excellent. Next track on the CD is the Paul Oakenfold remix of Jan Johnston's 'Unafraid'. I have always liked JJ's vocals, and the distortion on her voice only adds to how good this song is. This is not your typical trance record, either. For a start, a
      break beat is present, and although trance elements remain, it is the difference in style which sets it apart from most of the music that you hear in clubs. At this point, I was thinking that this is going to be a great album. But not all of the tracks are up to the same high standard of these tracks. Track 4, 'Dark Machine' is the first Paul Oakenfold creation (i.e. it is not just a remix). It also contains the first traditional 4/4 dance beat, but I am not a great fan of this track, partly because some of the effects remind me of the Big Brother theme tune, which is a massive put-off. Apart from that, it simply doesn't appear to do anything much. The word filler was invented for this track. This however, merges into a complete butchery of Muse's 'New Born'. The original is one of the best rock songs of the past few years, but Oakenfold has remixed it into a mediocre God-Is-A-DJ-style trance record. I admit, it's probably because Oakenfold removed the incredible guitar riff at the end of the first verse that I don't like it, and I can understand that it would not have fitted in with the rest of the soundtrack, but all the same, I couldn't help but be disappointed with this remix. 'Chase' follows this, and although it is no more original than the last two tracks, the suspense built up by the persistent bass line at the beginning puts me in the mood for this track. Essentially, it's the same style as 'Dark Machine', but less irritating in my opinion. It is however, another trance record, and not a particularly innovative one. More of John Travolta's arrogant insights follow, but this time they are mercifully short before the next track begins, 'Kneel Before You God' by Lemon Jelly. This is a very short track, but it marks a change (at least for one track). There are even guitars in this track, shock horror. But it still retains the soundtrack's rather eerie, drug-induc
      ed atmosphere. N*E*R*D's 'Lap Dance' follows this. This marks another change in direction towards hip-hop, but for once Oakenfold's remixing improves the track, retaining most of the key elements of the original but still managing to make it a lot funkier. It's a shame that this has to be followed with the poorest track on the CD, 'Speed'. The breakbeat's OK, the synths are OK as well, but the formula 1 racing car effects are completely unneeded, and ruin the track for me. However, the next track forces me to forgive Oakenfold - 'Planet Rock' by Afrika Bambaataa vs Paul Oakenfold. This track should be horrible, but for some reason it works. Incidentally, not only does this track contain extensive samples of 'Planet Rock', which in turn contains a sample of Kraftwerk's 'Trans Europa Express', but in addition, Oakenfold has lifted a sample from Puff Daddy's 'Public Enemy 2000', and yet he still manages to make the track sound like the Big Brother theme tune (again) in parts. But even that doesn't put me off in this case, partly because the two samples work together so well. This is one of my favourites on this soundtrack. 'Stanley's Theme', I assume, refers to one of the characters in the film, and it appears he has a pretty good theme, although, according to the samples, "He sure don't look like much". I don't know - I haven't seen the film. But the track is pretty good, if unremarkable. Beginning with a Chemical Brothers style bass line, basically, it is more techno (albeit good techno) over a break beat, with a few samples from the film thrown in, such as, "Too bad, you gotta die.... Just f*cking with you Stan". The track that follows it, 'Password', is basically more of the same, and at this point it begins to get a little predictable and boring. However, the Omaha mix of Patient Saints' 'On Your Mind' inject
      s a little bit more life into this soundtrack before the end, with some dark trance. Although a traditional 4/4 beat isn't original in the slightest, this track brings a welcome change to the break beat sounds of the previous tracks which were by that point getting a little stale. The final track, 'Get Out Of My Life Now' by Paul Oakenfold and Amoebassassin (?) brings the style back to the breakbeat-meets-techno sounds of the previous few tracks, and to be honest, although on its own it is a fairly good track with slightly distorted, claustrophobic vocals, by this point you are a little tired of it. So, a bit of a mixed bag. However, overall, I did enjoy listening to the soundtrack, if it was a bit too long (I never thought I'd say that). I couldn't help but notice, though, that most of the tracks on the album that were purely Paul Oakenfold productions (i.e. they weren't remixes) were fillers. If someone other than Paul Oakenfold had been producing, then the album could have been great. True, some of Paul Oakenfold's work was impressive on the album, but a lot of it, in the true tradition of soundtracks, was half-arsed. It took the work from the other artists involved in the album to transform this album from the mediocre to the good, and for that, this album loses two stars. I'm certainly not disappointed with it on the other hand, and as I saw it at CD-WOW for 6.99, I would recommend it to anybody who likes electronic or dance music. However, any Muse fans should steer well clear.

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Swordfish - Various Artists
      2 Word - Dope Smugglaz
      3 Unafraid - Johnson, Jan
      4 Dark Machine - Oakenfold, Paul
      5 Dark Machine - Muse (3)
      6 Chase - Oakenfold, Paul & Christopher Young
      7 Dialogue - Harry Houdini
      8 Kneel Before Your God - Lemon Jelly
      9 Lapdance - NERD
      10 Speed - Oakenfold, Paul
      11 Planet Rock - Bambaataa, Afrika & Paul Oakenfold
      12 Stanley's Theme - Oakenfold, Paul & Christopher Young
      13 Password - Oakenfold, Paul
      14 On Your Mind - Patient Saints
      15 Get Out Of My Life - Oakenfold, Paul & Amoebaassassin