Mike Patton: Crank 2: High Voltage (Lakeshore)
Some folks can’t understand why people listen to soundtracks. “Without the movie to accompany it,” they ask, “what’s the point?” Yet it’s hard to imagine that seeing Crank 2: High Voltage would make its score more relevant or interesting.
This release is Mike Patton‘s first attempt at scoring a feature-length movie, but it isn’t his first foray into the world of movies. In 2008, he scored the short film A Perfect Place, whose outstanding soundtrack was twice the length of the film.
He voiced the monsters in I Am Legend the year before, and this summer, he will be voicing the Mixmaster character in the Transformers sequel. And then, of course, we can’t forget the masterpiece that his band Fantômas put out in 2001, The Director’s Cut, which was a series of experimental metal covers of classic movie themes.
One can definitely hear the influence of Fantômas at various parts in this score — especially the tracks “Chelios,” “Tourette’s Romance,” and “Carpark Throwdown,” but there’s so much more going on here.
Tracks like “Tourette’s Breakdance” and “The Hammer Drops” could have been tracks from any great electro/industrial band, with their crushing drumbeats and chunky, thick keyboards. “Massage Parlour” and “Hallucination” put you straight on a pagoda in the midst of an intense kung-fu stare-down.
“El Huron” and “Verona” have a spaghetti western feel. A personal favourite is “Chevzilla,” conjuring images of a big alien space ship grinding its way across the horizon. “Chickenscratch” gives us the weirdest, almost Butthole Surfers-like track, which could be the backdrop to a wild chase scene.
That tune is contrasted with the final track, the ethereal church choir “Epiphany.” It’s amazing that the same guy wrote all of this.
The beautiful thing about a soundtrack like this is that it conjures up so many different visuals for the listener, especially one who hasn’t been influenced by images from the movie. The opposite is analogous to having a favorite book, then seeing it made into a movie and subsequently always having that actor’s image in your head whenever you read the book again.
Gone is your image of what the person should have looked like; your mind has formed the lines on his forehead, the curve of his brow, the slope of his shoulders, the scowl on his face. All you have now is the Hollywood star, forever.
This music has taken me to spaceships, smoky blues caverns filled with drunken old men, dusty one-horse towns, porn sets, polka parties, ’70s newspaper buildings, scummy punk bars, and dark, horrific corners. Do I want to see the movie? Now that I’ve heard the soundtrack, what’s the point?
– Daniel Fuller