Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - White Lunar CD Review (Mute) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - White Lunar CD Review (Mute)

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - White Lunar CD ReviewNick Cave and long-time The Bad Seeds/Grinderman/The Dirty Three collaborator Warren Ellis have released a hauntingly beautiful 2-CD set of predominately instrumental soundscapes. This set is compiles tracks from various soundtracks that Cave & Ellis have scored over the last five years along with four previously unreleased pieces from the Cave & Ellis archives.

Disc One contains selections from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), The Proposition (2005), and the forthcoming The Road (which is based on Cormac McCarthy's novel of a father and son's trek across a vast wasteland in the aftermath of global catastrophe). While the song arrangements are fairly minimalist, Nick Cave winds piano melodies around Warren Ellis' violin to create a warm but desolate landscape. Cave sings on "The Rider Song" and provides whispered vocals on "The Rider No. 2" (both from The Proposition) and both of these songs could easily fit with later-day material from The Bad Seeds.

Disc Two is a bit more eclectic and perhaps schizophrenic; it contains material from two lesser known documentaries along with the four tracks from the vaults. The two documentaries are The English Surgeon (2007) which traces Dr. Henry Marsh's struggle to bring neurosurgery to post-Soviet Ukraine and The Girls of Phnom Penh (2009) which is an investigative documentary of sex workers in Cambodia's "virginity trade". The material on this disc is claustrophobic, urban and (at times) intense. The four vault tracks fit within this musical structure and all of the tracks are named after craters. While all of the tracks are solid compositions, "Daedalus" is one of the more interesting as it segues from a sunny flute and piano-driven piece into a jagged hidden-track instrumental.

While instrumentals never seem to get a lot of repeat play, this set may well replace Sunn O)))'s Monoliths & Dimensions in my late-night listening queue.

Nick Cave