Tindersticks – Clair Denis Film Scores: 1996-2009

January 01, 1970





Working with French director Clair Denis on six film scores
over the course of 14 years really changed Tindersticks, the Nottingham rock band
that seemed very moodily, literately British – Roxy Music elegance crossed with
Joy Division angst – when it started releasing albums in 1993. Now, a
much-changed Tindersticks seems more continental (bandleader/vocalist Stuart
Staples has a recording studio in France) and more like serious New Music
composers who selectively use rock when they choose, but have far more varied
interests and a great hunger for challenging collaborations. It’s a path other
arty British rockers have taken (Brian Eno, Pet Shop Boys, Jonny Greenwood) and
that the new wave of Brooklyn bands, like the
National, show interest in following.


Tindersticks, originally a sextet, actually disbanded during
the period covered by this set, with Staples recording solo records. The group then
reformed, but with just three original members – Staples, David Boulter
(keyboards and accordion) and Neil Fraser (guitar). Tindersticks early on
showed interest in orchestration, and the band has developed that forte
magically, yet ruminatively and cautiously, on these films scores.  Like Denis’ art films, which rigorously avoid
sentimentality, these scores never succumb to pretty lushness. They always keep
their introspective melancholy nearby.


Perhaps the best of the six scores, which has little traditional
orchestration, is for the 2008 film 35
Rhums (35 Shots of Rum),
which features both Staples and Boulter
prominently playing melodica, and Christine Ott adding touches of an early
electronic instrument called  Ondes
Martinet. Violinist Dickon Hinchliffe, who on his own is credited with the
score to 2002’s Vendredi Soir (Friday
confidently handles the stirring, yet not too stirring, violin and
cello arrangements (conducted by Lucy Wilkins) for that assignment. Hinchliffe
subsequently left the band to devote himself to scoring films, such as Winter’s Bone.  Staples handled the score for 2004’s L’intrus and it’s a hypnotic, vaguely Bitches Brew-like excursion into drum
loops, guitar and trumpet (Terry Edwards).


Overall, vocals are few and far between on these scores,
surprising since Staples’ foreboding, haunting baritone – and the lyrical
subject matter befitting it – is such a major part of Tindersticks’
non-film-score recordings. But he does sing the achingly, chillingly,
dirge-like romantic title song to Denis’ atypical sex-and-violence freakout of
a horror movie, 2000’s Trouble Every Day. The other films included here are 1995’s Nenette et Boni, last year’s White


DOWNLOAD: “Trouble Every Day,” “The Black



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