Tuesday , November 28 2023

Music Review: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – ‘Wind River – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’

Wind River - Original Score by Nick Cave & Warren EllisThis 23-track digital soundtrack from Lakeshore Records and Invada Records has a total run time at approximately 44 minutes and 33 seconds. It’s a powerful, haunting experience full of memorable movements, ebbing vocals, and surprising emotion.

Wind River was directed and written by Taylor Sheridan and stars Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal, Kelsey Asbille, and Graham Greene. This action crime thriller centers on the investigation of a mysterious murder of a local girl on a remote Native American reservation. (Note: Yours truly did see this movie before reviewing this score. Also, some of the track titles might spoil the film if you haven’t seen it yet – go see it soon).

The themes, tone, and movements mirror the isolation in this quality film very well. The stringed instruments haunt and almost torture the listeners at time. The long movements stretch the emotions to unique experience full of extended emotion.

Beginning tracks like “Snow Wolf,” “Tell Me What That Is,” “First Journey,” and “Second Journey” help establish the tone and foreshadow some dark and melancholy events in the film. Listeners feel attentive but not depressed throughout the soundtrack, and Cave & Ellis build toward incredible movements essential to the film and memorable moments for any listener.

The quiet strings are still distinct enough to portray this emotion, especially in the second song “Zed,” which begins with a violin that blends with piano, keyboards, and other strings that layer this western film genre-evoking piece so well. The fifth track, “First Body,” features a cue as movements enter and leave like spirits with sustained keyboards and light percussion.

Inserted voice segments establish meaning for the audience with artistry that equals the music. The 17th track, “Three Seasons in Wyoming,” demonstrates the haunting effects of the vocal work best in the following:

“Far from your loving eyes
In a place where winter never comes
Far from your loving eyes
Alone among the wind I run
Far from your loving eyes
Alone among the wind I run
I return to this place
And close my eyes again”

Audiences get a great sense of Native American history along with the emotional tones. The 10th track, “Meth House,” chilled me to the core without any visuals; then I was affected even more by the recollection of the film’s visuals in that memorably tragic sequence with themes that permeate today’s society like never before.

The pulsating keyboards and other modern instruments pack an amazing emotional punch. Tracks near the end like “Shoot Out,” “Snow Fight,” “Survive or Surrender,” and especially “Memory Time” easily bring listeners to tears. Just as the film, the audience never experiences the heroic victory of justice – only endurance to the point of agony and the sombering end of suffering.

Cave and Ellis impress with their continued collaboration in this memorable body of work, which comes highly recommended. This musical score for Wind River reflects the winter wilderness and local environments as well as the character’s actions. It is a carefully mediated blend in a memorable soundtrack that’s one of the best this year, especially when allowing yourself to emotionally surrender to these poignant works. It is also available on CD and vinyl.

Track listing

1 “Snow Wolf”
2 “Zed”
3 “Tell Me What That Is”
4 “First Journey”
5 “First Body”
6 “Second Journey”
7 “Breakdown”
8 “Never Gonna Be the Same”
9 “Hunter”
10 “Meth House”
11 “Bad News”
12 “Third Journey”
13 “Second Body”
14 “Lecture”
15 “Corey’s Story”
16 “See You Tomorrow”
17 “Three Seasons in Wyoming”
18 “Cabin”
19 “Shoot Out”
20 “Snow Flight”
21 “Memory Time”
22 “Survive or Surrender”
23 “Wind River”

About Tall Writer

Love writing, media, and pop culture with a passion and using them in meaningful ways.

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