Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Stranger Than Paradise" Music From The Original Score - (1985)

John Lurie has never minded throwing curveballs at crowds, and his filmmaker pal Jim Jarmusch has made a career of doing so. When they got together for Lurie to act in and compose music for Stranger than Paradise (and, of course, Down by Law), the combo worked like magic. Lurie's aloof distance on screen was well matched with his own music for string quartet, much of it crossing wires between the eerie and the aloof. There's a sense of strangeness in the music, played wonderfully by the Paradise Quartet, with Eugene Moye eking every burnished texture under the sun from his cello. When it comes time to tackle the 16-minute Resurrection of Albert Ayler, the Paradise Quartet's violinists Jill Jaffee and Mary Rowell help set an atmosphere not unlike Ayler's Live in Greenwich Village band. With two percussionists, a kit drummer, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, Arto Lindsay on guitar, and himself on alto and soprano saxes, Lurie imagines Ayler's supersimple melodic sensibility correctly, as a launching pad for improvisation and expression. That said, Resurrection doesn't ultimately soar like Ayler but instead generates drifting clouds of low strings and percussion.

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