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REVIEWS - SOUNDS

Title:
This Is Your Life
Artist(s):
The Dust Brothers
El-Camel's Ratings:

Label:
Boilerhouse/Restless Records
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Reviewer:
michael white

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This Is Your Life soundtracks the harsh emotional terrain of the current Brad Pitt vehicle - Fight Club. The Dust Brothers' production factory - with its cut and re-assembly line technique - appears a perfect film foil for the ennui evoked within. However, despite the promised banquet this remains little more than a take away, albeit a very good one within its own constraints - feeding a need, though never satisfying with anything like the deep complexity of the square meal it perceives itself to be.

Fight Club is endemic of the soundbite generation: the Brothers' short sharp shocks - spread over a panorama of a relentless percussive throb - creating a suitably foreboding air of emptiness; matches the ominous and overdubbed, pseudo-philosophical musings of central character Tyler Durden (Pitt). Music and dialogue married in a morse code without which the message wouldn't be understood: alone or together both suggest far more than is ever realised. Making with all the right angles and moves - it's Ali bravado without the punch to follow. Moods are invoked; but it's a temporary phenomenon: the almost tangible cry of "next" echoes in a sub-conscious which is never engaged totally. Meaningless, self-important metaphors and mixing: it's the post-modern way.

Durden's chic/don't turn the other cheek buzzwords - aimed against the oppressive spiritual alienation of consumer/corporate dominated society - ring only in an empty head: "You are not the car you drive… You are not your fuckin' car keys… It doesn't get any better than this," all just hollow raging against the machine. You have a film soundtrack that ends up as a shining example of the vacuity the film itself seeks to criticise. There is a message there somewhere… just don't expect to find it addressed here. The issue is… it never goes beyond achieving a circular, self-reinforcing diversion - as such it's only a little more strident than any number of exhortations to party, set to a similar beat. Nor is it anymore 'profound' than spoken-word precursors such as - 'Sunscreen.' Both of which, this study in cool would fix with a haughty gaze, while no doubt looking down the length of a superior nose.

The extra tracks have also graduated from the same Don King school of knock-outs: combining unreality with a messy, unresolved sense of finality which is all about taking care of business. ''What Is Fight Club' is jerky trip-hop: a volley of disjointed punches, and a well-oiled though ultimately mechanical ring craft. 'Hit Me Again' - bleakly repetitive scratching and break-beats. It works as a slightly unsettling movie mood indicator: cut, frame, and cut again: functional and unquestioning beyond a suitably radical gloss. Film soundtrack? Car commercial? Hip muzak? It can be anything it wants to be in this cross-promotional world in which we live. Unfortunately, it seldom hits below the belt. It doesn't bruise the head or heart, or truly engage beyond the peripheral. We all know the score by now. It's music as we know it. Reflecting a barren cultural life as we know it. Though, if this is your one and only life it may be time you broke the snack habit.


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This Is Your Life
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