Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

    The Proposition Original Soundtrack


    make one thing clear: The Proposition
    is an original film score. Those expecting a new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
    or Dirty Three record may feel some measure of disappointment. The music
    accompanies The Proposition, the
    to-be-released feature film (screened at Sundance this year) that boasts a
    screenplay also written by Cave. It’s a western set in the nineteenth-century
    Australian outback; stars Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson and Danny Huston;
    and has all of the murder, heartbreak, and damaged spirituality that we would
    expect from the pen of Nick Cave.
    songs, too, have a feel about them that is unmistakably linked to Cave, but Warren
    Ellis, Cave’s partner on the score, leaves his own indelible mark. Ellis, a
    longtime collaborator and occasional band member of Cave’s, is responsible for
    the haunting violins that are the cornerstone of this soundtrack. Whether
    lurking in the background or beautifully ebbing and flowing as they do on “Queenie’s
    Suite,” Ellis’s playing is as much the star of the score as Guy Pearce is of
    the film.
    of what comprises The Proposition
    soundtrack is a jarring combination of Ellis’s traditional strings and an
    ominous drone. Imagine the work of Barry Adamson or Angelo Badalamenti with
    David Lynch, only with more of an embrace of period instrumentation. The
    majority of songs are purely instrumental, some with only a moan or whisper
    floating just underneath the surface. Cave doesn’t even utter a word until the
    sixth track, “The Rider #1.” The album closes with “The Rider Song” and “Clean
    Hands, Dirty Hands,” a pair of songs that are slightly more in keeping with
    Cave’s Bad Seeds output. As a film score, The
    is undeniably successful at establishing mood, setting, and
    context. Its audience lies somewhere on the path between the art-house and the
    Virgin megastore.

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