Live Review: Clint Mansell

26 October 2015 | 10:17 am | Guido Farnell

"Mansell and his eight-piece band deal the hyperactive energy of Pi."

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Intent on aging gracefully, one-time Pop Will Eat Itself frontman Clint Mansell has left behind the youthful pursuit of the hard rock lifestyle and succumbing to the lure of tinseltown and is now an accomplished soundtrack composer.

The evening commences promptly at 8pm with Mansell and his eight-piece band deal the hyperactive energy of Pi. The drum and bass rhythms are a throwback to the late '90s and Mansell's first work for esteemed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. It's a lively start to evening, ahead of the atmospheric delights that await the excited crowd.  Proudly introducing selections from Duncan Jones' Moon, Mansell suggests that it was one of those rare films whose meaning really spoke to him. Mansell — who has worked extensively with the acclaimed Kronos Quartet — tours with his own string quartet which sprinkle a certain dreamy wistful magic into the mix. According to Mansell, Noah was a difficult movie to make and he really had to dig deep to find the appropriate accompaniment. There grandeur and drama in the majestically epic In The Beginning, There Was Nothing which is intended to sweep away in a torrent of sound. The soundtrack for Requiem For A Dream was apparently another one that was difficult to nail. Mansell reminisces that it was the first time he worked with the Kronos Quartet. Together they walk the line between wistful melancholia and savage drama that becomes all-consuming on the classic Lux Aeterna.

As the show progressives it becomes obvious that Mansell's filmmaker friends have provided him with a visually arresting selection of videos to accompany this evening's show. Peter Broderick's vocals are sampled into the mix for the pensive moods of Final Movement/Not At Home from Last Night. Cosmic vistas of the universe in psychedelic neon colours take us on a voyage of discovery set to the theme from The Wrestler that builds itself to a rocked out crescendo. Sounding a touch nostalgic and a little overcome with emotion, Mansell tells us that the soundtrack to The Fountain is something that has acquired much meaning to him. "You never know how long you will be here," he says. "Well, all I meant to say is: make sure that you phone your mum when you get home." 

As we're treated to three tunes from The Fountain, it is evident there is clearly great depth and emotion to this soundtrack. They spiral darkly and downwards to the unfettered brilliance of Death Is The Road To Awe. It's a spellbinding conclusion to an evening with Mansell that fans have patiently been waiting for a year since he cancelled on the Melbourne Festival last year. Our patience has at last been richly rewarded.

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