Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

4.7 7

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Sofia Coppola's directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides, was marked by a deft use of music -- Air's richly atmospheric soundtrack and key '70s pop tunes were as elemental to the movie as the plot and the stunning visuals. For her second film, Lost in Translation -- written by Coppola and starringSee more details below


Sofia Coppola's directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides, was marked by a deft use of music -- Air's richly atmospheric soundtrack and key '70s pop tunes were as elemental to the movie as the plot and the stunning visuals. For her second film, Lost in Translation -- written by Coppola and starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as dislocated Americans in Tokyo -- the director works with moody, bittersweet collection of music from My Bloody Valentine mastermind Kevin Shields, Air, and others. Coppola again turned to music supervisor Brian Reitzell, who recorded original music and poached several evocative tunes for significant scenes. In fact, songs such as Phoenix's disco-retro ode, "Too Young," and Sebastien Tellier's aching, melancholy instrumental "Fantino" were specifically written into the script by Coppola, based on compilation CDs Reitzell had made for her. He also wrote some illuminating incidental music and commissioned a new Air song, "Alone in Kyoto," which suggests Art of Noise-goes-to-Asia, but the real news here is that Reitzell managed to coax Shields out of semi-retirement to record four new tracks for the film. Replete with Shields' trademark fuzzy guitar and multi-tracked vocals, the brooding "City Girl," an audio portrait of Johansson's Charlotte, lays waste to a decade's worth of anemic dream pop that followed in My Bloody Valentine's powerful wake. His three instrumental contributions -- the eerie, Eno-tinged "Goodbye"; the feather-light "Ikebana," quietly picked out on electric guitar; and the spacious, guitarless electro moment "Are You Awake?" -- underscore why this talent was so sorely missed. The soundtrack -- and the film -- end on a downbeat high note, with the Jesus & Mary Chain's classic noise-pop single "Just like Honey," though an unannounced coda of Bill Murray singing Roxy Music's "More than This," karaoke-style, offers a chaser that's more salty than sweet.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Sofia Coppola's impressionistic romance Lost in Translation features an equally impressionistic and romantic soundtrack that plays almost as big a role in the film as Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen do. In the film, Bob and Charlotte are able to stretch their instant connection as strangers in a strange land into something that seems to last longer and feel deeper because of their need to believe in a love like that; their relationship is a beautiful, fleeting little world unto itself, and the music that plays behind them emphasizes the romantic fever dream. The soundtrack's luminous atmospherics come from a variety of sources, but My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields leads the pack by contributing the Loveless classic "Sometimes" and four new tracks penned under his own name. A nearly perfect song from a nearly perfect album, "Sometimes" is so incredibly gorgeous, and so effortlessly accomplished, that in hindsight it's easier (if no less frustrating) to understand why Shields is so hesitant about putting out any new material in the wake of songs like this. However, while his new tracks don't reach Loveless' peaks, they're not intended to; open-ended pieces like the naïve, guitar-driven "City Girl" and the abstractly poignant, Eno-inspired "Goodbye" may be somewhat disappointing as songs (especially new songs from one of music's most reticent visionaries), but they work well as soundtrack material. "Ikebana" and especially "Are You Awake?" suggest some of the electronic forays that Shields wanted to explore with My Bloody Valentine before he stopped working under that name; while both tracks, particularly the latter, are lovely, they're so fleeting that it's hard to tell whether or not they really indicate a new direction in Shields' work. As worthwhile as Shields' contributions are, it would be a mistake to let them eclipse the rest of this fine soundtrack. Interestingly, many of the other pieces on Lost in Translation sound more like Shields' previous work than his own tracks. Chief among them is Death in Vegas' lovely "Girls," a slow-building epic that combines breathy vocals, deceptively simple guitars, and distant but powerful drumming in a way that evokes My Bloody Valentine but doesn't borrow from them too shamelessly. Likewise, the Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey" is nearly as swooningly romantic as "Sometimes." Sebastien Tellier's "Fantino" and Squarepusher's "Tommib" fit in well with Shields' work and also recall the work of Air, whose "Alone in Kyoto" is a smoothly flowing, Asian-inspired piece that reflects both their own sound and the film's setting. Ironically enough, Happy End's "Kaze Wo Atsumete" is the only song by an authentically Japanese group, but it sounds a lot like Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again, Naturally," which was used to devastating effect in The Virgin Suicides. Phoenix's "Too Young," a stylish re-creation of '80s soft rock, is another highlight from Lost in Translation, which works equally well as background music or as a way to replay the movie in your head (the hidden track of Bill Murray's drunken karaoke rendition of "More Than This" heightens this effect). Perfectly defined in its hazy beauty, this soundtrack loses nothing in its translation from a quietly wonderful movie into a quietly wonderful album.
Rolling Stone - Barry Walters
...Shields' new work is low-key, murky but richly atmospheric -- guitar feedback rarely sounds this pretty.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Emperor Norton


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brian Reitzell   Drums
Bryan Mills   Bass

Technical Credits

Bryan Ferry   Composer
Tim Holmes   Composer
Harry "Haruomi" Hosono   Composer
Bill Inglot   Mastering
William Reid   Composer
Brian Reitzell   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Kevin Shields   Composer,Producer,Engineer
James Reid   Composer
Richard Beggs   Sound Design
Rob Kirwan   Engineer
Jean-Benoît Dunckel   Composer
Nicolas Godin   Composer
Richard McGuire   Composer
Takashi Matsumoto   Composer
Jill Meyers   Music Business Affairs
Lance Acord   Cover Photo
Phoenix   Composer
Tom Jenkinson   Composer
Sébastien Tellier   Composer
James H. Brown   Engineer
Miles Murray Sorrell   Cover Design
Roger Joseph Manning   Composer,Producer
James Brown   Engineer
Bryan Mills   Engineer
Daniel Hersch   Mastering

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