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Cliff Martinez

Narc [Music from the Motion Picture]

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Narc: Music From the Motion Picture collects Cliff Martinez' score for Joe Carnahan's cutting-edge police drama along with the trip-hop group Baby Namboos' "Provoked." While Martinez' ambient and industrial-inspired score goes a long way in setting the film's moods -- from the spooky, contemplative title track to the elegiac "Girl in the Closet," to the taut "This Is It" -- it doesn't have as much personality as his brilliant scores for Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, or (especially) the luminous, bittersweet Solaris score. That's not to say that Narc doesn't have its moments for Martinez fans: "Kick My Ass in the Morning" and "You Hit?" cleverly mix hip hop influences into his modus operandi, while "I Love You Baby," "Let's Sit On the House," and "Crime Scene" maintain the score's minimalism but still remain distinctive and melodic. It's just that a fair amount of the music is so sparse, and so tailored to crafting an ambience for the film, that it isn't quite as successful in other settings (though "Notice Anything Strange?" is an eerily accurate musical portrait of a bleak Detroit winter). Even so, Martinez' score is immaculately crafted even if it's somewhat less inspired than some of his other work. Fortunately, "Provoked" shares enough of the shimmering minimalism of Martinez' music that it doesn't feel out of place. Tricky's cameo on the track gives it an added depth, recalling his Nearly God material. Overall, Narc: Music From the Motion Picture is a contemplative, thought-provoking soundtrack, although it's not totally successful outside of the film's context. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi

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