Film scores

Soundtrack review: Arizona dream (Goran Bregovic – 1993)

arizona

 

The first composer I ever discovered was Goran Bregovic. I remember as if it were yesterday the moment when I found the bootleg CD of “Arizona Dream”. I had been looking for it ever since I heard “In the death car”. This was really back in the days when I had no idea about film scores and what they could mean. I had just heard a very nice track and I wanted to explore the rest of the album.

I hadn’t seen the movie yet so I wasn’t looking to recapture some feelings or relieve some sensations. But Goran Bregovic’s composition opened a different world for me. “Dreams” and “Old home movie” were gentle cues that made me think of a calm and sunny winter day spent at the country. A fresh beginning of a beautiful friendship, a memory in the making. The vocal songs were great as well. Iggy Pop, already a favorite of mine, was adding mystery and power to tracks like “In the death car”, “TV screen” or “Get the money”. I stopped after “TV screen” and played it again. And again. And again. I felt this wasn’t just a normal song. For the first time I was listening to a piece of music where the instrumental part was clearly outclassing the otherwise excellent vocal part. Normally the voice would dominate and shine but here…the story was in the background and the instruments were telling me all these stories and asking me to dig deeper and feel what they were communicating. The music was a snake fighting to escape from the confines of a vocal song.

Then suddenly everything got dark. In a split second the mood changed and I heard a track that threw me in the middle of dark woods full of haunting echoes. The instrumentation and mood of “7/8 & 11/8” remind me of American Indian incantations and peyote induced hallucinations. This cue is powerful and once you see the movie it makes a whole lot more sense. Same with “Death”, the other thick and heavy piece of this score. These two stirring themes feel like a hundred gypsy witches chanting and cursing at the same time.

“Arizona dream” was the first film music score I ever bought. I still remember the feel of that chipped CD case in my hand. It holds a special place in my heart for this and even 20 years later I go back to it with the same joy.

Cue rating: 94 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 46

Album excellence: 77%

Highlights:

In the death car – performed by Iggy Pop

Old home movie

TV screen – performed by Iggy Pop

7/8 & 11/8

Get the money – performed by Iggy Pop

Gunpowder

Death

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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