Vinyl Vlog 307

Vinyl Vlog 307

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Thursday, 22 February 2018
COLUMN

Magnolia

Motion Picture Soundtrack and Score

Where does one even begin with a director like Paul Thomas Anderson? Where does one even begin with Magnolia? Yes, PTA has gotten the reputation of having his head up his ass. Does that have any merit? I don’t know. I do know that his movies are nothing if not thought-provoking, whether you love them or hate them. The man writes and directs his own projects and each of his movies are a unique entity onto themselves. He’s the real deal in that sense. You can’t pinpoint a style with him and you certainly don’t know what to expect with one of his films. After getting noticed for Boogie Nights, maybe the weirdest move for a writer/director would be to make a project like Magnolia.

Paul F Tompkins once described this movie as being “everyone in the phone book talks to each other.” In other words, Magnolia is about human relationships searching for happiness and forgiveness… at least that’s ONE way of describing this movie. Another way to describe it would be puzzling and long. PTA himself said on the WTF podcast that, years later, maybe Magnolia was a bit too ambitious and too long.

But we’re not here to talk about movies as much as we are about the soundtrack. But the reason I dwell on this movie is to contrast how straightforward the music and score are to such a large project. PTA has said that the movie was inspired by Aimee Mann’s music which makes up the first part of this Mondo collection of the Magnolia soundtrack, now available on vinyl for the first time. Listening to Mann’s tracks, they sound inescapably 90s, and quite cutesy and jazzy when compared to heavy nature of the film it’s complimenting. The score on the other hand, sounds every bit as dramatic and orchestral as one would expect from such a serious project. And as big and dramatic as the acting in this film. If you thought Tom Cruise and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were at the peak of their performances during Magnolia, I’m willing to bet the score played a part in elevating them. It’s just such a great compliment.

Mondo is not known for half-assing their releases and they weren’t about to start with their release of the Magnolia soundtrack. Here you get a collection that’s as grand as the film itself: collecting Aimee Mann’s and Jon Brion’s score in one collection. It’s on a gorgeous triple record as well as triple gatefold, on sky blue, ocean, and gold colored record and stunning artwork by Joao Ruas. This collection is as massive as the movie and takes soundtrack collecting to another level.

Get it from Mondo.

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