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The Midnight Meat Train Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Review)

The Midnight Meat Train Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Review)

August 25, 2008 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook The Midnight Meat Train Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

Recently, OSV hosted an interview with Jason Hayes, Gerard K. Marino, and Justin Lassen, regarding a song written for The Midnight Meat Train, a horror film based on the short story by Clive Barker. Now, we have a review of the 14-track album featuring all-new remixes and arrangements from Justin Lassen.

After the jump, the detailed review awaits. Be ready for some deliciously horrifying sounds!

Justin Lassen has been on the scene, doing remixes of music for pop and/or rock acts of all stripes, for many years now. He got our attention at OSV by collaborating with game music composers Jason Hayes (World of Warcraft) and Gerard K. Marino (God of War II). With the song “Nacatl,” Lassen took a powerful, imaginative bit of work from Hayes and Marino and turned it into something even stronger to suit the mood of the film.

Today, we take a look at the whole soundtrack. Here’s the tracklist, for your perusal:

(all track titles end with “Justin Lassen Remix” in parentheses…it’s a Justin Lassen joint, y’all!)

#. artist / title
1. Iconocrash / Strange, Strange Dark Star
2. Breaking The Jar (f/ Blind Divine) / Whenever We Come Back
3. Manakin Moon / Blue Hands
4. Three Dot Revelation / Today’s Remains
5. Apocalyptica / S.O.S. (Anything But Love)
6. SLVTN / Dismemberment Express
7. ALU / Recluse
8. Robert Williamson & Johannes Kobilke / Leon’s Obsession
9. Second Coming / Great Big Sleep
10. Illusion of Order / Briton Load
11. Jason Hayes & Gerard K. Marino / Nacatl
12. Penetrator / Scabs
13. Digital Dirt Heads / The Human Condition
14. Robert Williamson & Johannes Kobilke / End Credits

The tracklist shows that Lassen isn’t afraid of a little diversity. The Williamson&Kobilke tracks are remixes of themes from the film’s original score (that is, unlicensed music written for the film), and of course the Hayes&Marino track was also written explicitly for the film. The rest of the artists, however, fall somewhere on the pop/rock spectrum, either well in the middle or on the far fringes. From “symphonic metal” to “radio-friendly rock” to even “industrial noise,” Lassen can handle it. These remixes are all stellar.

If there’s one thing I can say about Lassen, it’s that he is a man of his convictions. To quote the man (from our recent interview), he said the following about the nature of remixes in the current music scene:

Who else is getting sick of hearing Braveheart and Pirates of the Carribean and other movie themes redone as trance songs on original motion picture soundtracks? […] Most people think of 4-on-the-floor stompers, radio-cuts, adding a beat, a few synthesizers, and change-of-tempo and voila! A remix. But why? This is so 1980s thinking! It can and should be much more than that today, with the exciting tools available to remixers around the world and seemingly unlimited ideas in the well today!

Lassen’s integrity shows on this soundtrack. He doesn’t bother with cheap shortcuts, and I think the last place you’d hear this soundtrack played is on the dance floor. Not that there’s anything wrong with dance music, but that’s not the spirit one would attempt to convey for a horror film, unless it’s some sort of sick, macabre “ritual sacrifice” dance we’re talking about! Instead, Lassen carefully carves out the pieces of the music essential to the remix, then adds a fair amount of his own musical ideas to the mix (not just percussion! Lassen composes melodies too!).

Being the soundtrack to a horror film, it was Justin Lassen’s sworn duty to turn even the more radio-friendly songs (“Today’s Remains,” “Recluse”) into something cryptic and frightening. And he did a great job at doing just that.

As for the more natural fits, such as Hayes’ and Marino’s “Nacatl,” Lassen’s skill is shown in a more subtle way. Dynamic variation, additional percussion, and yes, some classic cut ‘n paste, help make the remixed version fit the mood of Clive Barker’s all-too-horrifying tale perfectly.

My personal favorite remixes on this album appear back-to-back: Penetrator’s “Scabs” and Digital Dirt Heads’ “The Human Condition.” Lassen told us that he admires Penetrator’s work, and has remixed his music before. Even in its original form, this song was a great pick for the soundtrack to The Midnight Meat Train. As for “The Human Condition,” the lyrics fit the story so well, so it was another great choice for the soundtrack. Lassen’s remix, now less subtle than on other tracks, hits you like a train (get it?).

Honorable mention goes to Lassen’s remix of SLVTN’s “Dismemberment Express.” The original track is simply horrifying, and it proves that “noise” can be a form of music. What Lassen did to make the song even more powerful is one of my favorite techniques in the world of arranged music: add voice clips. I was first exposed to this technique in Motoi Sakuraba’s Valkyrie Profile Voice Mix Arrange. Here, the effect is even more powerful, especially because this time around I understand the language, and it is guaranteed to creep you out. Don’t turn the lights out while listening to this track unless you really want to give yourself the heeby-jeebies. “I serve, as we all do: without question.” AHHH!!!

The album can be downloaded on iTunes, though you can also buy the CD from online stores such as Amazon. We recommend it to people wanting to find out if remixes can ever be fresh, or used for purposes other than dance floors.

Also, we’d like to note that this article takes us to the far corners of our site’s realm of coverage. We generally don’t do film score, but the fact that the soundtrack is comprised of remixes and work from game music composers helped us tip the scale, hence why you’re able to read this review.

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