CANDYMAN (VINYL)

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AUDIO REVIEW: CANDYMAN (VINYL) / MUSIC: PHILIP GLASS / LABEL: ONE WAY STATIC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Rewatching the 1992 Bernard Rose film Candyman while reading over the liner notes for One Way Static's release of the score, one is struck by how accurate Don Christensen's comments for Philip Glass are: "What was presented to him as a low budget project with creative integrity indeed became a low budget Hollywood slasher flick."

Philip Glass' score is beautifully minimalist. The use of organ, voices, and piano is what makes the film so haunting. Yet, as much as Glass might complain that the film is a slasher, his score ably assists the supernatural aspect of the film. It bears an awful lot in common with Jerry Goldsmith's work on The Omen 15 years prior. While Goldsmith used strings to make his score shriek and vibrate, Glass' organ work creates an all-encompassing mood, which is present at moments of great tension, then entirely absent during the big scares.

It's quite impressive that as you listen to the score, you're actually experiencing the film cut to the score, rather than a score which fully reflects the film. Given that Glass composed his music after seeing a very early version of the film, which music was then rerecorded in an edited form by Michael Riesman, this isn't precisely Glass' work. I'd love to hear the original demos to compare, and see what changed in the process.

As it is, the score seems like one massive work, with separate movements, as opposed to a film score, wherein each piece is for a specific scene, and that reflects the edited nature of the music. Something like Return to Cabrini Green does have an ominous, fin de siècle aspect to it, especially with the broad chords of the organ, but with each portion of the score being so minimally composed, it's almost inevitable that one piece is rather similar to the next or that which preceded it.

One Way Static's packaging is lovely. The heavy stock, tip-on gatefold jacket looks impressive, as does the silver mirror vinyl on which the music comes. The liner notes are limited to a two-sided insert, but they're the most revealing liner notes I've yet read. The Christensen comments are just one element of many honest, open takes on the film and its music.
 

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