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The much rumored-about new film from John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig And The Angry Inch") comes to the US this fall following its sold-out premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it received a ten-minute standing ovation. "Shortbus" is an engaging study of love and lust; a playful comedy about oddball New Yorkers in search of love, happiness, and the perfect orgasm. The soundtrack includes all the original songs from the film, composed by singer-songwriter Scott Matthew. Other contributors include Yo La Tengo, Animal Collective, Azure Ray, The Ark, and Hidden Cameras.
His follow-up to Hedwig and the Angry Inch may not be a music movie per se, but music is indeed important to the aesthetic of John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus. While some soundtracks go out of the way to be diverse, this one prefers a uniform mood, and that mood is reflective, relatively lo-fi indie rock. This is exemplified by Scott Matthew's five new tracks. The first, "Upside Down," gives off a strong whiff of late-period Magnetic Fields (maybe it's the ukulele), and the remaining four stay within these parameters of predominantly acoustic, forlorn introspection. Other paragons of American indie creativity include Yo La Tengo (the previously unreleased "Wizard's Sleeve"), Azure Ray, Animal Collective, and guest Canadians the Hidden Cameras. Rocker and former MuchMusic VJ Sook-Yin Lee (who plays a sex therapist in the movie) sings one of the best tracks, the pared-down but catchy "Beautiful." Two songs by Sweden's the Ark mercifully inject a welcome dose of disco excitement, while jazz singer Anita O'Day sounds as fantastically smoky as ever on "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby." Look also for Justin Bond (a.k.a. Kiki of Kiki and Herb) as he delivers the elegiac coda with the melancholy "In the End." --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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If you see the movie, the effect will be greatly intensified by the synergy between music and imagery.
Each song holds a moment, a time and emotional space. As difficult as it was to get this CD out of my car CD player, getting the tunes out of my head has proven impossible.
The songs contain the kind of melodies that build in intensity with each listening.