Welcome back to Noteworthy, your weekly update on new music. This week’s noteworthy picks are:
Killers of the Flower Moon by Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson died in August at the age of eighty, so he never witnessed the world’s response to his latest music. But that certainly would not have changed his love for it: the soundtrack to the recently released Martin Scorsese film, Killers of the Flower Moon. It was Robertson’s eleventh project with the director, marking the end of a fifty-year partnership that began when Scorsese produced The Last Waltz, capturing The Band’s final concert.
Robertson could not have guessed that as The Band was ending, another collaboration was beginning that would last six times longer, nor that his final project would lead him, fittingly, back to his roots. His Native American mother often brought him to the Six Nations Indian Reserve, where he’d marvel at the cultural differences between the people there and those back home in Toronto. Killers of the Flower Moon, about the Osage tribe, gave Robertson the perfect platform from which to relive childhood memories as he spent time with the Osage on their Oklahoma reservation, listening and hatching ideas for the film’s score.
However well Robertson’s music serves the film—I don’t know; I haven’t seen it and probably won’t—it is certainly an interesting and highly listenable collection of music in its own right, blending waterfalls of layered guitars with traditional Native American instruments. It thus conjures images not only of the tribe but the story’s white men (who, from what I gather, are the film’s villains—who could have guessed?). Such tracks as “Osage Oil Boom” and “Reign of Terror” are vaguely foreboding, evoking a stiff resolve to grit one’s teeth and see through some unpleasant task. On the other hand, “My Land . . . My Land” and “The Wedding” are upbeat and even pretty, particularly the gorgeous cello solo on the latter.
So, if like me, you’re happy to press film music into foreign service, you might find Robertson’s last hurrah a pleasant soundtrack for anything from yoga to a contemplative drive or a brainstorming session. It’s a fitting musical epitaph, bringing its creator full circle and, however unintentionally, capturing both the sour and the sweet of life. . . .
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