Tindersticks TindersticksClaire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009
If ever you’ve felt reluctant to invest in one of the soundtracks Tindersticks made for the French filmmaker Claire Denis, you no longer now have an excuse. The Constellation label has just released one of the must-have box sets. Now you can have all of the recordings from one of the most demanding and consistent music-cinema collaborations of the last 20 years in a luxurious, beautifully designed box, with a 60-page booklet featuring stills and liner notes, that enables you to listen to the work all in one go, chronologically ordered and with historical perspectives.
The collaboration between the British band and the director comprises of six titles in total – “Nénette Et Boni”, “Trouble Every Day”, “Vendredi Soir”, “L’Intrus”, “35 Rhums” and “White Material”–, and for some of the group’s fans it’s always been an exotic, almost trivial part of their discography. The fact that it’s instrumental material, with Stuart Staples on the same level as his band mates, with short and unitary songs, almost ambient and with a sound that sacrifices the pop melodrama of their records for different styles has alienated many fans of the band and left these compositions in a hostile and secondary zone which, unfortunately, has gone almost unnoticed in the career of Tindersticks, which is a pity when you think of the reasons to get this box and listen to it.
The first reason is the great ability of the band to find the right sound for each of Denis’ films, making at least two of the album masterpieces –the impressive “White Material” and the spectacular “35 Rhums”– through their talent to adapt to the mood and perfectly get on the same wavelength as the director. As soundtracks, the works are impeccable, fitting like a glove, true to the search of interior spaces in the stories told by the filmmaker. And the second reason is the fact that this parallel creative activity has been of great influence on the evolution of the band. More chameleonic, experimental, open-minded, curious and daring than ever, they go about these scores without fear, using jazz, neo-classical and chamber music but without losing their own sound, 100% identifiable here as well, and that has given fresh air to their “own” studio efforts.
A piece of candy, “Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009” has all the characteristics to become the must-have item of the month. Apart from the arguments described above, and I repeat, the design and packaging are beautiful, there’s one more decisive reason: these five albums are a big “in your face” to those who thought Tindersticks would never aspire to anything without the voice of Stuart Staples.