The Black Swan The Black Swan

Álbumes

Clint Mansell Clint MansellThe Black Swan

7.3 / 10

Clint Mansell  The Black Swan

SONY MASTERWORKS

Loyal squire of Darren Aronofsky in the cinematographic madness of the New York director, composer Clint Mansell has found in the images of the maker of “The Fountain” the ideal refuge to go all out creatively and experiment with some of the ideas that come to him in the margin of impositions and formal exigencies. The Wagnerian epic of “Requiem For A Dream” clashes violently with the ambient lyricism with touches of post-rock of “The Fountain” –in a way a formal advance of what was to come with “Moon”, probably his best work as a creator of soundtracks to date– which in turn has little or nothing to do with the romantic redefinition via Tchaikovsky he uses on “The Black Swan”, his latest collaboration, that already earned a Golden Globe for Best Actress for Natalie Portman and which is a change of expressive stage for both of them, more specifically the adoption of a kind of classicism that is unusual in their respective idioms.

Mansell came from “Moon”, the superb accompaniment of the Duncan Jones film, where he used a new and fascinating concept of fusion between elements of classic soundtrack music and a rock-like rhythmic base, with bass, guitar and drums, integrated perfectly in the trademark arrangements. Here, on the other hand, the composer takes on a more transcendental way of working and inscribes his scores in a more classic and academic context, though not exempt of interesting expressive experiments. In fact, “The Black Swan” starts from a high point of cinematographic orthodoxy, quite obviously referring to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”, in fact it’s an important part of the soundtrack’s spine, and as the work progresses, Mansell transmutes the dynamic to his own field, turning the final part of the record into an exercise of dark thriller, complex and dense, which at some points almost flirts with musique concrete, not making it any easier for the listener.

In fact, one of the distinctive characteristics of “The Black Swan” comes from that composite and expressively complex score. Until today, the Mansell sound was characterised by the exposition of one or two central moments that contaminated everything, in the good sense of the word. On “Requiem For A Dream”, here above any other of his efforts, “The Fountain”, “Moon” and even “Sahara”, which sounded more like a work by commission than a personal piece, to name the most widely known of his efforts, there was always a principal piece that carried the weight and in a way supported the variations divided over the album. Not only in terms of melody and accessibility, but also in terms of cohesion and structure of the rest of the work. An idea similar to that of a hit capable of transcending the category of simple sonic accompaniment for a handful of scenes and images that obtained a life of its own.

On this latest recording, however, there are no determined moments in that sense, there is no central compositions that mark and influence decisively on the rest of the work. It sounds more like the sum of crossed moments than like a story, perhaps more because of a bigger and unconditional submission to the demands of the director and the film, a dramatic thriller with gothic flavours in which the music isn’t as emphatic as in other films by the director, than because of a strong wish to look for that special moment. A proof of maturity, austerity and formal and creative depuration, “The Black Swan” lacks an exciting and memorable piece to round off the work completely, but it’s an outburst of seriousness, rigour and personality that reinforces the composer’s brilliant trajectory.

Tim Ryback

Clint Mansell "The Black Swan" - 01 Nina's Dream{youtube width="100%" height="25"}95n8n8Z58cU{/youtube}

Clint Mansell "The Black Swan" - 09 The Double{youtube width="100%" height="25"}jPCRZstAQhg{/youtube}

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