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Fun article about Topangan Cliff Martinez

October 16, 2011 09:34AM
Cliff Martinez scores a strange success with 'Drive'
The composer came late to the L.A. noir film, which already had five songs locked into it, but the resulting soundtrack album has become a surprise chart-topper.
Cliff Martinez

EERIE, ANGELIC SOUND: Cliff Martinez plays his cristal baschet at his home. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times

October 16, 2011
The cristal baschet is one of the most beautiful musical instruments you will ever see, made of vibrating, tuned steel, fiberglass amplification cones and wire "whiskers" that shimmy when fingers rub the glass-rod keyboard. Film composer Cliff Martinez's version, which resides in the living room of his Topanga Canyon home, is about the size of an upright piano and is as much sculpture as instrument.

Martinez, whose scores support three films this year, bought his expensive cristal when he was scoring Steven Soderbergh's surreal 2002 space fantasy "Solaris" but had pined for one as far back as their first collaboration, "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" in 1989. Standing before it, Martinez says nearly every director who sees the instrument falls in love with it — until they hear it beneath a scene. "Then it sounds like either the mothership is landing, or someone's going to get killed." In his score to Nicolas Winding Refn's recently released L.A. noir picture "Drive," it's the latter.

To play it, Martinez moistens his fingers in a dish of water, places his hands on the keyboard and starts caressing the glass rods. What emerges is an ethereal moan that suggests a combination of cello and choir of angels. Those who have seen "Drive," the haunting, sparse ode to Los Angeles' darker avenues, will immediately recognize its sound and be sent back to a specific scene in an elevator: As Ryan Gosling's unnamed character defends himself and his girl from a would-be killer, the cristal baschet's wail, played by Martinez, tempers Gosling's bloody stomps.

Check out the rest of the story at:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/music/la-ca-cliff-martinez-20111016,0,2667548.story
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Fun article about Topangan Cliff Martinez

topangamom October 16, 2011 09:34AM



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