Kill Bill Volume 1 Original Soundtrack
By: Michael McQueen on November 13, 2007  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
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Quentin Tarantino is well renowned for his eclectic films and equally eclectic soundtracks. Here, Tarantino abandons his modus operandi – retro-nostalgia, deadpan cool and instantly catchy – for an altogether more orchestral and sonically diverse album that's more rewarding than his previous compilations. On Kill Bill Volume 1, the hip Hollywood wunderkid rewrites his cinematic and musical oeuvres, stepping comfortably out of his claustrophobic clichés with style and grace that was hitherto unhinted at.

Nothing quite symbolises this dramatic readjustment like the opening track. Compare the sparse and echo-laden Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra, to Tomoyasu Hotei's Battle Without Honour Or Humanity, a track so bombastically explosive the bass alone stimulates involuntary bowel movements, while blaring horns cut a mean riff akin to Ennio Morricone's haunting title theme from Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly). A radical mixture of battle hardened war cries like The Flower Of Carnage (Meiko Kaji) and The Grand Duel (Luis Bacalov) clash alongside manic numbers like Green Hornet (Al Hirt), avant-garde noise mongering Twisted Nerve (Bernard Herrmann) and contemplative zen meditations like The Lonely Sheppard (Zamfir). There's more familiar Tarantino territory scattered about: jittery yelping rockabilly rouser That Certain Female by Charlie Feathers recalls his fondness for the swingin' hillbilly hootenanny (remember Counting Flowers On The Wall?), and a samba-like retooling of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Santa Esmeralda) keeps the pace going – albeit for far too long. And of course, there's Woo Hoo by the irrepressible and ever esoteric garage J-Poppers, The 5,6,7,8s (seen playing barefoot in the film, much to the exotic delight of the director). The RZA contribute two original tracks written specifically for the film, but Ode To Oren Ishi sticks out like sore thumb, embarrassing itself with black bravado and hollow gangsta-isms that pale in comparison to the instrumental gusto of Issac Hayes' Run Fay Run; a fresher and funkier proposition that achieves more without words.

This is without doubt Tarantino's most disparate musical collection, and it's to his credit that the track order somewhat ameliorates what could have been an unfocused mess of an album. Tracks are chosen with careful thematic consideration and the pacing is spot on, with highs and lows well sequenced for maximum aural impact. Naturally, occasional dialogue snippets interrupt the proceedings but, unlike Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, they don't dominate the feature. As a bonus, this CD features the original theatrical trailer trilogy for Kill Bill.

This is easily Tarantino's best realisation of his filmic obsessions and musical affections: the perfect accompaniment to the film aficionado and music enthusiast.
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