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Robin Guthrie – 3:19 (Soundtrack)

In the five years since 2003, when Robin Guthrie released his solo debut album, Imperial, he has kept busy. There was Imperial and another full-length, two EPs, one soundtrack, and last year two full-length collaborations with Harold Budd. And now, this year, he releases another soundtrack. The man likes to keep working, and I have no complaints with that.

This is the soundtrack to a Spanish film. I watched the trailer on the website, but since I don’t speak Spanish I was unable to figure out what the film is about. The trailer consists of a lot of people having intense dialog in Spanish. So, a talking movie then. Whatever.

Not that it matters, as this music stands on its own just fine. Guthrie’s mellow ambient music would, I think, work well in a film, but it is also good for just sitting and listening. Normally Guthrie makes his songs out of guitars heavily effected and backed by some simple drumming. Occasionally there is a bass riff or two. Here, however, he expands his palate to include piano, and occasional strings. For example, ‘Lucia’s Lament’ features a lovely wavering organ drone behind Guthrie’s echoed guitar arpeggios, while ‘Comprensión’ starts with a lovely piano bit, and then grows to include a nice chugging drum machine behind the guitar.

I think that 3:19 is some of Guthrie’s best work. In all honesty, this is my favorite of the things he has done since Imperial. It’s about 35 minutes long, but he packs a lot into that time frame. Many of the songs are just simply lovely, and what’s really great is that it all flows together. Song ebbs into song and the whole thing just moves along nicely.

Standout tracks include the afore-mentioned ‘Comprensión’, where the guitar just continues to grow, and ‘En Me Punto, En Ti Punto, Y Muy En Ti Punto’, where he uses a staccato guitar riff in a rhythm that flows like the title read out loud! No, really — it’s an awesome effect. Also worth mentioning is ‘Lisa@Dixo.com’, which I am guessing is about one of the people sitting around the table in the trailer. This is a light song, starting with a delicate string of notes, before Guthrie adds in some effects. An interlude while Lisa checks her email? Who knows, but it’s a pretty little song.

So, once again, Mr. Guthrie has done it. This is an interesting album with a lot of depth to it, yet it works equally as well as tranquil background music. And I, for one, find it perfectly enjoyable without knowing a thing about the film that this music was made for.



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