Cliff Martinez

As he did for Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic and Solaris, Cliff Martinez has crafted a subtly haunting and unconventional (by Hollywood standards) soundtrack for Narc. Starring Ray Liotta, Jason Patric and Busta Rhymes (notably absent from the disc), Narc is a gritty police-corruption thriller set in bleakest wintertime Detroit. The film starkly contrasts the two main characters’ descents into brutality and respites of familial tenderness. (Liotta is a loose-cannon cop out to avenge his partner’s death; Patric is a suspended undercover narcotics officer back in action to redeem a fatal error.) Martinez skillfully evokes this duality — and the desolate Motor City landscape — with profoundly emotional ambient passages and tense, lean funk in the vein of early Tricky and Meat Beat Manifesto. Martinez — a former drummer with the Weirdos, Lydia Lunch, Captain Beefheart and Red Hot Chili Peppers — never succumbs to obvious button pushing, though. Soderbergh has enlisted Martinez for nine films (Martinez’ Traffic score garnered a Grammy nomination), and the director’s well-placed faith should translate into many more choice gigs for this poised, inventive composer.

Categories: Music