Review Summary: A sountrack created mostly from samples that not only sounds coherant, but makes a worthy addition to the collection of fans of the film, and just casual listeners looking for an interesting change of pace.
I’ll be perfectly blunt: Ocean’s 11 (the 2001 remake starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt) is by far my favorite movie of all time. I’m a slobbering fanboy when it comes to that movie. If someone says they don’t like it, I’ll immediately and completely disregard any reason that person brought up. When Ocean’s 12 was released, I was a bit disappointed by its inability to live up to the high standards set by its predecessor. Fortunately though, the movie did have one saving grace: Catherine Zeta-Jones was now part of the cast as a sexy foreign cop. Oh, and the soundtrack was pretty much great too.
For the most part, The Ocean’s 12 OST plays as an instrumental production. The only exceptions to this rule would be the opening track, “L'Appuntamento”, which features some lovely crooning from Italian songstress Omella Vanoni, and “Faust 72”, an electroclash-esque track from the French group Dynastie Crisis. Composed mainly by Irish club DJ David Holmes, the album utilizes an extraordinary amount of samples, but avoids the pitfall that most all-sample albums fall into of sounding too disjointed and scattered for their own good. Every song flows particularly well and sounds as if it was constructed live and mixed well, particularly “Lifting the Building” and “Ascension to Virginity”.
As the track titles are indicative of, each song fits a certain scene or sequence in the movie. What’s excellent about this is how well each song fits that certain sequence, and creates the perfect mood for the sequence using a multitude of instrumental samples. Whether it’s the mix of funk guitar and saxophone that sets an almost urgent mood during “The Day Of”, or the romantic guitar, violin, and mandolin interplay on “Crepuscolo Sul Mare” (which belongs to the scene where Brad Pitt is following a former lover and going through flashbacks), almost every song creates a beautiful, lush, and complex atmosphere that suits the mood of the section well.
What’s probably the album’s biggest strength is the fact that its just so easy to listen to. Unlike many mostly vocal-free albums, there is just enough subtle variety in the tracks contained within that it keeps the album sounding fresh. “LSD Party” has an almost funk swagger. Following that, “Camera 3” has an almost jazz feel, with its chaotic percussion section and lo-fi horn section complimenting the driving percussion quite well. “Lifting the Building” builds upon “Camera 3” by interjecting a distinct middle eastern melody over the jazzy soundscapes presented in the previous track. But even when there is a drastic change in style, such as during the romantic ballad of “Crepuscolo Sul Mare”, it never gets overbearing or distracting. Much less, it offers up a change of pace to the style presented and expounded on over the previous tracks.
For a soundtrack, the Ocean’s 12 OST is a rewarding listen. Sure, a lot of people may be turned off by the lack of vocals, but when the musical composition is as strong as it is on this release, its hard not to be swept up in the epic grandeur of this album. An electronic sample based album that doesn’t come off like one, its something that’s been oh-so-rarely accomplished in modern music. The Ocean’s 12 OST not only fits the mood of the film perfectly, but it also proves to be a worthy listen for those who have never seen the film before as well, something that few soundtracks can actually accomplish.
Recommended Tracks: 7/29/04 The Day Of, Ascension To Virginity, Crepuscolo Sul Mare, Faust 72