Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
The Assasination of Jesse James


4.0
excellent

Review

by Marko Polovina USER (90 Reviews)
April 17th, 2009 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Entirely slow paced, "The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" pursues a dark tune, with excellent results.

Being completely unbiased towards an artist is difficult at times. For instance, never hearing the works of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds or Warren Ellis’ other soundtrack work is a bit odd. Considering both are known for their general musical abilities why would someone pick this up if it wasn’t for those reasons? Although they both bring huge popularity both by fans and critics, I’ve never listened to either of their work. It is to my understanding that they (Cave & Ellis) are part of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and this is their 2nd collaboration for a soundtrack. Blind and unaware of the film, only by its time period and historical figures it involves, I listen to what Nick Cave & Warren Ellis pursues: capturing the elegance, simplicity, and somberness of those times. Gripping in character study is Jesse James and his amazing escapes, myths, and actions, what isn’t discussed are the people around him – precisely what “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” is about. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis use a whopping 3 instruments with consistency to orchestrate a movie soundtrack mainly piano and violin; Ellis’ instrumental skills are put to the test with him leading the charge key by key.

Cave and Ellis do not try to make an overly complex tune on any of this; instead they rely on the piano sequences to set the mood of loneliness, while the violins sweep through. There isn’t a heightened sense of suspense or danger as you would assume for what it is portraying, instead the atmosphere of the album is quite tangled into the subtle emotion of solitude. “Money Train” would be the only suspenseful song, yet it moves at an awkwardly slow pace and fades out in a short time. Thus the album is slow moving and always keeping a consistent pace. Cave and Ellis entwine piano and violin masterfully, building on each other. Although, not to a great point as stated previously. I wouldn’t say this album is diverse in any way, but the fact much of it relies on 2 instruments throughout while keeping the same formula of piano textures and high to low pitch violin is what astounds. Ever consistent with an eerie sense of loneliness the soundtrack stays remarkably sluggish, not causing problems at all. “Moving” on uses a bit of acoustic guitar, yet it isn’t dependent on it at all – nearly ditched all together in the next track. The void of the violin in “Song For Jesse” isn’t noticeable to the point its yearned for, instead its replaced with a backdrop of low, almost unnoticeable guitar strings and the mother of all surprises a triangle to the forefront. It works to perfection, holding the sense of emptiness and desolation, yet using another instrument that wouldn’t be associated with such. Despite the album being driven by what some would say a static and overly used instrument throughout the album, there are a few oddities within the soundtrack to elevate the mood. “Cowgirl” actually does the opposite of “Song For Jesse” – scrapping the piano and holding the violin, but what stands out is the lingering of a guitar rhythm backdrop.

“The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” isn’t exciting in any shape or form, instead its slow moving, hard to digest in the first few listens. If you dislike the backwoods country of that time period (violin, acoustic guitar) you will be hard pressed to enjoy this. It’s heavily laden in a low acoustic guitar in the background with mostly single violins and piano sequences that rub on each other. Despite its atmosphere that gives off the sense of repetitiveness such as “Song For Jesse” and “Another Rather Lovely Thing” the album grows with repeated listens. The mood is set for the loneliness of Jesse and the deception of the coward Robert Ford.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
MassiveAttack
April 17th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

NVM I fix I am God...or a complete idiot. I didn't know you could scroll through band list in a review, how awesome.This Message Edited On 04.17.09

are you shitting me its still doing it that ugh...This Message Edited On 04.17.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2009


20857 Comments


The '&' symbol strikes again.

Marko, let the mods know in the appropriate forum thread.

MassiveAttack
April 17th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

k will do right now!

AtavanHalen
April 17th 2009


17927 Comments


Change to "Nick Cave AND Warren Ellis".
Respect for this review; but paragraphs are definitely your friend.

MassiveAttack
April 17th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I can't edit the band name unless I make an entirely new entry, which is stupid since people have already rated on the Nick Cave & Warren Ellis page. I'll break it off into 3 paragraphs, but I didn't really break off...hmm conclusion where is you at!

Well then there ya go.

This Message Edited On 04.17.09This Message Edited On 04.17.09

CompanionCube
April 17th 2009


977 Comments


good movie

MassiveAttack
April 17th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I've seen parts of it, it is good.

jrowa001
April 17th 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome soundtrack for a great movie. you def need to watch The Proposition

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 17th 2009


4461 Comments


The Proposition was superior to this film. I liked this film, I just thought the pacing was TOO slow and it dragged towards the end. The last 5 minutes rule though. I love the score for this film too, so good job.

MassiveAttack
April 17th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Isn't The Proposition that Western with Guy Pearce? If so, I've heard amazing things. And Guy Pearce owns. Memento owned.

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 17th 2009


4461 Comments


uhhh, yeah I think he's in it, it's Australian.

MassiveAttack
May 8th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

finally watched both The Proposition and Jesse James. Jesse James is really slow paced, but it was masterfully done. As for The Proposition it is fucking ownage. The ending was pretty good, I enjoyed it, the whole movie speaks about the harshness of Australia's early problems and a country ran by criminals (essentially).

scissorlocked
May 22nd 2010


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great film,great music.Suitable for relaxing in a candle lighted room

Digging: Distance - Outer Limits

Celsius
December 5th 2012


513 Comments


All Things Beautiful
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E4J7EoUPS0

osmark86
January 15th 2014


4507 Comments


^this. one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard in a really, really long time.

Digging: Emptiness - Nothing but the Whole

BigBlob
October 11th 2014


1723 Comments


Song for Bob is the best thing ever

Digging: Body Count - Manslaughter

Veldin
October 11th 2014


1490 Comments


Didn't know about this, so I'll have to check it out. Any other Nick Cave side projects (other than Bad Seeds, Grinderman and Birthday Party)?



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