Sunday, February 12, 2012

Yo La Tengo: Music for Films

I like to think I keep up with music.

That's a ridiculous statement and an impossible, foolhardy goal today. But still, from my pinhole view into the music's larger world, I feel like I tread water, at least. Especially with the bands within that tiny cross-section that I really care about.

So how does this happen? How does Yo La Tengo, one of my favoritest bands in the world, put two collections of amazingly gorgeous instrumental film soundtrack music out in the previous decade without my owning them or even knowing they exist?

The Sounds of the Sounds of Science came out in 2002, written to be played along with an installation of 8 short underwater ocean-going films by French filmmaker Jean Painleve. I don't even need to say anything more there, right? Yo La Tengo, instrumental music for underwater films? Their moody drony long-form wanderings have usually been my favorite parts of their albums.

Then there's They Shoot, We Score, a collection of music composed for 4 assorted short films and released in 2008. It's less of a piece than Sounds of Science, but that would be expected. But it's still gorgeous, moody, flowing YLT at their most comfy sounding. Definitely one for the stacks.

My point: When you think you know something, when you think you're current and have a grip and are really paying attention, you could very well be missing the best stuff for your focus on the big stuff.

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