On his second release as A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeremy Barnes continues to play the antique card, now focusing on the "ompah" accordion sound of an 18th century European village, as opposed to the Reconstruction-era American village of his previous effort. Of course, just because Barnes evokes a certain time and place doesn't mean his hectic musical ear stays in that one place, hence the squeezebox that morphs into a battery of bagpipes on the highly cinematic opener, "Laughter in the Dark." There's also room for a prideful horn that echoes the work of Ennio Morricone and the constant pitter-patter of castanets and marching snares that ensure that the solemn moments like "For Slavoj" and "Europa" don't stay that way for too long.
Mogwai's sixth album continues to showcase the fiercely layered guitars and dynamics of their classic work, and features a new array of rhythms and melodies. These hint more than ever before at their electronic and metal influences. Not only do they remain masters of the eloquently stretched guitar phrase, but they've also expanded the syntax to include a new, almost beat-driven sound. Limited deluxe CD+DVD in gatefold digipak includes video for "Batcat", directed by Dominic Hailstone (Aphex Twin), plus the Vincent Moon (The National) short film about Mogwai, "Before It Sounds".
A quickly forgotten chapter in United States military history is relived in this harrowing war drama from director Ridley Scott, based on a series of Philadelphia Inquirer articles and subsequent book by reporter Mark Bowden. On October 3rd, 1993, an elite team of more than 100 Delta Force soldiers and Army Rangers, part of a larger United Nations peacekeeping force, are dropped into civil war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, in an effort to kidnap two of local crime lord Mohamed Farah Aidid's top lieutenants. Among the team: Staff Sgt. Matt Eversmann (Josh Hartnett), Ranger Lt. Col. Danny McKnight (Tom Sizemore), the resourceful Delta Sgt. First Class Jeff Sanderson (William Fichtner), and Ranger Spec. Grimes (Ewan McGregor), a desk-bound clerk getting his first taste of live combat. When two of the mission's Black Hawk helicopters are shot down by enemy forces, the Americans – committed to recovering every man, dead or alive – stay in the area too long and are quickly surrounded. The ensuing firefight is a merciless 15-hour ordeal and the longest ground battle involving American soldiers since the Vietnam War.
After the success of Gladiator, it wasn't unusual to see director Ridley Scott turn to Hans Zimmer again for the score to Black Hawk Down, his fierce adaptation of Mark Bowden's account of the tragic 1993 American military intervention in Somalia. What was more surprising was the schedule Scott imposed on the German-born composer: 15 days to write, arrange, and record the film's nearly two hours of music. The results of Zimmer's miraculous two-week musical campaign not only belie those constraints; they instantly take their place alongside The Thin Red Line as some of the most compelling music he's produced. The gambit here is simple–portray the combatants as two warring tribes, with their native musics locked in a tense dance for domination.