4 out of 5
Label: Waxwork Records
Produced by: Thomas Dimuzio (vinyl master)
80s music is simply not my bag. So it’s hard for me to judge an 80s Michael Mann movie soundtrack objectively, as the era’s style and synthed up music was often very inextricably tied to the look and feel of his films. The blue light gloss of Mann’s ‘Manhunter’ is echoed in Waxwork Record’s funky packaging for their 2LP reissue of the album, and though I’m not, as mentioned, a fan of the kind of moody pop the A-side – featuring The Prime Movers, Shriekback – would seem to portend, the slink of such music definitely is evocative of a cinematic experience, which is further enhanced by the electronic ambience provided by The Reds, as well as other contributors later on like Michael Rubini and Klaus Schulze.
While the glossiness of the score persists, we move more toward interesting soundscapes – which does work for me – which continue to build up the eerie dissonance of the overall tone; The Reds bring a lot of chilliness and slickness to the C-side, leading to what kind of falls flat for me: a really poorly mastered version of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, clocking in at eight minutes and just lacking the highs and lows to really make it work.
The D-side reinstates two tracks missing from previous versions, which are even further out there instrumentals than what we’ve heard, progressing the score from a kind of accessible pop to something more haunting and out there as it goes along, while still very much remaining a Michael Mann score. Even though there’s the tint of 80s hanging over this thing, it’s undeniably very cohesive (maybe Iron Butterfly aside), and immersive, which is rather impressive, given that I have this resistance to being immersed in synth pop.