It’s long been de rigueur, when reviewing soundtracks, to say that the music works without the film. I haven’t seen 3:19 but am willing to bet that on this occasion, at least, Robin Guthrie’s music works better with images. Guthrie has been around long enough to be underestimated or taken for granted. It’s even easier when he puts out records like this one: the audio equivalent of a very sweet pill requiring no effort at all to swallow. The glistening soundscape (mainly composed of treated guitar, with piano and strings) is impressive and at times warm and emotional but lacks edge or surprise. I greatly respect Robin Guthrie; not only for the music he’s created in the past decades with the Cocteau Twins and (to a lesser extent) with Harold Budd, but for his openness in demystifying the way he creates music, laying out every step and name-checking every piece of equipment. His blog is extremely entertaining and full of unpretentious wit. 3:19 is a richly layered album available in a limited edition of 3,000. In some ways it’s a total success: people who see the film will seek out the soundtrack, and vice versa. This won’t be Guthrie’s last soundtrack commission.
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