Now this one's a doozy. I discovered Hal Hartley's films by way of Henry Fool. I was an instant convert and Henry Fool still makes my top 10 list every time. I was maybe 16 when it came out on VHS. It was a random VHS rental one night, and I was gripped by the first moment onward. A short year or two later I was watching the fairly new IFC channel and there was a short film that aired called The Book Of Life.
This movie blew my mind apart. It featured some of the actors from Henry Fool, plus PJ HARVEY! I was obsessed with PJ Harvey at the time. The visual style and look of this film is unique, having been shot on commercially available video (Video8 if I recall) and blown up to 35mm manually, creating a bizarre visual dissonance and fluidity of color. In the film Martin Donovan plays J. Christ, returning to earth in NYC on December 31st, 1999 to bring about the apocalypse (until he has second thoughts). PJ Harvey plays Mary Magdelena, and Henry Fool himself, Mr. Thomas Jay Ryan, plays the devil. The movie is around 60 minutes and features so much of that Hartley dialogue and "choreography" that I have grown to love.
I was obsessed with this movie for years. I got it added to my english class curriculum my senior year of high school. I special ordered this soundtrack at my local record store (the now defunct VOLT from Danbury CT) and it took 5+ months to arrive from Japan.
I can't IMAGINE why this soundtrack is so rare and hard to find. I am always astounded that I am often the only source for this soundtrack on the internet. I uploaded it to the long defunct Demonoid years ago and it spread for a bit but I have never seen mention of it or other torrents of it EVER.
This is perplexing as hell to me because this soundtrack features some extremely popular musicians and music you cannot find anywhere else!
David Byrne offers a heart melting swell of strings for his piece, 'Machu Picchu". Yo La Tengo give us 2 awesome instrumentals in "Turtle Soup, parts 1 and 2". There are a few songs that stand out as amazing, despite coming from nearly un-Google-able artists. "My Name Is Rich" by Joey Sweeny is rich with big reverberated guitars, just the right amount of fuzz and an endless supply of "Pavement-esque" vocal indifference. This song stood out to me so much that I went looking for more from Joey Sweeny to discover he had made a single album, near impossible to find. "Waking Up" by Miss Crabtree is another shockingly wonderful tune, filled to the brim with swelling reverb. Many people in my life have latched onto this song as a unique and beautiful listening experience.
There is also the title card music, "1.666666" by Takako Minekawa. This song has some of my favorite guitar and drum tone ever. I recall clearly as a late teenager wanting so desperately to record something of this caliber in tone.
The song that drew me to this soundtrack more than anything is "The Faster I Breathe The Further I Go" by PJ Harvey. This was an outtake from the "Is This Desire" album (my fav PJ album by FAR) which showed up on the "The Wind" single. This song, to me, is the very essence of why I love PJ Harvey. This song has more mood and atmosphere and more balls than any song by any man of the time period. PJ stands apart from catagory or gender, and this song is a prime example why.
Without further ado, please enjoy and proliferate this insane mix of music all found on one beautiful soundtrack!
DOWNLOAD THE BOOK OF LIFE SOUNDTRACK VIA DROP BOX