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Zabriskie Point OST
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  • Zabriskie Point -- just when you thought it was safe to hurtle into the entertainments of the so-called counterculture, this half-baked slice of nonsense arrived under the direction of Michelangelo Antonioni, who had previously directed Blow-Up, a great success. Zabriskie Point eventually became notorious for its Death Valley orgy sequence and the tragic fate of its neophyte star, Mark Frechette, but artistically it served, in the main, to do little but devastate Antonioni's reputation. As a way of accenting the counterculture he thought he was depicting, Antonioni chose to hire a selection of contemporary rock performers. The results of this effort were mixed indeed, with some performers having their music rejected outright after weeks of work, while others left the project after arguments with the ever-evasive director. In the end, MGM tacked on a Roy Orbison song to garner a hit single, and the soundtrack album featured an odd melange of songs from Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead (whose "Dark Star" is only excerpted), the Kaleidoscope, and others. This compilation is well worth hearing for the Floyd numbers, including an altered "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" presented as "Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up." [Some reissues add a second disc of outtakes from the score -- including four guitar improvisations by Jerry Garcia, who sat in the big MGM recording stage while the Death Valley scene looped, followed by four cuts from Pink Floyd, who tried a variety of different styles to please Antonioni. Floyd fans will hear echoes of the band's later work in these cuts -- these recordings caught the band in transition from the childlike mysticism of the Syd Barrett days to the psychological mysticism of latter-day Floyd. While not quite finished, these cuts are fascinating and, for many people, essential.] ~ Steven McDonald
Professional Reviews
Down Beat (2/98, p.61) - 3 1/2 stars (out of 5) - "...a wide-ranging soundtrack that was in keeping with free-form FM radio of the day..."
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