Urban Cinefile
"I had a soundman working for me. One day he was wearing a dress and a wig, and as I understand it, that is the way he will work for the rest of his life"  -Steve Martin on working in Hollywood
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



"'They needed music verging from the exotic, the erotic, to nightclub neurotic with an undertone of love,' says Sample People’s original score composer, Rafael May, about the brief from the movie’s producer and director. A stratospheric objective? Well they were certainly aiming high, considering May forgot to mention that they also required a cosmic dose of 70’s space-adelia to help evoke an ambience of retro firmament fashion meets gritty, grounded urbanity.

With a mix of "Spacey Techno, Old School Hip Hop, Indian Bollywood Pop [and] Hard Beats" – May’s own words again – he just about delivers on all fronts. In particular, the minimalist hyper-bright piano of Space Theme delivers a catchy, memorable motif that’s a little low gravity but fits the mood like a skin-tight Lurex spacesuit.

But May’s score is only a modest portion of a soundtrack that is built around Aussie pop classics of the 70s re-worked by an assortment of contemporary local popsters. Like a box of Whitman’s Samplers, these are a mixed bag.

Best of the bunch are The Whitlams’ rollicking swing rendition of Who Listens to the Radio, and the Josh Abrahams-produced version of Russell Morris’s Sweet, Sweet Love with Russ himself – in fine voice as ever – reprising the vocal. Another Morris classic, The Real Thing, also gets the Abrahams treatment, with Russ graciously giving up the mic on this one to multiple Kylie Minogues. The multi-tracking might provide the oomph, but the petite popstress delivers an effervescent performance that suggests she’s come a long way towards earning a Real Thing epithet herself.

Less successful are a soggy Custard performance of Howzat, on which they’re caught out by their limited vocal harmonies; a lamely metronomic arrangement of INXS’s Don’t Change; and a vibrant recording of Alone With You by The Superjesus that might have been great, but fails because it’s clearly been mixed by the guitarist’s mother.

Still, the concept is appealing and the overall entertainment value high. I can’t fault the choice of songs, and while novelty over quality seems to have influenced the choice of artists, it could have been a lot worse – thank goodness Bardot weren’t around."
Brad Green

Email this article


TITLE: Sample People (The Soundtrack)

ID: D32146
Best Boy/Festival

SCORE: Rafael May

FEATURED ARTISTS: Sonicanimation, Grinspoon, 4 Star, Kiva, Matthew Wilkinson, Kiley Gaffney, Russell Morris, The Mavis’s, Not From There, The Superjesus, Mintu Kumar & Nisha Bhasin, Pnau, The Whitlams, Custard, Inga Liljestrom, Jimmy Street, Kylie Minogue


© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020