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Tom Tykwerís last film was the time-expanding, kinetically dynamic Run Lola Run. Tykwer, apparently, has plenty of kinetic creativity himself, allowing him not only to write and direct his films but provide their soundtracks as well. On Run Lola Run, his previous film Winter Sleepers, and now The Princess + The Warrior, he has teamed up with musical cohorts Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil to "write, perform and produce" the soundtrack.

Until now, an unnamed trio, it was only during the making of this latest soundtrack that they determined to dub themselves "pale 3": a moniker doubtless derived from the photo appearing in the bookletóa frame of their three serious, and seriously pallid, mugs.

Fortunately, the music has more colour. The CD is divided into two parts: songs that donít appear in the film and excerpts from the score. Next to the pic of the three colourless countenances is a note explaining that "in contrast to common practice nowadays" the songs are not vaguely inspired by, but "deeply rooted" in the movie. And you would hope so considering their source.

They arenít exceptional songs; but they are interesting, and sometimes engrossing. One of pale 3ís principal abilities seems to be the recruitment of female vocal talent. The boys donít sing themselves but fashion industrial-toned grooves from sequences and samples, and bring in gals with sweet-sounding larynxes. No less than seven of them in fact; a different vocalist for every song.

The singing septet are all different in character and the same in style. They draw influences from Bjork, Madonna, Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette. They explore twisting melodies with the same sense of freedom, and without quite scaling the heights of those vanguards of the distaff side of contemporary pop. Their interpretations are shackled to some degree by songs which are clever, but a little clinical; brimming with more potential than emotional power.

The score isnít exactly emotional dynamite either, though one suspects it serves the film admirably. It opens full of suspense, with a percussive riff of thin metallic timbre and a busy bass underpinning tense strings and an ethereal voice sample. The disappointing aspect is that apart from some attractive piano phrases and one cue of frantic rhythms it hardly develops.

Still, it has its own flavour, oodles of atmosphere, and for one who hasnít yet seen the film, a strong suggestiveness that Tykwer has again fashioned an engaging and individual piece of cinema.
Brad Green

Published November 29, 2001

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TITLE: The Princess + The Warrior

ID: TRM-74039-2/Warner Music Australia

MUSIC BY: pale 3

FEATURED PERFORMERS: Skin; Lou Rhodes; Beth Hirsch; Alison Goldfrapp; Claudia Sarne; Anita Lane; Franka Potente; Michael Brook

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