There’s an early-80’s disco feel to the handful of songs provided to accompany the score to Filmdistrict’s DRIVE. Having not yet viewed the film (it’s out September 16th), I’m making an assumption to think that they fit with the film in a kind of GRAND THEFT AUTO way, juxtaposing the modern day setting of the film (about a movie industry stuntdriver by day/organized crime wheelman by night) with some retro sounds as backing. Presented as the first five tracks on the DRIVE – ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK, previously-released album cuts from KAVINSKY & LOVEFOXX, CHROMATICS, and COLLEGE feat. ELECTRIC YOUTH set the tone as a lead-in to the fourteen-track score by CLIFF MARTINEZ.
The former RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS drummer-turned-composer (TRAFFIC, THE LINCOLN LAWYER, CONTAGION) is known for his ability to create memorable scores, but for DRIVE he found himself working an ambient angle by keeping in mind the dramatic cues of the sound department based on early cuts of the film.
“…[Director] Nicolas [Refn] was asking me to create some things that functioned in the same way as music but was not what most people would actually consider music. So I was the meat in the middle of a soundtrack sandwich. My goal was to create a seamless flow between the songs, the score and the sound effects.”said Martinez about his work on DRIVE.
The best scores also work well on their own, separated from their visual counterparts – and in this case DRIVE works, provided you’re in the right mood for it. Making good use of the entire stereo spectrum, Martinez plays between the symphonic and electronic for an overall composition that is extremely mellow. A few tracks echo aspects of THE DARK KNIGHT score by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard such as Hammer (you can picture the use based on the trailer), which bears similarity to Why So Serious? In fact, I’d bet that someone asked for it to mimic the sonics of TDK.
With DRIVE having already won Refn the “Best Director” prize as Cannes this year, the buzz on the film is very good, and the soundtrack adds to the intrigue.