When I write, I put on music. When I play RPGs, I put on music. I don’t know anything about music, really, but here’s something I’m listening to.
David Holmes, composer and DJ, made the music for such Soderbergh films as Out of Sight and Haywire, plus every film in Soderbergh’s Ocean trilogy. All of those films have great sounds — Out of Sight’s soundtrack is so sharply put together that the last time I saw the movie, parts of the film fell away into memories of the soundtrack album — but one of these discs has driven me through work in a way the others have not: Ocean’s Twelve.
We can talk about the movie itself someplace else. This is about the sound.
As a writer, I find something about the energy and juxtaposition on this disc propulsive. The way the graceful charm of Ornella Vanoni’s “L’Appuntamento” transitions into the bassy, distorted verve of Holmes’s own “$165 Million + Interest (Into) The Round Up” takes me from contemplation into action. (The back half of that “Round Up” sometimes grates on me, though.)
For writing or play, you’ve got a slew of playful and melodramatic tracks here that build in terrific ways. “What R We Stealing” and “The Real Story” have terrific energies. “Yen On A Carousel” is a fantastic, uplifting sound for a swanky victory pulled from an ugly defeat.
Want to just get a taste of this? Two additional tracks came out as a single from this album: “Amsterdam” and “I Love Art… Really!” Both are repetitive motifs that loop well to create a bit of playful fun for any con.
My favorite piece out of all of these, though, is the dramatic, grandiose, complex sound of “7/29/04 The Day Of.” I play that track for dramatic arrivals, travel montages, moments of ecstatic panic, and all sorts of spirited scenes. The moment around 1:49, when the track gets anxious, is a great dramatic shift if you can nail it. If you miss it in the moment, the through-line sound of the track is still great for action-packed heists.
The mid-century-style swagger and cool on this album reminds me of Lalo Schifrin’s original Mission: Impossible sounds with all the military vibes stripped out. It’s a great sound for surreptitious antics and heisty shenanigans.
I bought Ocean’s Twelve on CD… I can’t remember where. It’s available, disc and download, from Amazon, iTunes, and elsewhere.