Milan records released a 2XLP edition of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto’s score to Academy award winner film The Revenant.

The score was ruled ineligible to compete for the academy Award 2016 for Best Original Score as it was deemed as “assembled from the music of more than one composer”. Ironically, Sakamoto’s Oscar winning music for Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1988) was shared with David Byrne and Cong Su. The later with only a few minutes of original music.

Due to health problems and the amount of music needed, the composer asked friend and colleague Noto to join in, Bryce Dressner completed scoring duties with some supplementary material.

Electronically constructed, incorporating acoustic elements ranging from cello by Hildur Guðnadóttir (Sunn OPan Sonic, etc), minimalist orchestral work conducted by André De Ridder and percussion by the Frantic Percussion Ensemble enhanced by some Ondes Martenots (an early, ghostly sounding electronic instrument), the 23 tracks album is an ambient droning experience that slowly gets to you in building tension over beautifully textured and eerie repetitive themes. It is a patient listening, slowly building within self contained, almost hidden, orchestral chords and bass rumbles that do not seek for attention, but rather for emotions.

Sakamoto’s work on The Revenant is more in the vein of his experimentation with sound on such films as Gohatto (1999) or Love is the Devil (1998) rather than the more renown and melodic of his film works, The Last Emperor, Sheltering Sky (1990) or Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983).

Best to listen on LP or CD for sound quality!