October 14, 2011

Drive :: Italians Do It Better // Valerie Collective

Like much of the rest of the world, I saw the movie Drive, and yes, I loved the music. While the movie had its flaws, the cinematography was unquestionably beautiful and director Nicolas Winding Refn’s choice of a synth and electro-pop driven soundtrack provided the perfect glossy sheen for the film's 80s-drenched palette. What was most surprising personally for me was the inclusion of two different Johnny Jewel projects—Desire and Chromatics. I've been a huge fan of Jewel for some time, and his Portland-based label Italians Do It Better has long been cranking out classic dance records, so this spotlight is particularly deserved. According to an interview with Box Office Magazine, it turns out Jewel was actually asked to put the entire soundtrack together himself—and he did, recording 3 hours of original music—but due to miscommunications, none of the new material was used. That music won't be going to waste though: Jewel will be releasing it as part of an imaginary film project called Symmetry via Italians Do It Better.

The other major player in the soundtrack is Nantes, France's Valerie Collective, an artist network that's helped put out records by artists like Anoraak and The Outrunners. The collective was founded by musician and producer David Grellier, who records as College. College, together with Toronto-based Valerie collaborator, Electric Youth, provide the theme song for the film in "A Real Hero." The song elevates every scene it appears in with its vibrantly pumping bass-synth and the serene vocals of Electric Youth's Bronwyn Griffin, which cut through layers of noise like a knife through butter. Musically and soundtrack-wise, you couldn't ask for more.

Below, listen to a few tracks from the film along with a few additional fantastic cuts by the artists.

Desire - "Under Your Spell"

College feat. Electric Youth - "A Real Hero"

College - "Teenage Color"

Electric Youth - "Faces"

Now, instead of paying for the Drive soundtrack on iTunes, go buy vinyl and merch directly from the source at Italians Do It Better and Valerie Collective. The Drive art above is taken from Johnny Jewel's blog.

Night Drive (Deluxe Edition) - Chromatics

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