Two partnerships result in two exquisite albums

Two partnerships result in two exquisite albums
(From left) Munaf Rayani, Michael James, Mark Smith and Chris Hrasky of rockers Explosions In The Sky.

A couple of weekends ago, my friends and I argued over dinner the fraught 2012 century- leaping movie Cloud Atlas based on the 2004 novel by David Mitchell.

Someone called the co-writing/production/direction of the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer a hot mess. Yet another felt the trio did bring something new to the table: Uniting six narratives (to distil the Nietzschean concept of eternal recurrence), the directors controversially made the Caucasian actors play people of different races.

That's the beauty and danger of collaboration - by relinquishing total control, you never quite know what you get yourself into and this week's top releases show how partnership can elevate the overall art.

German electronic whiz Klaus Schulze once opined: "As always in musical collaboration: One has to like to each other. As simple as that." In this case, the musicians must have been terribly fond of one another.

Austin post-rockers Explosions In The Sky joined hands with David Wingo of the pensive Brooklyn-based quartet Ola Podrida to soundtrack American film auteur David Gordon Green's latest outing, Prince Avalanche.

The film, about two men leaving the city to repaint traffic lines in wildfireravaged Bastrop, Texas, is a delicate two-hander.

Explosions, who can invoke the kind of breathtaking symphonies one associates with Iceland's Sigur Ros, rein in the flourishes for a much more nuanced effect.

The opening track Fires isn't a fiery bombast, but crackles and even shimmers. Embers of synth illuminate some laboured human breathing.

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