Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., May 24, 2002
George Washington(Emperor Jones) A long, beautiful, sustained decay. That's what last year's left-field indie film success George Washington was: a document of the unraveling lives of a group of kids amidst the rustic decay of a small town in the Carolinas. The pace of their lives, and their downfall, was slow and natural, yet unnaturally beautiful. So begins the film, and the George Washington soundtrack: with a long, sustained chord, decaying slowly, gently, and beautifully. The track, "Dream of Lost Rivers," by the almost-forgotten Denton space rock kings Mazinga Phaser, is the only non-original piece on a soundtrack composed almost completely by Texans at the behest of former Austinite filmmaker David Gordon Green. The suitable opener leads into a pair of short, piano-laden pieces that also openly speak the language of the film: meditative and gentle, yet very lyrical. As the onscreen tension builds, so does the soundtrack. Michael Linnen (Monroe Mustang, Pilot Ships) and ex-Austinite David Wingo, the score's main culprits, loose a number of thick, funereal drone pieces, highlighted by the eulogic, church-organ piece "Basilica." At the heart of the soundtrack and the film, though, is "Pilot Suicide Theory," by another former Austinite, Brian McBride (Pilot Ships, Stars of the Lid). Streams and pings of melodic fragments bubble to the surface during a watery onscreen climax, thick with struggle, hardship, and feeling. At the end of the day -- film and soundtrack -- all is released and summarized beautifully by Wingo's spirited two-minute strummer "O Broken Land," capping off a big-time score straight from the heart of Texas.