Red Dead Redemption
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Feb. 25, 2011
Red Dead Redemption(Rockstar Games)
Friends of Dean Martinez alert! Austinite Bill Elm's been caught soundtracking video games, slumming to the tune of last spring and summer's PlayStation/Xbox multiplatinum hit, Red Dead Redemption. (Voted No. 2 game of last year by the Chronicle.) Instrumentalism, thy name is virtual reality. Whistling a spaghetti Western tune in service of early 20th century outlaws, Elm (B-3, steel guitar, piano, drone) and wingman Woody Jackson (guitar, bass, Dobro, jaw harp, coffeemaker) lead a lithe posse of rattling and rumbling atmospherics down a crimson path. Ghostly gallops ("The Shootist") turn into miles and miles of tundra mowed by a chasing crane sweep ("El Club de Los Cuerpos"). Nifty percussive jangle from "Horseplay" rallies Leone gone Kurosawa. Tambourine can only go so far on obvious score fills like "Luz y Sombra," and the RDR theme itself whiffs of musical smoke and mirrors, but "Redemption in Dub" begs for 10 times its two-minute runtime in its classically cinematic Trainspotting/Tangerine Dream mode. A last act ponies up the singers, José González, Jamie Lidell, and particularly William Elliott Whitmore, whose a cappella dust eddy blows out the candles of Red Dead Redemption. Its red, double-vinyl counterpart, with an exclusive 20th track, resequences the bloodshed.