So where does one listen to techno?
In a cavernous warehouse somewhere at 3 a.m., wearing day-glo bellbottoms
and teetering on the edge of a vicious K-hole? Most definitely.
On Top 40 radio? Rarely, despite acts like the Chemical Brothers and
Crystal Method cranking out riffs as catchy as anything you'd find there.
How about in a darkened movie theater? Possibly, especially if the movie is
"Go," the hot film from director Doug Liman ("Swingers").
The soundtrack to "Go" challenges all that. By arranging deep, hardcore
dance tracks from the likes of BT and Lionrock alongside the sugary pop of
Natalie Imbruglia, this soundtrack aims to have techno blaring from
everywhere you'd find a hit single -- and then some.
Nothing wrong with that. Especially when Big Beat's reigning prince, the
omnipresent Fatboy Slim, is so willing to meet the mainstream more than
halfway. Fatboy is represented here with a slightly remixed version of
"Gangsta Trippin' " (RealAudio excerpt), his second soundtrack appearance in as many months
("Praise You," apparently on loan from the Nike commercial, pops up on the
soundtrack to "Cruel Intentions").
Purer dance acts don't fare as well here. BT's throbbing "Believer" can
drive a rave to a fever pitch, but taken out of context, the incessant
beats are droning and repetitive. The Lo-Fidelity Allstars, with their
sinister, mind-altering rhythms, could have added a dash of menace to make
their song more appropriate. Elsewhere, the chill-out, heavily textured
sounds of Air are luscious, but just aren't appropriate for daylight hours.
On the pop side, No Doubt make like Madness on their misnomer of a single,
which despite being titled "New"
(RealAudio excerpt), sounds more like '80s New Wave. Natalie
Imbruglia is more up-to-date, picking up on some of the pre-millennium
tension with "Troubled By the Way We Came Together"
(RealAudio excerpt). In the company of harder-edged acts, Imbruglia
needed something more memorable than her usually pleasant, if bland
single-alongs. "Troubled By the Way We Came Together" proves she possesses
more depth than she is given credit for -- if "Go" had a love theme, this would be it.
A dash of hip-hop is in the mix courtesy of Goldo, whose horny rhymes on
"All the Lovely Ladies" are delivered in slow, stoned drawl. Much weirder is
Jimmy Luxury & the Tommy Rome Orchestra, who sample -- Dean Martin?
The most successful tracks take their cue from the Fatboy and temper dance
beats with something listeners can hum along to. That's what makes Philip
Steir's mix of "Magic Carpet Ride" so much fun -- it's got phat beats, and
you already know all the words!
The best soundtracks invoke the spirit of their cinematic cousins, provide a
thematic accompaniment to the film and make for great listening on- or
off-screen. Music on the "Go" is fine for watching actress Sarah Polley
shake her booty. But back at home, the shotgun wedding of pop and techno
soon falls apart.