Listen to Clint Mansell’s ‘High-Rise’ Score Right Now
Ever since he ditched his band Pop Will Eat Itself and shacked up with Darren Aronofsky, composer Clint Mansell has been an in-demand source of grandiose, haunting film scores. His partnership with Aronofsky would prove to be the most fruitful part of his career, yielding the accompaniments for Pi, Black Swan, Noah, The Fountain, The Wrestler, and Requiem for a Dream, from which his magnum opus “Lux Aeterna” was born. Mansell went on to work with other esteemed filmmakers such as Park Chan-wook and Nicolas Cage, but he’s never earned an Oscar nomination, even though he seemed like a shoo-in for his Black Swan score. (The Academy, in their infinite wisdom, deemed the samples of the “Swan Lake” theme present in his compositions too extensive for the score to qualify as an original work.)
Now, Mansell has added yet another bullet point to his strong CV. His score for Ben Wheatley’s upcoming adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel High-Rise has been made available to stream in full on Spotfify in advance of the film’s U.S. release on May 13. For those readers who haven’t been able to catch the film at a festival or on one of its many U.K. promotional showings, the track names alone paint a tantalizing picture of this odd, highly stylized piece of work. Two tracks — “Built Not for Man, But for Man’s Absence” and “Somehow the High-Rise Played Into the Hands of the Most Petty Impulses” — quote typically baroque lines of dialogue from the film, and the final track “Blood Garden” appears almost as a dark portent for this film’s grim finale.
But overall, the score finds Mansell working in his familiar mode of slithering eeriness, contrasting high-class instrumentation using flutes, harps, and other orchestral standards with an atmosphere of free-floating menace. The film has been a polarizing quantity as it’s hopped from festival to festival, with some viewers balking at the handling of Ballard’s dense prose, and others gobbling it up like so much vacuum-sealed spam. Perhaps the score will have a broader appeal.
High-Rise opens in select theaters on May 13.