Clint Mansell to perform film works for the first time in L.A.
British composer Clint Mansell, best known for his work with director Darren Aronofsky on films such as "Black Swan," "Requiem for a Dream" and "The Wrestler," will be performing over three nights next week at Largo in Los Angeles. These will be the first-ever L.A. solo performances of Mansell's film work (though he played here a number of times as part of his group Pop Will Eat Itself in the 1990s). The composer will be accompanied by a nine-piece ensemble, including members of the L.A.-based Sonus Quartet.
Before you get too excited: The three-night stint on April 4-6 is already sold out, and so far, the pickings are slim on the secondary market. A quick search of Craigslist found only a single mention of tickets, from a desperate fan willing to spend $200 for one. But as the shows approach, expect that a few rent-desperate fans might have to forgo their tickets to keep a roof over their heads (you can be the beneficiary of their bad fortune), so live cheaply this weekend. Mansell's spokesman said that the original plan was for the composer to do a single night, but that after the first sold out quickly, second and third shows were added, and those tickets disappeared just as fast.
Why the obsessive interest in the film composer? For starters, as with colleague and former labelmate Trent Reznor (who signed Pop Will Eat Itself to his Nothing Records imprint in the 1990s), Mansell has over the years successfully adapted his experience as an early composer of electronic dance music into work on highly regarded narrative films.
Both work very closely with their directors -- Reznor with David Fincher, and Mansell with Aronofsky -- and, like Reznor, Mansell understands that the rich, expansive frequency range of analog synthesizers can add a lot of tension with only a few perfectly imagined tones. These sounds are best presented on "Moon," Mansell's 2009 score to Duncan Jones' spooky drama set on the surface of the moon. The composer will play work from that film at Largo.
The centerpiece of each evening, though, will be the full performance of Mansell's 25-minute score for the Massy Tadjedin-directed movie "Last Night," which was issued Tuesday by Milan Records. (The film was released in America in 2011). The seven pieces that make up the score, although composed for the film, track as a singular work. Mansell weaves deep, echoed piano melodies with tense synthetic strands, concise ideas that enter and exit with beautiful symmetry. Unlike his score for "The Fountain," which featured the Kronos Quartet slicing and dicing its way through the film's 1,000-year storyline, Mansell on "Last Night" is focused on more subtle tones, with more warmth.
Again, it seems a little odd to tip readers about something that's sold out, but those interested in figuring out a way to get in still have a week to finagle a ticket somehow. If not, rest assured that Pop & Hiss will offer coverage.
-- Randall Roberts
Photo: Clint Mansell. Credit: Courtesy Clint Mansell.