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There Will Be Blood (Music from the Motion Picture)

Jonny Greenwood

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Album Review

Paul Thomas Anderson's fifth film There Will Be Blood is too monumental and odd to not provoke sharply divided opinions but all reviews, from raves to revulsion, agree on two points: Daniel Day Lewis' performance as oilman Daniel Plainview is astonishing, and Jonny Greenwood's score is extraordinary. Lewis dominates the film, appearing in all but one scene, and Greenwood's music is used far more sparingly yet it's no less indelible. From the moment the film fades open to a spare, unrelenting Californian landscape, Greenwood's tense, coiled score mirrors the eerie emotional undercurrent to the film, pulling suppressed feelings to the surface, often with an almost operatic sense of drama. This is grand music, but it's also controlled, unleashing its furious clashes of dissonance with precision. Greenwood has demonstrated such mastery of mood as the guitarist within Radiohead but There Will Be Blood is superficially far removed from that band's restless experiments with electronic music. There are no electric instruments here at all — this is all orchestral music, created on instruments that were available at the film's setting of the beginning of the 20th century, yet Greenwood doesn't attempt to re-create turn-of the-century mores: he writes music that taps into the rotten heart of Daniel Plainview. This is magnificently unsettling music, whether it's used within the film or heard on its own terms — either way, it's impossible to forget after it's been heard.

Biography

Born: 05 November 1971 in Oxford, England

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although most people's initial musical exposure to Jonny Greenwood came via his hugely distorted guitar crunches on Radiohead's breakthrough single "Creep," Greenwood (not to be confused with his older brother/bass-playing bandmate Colin Greenwood) could be more appropriately described as Radiohead's jack of all trades — a multi-instrumentalist who is as comfortable playing xylophone, sampler, or keyboards (to name just a few) as his uniquely angular guitar lines. Along with Thom Yorke's inimitable...
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There Will Be Blood (Music from the Motion Picture), Jonny Greenwood
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