Themes for an Imaginary film

A bit of a stretch this one for a movie review site. A review of the 2012 album Themes for an Imaginary Film by the band Symmetry featuring Johnny Jewel and Nat Walker.


During the making of the 2011 film Drive, the director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling approached Johnny Jewel to provide the score. Jewel is a prolific musician and producer for a number of acts on the Italians do it better label including The Chromatics and Desire. The Chromatics album Night Drive (2007) had been extensively used while location scouting for the film took place. A score was produced by ultimately not taken up as the production turned into a much bigger deal than first thought and seasoned film composer Cliff Martinez was drafted in. The soundtrack retained some input from Jewel in the form of a Desire track and a Chromatics track (both featuring the two members of Symmetry). Since the film was released there has been increased speculation that the unused score was superior to the official one and it would receive some sort of release. So when the Symmetry album Themes for an Imaginary Film was announced it was assumed that this was the soundtrack. According to Jewel, this is not so. The tracks on this album date from 2008 through to 2011. Apparently, there are four unnamed tracks from the score that make it onto the Symmetry album.

The album itself is just over two hours long and features thirty-six tracks. There is a definite mood to the collection. The tracks are all sparse with Jewel’s trademark eighties synth feel to them. A lot of the tracks feature recurring themes and melodies. Repetition is the name of the game here. There are a few tracks with a single continual chord for the duration of the track. That is not to say the tracks are dull and repetitive. Far from it. With no visuals to accompany the presented sounds the imagination is allowed to run wild. For me, I was able to see how the tracks could fit into a film of the visual style such as Drive. Not much of a stretch really. Influences abound with echoes of a number of acts. I picked up nods to the likes of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Air, Daft Punk (Tron score especially), and pre-Dare Human League. For me, the standout track is love theme, a very atmospheric piece that builds to an acoustic climax. A specially shot video for the track Over the Edge can be found below. The whole album can be listened to here if you are interested along with a number of other Johnny Jewel projects. The album is available on iTunes and will shortly be released on CD.

Johnny Jewel on Soundcloud

John McArthur
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3 thoughts on “Themes for an Imaginary film

  1. Pingback: Themes for an Imaginary Film (2012) « valdez2032

  2. Pingback: Themes For An Imaginary Film (2012) « musicscramble

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