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June 30, 2011
Keith is Chris Nolan’s new Gordon
July 1, 2011

Barry Adamson’s Therapist

I've long been a fan of former Magazine, former Buzzcocks, former Bad Seeds bass player Barry Adamson's music, now I am a fan of his cinematic debut as well.

I found Barry Adamson’s work shortly after the release of David Lynch’s Lost Highway. Some of you will remember that Lost Highway was the first of Lynch’s films to have a soundtrack supervised by someone other than musical genius Angelo Badalamenti – then blowing up artist Trent Reznor was hand-picked by Mr. Lynch to put together his film’s soundtrack. Reznor was of course on my (and everyone else’s) radar big-time: I’d been a fan since Pretty Hate Machine but was having something of a spat with his music after the release of The Downward Spiral, an album I still, though I vehemently count myself as a NIN fan, do not care for all that much. Anyway, Reznor had supervised Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers a few years prior to Highway and being a little familiar with that I had high hopes, even if I was a little let down at Badalamenti not getting the job.

One of the artists Reznor highlighted, and introduced to a wider audience was then-Mute Records recording artist Barry Adamson. Adamson’s biggest bump was probably the song Something Wicked This Way Comes – you know, the catchy as hell party mix in the background of the scene where Robert Blake, sans eyebrows, approaches Bill Pullman and tells him to ‘call him’ at his house right now. A truly marvelous scene and it is bolstered all the more by Adamson’s track and its deft sampling and re-working of the song ‘Spooky’ originally made famous by, I think, the oddly named 60’s group Classics IV*.

Shortly after Lost Highway I tracked down the Barry Adamson album from whence that song came – 1996’s Oedipus Schmoedipus and found it to be a veritable masterpiece; a schizoprenic thriller in its own right that blends jazz to hip hop, cinematic atmosphere and full out Pulp Noir goodness.

From here a love affair began.

Moving backwards I quickly hunted down Moss Side Story, Adamson’s 1988 debut on Mute and the score to a Crime Noir film that does not exist. In subsequently hunting down several of Mr. Adamson’s other earlier albums I found this to be the man’s M.O. –  writing movies in his mind and then recording their soundtracks and scores. And as I listened to and grew to love his albums I dreamed along with him of the day when Barry Adamson might make his own film.

Now it’s here.

Being on Mr. Adamson’s mailing list I received word several weeks ago that indeed the time had come, as his website, here, now had in stock autographed editions of the DVD of Adamson’s first cinematic offering, Therapist, for sale. In short order I snapped up a copy and finally found the opportunity to watch it the other night.

Then I watched it again the following night. Then again. I became immediately enamored.

Therapist is a 40 minute taut, psychological thriller. Heavily influenced by the films of David Lynch, Therapist is a story within a story; multiple lives that coalesce and splinter as reality waivers beneath the characters’ attempts to gain control in a fiercely uncontrollable world. I don’t want to get too into the plot, for one because it is wonderfully abstract, and for two I believe to discuss such a thing will remove an element of the story itself. Suffice itto say that this is a dark, British thriller heavy on the psychological end of things and soaked through with wonderful imagery and razor-taut suspense.

So here’s to hoping that Mr. Adamson will make many more films, his talent for the visual growing in the same leaps-and-bounds proportions his music has.

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* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUf4F9VXo_s