Adaptation reunites Carter Burwell (of Coen brothers renown) with director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman, the creative team behind 1999's Being John Malkovich
, with equally noteworthy results. Although selections like "The Unexpressed Expressed" lean heavily on romantic strings, Burwell's harmonic progressions rarely culminate in obvious resolutions, mirroring the frustration of the film's protagonist, a screenwriter struggling to translate a nonfiction work into a workable screenplay. Less predictable timbres propel other cuts--"The Evolution of Evolution" marries kalimba and steel drums to Duane Eddy-style twang guitar and sly bass licks--and, as with Malkovich
, the music of Adaptation
often feels as though it were emanating from the murky ocean depths or the mechanized bowels of Big Ben. The disc is book-ended by Fatboy Slim's mercifully low-key "Adaptation" remix (essentially the vibraphone and harp vignette "The Writer and the Crazy White Man" plus a drum loop), and the Turtles' 1967 hit "Happy Together," a somewhat incongruous conclusion to Burwell's dark, riveting score. --Kurt B. Reighley
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