Next to his Bad Seeds albums, Nick Cave headed the realisation of the soundtracks for two Australian movies by director John Hillcoat. "Ghosts... of the civil dead", a tough prison movie, partly written by Cave and the barely known "To have and to hold".
The first movie stands firmly on its grounds, as does its eerie unconventional soundtrack which is filled with off beat sounds and voices. The second soundtrack didn't meant much to me, it seemed more like a quicky, a "little something in between more important projects".
Now John Hillcoat is back with "The Proposition", a western set against the background of the vast, rough Australian wildlands.
Fully scipted by Cave, this time the singer / songwriter asked his Bad Seeds member, violin player Warren Ellis, to write and create the music together.
The result is as atmospherical as eerie, with some vocals by Cave, but much more blend in with the music then above it. So this is by far not a solo act by Cave, not even when he sings, hums or mumbles but a surprisingly effective pas-de-deux.
When Warren Ellis' violin howls and cries, the music becomes almost melancholical and sad. Senses of no hope of redemption creep in. Its music to contemplate by, ponder and wonder, while sitting in your back yard or on the porch of your house, overlooking vast plains of wasteland.
In a way, you could compare this with "Night on earth", the only complete instrumental soundrack by that other unique singer / songwriter: Tom Waits. It's low-key, slow paced, keen on atmosphere and so well done that you can listen to it whether or not you have seen the film.
In fact, just as "Night on earth" is as much a Tom Waits album as most of his other classics, "The Proposition" is just as much Nick Cave as anything else this man has done.
And that tells it all.