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on March 3, 2004
From the opening sounds of "Under the Bridge," featuring car horns and bicycle spokes, you realize that this is no ordinary soundtrack album. It's full of French-flavored jazz, such as "Jazzy Bach" and "Belleville Jungle," with a pop song called "Attila Marcel" (sung by the incredible Béatrice Bonifassi), some catchy, kitschy songs such as "'Cieco Cieco' Barber" and "Pa Pa Pa Palavas," and the infectious, 1920's-flavored "Belleville Rendez-Vous."
Written by Benoît Charest ,"Belleville Rendez-Vous" is the most recognizable song from the film, having earned a deserved Oscar nomation and appearing on the album in numerous versions: French, English, Demo, instrumental and as a theme. The album also includes many samples of Charest's unique score, from the plaintive "Bruno's Theme" (with a solo, sad accordian) to the use of a refrigerator, a vacuum and other unusual instruments for "Cabaret Hoover." It's a wonderful album that evokes the look and feel of the film.
A hidden track also appears at the very end. For anyone who has seen the movie, it's definitely a pleasant surprise.
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on May 9, 2004
We received the "Triplets of Belleville" soundtrack as a late addition to our March in-store play. About thirty seconds after I put the CD into our carousel player, I was dumbfounded: the most discordant, strange noise crackled over our store speakers--a bizarre melody of a refrigerator, vacuum cleaner and bicycle spokes. What *was* this? (I didn't see the film until a couple of days ago, at which point it all made sense).
"This" was the amazing soundtrack to "Les Triplettes de Belleville," a joint French-Québécois animated feature about Madame Souza and her orphaned grandson Champion, who dreams of becoming a bicyclist in the prestigious Tour de France. When Champion is kidnapped by the Mafia and spirited away to Belleville (a synthesis of Paris, New York and Montréal), Madame Souza enlists the help of the Triplets of Belleville, an aging jazz-era vocal group.
The film's soundtrack reflects the jazz stylings of Django Reinhart (Belleville Rendez-Vous (there are three versions: French, demo and English (performed by -M-, and the film was nominated for an Oscar for best song), Jazzy Bach), along with melancholy French café accordion music (Attila Marcel, sung by the amazing Béatrice Bonifassi, and Bruno's Theme), French surf music (Pa Pa Palavas, performed by the film's composer, Benoît Charest), opera ("Cieco Cieco" Barber), and spy-style chase songs (French Mafia Theme, The Shadowing, The Chase).
I would have enjoyed the soundtrack more if it had been listed as it appeared in the movie, though. Also, the gorgeous "Kyrie Eleison" from Mozart's Mass in C Minor was left off. But the nineteen tracks (and one hidden track) are a wonderful mixture of old and new, jazz and Parisian café, delightfully quirky and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Vive la différence!
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on February 21, 2004
I'm the sort of person who's a film buff who's grown so disgusted with the glowering mediocrity of Hollywood that I rarely ever go out to the movies anymore. However, occasionally I'll make an exception if I have reason to believe the movie in question is off the beaten track. The TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE is such a movie. If you haven't seem it yet, it's a darkly comic, animated masterpiece, and at the time of writing, it's still possible to see on the big screen. It's not by any means a product of Hollywood, and it really shows. It is stylish, imaginative, and witty as few movies out of Hollywood are these days. In addition, it features a wonderful underscore/soundtrack that contains not the typical synthesizer-driven pap of most Hollywood films, but delightful continental retro-swing jazz numbers. Hearing these tunes really brings back the movie to me, what with all its glorious absurdity, and even if you haven't seen the movie you still very well might find the music enjoyable. But please go see the movie!
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on February 15, 2004
It's a great surprise to go to a movie with absolute zero Kelvin expectations and be completely blown away. It's also as rare as mutual physical attraction. Here's what happened: A friend told me that he had free passes to "...a weird animation... apparently there's only grunting and French or something..." a teaser that was not, but I'm never one to turn down free animation, so I went and I've been singing "Belleville Rendez-vous" fervently ad infinitum ever since.
The music is just as incredible as the animation, and together the effect is almost overwhelming. I was a little worried that the music would not hold up without the images. Fortunately, I was completely stupid in this case. This CD stands on its own and allows viewers of the film to realize the priceless contribution of the soundtrack. There's lots of mellow jazz and skippy rhythms, and the music will evoke scenes from the movie. In some cases the music on the CD runs longer than the music did in the movie, and that's no bad thing.
The CD is overloaded with the film's central song "Belleville Rendez-vous". There are at least six versions of that song on this CD (depending on how one counts them). All of them are different enough to justify their presence. A surprisingly good track is what is called the "demo" for the song; it has great quality and is somewhat more acoustic sounding than the other versions.
Other cochlea-popping delights include: "'Cieco Cieco' Barber" - which will have you stomping and crooning Caruso-style; the beautiful accordian-driven "Attila Marcel"; "Pa pa pa palavas" - which plays during the film's credits - sounds like a French Elvis Presley; "Cabaret Hoover" - those who have seen the film know what this song is - it holds up great on its own.
Some of the songs are less exciting and sound more like movie music; most of the songs that backed the French Mafia aren't as exciting on their own. "The Chase" works great (in fact, REALLY great) behind the scene in the movie, but it's not as interesting on its own. Since most of these songs are towards the end of the CD, the pace winds down a bit as the CD moves on. Nonetheless, it is kicked in the pants by the final version of "Belleville Rendez-vous" sung in English.
Overall, it's an amazing film soundtrack that will reward repeated listenings. Wear out your ears and be proud. But (and this is one of those big BUTS), if you haven't seen the film, GO SEE IT!!!!!
Lastly, don't turn off track 19 too quickly...
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 29, 2004
Higher Octave presents a cool, fun and a very upbeat soundtrack "Triplets of Belleville", featuring the music of Ben Charest and frog eating Triplets of Belleville, former scat singing jazz prodigies turned experimental musicians(Charest: Betty Bonifassi, Marie-Lou Gauthier and Lina Boudreault gave the Triplets their voices) ~ more credit to these performers were Benoit Charest (guitar), Mathiew Herkowitz (piano), Thomas Dutronc, -M- (bass,guitar), Chet Doxas (tenor sax), Marin Nasturica (accordion), Jean Claude Donda (spoken word) and Beatrice Bonifassi (background vocals) pulling off an original musical jazz score that will keep you dancing in the isles, till the cows come home.
This animated comedy film is from director Sylvain Chomet who takes the audience into the '60s in France ~ orphan boy (Champion) is kidnapped by Mafia gangsters and held in Belleville ~ just before a bicycle race of Tour de France ~ a grandmother (Madame Souza) and his dog Bruno, with some help from a '30s jazz trio are into the rescue, thus enters The Triplets of Belleville and the chase is on ~ much like the Pink Panther (Henry Mancini) tradition, jazz age themes prevail.
Let's look at the stand outs ~ "BELLEVILLE RENDEZ-VOUS(FRENCH VERSION)", theme is great fun and intoxicating ~ "CABARET HOOVER", nothing like you've ever heard before, completely mesmerizing and spellbinding~ "THE CHASE", great jazz vibes on this one, keeps changing rhythms and tempos with each member of the group interacting within the cue (very much into the Mancini Scene) ~ Two Academy Award Nominations - "Best Animated Feature Film" and "Best Song "The Tripletts of Belleville"...gotta love it!.
Total Time: 50:39 on 19 Tracks ~ Higher Octave 96811 ~ (1/27/2004)
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on March 26, 2004
I first heard the Belleville Rendez-vous while watching the Academy Awards, and I have hardly stopped listening to this fantastic soundtrack since I got it in the mail yesterday! Jazzy, organic and original it's fun to listen to.
But you should note that the CD has some sort of copy control technology on it -- it says in small print "On some equipment, for example car CD players, playback problems may be encountered". Well, my Sony stereo -- not entry level, at least according to the money I paid for it! -- doesn't recognize the CD at all, so I can only listen to it using my computer CD player. I'm not quite sure what to do about this glitch, and I'm not willing to part with the soundtrack, but this aspect of the CD sure is annoying.
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on March 14, 2004
Triplets of Belleville is a great movie, but this album is even closer to perfection than the film. Great hot jazz music abounds, dominated by the "Belleville Rendez-vous" (wonderfully performed at the 2003 Academy Awards), which is reprised several times, including a demo and an English-language version. A few tracks are perhaps better in service of the film than they are as stand-alone compositions, but that is a minor point. This is perhaps the most essential soundtrack album in decades. I think I would have to go back as far as Ragtime to think of an original soundtrack album of such achievement. See the film, then get this album.
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on February 20, 2004
I bought this CD because it was recommended by a friend; I haven't even seen the movie yet. What a surprise! I absolutely love this CD ... It's delightfully quirky and sure to put a smile on your face. Jazz fans will love it but so will alternative music lovers ... really, anyone who loves good music.
My only complaint is that the CD is copy-protected. While I fully appreciate the importance of intellectual copyright, I would have liked to make a copy for my car and downloaded some tracks into my mp3 player.
However, that's a minor quibble ... buy this CD, you won't be sorry.
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on January 28, 2004
I bought this disc solely based on the trailer to the movie. I fell in love with it instantly. I haven't even seen the movie yet. It is eclectic, rambunctious, and brings to mind a cabaret show. If you're a fan of French music from the first half of the last century and/or older jazz pick this up. I truly enjoyed it. Also check out the reviews for the import version of this disc for more opinions.
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on February 7, 2004
What a delightful work of art. I was enchanted with the film and the music definitely caught my attention. I'm always looking for a little "off beat" music, i.e., Chocolat was my last favorite CD, but now this has moved up to first place. I highly recommend it for ecclectic music lovers who like that "off beat, out of the way, different" sound.
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