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The Pastels

The practice of one artist or band creating the entire soundtrack for a film has become almost obsolete. Instead, music supervisors try to put together a "greatest hits" type of package with hip and/or notable musicians as part of the public-friendly soundtrack. Score composers are brought in separately.

But David Mackenzie, director of The Last Great Wilderness, a supernatural thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, recently invited Scotland's the Pastels to create exclusive musical accompaniment to his film. Formed in 1982, the Pastels are a loose collective of musicians who sporadically release material. For The Last Great Wilderness, the band worked directly on the film. Their contribution: a short but compelling series of primarily instrumental atmospherics. The gentle numbers slip into each other smoothly. Acoustic-guitar plucks and hollow strums have lazy horns weaving through them. The occasional piano tinkle is potent in its simplicity. There are few vocals, but when they occur, they are perfectly fitted into the elements; one example is the contribution of Pulp's Jarvis Cocker on "I Picked a Flower."

Not in the least like the Trainspotting soundtrack, which has high-energy, perfectly placed numbers, The Last Great Wilderness is more of a joint effort -- in effect, a real soundtrack.

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Lily Moayeri

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