Cliff Martinez – Only God Forgives: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Milan Records

Film music vet Cliff Martinez has recently made some serious moves upwards in the modern music stratosphere landing high-profile gigs scoring Drive and Spring Breakers . But while those projects got the cool cred of Italians Do It Better and Skrillex Martinez’s latest soundtrack for the Ryan Gosling-starring Only God Forgives skips the added pop muscle and enters more traditional score territory — in the best way possible.

Again teaming up Martinez with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn Only God Forgives finds the orchestrator in an exceptionally ominous mood weaving a hellish backdrop of sonics that tips its hat to both classic horror scores and spaghetti westerns. While still featuring Martinez’s melodically beautiful electronics the score is surprisingly organic offering a wide array of decaying guitars droning orchestral strings haunting organs and tribal percussion.

It also has some serious east meets west going on highlighted best on the few Thai-sung vocal tracks and the only non-Martinez track “You Are My Dream” a stunner of a sad-pop ballad by Thai band PROUD.

Only God Forgives is a complex piece of work and from a pop perspective hardly goes down easy. But for soundtrack aficionados this is Martinez at the top of his game offering some of his most ambitious soundscapes yet.