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Composed, Co-Orchestrated, and Performed by:
Elliot Goldenthal

Conducted by:
Jonathan Sheffer
Stephen Mercurio

Co-Orchestrated by:
Robert Elhai

Produced by:
Matthias Gohl

Warner Brothers

Release Date:
December 19th, 1995

Also See:
Interview with the Vampire
Alien 3

Audio Clips:
3. Condensers (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

4. Refinery Surveillance (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

8. Of Helplessness (0:32):
WMA (211K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

19. Predator Diorama (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.



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Buy it... if you appreciate Elliot Goldenthal's most intelligent avant garde works, because Heat gives the cops and robber genre a stylish atmospheric twist.

Avoid it... if you require either thematic continuity or consistency in harmonic, ball-busting rhythms for your shootout flicks.

Heat: (Elliot Goldenthal) While most of the press and audience attention pointed at writer/director Michael Mann's 1995 thriller Heat revolved around the pairing of veteran actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in a few scenes together, what often gets lost in the equation are the other remarkable attributes of the film. It's a cops and robbers story of heightened professionalism and intensity, with heist scenes that are nothing less than spectacular. The film's greatest weakness, and one that truly killed its chances during the awards season, was its tendency to explore auxiliary characters and plotlines that weren't necessary, causing the film to run far longer than it should have. Among the film's better elements is its use of music. Mann certainly knows his genres of music, and he typically has a very clear idea about the specific tone of the soundtrack he wants in his films long ahead of production. For Heat, he merged a collection of weighty rock songs (ranging from edgy to sinister) with a distinctly post-modern original score by a composer who turned out to be perfect for the job: Elliot Goldenthal. Fresh off his Academy Award nomination for Interview with the Vampire and a blockbuster score for Batman Forever (and with Cobb in tow), Goldenthal was in danger of losing the touch with the avant garde sound that had generated a new fan base with Alien 3 and, to a lesser extent, Demolition Man. But Heat was a stark, obvious reminder of the composer's leanings in that direction, thrilling his fans and providing Mann with a score that fit very well with both the spirit of the film and the songs that the director had chosen for use in key scenes. Perhaps the only score in Goldenthal's career that Heat could be squarely compared to is S.W.A.T., though while the 2003 score is a bashing thunderclap of hard rock from various ages, Heat is a more psychologically engaging and intellectually challenging score. It's a work that is intense while economical with its components, which is perhaps the most compelling argument in favor of this score's status among Goldenthal's best.

A string quartet joins various electronic soloists, from keyboards to electric guitar, to produce a sound that is cool in the most chilly sense of the word. Outbursts of rhythm for the action scenes use what sounds like a mix of muscular live percussion and sampled loops. Most impressive is Goldenthal's ability to produce a sense of unease by offering his ideas in dominant harmonic structures while also throwing in just enough of his trademark dissonant touch. The pitch of both his bass and treble tones often wavers just slightly in the background, satisfying Mann's need for a troubled aural soundscape. And yet, the majority of electric guitar and keyboard performances are harmonic enough to produce a satisfying listening experience on album. There is no central theme in Heat, though with an atmosphere as finely tuned as this, a theme is really unnecessary. Goldenthal does introduce a few motifs for various sequences of the film, but they seldom repeat, and their duration is so deliberate in pacing that they don't form a concise memory. The lonely guitar progressions in "Condensers," a really stunning piece, are reprised in "Run Uphill." But softer keyboarded ideas in "Of Helplessness" and "Coffee Shop" are largely untethered to any central concept. The contributions by the Kronos Quartet, three of which appear on the album, are somewhat swallowed up in the expansive electronic environment, especially in the turbulent "Heat" and the grooving "Refinery Surveillance." Their performances in both "Refinery Surveillance" and "Predator Diorama" are joined by an orchestral ensemble for the kind of pitch-wavering, dissonant crescendos of massive sound that Alien 3 fans yearn for. The solitary guitar performances steal the show, however, with "Condensers," "Run Uphill," and the lesser shades of "Steel Cello Lament" defining the true heart of the score. The action sequences that approach S.W.A.T. territory, such as "Entrada & Shootout," are interesting but not as fascinating as the more emotionally gripping cues of lesser volume.

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The album for Heat has never been a really satisfying one, despite featuring a very crisp recording quality, because with the film clocking in at almost three hours in length, there's a significant amount of material not heard on the product. Even though the album is filled to near the capacity of a CD, it offers only 29 minutes of Goldenthal's score. In most cases, having so much song material on the album is an automatic detriment, though the songs in this case share the same personality as Goldenthal's intermingled score and therefore function as a decent listening experience together. The two existing vocal selections by Lisa Gerrard (another collaborator with Mann) are perhaps a little too pleasant compared to the surrounding music, but at least the performances come from the point in her career when her sound was less contemporary. These tracks could have been left off the product, along with Armenia by Einsturzende Neubauten, which offers a second half that is too disturbing for even this soundtrack. It could be argued that Terje Rypdal's "Mystery Man" is entirely too soothing for the compilation. Otherwise, despite the fact that the version of Moby's "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" closing out the album isn't the same one heard over the end credits of the film, the album for Heat is generally well constructed. Most scores don't really benefit from expanded releases, but Heat is among those that does deserve consideration for better treatment on its own. Goldenthal fans recognize this uniformly, for the score is often among the favorites of his collectors. As you might imagine, it's not an easy listening experience. But unlike Goldenthal's insanely wacky side (Titus) and tired post-modern ramblings (Sphere), there exist a few scores that really provoke the kind of emotional response that attract so many listeners to the composer. Heat is such a score, a refreshingly intelligent alternative to the plethora of average cops and robbers thriller music that continues to saturate the industry. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Elliot Goldenthal reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.13 (in 16 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.07 (in 15,600 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.19 Stars
Smart Average: 3.13 Stars*
***** 68 
**** 54 
*** 53 
** 45 
* 47 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 74:30

• 1. Heat* - performed by Kronos Quartet (7:40)
• 2. Always Forever Now - performed by Passengers (Brian Eno/U2) (6:54)
• 3. Condensers* (2:33)
• 4. Refinery Surveillance* - performed by Kronos Quartet (1:43)
• 5. Last Nite - performed by Terje Rypdal & the Chasers (3:29)
• 6. Ultramarine - performed by Michael Brook (4:34)
• 7. Armenia - performed by Einsturzende Neubauten (4:56)
• 8. Of Helplessness* (2:39)
• 9. Steel Cello Lament* (1:42)
• 10. Mystery Man - performed by Terje Rypdal (4:39)
• 11. New Dawn Fades - performed by Moby (2:54)
• 12. Entrada and Shootout* (1:45)
• 13. Force Marker - performed by Brian Eno (3:37)
• 14. Coffee Shop* (1:37)
• 15. Fate Scrapes* (1:34)
• 16. La Bas (Edited Version) - performed by Lisa Gerrard (3:10)
• 17. Gloradin - performed by Lisa Gerrard (3:56)
• 18. Run Uphill* (2:51)
• 19. Predator Diorama* - performed by Kronos Quartet (2:39)
• 20. Of Separation* (2:20)
• 21. God Moving Over the Face of the Waters - performed by Moby (6:58)

* score material composed by Elliot Goldenthal (total: 29:19)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes minimal information about the score and film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Heat are Copyright © 1995, Warner Brothers. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/11/03 and last updated 7/24/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.