various artists,
(Virgin, 1999)

Stigmata was one of the best movies of 1999, and also one of the most unnoticed. The music is one of the strongest points of the film, both the songs and the original score composed by Billy Corgan and Mike Garson.

The songs on the soundtrack are a mix of techno and rock, with industrial overtones. Chumbawamba's "Mary Mary" starts out with a blessing, mingling with guitars and drums before shifting into a rave-like orgy of vocals and techno. (The pop-like chorus is suprising at first, but it works.) Bjork is her usual self on "All Is Full of Love," her fey voice both innocent and menacing. David Bowie, the Afro Celt Sound System (with Sinead), Massive Attack and Natalie Imbruglia round out this part of the CD, a shimmering mix of music that perfectly mirrors the movie.

Corgan and Garson's film score is as expected: dark and brooding, with quirky beats, jazz-like meanderings and heavy drums and synthesizers. It sounds a bit disjointed at times; without the film, the tracks segue clumsily. This isn't to say that the music itself is bad. After all, it was written to underscore a film, not as a stand-alone album. It succeeds too, in a nicely weird way.

Too many soundtracks released today have nothing to do with the film. The music on the Stigmata soundtrack is a true reflection of the movie. In this case, what you see is what you get.

[ by Crystal Kocher ]

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