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Though Michael Brook had previously written cues for films, actor Kevin Spacey’s directorial debut Albino Alligator was also the first of Michael’s film scores to be released as a soundtrack album. Again, a helpful recommendation from Real World’s Peter Gabriel connected director with composer. Michael had just moved to Palo Alto, CA., and was much involved with developing a computer-based musical device known as ‘The Stick’ (distinct, it should be noted, from Emmet Chapman’s electric instrument of similar name) at Interval Research. Work on the film having only moments after Michael had reconstructed his studio within his new home.
Michael’s music for the film reflected director Spacey’s notes regarding the claustrophobic setting for his thriller: Tension and feelings of anticipation punctuated by violence. At the same time, this music compared favorably with his ‘artist’ releases on 4AD; probably, this accounted both for his label’s decision to issue a film soundtrack and, further, to opt for unconventional soundtrack packaging by Vaughn Oliver (4AD’s presiding designer) which tied the album equally both to Albino Alligator and to entries in Michael’s existing catalog.
Both the film and its soundtrack album concluded with a version of the song “Ill Wind,” sung in duet by R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and legendary jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott. This particular session was co-produced by Michael and Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“Albino Alligator is another soundtrack adn Brook writes it according to the Ry Cooder canon of evocative, noir, postmodern guitar, with nods to jazz, blues, country and surf. While completely different from his usual techno/ethno tour de forces, this album ranks among his best words of art.” -Scaruffi.com