Uneasy Listening: An Evening With Clint Mansell

What a time to be alive! Over the last five to 10 years, a trend has emerged wherein composers now perform original motion picture scores for a live audience. As such, British composer Clint Mansell (Black Swan, The Wrestler) made his presence known quickly within the scene—it seems with each new major film release, the one time rock guitarist-turned-composer allows his fans the opportunity to witness his compositions sans movie accompaniment for only one or two nights.

On this night, attendees were presented with abbreviated versions of movie soundtracks along with anecdotes into where Mansell’s creative mind was during the writing process. Mansell pulled no punches about himself, poking fun at his inability to perform his layered pieces without the help of the great musicians on stage. (This performance included a quartet of stringed instruments, a piano player, a bassist, a full percussionist, a lead guitarist and Clint on computer/keys/light guitar support.)

Before performing “Moon”, Mansell gave insight to how he could relate with a story about isolation, admitting that because many Angelinos are imports, just how alone one can feel in the great city of Angels. He lightened the mood by explaining a meeting with Madonna he once had and how confident he felt afterwards, only to find a left over In-N-Out fry hanging from his lapel, likely from his dinner before the meeting.

Like any great rockstar performance, Mansell saved his best for last: performing a three-song mashup from The Fountain. He and the band left the audience in a state of euphoria by ending the set with “Death is the Road to Awe.”

Read More: Clint Mansell Discusses Stoker, Video Game Composing, more

Additional highlights:

  • Mansell explained what a great human being writer Hubert “Cubby” Selby, Jr. (Requiem for a Dream) was, and how he would be nowhere without Cubby. He then performed the song in honor of the writer.
  • Seeing a young fan cry as the strings of Requiem for a Dream rang the two-note melody we’ve all come to love.
  • It feels a bit ironic that the soundtrack in which Mansell is most appreciated (The Fountain), has one of the lower critical ratings out of all the films he's been a part of. Just as someone once told Clint Mansell, "The best way to get back at a critic, is to outlive them."

*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.