Carter Burwell and the Music of No Country For Old Men

One of the things that many reviews have pointed out is the near absence of music from the film.
No Country for Old Men, Coen Brothers

After writing about it for so long, I finally saw No Country For Old Men last night. I hope to post some thoughts soon, but suffice to say, I really enjoyed it. Well, I’m not sure if “enjoyed” is the right term to use with a film as bleak and unrelenting as No Country For Old Men, but the film offers so much to contemplate, especially in light of recent events, that I appreciated it greatly and found it thoroughly captivating.

One of the things that many reviews have pointed out is the near absence of music from the film. There are scant bits and pieces here and there, mostly drones and atmospherics as windswept and barren as the film’s opening landscapes. Those, and the song that plays during the end credits, a haunting rumination of acoustic guitar, spectral percussion, and field recordings entitled — appropriately enough — “Blood Trails” that reminded me of Mi Media Naranja-era Labradford and Scenic.

Carter Burwell (the film’s composer) has posted MP3 clips of both “Blood Trails” and another song from the film (“A Jackpot”) on his website (you can stream full-length versions of both) as well as some thoughts on the challenges presented by the quietest film he’s ever worked on.

Disquiet has some additional thoughts and observations as well.


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