Liam Gillick: Los Angeles

Liam Gillick's 26-minute soundtrack to Sarah Morris's film portrays Los Angeles as an innocent, glittering wonderland rather than a sleaze den teeming with corruption and backroom deal-making. Apparently, filmmaker Morris (Gillick's wife) spent the week leading up to the 2004 Academy Awards armed with a 35mm CinemaScope camera and, acting as cultural anthropologist, documented images of cinematic worship, grandiosity, and narcissism. Depicting images of a woman receiving Botox injections, Brad Pitt immersed in stunt rehearsals for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and director Brett Ratner changing clothes in his car while blathering on his cell phone, Morris's film exposes the decadent grime that spreads beneath the premiere's red carpet.

If the listener is supposed to interpret the music's prettiness as ironic, it's a hard call to make minus the visuals. Regardless, Gillick's soundtrack holds up fine no matter the intended meaning: chiming synths dance amidst simple beat patterns, elegant piano themes, handclaps, and strings throughout the single-movement suite (its episodic nature suggests the film might be equally episodic), its sparkling electronic character a natural analogue to the city's blinding surfaces.

November 2006