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A Fabulous Soundtrack to a Nonexistent Film

*** 1/2 DAVID HOLMES, "Bow Down to the Exit Sign," 1500

October 22, 2000|STEVE HOCHMAN

The best film soundtrack albums are compelling whether you've seen the movie or not--"A Clockwork Orange," "Performance" and "Pulp Fiction" come to mind. With this one, you have no choice--the film doesn't exist, just a screenplay titled "Living Room."

That didn't hamper Dublin DJ Holmes, whose music for "Out of Sight" was an arresting pastiche of techno-jazzy moodiness and bouncing swagger. "Bow Down" (dues in stores Tuesday) is even more, well, cinematic, with several tracks framed by bits of dialogue and location sound, echoing the street recordings used on Holmes' last non-film album, "Let's Get Killed."

Yet it's also Holmes' most song-oriented album, with vocal contributions from Jon Spencer, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, former Tricky partner Martina Toppley-Bird and New York poet-songwriter Carl Hancock-Rux. "Bad Thing," featuring Spencer, evokes all the dark voodoo of Dr. John's "Walk on Gilded Splinters," which Holmes says inspired it. "Sick City," written and sung by Gillespie, is psychedelic rock with an edge.

And the instrumental tracks stand on their own, from the impressionistic disorientation of "Voices, Siren, Rain" to the elastic grooviness of "69 Police." Holmes performs Tuesday and Wednesday at the Three of Clubs in Hollywood.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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