Original Soundtrack

Jubilee [Virgin]

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This short but endearing disc features just over a half-hour of music featured in Derek Jarman's Jubilee (1978) -- an ominous and disturbing vision of England's apocalyptic post-punk future. The film -- which was Jarman's first full-length cinematic excursion -- is clearly not intended as a big-budget silver screen blockbuster. The soundtrack -- which was issued on CD in the mid-'90s -- contained some of the most important names in London's subterranean, albeit burgeoning alternative (read: punk) music scene. Likewise, there are several artists who crossed over from music into acting for the project. Primary among these is a then-unknown Adam Ant. He who portrays the character of Kid and contributes the opening fraulein ode "Deutscher Girls." The song bears an uncanny similarity to early Roxy Music in spots, while his "Plastic Surgery" is draped in a foreboding introduction that sneers and leers at the listener before kicking into overdrive nearly halfway through and never letting go until the cold conclusion. The inimitable Wayne County plays the character Lounge Lizard, who is joined by the equally shocking Electric Chairs for the up-tempo and suitably bombastic "Paranoia Paradise." Chelsea's heavily attitude-laden and overtly political "Right to Work" fits in perfectly to the LP and cinematic motifs -- particularly Gene October's unambiguously pointed lyrics. To a similar end is the pent-up frustration in the Adam Ant/Toyah Willcox co-written "Nine to Five" (which should in no way be confused with the Dolly Parton soundtrack hit of the same name). Jordan, another of London's first wave of punk scene makers, plays the unscrupulous, power-hungry Amil Nitrate. Onscreen her modernizations of the anthemic "Rule Britannia" and "Jerusalem" are given sardonic send-ups that faultlessly burst the fa├žade of pomposity inherent in the history of both of the selections. They are each credited to Jordan's other nom de plume, Suzi Pinns. Another major contributor is Brian Eno, whose ambient compositions "Slow Water" and the haunting "Dover Beach" can be found here. However, it is their incorporation into the motion picture that give the scenes an otherworldly quality that so rarely translates outside of the multi-sensual experience of watching the onscreen action accompanied by Eno's involved and practically hypnotic audio accompaniment. Although it was available, Jubilee was once considered one of the most difficult films to locate for home viewing. In 2007 the work was restored, remastered, and reissued on DVD by the cinephiles over at the Criterion Collection whose 25th Anniversary Special Edition includes a hi-def digital transfer of the main attraction, plus an in-depth documentary titled "Jubilee: A Time Less Golden" and stars 2007-era interviews with many primary participants, including Toyah Willcox and Jenny Runacre. ~ Lindsay Planer, Rovi

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