A Whore's Diary
Review from FilmScore Monthly
The title for this compilation by film composer Mark Governor is derived from a question-and-answer session during the premiere of the film version of Notes from Underground (1995) during which a tactful student asked Governor how being a "Hollywood whore" affected his ability to write serious music. Rather than inviting the woman to eat his shorts, Governor replied that he thought the regimen greatly improved his work.
Governor opens the album with a specially composed piece called "Arthouse", a blend of baroque and minimalist sensibilities with percussion, and it's an apt encapsulation of his overall style. "On the Occasion of Falling Rain" from Notes from Underground balances cymbalom (ingeniously suggesting the Russian origins of the story which were left out of the modern adaptation), a melancholy,wordless female vocal, and marimba, among other instruments, in creating a compelling mood of isolation and sadness, while the exotic-sounding "In the House of Blue Lights" lends an ironic tone to the protagonist's journey into a house of ill-repute. The title music to Santa Fe is a good-natured, Dave Grusin-like tune for slide guitar,recorder and xylophone, while "Culpepper" combines glistening electronic chords,vaguely eerie, church-choir-like vocals and percussion to underscore a flashback sequence from Santa Fe involving a Waco-like religious cult massacre.
For the Hollywood documentary Faded Dreams, Governor composed a moody bit of saxophone blues over synth chords and piano. Governor went the Michael Mann route with some preliminary work on the director's Heat, with pulsating electronic rhythms, two cellos and two guitars. A chase sequence from the movie Jamaica Heat ("The Shooting") sounds like what you might get if you crossed Jerry Goldsmith's percussive low-end piano action music with Mychael Danna's gamelan music from The Ice Storm.
Also incuded is an unusual bit of horror music for Pet Sematery 2 which plays anguished,building strings and choir over Native American percussion; music from a documentary on James Dean; a composition for na LA-based dance troupe; and several pieces Governor composed strictly for himself. It's an intriguing album that supports Governor's assertion that music for independent films can be preferable to a lot of the mainstream product out there.