Soundtrack: Michael Small / Klute

As a digital music pack rat, I find I’m always accessing the gajillion files in my archive by using iTunes’ random feature. This week there was a track that was served up that stopped me cold.

When I looked it was the opening title music from the soundtrack of the 1971 film Klute (don’t ask me how I came to possess this album, I don’t know myself). Check it:

Strange piano with what sounds like… what is that tone-bending instrument? Celesta? Glass bells? Wind chimes? Very interesting musical sequence for a mainstream film. Who is this composer? Seems I would have heard of someone so original before. Harry Partch? Terry Riley? Jerry Goldsmith on peyote?

And not only did I put this name to many fine soundtracks I find that he’s celebrated in a very detailed piece in Criterion  – so detailed that anything I have to add feels redundant. So check out this backgrounder and links to some of this late composer’s more memorable cues.

A quick search revealed the name Michael Small. Hadn’t ever heard of the guy. But I sure have heard his music. Small was the go-to composer for Alan J. Pakula whose paranoid thrillers – most notably The Parallax View, Rollover, and All the President’s Men – I’ve always enjoyed. Pakula once deemed Small to be a “co-dramatist” for the significance of his aural contributions. Strange I never heard his name before now. He even scored a film that a friend of mine (Don Bajema) is in, fer chrissakes.

Michael Small: Music’s Prince of Paranoia

Excerpts:
Righteous
Marathon Man
Brainwash