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He Shoots, He Scores

Belfast superstar DJ David Holmes has once again produced the goods with his soundtrack for Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Twelve, this time finding inspiration in sleazy European electro and superfly acid jazz. But not, however, elephant porn.

Tara Brady, 27 Jan 2005



David Holmes’ gaff in Belfast is a bit of a madhouse today. He and the missus have only just moved in. Friends having a pet passport crisis (don’t ask) have arrived from the States. David’s got a cold. Gentlemen of the press are calling. And at the centre of this maelstrom is Mr. Holmes’ nearly brand-new baby.

“Absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done,” exclaims the understandably proud dad. “I can’t wait to have loads more. I just have to persuade the wife.”

Well, I guess that being the youngest of ten children himself, he’ll have to be prolific in order to keep up. How he’ll find the time is quite another matter. The past few months alone have seen David providing gorgeous Morriconian arcs for Michael Winterbottom’s dreamy, amnesiac sci-fi, Code 46, and a lengthy DJ residency in Beijing.

“China was an amazing experience,” he tells me. “Being there reminded me of the start of the whole acid house thing in Dublin and Belfast. No bullshit, just people who want to get down to good music. It was a dream DJ gig.”

Further congratulations are in order for Mr. Holmes’ third collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh. Ocean’s Twelve, the frantic sequel to Soderbergh’s glossy remake of the ropey Rat Pack caper, Ocean’s Eleven boasts a funked-up score that demands you get down and unzipped.

Taking cues from the movie’s various Eurotrash settings, the Irish superstar DJ turned composer extraordinaire has crafted the most admirably sleazy album of his career, punctuating his own superfly acid jazz creations with madly eccentric and erotic curiosities.

Kicking off with the medallion swagger of Ornella Vanoni’s ‘L’Appuntamento’, the down and dirty Ocean’s Twelve OST gets creepy and voyeuristic on Umiliani’s ‘Cresuscolo Sul Mare’, experimentally jazzy on Grusin’s ‘Ascension To Virginity’ and rocks out nearly prog-style to John Schroeder’s fabulous ‘Explosive Corrosive Joseph’. It makes you wonder where the hell he goes record shopping. Italian porn specialists spring astonishingly to mind.

“Ha. I had a great time trawling through all this weird and wonderful early European electronica for Ocean’s Twelve,” explains David. “I didn’t really have to shop because people are always sending me stuff to listen to. Steven and I were exchanging things for months and he’s always really receptive to ideas, no matter how bizarre they are. But before I composed my own stuff, I had already put together a rough score and it was really hard letting go of all the stand-in tracks.”

Like the unique score, Ocean’s Twelve is far from being the usual remake-of-the-original kind of sequel. Slyly self-reflexive and full of hipster swagger, it’s easy to understand why David prefers it to the original.

“Ocean’s Eleven was a lot of fun, but it was just a movie. It was something to watch while eating popcorn. The new one just has more to it. It’s more like a proper film. But a lot of American critics have been very unreceptive for that reason. It’s a problem with sequels. If you just do a lazy remake of the original, they complain. And if you do something completely fresh and new like Steven has, then they complain even more.”

Well, I’m not complaining. In fact, I suggest you all go forth and sample Mr. Holmes’ delights, especially the Gallic psychedelic plodding of Roland Vincent’s ‘L.S.D. Partie’. In the movie, it’s a perfect accompaniment for George Clooney and company to sample Amsterdam café culture. It’s a splendid scene, but I must admit to feeling a little disappointed to discover that this lumbering acidic classic was not written for the purposes of elephant porn.

“Yeah, I know”, laughs David. “It’s a crazy tune. But elephant porn? What kind of shit are you getting up to for your sex life? No wait. Don’t tell me.”

Quite. Let’s not go there.

The Ocean’s Twelve OST is out now. You can also catch Holmer on January 28 when his monthly club night, The New Left Bank, launches in the Spring &?Airbrake, Belfast.

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