GFT Blog: The Best Soundtracks of 2017

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With new releases from Sufjan Stevens, Oneohtrix Point Never & Mica Levi, the past year has been an exciting one for cinephiles and music lovers alike - from the highly anticipated Blade Runner revival to Danny Boyle's Trainspotting sequel - 2017 provided us with some crackin' soundtracks. 

Add your favourite tracks of 2017 to our new collaborative Spotify playlist. Or tell us on Twitter & we'll add them for you!

Here's a look at our favourites...

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Featuring: Mica Levi, Pablo Casals

Pablo Larraín's distant biopic is a fragmented, dreamlike account of the days surrounding JFK's infamous assassination. Appropriately then, the film's unconventional score comes from Under the Skin composer and Academy Award nominee, Mica Levi, whose off-kilter orchestral work sits perfectly imperfect amidst the tragedy - elegantly moving, and always stirring in tonality. Levi pulls together a sense of loss, alienation and grace to produce one of the most memorable and inventive soundtracks we've heard in recent years. 

See Mica Levi live at Glasgow Film Festival event The Unfilmables.

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Featuring: Nicholas Britell, Barbara Lewis, Aretha Franklin

From the striking Boris Gardiner opener to an inclusion from Goodie Mob's acclaimed Southern classic Soul Food, the music of Moonlight is thoughtfully chosen with an incredible sensibility for lyricism and mood. But it is Nicholas Britell's melancholic chamber score that provides a fragile voice to the most poignant moments of the film. Britell uses clever audio-morphing tricks to bend and stretch his classical compositions - fully-capturing the ominous beauty ingrained within every frame of Barry Jenkins' Best Picture.

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Featuring: Kim Allen Kluge & Kathryn Kluge

An ambient change of pace from the rock'n'roll-fuelled New York pictures that made his name, Martin Scorsese's latest effortlessly blurs sound design with musical score. Composers Kim & Kathryn Kluge layer the soundscape with ghostly choral voices, Eastern instrumentation, and nature sounds reminiscent of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee - manipulated and cued under religious symbolism, accentuating the ethereal quality of the Japanese 'swamp'. Despite its exclusion from Oscar contention this year, the Kluges' transcendental work on Silence is undoubtedly an achievement in minimal scoring. 

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Featuring: Kasai Allstars, Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste

The sounds of Kinshasa are woven through Alan Gomis' latest feature with exuberant spirit as single mother Félicité (an impressive debut performance from Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu) races to save her 14-year-old son. There is some outstanding work from the Symphonic Orchestra of Kinshasa to score some of the film's more abstract and elusive scenes, however, most of the music comes from the 15-piece Congolese outfit Kasai Allstars - who mix multiple DRC musical traditions with distortion and "congotronics" to provide a driving, energetic soundtrack that is very much central to Gomis' storytelling.

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I Am Not Your Negro

Featuring: Aleksei Aigi, Kendrick Lamar, James Brown

A journey into civil rights history, James Baldwin's unpublished essay Remember This House is given new life through Samuel L. Jackson's narration in the essential Oscar-nominated documentary from Raoul Peck I Am Not Your Negro. Baldwin's words and Peck's visuals are soundtracked by a stack of classic records from the likes of blues legends Lightnin' Hopkins, Tommy Johnson & Big Bill Broonzy. And, along with a Miles Davis-esq score from Russian film composer Aigi, the profound messages and ideas of the manuscript are revitalised in refreshing cinematic fashion.

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Call Me By Your Name

Featuring: The Psychedelic Furs, André Laplante, Sufjan Stevens

"Somewhere in Northern Italy". Luca Guadagnino paints a sensual portrayal of young summer romance enriched by fairytale-like surroundings and warm soundtrack to match. Utilising an eclectic selection of international music, ranging from classical composers J.S. Bach and Claude Debussy to modern folk hero Sufjan Stevens (whose intimate-yet-elusive lyricism provides a fittingly moving narrative to Elio's bittersweet love story), the idealistic themes behind Call Me By Your Name reverberate throughout this lush soundtrack.

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Free Fire

Featuring: Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury, John Denver

Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury reunite with a prog-rock score of '70s-inspired magic in Ben Wheatley's shootout Free Fire. The Ex-Machina duo's contributions are honourably authentic with the percussive flair of Lalo Schifrin and Italian flamboyance of an epic Morricone score. Can you dig it?

Watch Ben Wheatley and Jack Reynor Q&A at GFF17.

Have we missed out your favourite? Let us know on Twitter, or simply add your top picks to our Spotify playlist!

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