The soundtrack to Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter boasts an expansive folk/international mix tailored made for the film's atmospheric study of loss and guilt. Featuring original material by Mychael Danna, the disc spotlights the wan vocal talents of Sarah Polley (who also appears in the film and contributes some music and lyrics here) enveloped in lean and ethereal backdrops; the accompaniment comes courtesy of the Toronto Consort and a combo that includes Danna on Harmonium and Kim Deschamps on pedal steel. Also on hand are ney player extraordinaire Hossein Omoumi and flautist Ron Korb, both of whom fit snug on the many Middle Eastern-flavored sides they guest on. In addition to the Danna material, the soundtrack also features numbers by Jane Siberry and the Tragically Hip.
Until the End of the World is a definite contender for best motion picture soundtrack of the 1990s. With a lineup that includes Talking Heads, Lou Reed, R.E.M., Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, U2, and others all providing original songs or new covers, it's an absolute joy. Interspersed with Graeme Revell's haunting ambient score, virtually every pop/rock track works perfectly as part of a cohesive whole. "Sax and Violins," recorded during the dying days of Talking Heads, might be the band's most confident moment, as a jazzy background shuffle and keyboards provide compelling momentum underneath David Byrne's sarcastic vocals. Crime & the City Solution could have made an entire career out of the emotional yet existential "The Adversary." R.E.M. and Depeche Mode both contribute touching ballads. "Fretless" is one of the most beautiful tracks to be found in R.E.M.'s discography, documenting a wounded relationship with subtle grace. "Death's Door" is one of those sad numbers Depeche Mode fans have grown to love, with Martin Gore handling the vocals.
The music on A Quiet Revolution is sorted by general style, not chronologically. Discs 1 and 2, Elements and Peace, focus more on the label's pastoral textures, and disc 3 (Artistry) explores more ambitious or ensemble pieces. Disc 4 (Excursions) might be viewed by some long-time fans as "Wayward Hill," with its assortment of latter-day vocal stylings and traces of smooth jazz.