Since the Stone Age, drugs have been sniffed to induce sleep, mixed to cure ills, swallowed to stimulate creativity, snorted to increase sexuality, popped for the h*ll of it and smoked to see God.
During the mid 1980s Howard Marks had 43 aliases, 89 phone lines, and owned 25 companies throughout the world. Whether bars, recording studios, or offshore banks, all were money laundering vehicles serving the core activity: dope dealing. Marks began to deal small amounts of hashish while doing a postgraduate philosophy course at Oxford, but soon he was moving much larger quantities. At the height of his career he was smuggling consignments of up to 50 tons from Pakistan and Thailand to America and Canada and had contact with organizations as diverse as MI6, the CIA, the IRA, and the Mafia. This is his extraordinary story.
This soundtrack marks composer Howard Shore's 12th collaboration with director David Cronenberg, and it's safe to say the two men have an almost symbiotic relationship at this point. Like its immediate predecessor, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises is a crime drama; this time around, however, it is set not in a very American town but among Russian gangsters in London. Shore evokes the milieu by incorporating "slavic" touches from a cimbalom (a type of hammered dulcimer), a balalaika (a triangular stringed instrument), and a tárogatóto (a woodwind) in his orchestrations, but thankfully he doesn't overdo it and turn the score into cheesy folklore. This is a taut, somber CD, where the main themes are performed by a solo violin (check out in particular "Nine Elms"). But the most arresting track may well be the slow, majestic "Slavery and Suffering", a traditional revolutionary song performed by the Red Army Choir.