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A Small Good Thing

A Small Good Thing specializes in the imaginary soundtrack, a narrative musical format pioneered by Barry Adamson, who intended his albums to be bleak noir soundtracks to films that never existed. With an imaginary soundtrack, the composer uses the tropes of film music -- notably, incidental interludes that link dialogue and dramatic orchestrations to crucial plot development -- to set a moody context, leaving the listener to fill in the visual blanks.

A Small Good Thing's debut album, 1994's Slim Westerns, is a gorgeous ambient album set out to dry in the southwestern desert. On the song "Godforsaken," A Small Good Thing drops ample references to Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western scores, adding the dusty sounds of a slide guitar over ambient passages that would make Brian Eno proud. "Somewhere South of Here" gets tense with the persistent toll of a funeral bell and a handful of badass spoken word samples from world-weary gunslingers.

The Pink & Purple World Of Dishonesty tells a cyber-noir tale drawing from the jazz-laden soap opera scores that Angelo Baldamenti composed for "Twin Peaks." "Peep-Show Eccentriques" is a slow electronic swing number topped off with muted trumpet, while "Re-Arranged Face" features a drunk solitary pianist tapping out irregular chords that succumb to a digitized electronic wash.