Soundtracks on Vinyl: Lost River

Actor Ryan Gosling’s brief stint in the writer-director’s chair with his Detroit based 2014 film Lost River (originally titled How to Catch a Monster) did not go over well upon initial release.  Booed at the Cannes Film Festival while Warner Brothers discussed selling off the picture before burying it in limited theatrical release alongside video-on-demand, Gosling’s dreamy fairy tale of life in the inner city of Detroit, Michigan was all but burned at the stake.  Budgeted at around $2 million, the film between theatrical, VOD and home video sales to this day has only taken in a measly $615,000 and hasn’t enjoyed much love from the critical and cinephile community. 

That, however, hasn’t stopped the good folks at from mounting a most lavish collectible boxed set to house front man Jonny Jewel’s ethereal and pulsing analogue based electronic score for the film.  Originally the film’s original score was announced as a special purple vinyl record boxed set close to two years ago before being delayed indefinitely.  Despite digital downloads being available, the planned vinyl set instead was reshaped into a limited compact disc boxed set with a collectible booklet, six exclusive 7x7 flexi discs, posters and digital downloads of the soundtrack album.  Naturally, the one and only (at the time) physical media release of the soundtrack album to Lost River instantly sold out and plans for a purple vinyl box seemed to drift further away from the band’s site plans.

Then recently with the out-of-nowhere announcement of Johnny Jewel and the Chromatics’ involvement with David Lynch’s new television series Twin Peaks: The Return alongside surging sales of the Twin Peaks album material through their online store, talk about that long awaited purple Lost River vinyl boxed set began again.  Finally, after almost three years of waiting for a collectible soundtrack album that gradually started to feel like it would never happen, italiansdoitbetter officially announced the purple vinyl boxed set of Lost River and I can say without hesitation it was well worth the endless wait.

Housed on three 180 gram deep purple vinyl platters each packaged in their own separate sleeve jackets, the album comes housed in a large black, silver and red box with an original collectible purple slipmat, a compact disc of the album, two full sized theatrical posters and a 12x24 sized 48 page color booklet with panoramic spreads, this is as close to an ultimate edition release of anything Lost River related that has been released to date!  Retailing at $40 and limited to 5,000 copies for the first purple pressing, the boxed set is available exclusively through and anyone who orders directly through them are likely to receive bonus albums, posters and/or stickers with their purchase!  Needless to say, they went all out and bestowed massive amounts of love producing this soundtrack album for a film that could use a bit more love than it gets.

One of the rare occasions where a soundtrack album gets more dedication and attention than the film itself, Johnny Jewel’s score for Lost River with it’s brand of deep analogue synth strings, dissonance in sound as atmosphere enhancement and rich electronic soundscape is glistening candy for the ears.  With original vocals by cast members Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith and Ben Mendelsohn as well as tracks by Symmetry, Chromatics, Glass Candy and Desire, listening to the score has the power to slip you into a trance where you’re not sure where the dream ends and reality begins if at all.  This is also, unlike other scores which swap out used cues with unused ones, a thoroughly complete album which gives you everything however subtle that you heard in the movie. 

While unlikely to turn detractors around on Gosling’s still divisive debut behind the camera, it will give fans and listeners of anything italiansdoitbetter related in general a truly gorgeous package that will have you coming back for further indulgences.  That a soundtrack album for a much maligned little gem such as this happened at all is a wonderful thing, but for Johnny Jewel’s team to have gone as far above and beyond expectations for this limited purple set is nothing short of miraculous.  Easily one of my favorite electronic soundtracks in recent memory to a frankly underrated cult favorite that will eventually gain a stronger following, the Lost River limited collector’s vinyl soundtrack is undoubtedly one of the best soundtrack album purchases I made this year and I will cherish this lovely, ornate and magnificent boxed set for years to come!


- Andrew Kotwicki