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The composer Jon Brion, who has done scores for directors such as Michel Gondry, David O. Russell, and Paul Thomas Anderson, has been getting a lot of ink this week for his producing and arranging work on the new Kanye West album. Here’s Rob Mitchum in Pitchfork Media, who compiles a 70-minute mixtape designed to update you on Brion’s eclectic body of work.

From the piece:

“The most talked about man in music right now is Kanye West, whose recently-released Late Registration album is already one of the most prominent critical battlefields of 2005. It’s no shocker that an expert self-promoter like Kanye is currently smiling out from every magazine and newspaper, but humbly caught up in the publicity cross-winds is a surprising figure: Jon Brion, the L.A. producer/film composer/multi-instrumentalist. It’s practically a rule that Brion, who has production credits on 11 of 16 Late Registration tracks, must be mentioned by the second paragraph of every review, and much of the credit, or blame, for the album’s lush, adventurous production is being sent his way, to varying degrees of accuracy.

I’ve been obsessed with Brion since catching one of his weekly Friday night sets at Los Angeles club Largo. Expecting little more than the standard Piano-Man act, I was instead treated to my head being blown off by a 20-minute improvisation involving a good half-dozen keyboards, samplers, a record player, some sort of cymbal/vibraphone hybrid, and occasional interjections of Brion’s wounded-pitch vocals. And then he took an audience request for “Cortez the Killer”, and my heart exploded.”

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