Dark Matter

Dark Matter

by Randy NewmanRandy Newman


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Early in his career, Randy Newman used to regularly puzzle over his lack of commercial success, seemingly unaware that his trademark combination of New Orleans piano and wildly unreliable narrators was hardly a sure path to the Hit Parade. Decades later, Newman has found a side door to fame and wealth as a composer of film scores and likeable theme tunes for Pixar features. As a consequence, the man who created dark masterpieces like 12 Songs, Sail Away, and Good Old Boys is too busy to make the same sort of albums he released when he was a mere cult figure. 2017's Dark Matter comes nine years after 2008's Harps and Angels (which in turn arrived nine years after 1999's Bad Love), but for fans of Newman's work, the consolation prize for his non-prolific nature is that his albums have been free of filler, and Dark Matter ranks with his best work of the '70s and '80s. If anything, Newman has become a more ambitious songwriter than he was in his younger days; there's a scope to his storytelling that's bigger but just as satisfying as his '70s milestones, and years of writing and arranging for an orchestra have taught him how to use the tonal colors of a large ensemble to his advantage without drowning out the nuances. And Newman's endless cynicism and fascination with offbeat characters is served brilliantly on Dark Matter, as science squares off against faith, Sonny Boy Williamson encounters Rice Miller, the Kennedys plot the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Vladimir Putin ponders his land and his power, and a well-meaning beach bum survives the passing parade of history. Even the album's weakest cut, "It's a Jungle Out There," works in context, and the two numbers about the bonds of family, "Lost Without You" and "Wandering Boy," are thoughtful and genuinely moving. And the easy, endlessly reliable stride of Newman's piano remains one of popular music's most underrated pleasures. At his current pace, Randy Newman will be 83 by the time he gets around to releasing the follow-up to Dark Matter, but judging from this, if there's anyone capable of that sort of late-career milestone, it's him.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/04/2017
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597940336
catalogNumber: 558563
Rank: 160959


  1. The Great Debate
  2. Brothers
  3. Putin
  4. Lost Without You
  5. Sonny Boy
  6. It's a Jungle Out There
  7. She Chose Me
  8. On the Beach
  9. Wandering Boy

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Randy Newman   Primary Artist,Piano,Conductor,Vocals
Bruce Dukov   Violin
Nick Ariondo   Accordion
Jacqueline Brand   Violin
Matt Chamberlain   Drums
Alvin Chea   Background Vocals
Randy Crenshaw   Background Vocals
Brian Dembow   Viola
Stephen Erdody   Cello
Alan Estes   Percussion
Mitchell Froom   Keyboards
Julie Gigante   Violin
Dan Higgins   Alto Saxophone
Rusty Higgins   Tenor Saxophone
Greg Huckins   Baritone Saxophone
Clydene Jackson   Background Vocals
Teresa James   Background Vocals
Dennis Karmazyn   Cello
Dane Little   Cello
Andy Martin   Trombone
Bob McChesney   Trombone
Edward Meares   Bass
Maria Newman   Violin
Helen Nightengale   Violin
David Piltch   Bass
Geri Rotella   Flute
Kim Scholes   Cello
Jim Self   Tuba
Roger Wilkie   Violin
John Yoakum   Alto Saxophone
Drew Dembowski   Bass
Wayne Bergeron   Trumpet
Timothy Landauer   Cello
John H. West   Background Vocals
Leslie Reed   Oboe
Shawn Mann   Viola
Irina Voloshina   Violin
Eun Mee Ahn   Violin
Rose Corrigan   Bassoon
Michael Valerio   Bass
Alva Copeland   Background Vocals
Sarah Thornblade   Violin
Adam Michalak   Performing Ensemble
Ralph Williams   Clarinet
Carolyn Riley   Viola
Lisa M. Sutton   Violin
Gregory Goodall   Percussion
Dave Walther   Viola
Larry Hall   Trumpet
Alyssa Park   Violin
Craig Gosnell   Trombone
Belinda Broughton   Violin
Scott Hosfeld   Viola
Lorand Lokuszta   Violin
Teag Reaves   Horn
Alma Fernandez   Viola
Blake Mills   Guitar
Kevin Connelly   Violin
Damian Montano   Bassoon
Stephen Dress   Bass
Armen Ksajikian   Cello
Stuart Clark   Clarinet
Thomas Diener   Viola
David Marquette   Performing Ensemble
Kenneth Munday   Bassoon
Amy Hershberger   Violin
Laszlo Mezo   Cello
Marc Sazer   Violin
Steven Becknell   Horn
Luke Maurer   Viola
Tamara Hatwan   Violin
Jo Ann Turovsky   Harp
Matthew Funes   Viola
Jon Lewis   Trumpet
Sandie Hall   Background Vocals
Jennifer Olson   Flute
Michael Geiger   Background Vocals
Michael Nowack   Viola
Kala Balch   Background Vocals
Jessica E. Guideri   Violin
Bill Listen   Tenor Saxophone
Dylan Hart   Horn
Clinton Welander   Performing Ensemble
Benjamin Smolen   Flute
Jacob Braun   Cello
Donna Medine   Background Vocals
Ben Jaber   Horn
Dan Fornero   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Randy Newman   Composer,Orchestration
Mitchell Froom   Producer
Robert Hurwitz   Executive Producer
Lenny Waronker   Producer
Greg Loskorn   Engineer
Mick Higgins   Engineer
Jonathan Sacks   Orchestration
David Boucher   Producer,Engineer
Morgan Stratton   Engineer
Greg Dennen   Engineer
Michael Carney   Art Direction
Aron Kobayashi-Ritch   Engineer

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