Running less than an hour long, featuring no standard talking head interviews, and taking a largely observational approach, Paul Thomas Anderson created one of the most involving musical portraits of the year with his documentary, “Junun.” A look at the making of the album of the same name by Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, and The Rajasthan Express it allowed the music to speak for itself, and did it ever. And with the album on the way, NPR has the first listen to the whole thing, and it’s terrific stuff.
Produced by Radiohead knob twiddler Nigel Godrich, recorded in a stunning 15th-century Rajput hill fort, and featuring soaring, rhythmic and hypnotic vocals, Junun is a unique and special experience. Bright brass punctuate the near mystical mood, while the intense percussion section holds everything in place, with guitars, flutes, and a vintage Ondes Martentot synthesizer all giving the recording a distinctive flavor.
Junun streets on November 20th. The documentary has ended its run on MUBI but is now showing on the big screen in Los Angeles at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. Listen below.