Milan Records will release Only God Forgives – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally, on CD, and on 180 gram double vinyl on July 16, 2013. A digital deluxe edition, containing six bonus tracks (including Bride of Chang remixed by Mac Quayle), will also be released on that date. The album features original music by 2012 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, composer Cliff Martinez (Spring Breakers, The Company You Keep) for Nicolas Winding Refn's follow-up to the 2011 hit Drive.
"Initially, Nicolas suggested that I avoid any instrumentation that would evoke the ghost of Drive. But in some instances, I just couldn't find any other instrument that had the unique sense of melancholy and foreboding that the Cristal Baschet does so well," described Martinez.
Said Refn, "I didn't know anything about Thai music, but it happened that Cliff did." Martinez turned the director onto Esan music. "I was able to realize that there was this whole tradition of this folk music that's about fables and so each of these songs has a fable side to it."
"I was getting bored with being cooped up in my home studio, so I wrote the score on my laptop from a hotel room in Thailand," said Martinez who was influenced by the setting of the film. "Like Drive, the first music to appear in the film were the songs. In this case, Thai pop songs. So in some small way, I tried to allow the music and setting of Thailand influence the score." For the score, Martinez used a Thai folk instrument called the Pin (or Phin), which is similar to an electrified, three-stringed lute.
Perhaps it is because of his time in the punk scene playing for artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee), The Weirdos, The Dickies, Lydia Lunch and Foetus frontman Jim Thirlwell, and the final incarnation of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band that composer Cliff Martinez's approach to scoring is nontraditional. His scores tend towards being stark and sparse, utilizing a modern tonal palette to paint the backdrop for films that are often dark, psychological stories like Narc (2002) Solaris (2002), The Limey (2009) Wonderland (2003), Wicker Park (2004), Drive (2011) and Arbitrage (2012). He has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with director Steven Soderberg beginning with 1989's sex, lies, and videotape and continues with such films as Traffic, Narc, and Contagion.
Martinez has been nominated for a Grammy Award (Steven Soderbergh's Traffic), a Cesar Award (Xavier Giannoli's A L'origine), and a Broadcast Film Critics Award (m.31372]Drive). Martinez's 2013 films include Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers (co-composed with Skrillex) and Robert Redford's The Company You Keep. Martinez recently received the Richard Kirk Award from BMI.
In Only God Forgives, Julian (Ryan Gosling), a respected figure in the criminal underworld of Bangkok, runs a Thai boxing club and smuggling ring with his brother Billy. Billy is suddenly murdered and their crime lord matriarch, Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives from London to bring back the body. When Jenna forces Julian to settle the score with his brother's killers, Julian finds himself in the ultimate showdown.