Scottish producer Craig Armstrong scored countless soundtracks to much acclaim during the '90s and into the 2000s. His soundtrack work was in fact so successful that many big-name artists, such as U2 and Madonna, began courting him, while he simultaneously pursued a solo career as a down-tempo electronica producer beginning with The Space Between Us in 1998. Though his collaborations are too numerous to list, Armstrong's most successfully paired with film director Baz Luhrman, producing big-selling soundtracks for Romeo + Juliet (1998) and Moulin Rouge (2001).
Born in Scotland, Armstrong began his production career in the early '90s. He composed music for several BBC and STV productions during this time, but his big break came with the Scottish pop trio Big Dish. Armstrong co-wrote three songs on the trio's Satellites album, released in 1991, and also provided string arrangements for the album. Three years later, in 1994, Armstrong worked with renowned trip-hop group Massive Attack on its genre-defining Protection album. This association with Massive Attack would pay dividends a few years later when the group released Armstrong's debut full-length album on its Melankolic label. By the end of the '90s, Armstrong had collaborated with such big-name artists as U2, Madonna, Hole, the Spice Girls, the London Suede, and Tina Turner, in addition to many other lesser-known artists.
As mentioned, Massive Attack released Armstrong's solo debut, The Space Between Us, in 1998. The album didn't prove to be as popular as expected, but it nonetheless increased Armstrong's reputation as a noteworthy producer. During this same late-'90s era, Armstrong continued working on soundtrack projects, which remained his most acclaimed work. His work for Jake Scott's debut film, Plunkett & Macleane, was perhaps his most visible work, being released by Astralwerks in the States (as had The Space Between Us a year earlier). However, he worked on soundtracks for much more successful films such as Mission: Impossible (1996), Romeo + Juliet (1998), Cruel Intentions (1999), and -- perhaps his most celebrated soundtrack work -- Moulin Rouge (2001). Following the success of Moulin Rouge, and its second volume, Armstrong returned in 2002 with his second non-soundtrack full-length effort, As if to Nothing, which boasted a new version of U2's "Stay (Faraway, So Close)." In 2004, he provided the score for the Ray Charles biopic Ray, and in 2005, an anthology of his film work was released. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi