Based in various cities around northern England, Abandon Normal Devices describes itself as a ‘catalyst’, a provider of events that fuse the arts with the sciences, and academia with anarchy. Next month, something which particularly caught our eye is the Watch The Skies! weekend. The first large-scale outdoor cinematic event will be taking place at the Jodrell Bank Observatory and will include three screenings of very different cinematic stimuli: Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (3rd Oct), Ridley Scott’s Alien and Kōji Morimoto’s Magnetic Rose (both on 4th Oct). What has made the events even cooler is that the soundtrack for Morimoto’s film will be premiered live by its composer, Oneohtrix Point Never.
The enigmatic ambassador for experimental electronic music had a breakthrough year in 2013, with his critically acclaimed album, R Plus Seven, which warmly welcomed him into the Warp Records family. His extramusical projects have included compositions for the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase in 2012 and Warp x Tate Modern’s History of the World installation in 2013. Amidst our state of slightly geeky elation, we asked Daniel for his favourite original film scores before his outing for AND. Here are the results.
Howard Shore – The Brood (1979)
With Shore you get this slight of hand effect of romantic dissonance – you tip it a little bit one way and all this sourness and dread is revealed. You tip it back the other way and it’s more conventional. That is a very good allegory for horror. Also it feels like one, long, spindly continuum of thematic stuff that feels like it’s constantly evolving.
Eduard Artemiev – Solaris (1972) / The Mirror (1975) / Stalker (1979) / Siberiade (1979)
Much like Tarkovsky, Artemiev was an idiosyncratic and pioneering composer who was out of place in the Soviet Union. Artemiev’s contributions are inseparable from the films and its best understood in the context of Tarkovsky’s camera – Solaris, The Mirror, Stalker all good. Artemiev also scored Andrey Konchalovskiy’s epic Siberiade which includes arrangements of Russian folk songs, ambient synth stuff, and contributions from his band Boomerang which sounds a bit like his prog record ‘Warmth of Earth’ but more chaotic.
Hans Zimmer – Broken Arrow (1996)
Zimmer’s scores have this way of taking the temperature of pop culture and music technology and this one is prototypically 90s. To my ears it feels like Zimmer hyperrealizing Morricone’s spaghetti western scores – it’s romantic and direct but also polished and gaudy in a way that only Zimmer can get away with.
Brad Fiedel – Terminator 2 (1991)
A score that feels like it’s assembling itself as you listen to it. It’s cool to hear Fiedel’s growth from T1 to T2 – the main theme goes through some cybernetic enhancement processes but still remains anthemic. The best bits usually follow Sarah Connor, but my favourite aspect of it is all the synthetic percussion moments – a great example of how the Fairlight CMI can be used in bespoke ways to express something formally inventive, as opposed to just chromatically “playing” samples in a cheesy way.
Toru Takemitsu – Kaidan (2007)
My favorite composer of scores and a complete genius, on the level of what Tarkovsky did for film. No one is better at using space as a formal parameter. He famously would visit sets to get a feeling for the film – the aura is always present in his work. This is as good as it gets.
Oneohtrix Point Never comes to Abandon Normal Devices Festival at the Jodrell Bank Observatory on 4th October, for the live premiere of his original soundtrack to Kōji Morimoto’s Magnetic Rose. Visit Eventbrite for tickets, as well as information on student concessions.