A film’s score can sometimes be the difference between a movie being “good” and “great,” and it should be obvious that almost any song played by an actual performer for a single-filled soundtrack automatically destroys any chance of it being a great movie. I could listen to Clint Mansell’s Requiem for a Dream score all day long, while I have soundtracks for shit like End of Days and Godzilla disintegrating in a forgotten CD binder somewhere.
Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, the surreal follow-up to his cult sensation Primer, won’t hit theaters until April 5th, but anyone interested is welcome to stream to the film’s newly released score, which also came out as a limited vinyl release. The music was performed and arranged by Carruth himself, who is also responsible for almost every other filmmaking process for his two films. It makes sense, given that his vision is so singular and non-homogenized. Take a listen below to get a better feel for Carruth’s brand of ambiance.
Carruth gave an interview to the blog site Brooklyn Vegan, in which he shares his lack of a musical background, as well as lists the top-played albums on his phone, including selections from Frank Ocean, Miles Davis, and composer Bernard Hermann. When asked if he’d considered using another composer, Carruth had this to say:
The short answer is no, I didn’t. Something happened in the writing where I started to understand the emotional weight of what was being explored, the romantic promise that exists when characters are broken to their core. At that point I fell so hard so fast for the story that I couldn’t have waited around for a another composer if I wanted to. So I would compose at the same time as writing the screenplay and let each affect the other in real time.
When asked to compare his experiences between Upstream Color and Primer, Carruth continued:
I view them as vastly different works, but maybe that’s just me. I’m so grateful for the response that Primer has had, but I’m a bit insecure about its rough edges and that goes for the music too. Upstream is something I could not be more proud of in both its ambition and execution. The music is more accomplished I think and is so much in service of the exploration that it’s hard for me to sever in it my head from the visual language. The film has an aesthetic of tactility, mania, and being affected at a distance so the music always relays the subjective experience of the characters, not what the audience is meant to feel which can be two different things.
Is that convoluted enough for you? What kind of a film did you think about when you listened to the score? Did it involve pigs? Find out what the film is really like April 5th, or a month later when the film hits the DVD/Blu-ray market on May 7th.