… a story of celestial loneliness… and distant longing…
Tonight, Clint Mansell witnesses London Contemporary Orchestra perform his score for Duncan Jones’s Moon alongside the screening of the film at the sold-out Barbican show. The film and the soundtrack came out now a decade ago. How time flies! It feels as if only yesterday I was writing these words on this music, before even watching the film, and I was already moved by its mysterious atmosphere to feel all that is still left unsaid. My suspicions were, of course, confirmed once I’ve seen this fine movie. Let’s not talk in riddles, and go straight to the RECITAL of this monumental soundtrack. Because all of this just as still relevant now as it was in the past…
There is something peculiar about such soundtracks. This is the music composed specifically for the moving images on the screen. But why should it be limited to film, and not accompany the daily scenes of life or stunning visuals behind my eyelids? I close the door behind me and set towards my commute to work. The music somehow follows every turn and step I make. It swells in its crescendo and dies out in its silence in all the right places. Or maybe it’s the other way around. It is the music that drives my thought patterns. The drums marching me towards determination, the soft piano guiding me forth to acceptance.
Starting off his career as a lead singer and a guitarist for Pop Will Eat Itself, Clint Mansell ventured into creating his first film soundtrack for Darren Aronofsky‘s debut film, π. Placing his compositions among the works by Autechre, Orbital and Aphex Twin (among many others), Mansell set off on a new path in writing cinematic music. Two years later, in 2000, Mansell became a star composer among the cult followers, with his soundtrack release for Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream performed by the Kronos Quartet. The rest is history. Among my favourite works by Mansell are his soundtracks for films like The Fountain, Smokin’ Aces, The Wrestler, and, of course, Moon.
The music conveys the feelings of ambient longing, rhythmic anxiousness, and atmospheric nostalgia. A minimal piano melody is at the centre stage of each piece. Propelled forwards by this unifying theme, each variation on the main melody evokes a new emotion. Being absorbed within this repeating cinematic pattern over 55 minutes of music puts me in a mild trance. Hard as I try, some tracks move into the background of my consciousness, as my thoughts trail away, only to be awakened into this gloomy reality with a familiar pattern, as if on a queue by a hypnotist.
I highly recommend you grab your vinyl copy today, and see if you can catch a live performance of Mansell’s music in person!