‘Traction’ was released on Friday. It’s more upbeat than the previous outings, lots of bloops, stutters and synths. It’s also the only track on the album with accordion on it. When we were writing the soundtrack we were aware that we would need to think about how we would perform it alongside the film. In our ordinary set there’s lots of swapping instruments and moving around the stage which would be too distracting. We decided we’d need to condense everything down and compose the music on a set up of controllers and guitar. The accordion doesn’t come with us for these performances, we take the melodica instead - a weak substitute really. We were worried about missing cues and being generally panicked whilst wrestling an accordion so we had to made a compromise.
In a lot of ways restricting ourselves to piano, synth, electronics and guitar helped with the writing process. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have everything at your disposal. You can become paralysed by the endless possibilities. Having boundaries and working within their limitations pushed us to create in different ways and make points by different means. It’s like haiku poetry, when you only have 17 syllables to make a point you find creative ways in which to say it. It’s surprising how succinct you can be.
In terms of its relationship to the film ’Traction’ was arranged around the iconic scene where Buster Keaton blinks.
We wanted to make a point of those special two seconds and figured that maybe the best way to do that within a soundtrack of 80 minutes solid music was with silence. This happens pretty early on in the track and we hoped that it would create an air of expectancy. It can be as important to know when not to fill a void, something it took us a long time to realise.
The arrangement of the track came together very quickly, the contours of the film narrated where the stutters should emphasise the tension and when the synths soar with optimism. We experimented a lot with glides on the bleeps too. I think we’ll use that technique in the future. I very much enjoyed writing this one.
We’ll be releasing a song a week until the album comes out in a month. That’ll still leave 16 unheard tracks on the record. The next one is called ‘Firewood’ which is out on Friday, it got a play on BBC Radio 6 last night. Thanks Gideon Coe!