Hello from the Harz mountains! We are currently on our way to Berlin for a show tomorrow. It’s 8.30am, hot as hell and I’m sat at a desk in a hotel overlooking a building site. In all the preparation getting rehearsed and packed and organised we didn’t get a chance to write something about ‘The Flood’. And now ‘Reunited’ is here too. Maybe you’d be interested in hearing a little bit about them both. Gemma will tell you a bit about ‘The Flood’ and I’ll follow up with some words about ‘Reunited’. The album hits the shops and is released online this Friday. There’ll be no more singles taken from the album but if anyone would like to know about any of the other tracks or pieces we’ve not covered or any other aspect of the record we’d be happy to write some more posts, let us know.
This scene gave a lot visually to write to and was one of my favourites to compose. Coming directly after “The Crash” we wanted something fuller and more uptempo. The noise opening the piece is a harp melody which has been reversed, I’ve used reverse harp on another song we worked on for the Ada project and fell in love with the sound, its bloomin’ lovely!
In an unusual Haiku move we chose to keep the beat quite stark to mimic the gunfire, without too much effort the flashes of light in the film and beat create an illusion that we’ve spent hours to sync up every gun shot. Thats always a bonus.
The piece breaks down whilst we start losing some of Busters army and things start to look bleak. Buster accidentally fires a cannon upwards, here I used an effect on the Space Echo pedal which takes the an echo sound and oscillates it at increasing speed and oscillations increasing in pitch. Its a bit cartoonish. In a great way. The final section begins with these oscillations slowing in speed and pitch back to their normal sound which syncopates with the cannon hitting the dam and releasing the flood.
Interesting fact: we read that Buster Keaton got negative press during the filming describing him (and the budget) as ‘out of control’ and mentions he was building real bridges and constructing dams to alter the depth of the river.
We chose to use versions of three pieces to bookend the soundtrack, a stripped down version of this piece is used at the beginning of the film.
Very often we have patterns or melodies or phrases saved for when they make sense within the context of another piece of music. We started this project with only one written piece stored away waiting to make sense, the rest was written from scratch. It was lucky that this piece of music found its natural place within the film pretty much immediately and only needed some minor rearranging to work well with the scene. The song is ‘Reunited’ and it begins slowly and with trepidation. The drone you can hear is a recording of Gemma’s voice transposed to an extremely low octave, and the noise of the rain is a recording of me in the shower. Too much information maybe but it was more convenient than waiting for a day of heavy rain. We were going to chop up the sound of the falling water to make a rhythm but it ended up working as continuous piece soundtracking the rain falling on the night.