kazee-snow-leopard replied to your audio post “there’s a part of me that believes that if I slow this waaaay down…”
Where is this from? It’s so cute~
Thanks to support from a Sundance Institute Production Grant, recent graduate RaMell Ross MFA 14 PH was able to hop on a plane to Iceland over the summer to meet with Alex Somers and fellow Photography MFA grad Scott Alario MFA 13 PH (above). He has commissioned the music duo (who used to be bandmates in the group Parachutes) to create an original soundtrack for Hale County, his feature-length documentary about the lives of two young African-American men growing up in Alabama.
“I wanted the compositions to be sparse and atmospheric,” Ross says – “a perfect backdrop to the textured visuals in the film that amplify injustice, ambition and the impact of social stratification.”
Somers and Alario certainly have the repertoire to make audio magic. The creative team has been known to collaborate with international sensations Sigur Ros and other famous acts in Somers’ Reykjavík recording studio. “Our music is sort of naive and fragile and gentle,” notes Somers. “We’ll use old, crusty cassettes to record mixes so the sound [quality] is really low-fi and blown out.”
Somers admits they were initially surprised when Ross expressed interest in their delicate compositions. “At first I thought it was a really odd pairing: our type of music and this story about urban street kids,” he says. “But then I understood RaMell’s vision. When these two forms of art come together, it creates an intensely emotional experience for the viewer.”
After digging out a huge chest stocked with a vibraphone, harmonica, drums, bells and toy microphones, the musicians spent a week in July working practically nonstop on the beautiful recordings. Ross will later edit down his final footage to fit the flow of the music.
“We did play with some percussive sequences – but we shied away from including too much rhythm,” notes Somers. “We didn’t want to distract viewers away from the action on screen.”
Find out more about the film in progress in this story on risd.edu.
What’s next for you, either solo or for Sigur Ros?
Jonsi: We haven’t been doing a lot, but we’ve got a new space. We’re gonna get our shit together soon. There’s always something brewing
Alex: Yes, always brewing. Jonsi has this workshop where he’s taking branches from the forest outside Reykjavik and he’s doing weird stuff. Jonsi has been making weird potions in this distiller machine he sticks branches in.
What concoctions have you come up with?
Jonsi: I’m basically really obsessed by smell. Really want to get some essential oils from birch and pine and angelica, but I haven’t been really successful yet.
Alex: No, he’s been good. He made some birch tar that was pretty cool. Make a fire and put a bucket over it and it drips this black tar basically. That was pretty intense.
When it comes to man’s drive to experiment, no show better illustrates the magnitude of human discovery than WGN America’s Manhattan, a story about the creation of the atomic bomb and the toll it took not only on the…
Interview with Alex about the score for new show Manhattan