Day 2: Film sounds & visual imagination

After yesterday’s listening planning, today I actually started in on it. I’m trying to ignore (at least to some extent) choosing things I feel like listening to (so that I don’t just pick easy stuff) and instead am trying to mix up stuff I’ve not listened to at all with stuff I’ve not listened to in a long time, choosing more based on circumstances – this morning it was Brahms string quintets while I ate my breakfast, but Midnight Oil’s Red Sails in the Sunset while on the train. I’m also trying to not re-listen to things. I get very tempted to just keep hitting play when I’ve enjoyed an album and go round and round, but that’s not what I’m trying to do here.

I’ve listened to two soundtracks so far which have me starting to think about how much the imagery of their films is evoked by just listening to the soundtrack. What’s intriguing me particularly is that one of them is from a film I know extremely well (Nino Rota’s music for Fellini’s La Dolce Vita [on Spotify]) while the other is one I believe I’ve only ever seen once (Wim Mertens’ score – plus superb bits by Glenn Branca – to Peter Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect [on Spotify]) – yet they both conjure up for me the very particular visual style of their respective films. Obviously, my mind has mapped the Rota score more specifically to particular scenes as I’ve seen La Dolce Vita many, many times (although not for years now) but that same reaction is there for both.

One of the projects I’m working on apart from Creative Pact is an exhibition of Closet Music – music to be imagined rather than performed – and I guess that’s tying in a little because I’m now starting to wonder what kind of visual response I would experience if listening to music from a film I’ve never seen, or that’s been composed for an imaginary film. Do you know anything like that? I think I have a track by White Town (on the B-side of his excellent single ‘Your Woman’) which is theme music for an imaginary game show(?), so might dig that out tomorrow, but I’d be interested to pursue this if anyone has any suggestions.

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