Tarwater’s second full length release for Gusstaff Records takes the form of a soundtrack composed for the film ‘Donne-Moi La Main’, and is in part a collaborative effort with French filmmaker and director Pascal-Alex Vincent. Shot on location across France and Spain, the film accounts the tale of two twin brothers traveling across the two Countries to attend the funeral of the mother they never knew. Along the way the brothers encounter several other characters who trigger in their own personalities equal amounts of shared alienation and intense rivalry.
During the filming each night the cast and crew would camp on site surrounded by swamplands, remote forests, rivers and abandoned railroads. The films twin protagonists Victor and Alexandre Carril would set up a portable sound system providing music for the crew. Tarwater was one of their favourite bands, so as the evenings set in, the sounds of the German group would emanate from the small speakers and across the surrounding landscapes. It soon became apparent to Pascal that the band’s music was unwittingly becoming the most appropriate backdrop to not only the environments they were in, but also the film itself. This led to him contacting the duo and sending them some footage, from which they formed the basis of a working relationship. Vincent’s only stipulation was that the band integrate rural instruments into their original compositions (mouth harp, harmonica and banjo), in order to recreate the musical contrast with the landscape that both cast and crew had found so compelling whilst on the road.
The fourteen tracks Tarwater composed for ‘Donne-Moi La Main’ were created in conjunction with the final editing of the film. They set about the task in their Berlin studio, and Vincent would bounce back and forth footage, scenes and current edits, with the band in turn forwarding their music to him as it occurred. Unlike Tarwater’s previous work most of the pieces here are instrumental, and the melding of electronic and acoustic sounds recalls at times the loose grooves of Califone and the more subdued elements of Mogwai’s back catalogue. Organic tones, spacious room sound, slinky pocket-sized glitch and sample-based ambience makes ‘Donne-Moi La Main’ as affecting a stand alone listen as the pieces are when presented in conjunction with scenes they articulate. Instrumental compositions like ‘Tubes’, with its wavering melodies, its submerged banjo line and bouncing dews harp create an aural impression of the movie’s backdrop, where elsewhere closing track ‘Chairs’ is a song which houses all the emotion and control found in the work of the Early Day Miners.
The album artwork features a frame from the films opening sequence which is a Manga style animation. Also worth mentioning is Stephan Schneider and Robert Lippok of To Rococo Rot who appear on the record, Schneider offering up bass and banjo performances, Lippok on the production tip. Tarwater’s first film score is an uplifting, understated and emotional collection of compositions, worthy of release in its own right.
released June 16, 2015
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