Imaginal Soundtracking Vol. 1: There Will Come Soft Rains

Phantom Limb’s soundtrack imprint Geist im Kino is launching a new series entitled Imaginal Soundtracking on June 19. Contemporary musicians have been invited to re-score existing film pieces, with the purpose of bringing into the limelight lost or otherwise forgotten works and presenting different artistic takes on the film.

In this edition, a quartet takes on the award-winning animation There Will Come Soft Rains, a 1984 film by Nazim Tulvakhodzayev which was based on the short story by Ray Bradbury, which in turn refers to a 1918 poem by Sara Teasdale, in which mankind is threatened by war. The poem also speaks of nature’s resilience, thriving once again after destruction, and after our last footsteps have been erased. Despite being written over a century ago, the poem has more than a sliver of significance in the modern era, and its ongoing relevance is quite a shock to the system.

Masaaki Yoshida constructs his piece around a lonely piano and a steady metronomic click, retaining the original voice of the robot in the film to send the piece back in time and to give it a padding of authenticity, while gentle chords revolve around it, flowing freely and in stark contrast to a robot’s mechanical stutters. Quiet, sombre, and touching, the piece reflects on and walks among the debris, devastation, and stillness after a nuclear holocaust; some kind of peace even in the death of things.

Lakker, Rully Shabara, and Dylan Henner bring their compositions to the record, too, but perhaps the most striking aspect of There Will Come Soft Rains is the diversity on offer, as well as the differing interpretations from the respective artists. Even though it’s the same film, the musicians have provided their own individual takes and thoughts.

Electronic duo Lakker inject the music with venomous synths and complex layering which sync up with the climax of the film. Rully Shabara is the vocalist for the experimental Indonesian duo, Senyawa, and his interpretation is sculpted from a bedrock of drone and unique vocal arrangements. Dylan Henner’s track is also surprising, rephrasing and rearranging the robot’s voice until it represents something more malevolent and devilish, and the music never escapes from its doom-like feeling, which is just the kind of harmonic Imaginal Soundtracking Vol. 1: There Will Come Soft Rains was looking to hit.

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