LA composer and musician Jon Natchez’s score for the stunning, award-winning Maltese independent film Luzzu will be released on vinyl and digital retail on 6th May via Phantom Limb’s Geist im Kino soundtrack imprint.
Opening in theatres to rave reviews last year, Maltese-American screenwriter, and director Alex Camilleri’s feature debut Luzzu currently sits at 100% on the review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. “All submerged,” writes film critic Carlos Aguilar for the Los Angeles Times, “in Jon Natchez’s enrapturing score.” Composed for strings, flutes, clarinets, brass, synthesiser and harp, Natchez’s work for Luzzu celebrates, reflects, and glues together the gritty, loving agony of Camilleri’s remarkable debut.
The film tells the story of a young fisherman struggling under the scorching Maltese sun. He battles the sea’s diminishing returns, his newborn son’s illness, his partner’s judgemental family, and the slow death of a tradition that his family has practised for generations. As money worries tighten their grip, finds himself caught between morality and tradition, survival, and responsibility.
The soundtrack expertly interweaves these themes. Barely whispered woodwind chords light up dusty trails of synthesis. Propulsive percussive layers chatter with heady Mediterranean clamour. Mary Lattimore’s masterful harp peeks out from clouds of sunwashed strings. In one profoundly stirring scene, the local priest wordlessly blesses the multitude of tiny, solo fishing vessels (the luzzu of the movie’s title) heading out for the day’s catch, guarding them against the tempers of the sea as he rows from one boat the next. Natchez makes the sequence both intense and tender with gently flowering Baroquish melodies.
Jon Natchez is a composer, arranger, songwriter, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist. As a member of The War on Drugs, he won a Grammy in 2018 in the Best Rock Album category. He was formerly a member of the renowned groups Beirut, Yellow Ostrich, Stars Like Fleas, and has performed & recorded with David Byrne, St. Vincent, The National, Father John Misty, Mary Lattimore, Craig Wedren, Taylor Mac, Owen Pallett, and John Zorn, among many others. He has composed numerous film scores, contributed to over a hundred albums, and plays over 30 instruments.