Recently, it was announced that Thom Yorke is making his debut as a film score composer, providing the soundtrack for a forthcoming remake of 1977 cult horror movie Suspiria.
However, he's not the first musician to take a sideways step at the day job and delve into the intricate world of cinematic sonic production; even within his mainstay Radiohead, fellow bandmate Jonny Greenwood has begun crafting a name for himself as a film composer. Most notably, his work with Paul Thomas Anderson has been the subject of many awards and outstanding critical acclaim (Check out the soundtracks for 'There Will Be Blood', 'The Master' and 'Inherent Vice').
In this post, we'll focus on likeminded musicians who've taken on the task to challenge themselves creatively and compose a film score. (Note: This is not for existing soundtracks by already brilliant film score composers. I could write you a whole seperate essay on the genius of Ennio Morricone or Hans Zimmer some other time).
OK... Lights, Camera, Action!
Mica Levi - ‘Under The Skin’
This was Mica Levi's first outing in film composition following her work with the Shapes, and she created a dark, dystopian noise for Jonathan Glazer's 2013 sickening minimal sci-fi. Unsettling, spacious, and tense, it accompanies the picture perfectly.
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - ‘The Proposition’
These Bad Seeds have already been doing soundtracks together outside of their main focus for over a decade... This, their first soundtrack together, sits on John Hillcoat's Australian bushranger western just right.
Curtis Mayfield - ‘Superfly’
Mayfield's music for the 1972 blaxploitation crime drama Super Fly is now regarded as a pioneering concept album about social justice, influencing countless soul artists afterwards. He also did another six films after this, each just as soulful as the rest.
Miles Davis - ‘A Tribute To Jack Johnson’
Boxing promoter Bill Cayton asked Miles to soundtrack his documentary about the African American World Heavyweight, Jack Johnson. Released by Columbia in 1971, it's often cited as the second-most influential album to the Jazz-Rock fusion genre. And number one? 'Bitches Brew', which came out just a year before from Davis, also.
Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow - ‘Black Mirror’
Barrow's work with electronic trip-hop pioneers Portishead hasn't stopped him delving deeper into weirder terrains. His work with Beak> is exceptional, but his soundtrack to an episode of Charlie Brooker's third series of techno-paranoia sci fi show 'Black Mirror' is remarkable. Working with Ben Salisbury (most notable for soundtracking Ex Machina and his long-standing relationship with the BBC and David Attenborough documentaries), the duo forged this album of blackened, droning soundscape. It fits the mood.
Let's hear and see more examples below, if you could!