For the second episode of The Scores, Pablo Altar delivers a deeply intimate and powerful sound story.
His approach to the project reveals his genuine love for movie scores: grasping the emotion of every sound and placing one – emotion – after the other in a very just and accurate way.
From the first drum kicks to the most mesmerizing eerie synth finale, Pablo recounts his very own, imaginary movie tale.
Pablo Altar is a film music composer based in Paris. He has released the EP “Tristate” in 2020.
Pablo Altar’s list :
A Walk with Love and Death By John Husto
♪ Héron at the gypsy camp – Georges Delerue
A Walk with Love and Death is about a young student leaving Paris to see the sea, walking through medieval France. He’ll eventually meet a young princess and fall in love with her, and all that in the middle of the plague, the wars, etc. It’s touching how this movie captures a medieval mood and somehow succeeds thanks to Georges Delarue’s soundtrack. Imagination is a central theme of the movie: imagination of the sea, of love and also of medieval times.
Echo BY Ultra Ultra
♪ Arrival – Bjarke Niemann
Echo is a video game about a space traveller waking up after a hundred-year trip. Actually, I’ve never played the game but discovered this beautiful soundtrack. It sounds a bit like Mica Levi’s soundtrack for Under the Skin – a reference in the original movie scores.
Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog
♪ Iceberg dream
Here is an extract from the scene where one of the scientists in the arctic base recounts to Werner Herzog his recent dream of himself traveling on an iceberg: drifting on the ocean and feeling the iceberg going north.
Fleur de Pavot by Baer Xiao
♪ Départ – Pablo Altar
In this movie, children of a working-class village in China are taking night dance-lessons in the local factory, with the wish to be selected by a dance school in a big city. A young boy learns that he’s been selected and therefore he will have to leave the girl he’s been having feelings for.
There is something very emotional in the music, in contrast with the characters who don’t say much. That barely shows their emotions.
Mulholland drive by David lynch
♪ Original Score by Angelo Badalamenti
This sound is a bit of a mystery to me. There is a simple sound, a thin background sound, that makes this scene particularly distressing, almost frightening. It’s not even music, it’s only one sound, increasing in volume.
Eyes wide shut by Stanley Kubrick
♪ Masked Ball – Jocelyn Pook
The music of the ritual scene is composed by Jocelyn Pook with the use of a backwards recording of a priest singing a liturgy. The lyrics refer, among other things, to the self-discovering of sins.
The cook, the thief, his wife and her lover by Peter Greenaway
♪ Miserere – Michael Nyman (London voices)
This is from the opening scene of the movie. Such a mesmerizing moment taking place in the kitchens of a decadent restaurant, where the high society of a tyrannic state comes to have dinner every night
Stalker by Andreï Tarkovski
♪ Excerpt (Rain scene)
In Stalker, I’ve read that there are piano notes, played in a major scale: very softly behind the sound of the rain. We can’t really hear them, but it gives us a feeling of relief when the rain starts falling.
Tous les matins du monde by Alain Corneau
♪ La rêveuse – Marin Marais
Tous les matins du monde is an adaptation of a book by Pascal Quignard about the life of real french composer Marin Marais and his relationship with Jean de Sainte-Colombe, his master who taught him how to play the viole. The soundtrack is a mix of Marin Marais and Sainte-Colombe works for viole. The whole movie is about music and the never-ending research in music composing. The title comes from a sentence in the novel: “Tous les matins du monde sont sans retour” meaning “Every morning in the world has no return”
L’homme silencieux By Nyima Cartier
♪ The dance – Pablo Altar
I made the music for this short film. The whole movie is filmed from the window of a building in La Defence (the office district of Paris). A man fired from his job stays still in front of the building in a sort of impenetrable abandonment. It’s an adaptation from Bartleby, the short novel of Herman Melville. We called this extract of the soundtrack ‘the dance’. It’s a scene where the protagonist almost leaves his corporal form through a dance in the middle of the towers of the office district.
Annihilation by Alex Garland
♪ Interlude – Moderat
In the final scene of this movie, the protagonist meets an extra-terrestrial life form. The sound of the alien and the music merge: we don’t know if what we hear is coming from the creature or the soundtrack. This track wasn’t actually composed for the movie but is the opening track of a Moderat album.
Siberiade by Andrei Konchalovsky
♪ Siberiade – Eduard Artemyev
Eduard Artemyev was one of the first composers who used electronic music and synthesizer in music for movies. He is the composer behind different Tarkovsky’s works, I haven’t seen this particular movie, but I’ve come randomly to this track, looking for more music of his.
Encounters at the End of the World By Werner Herzog
♪ Excerpt (Sounds under the ice)
From the same movie of the Iceberg dream. In this scene scientists listen to the strange sounds of seals under the ice, and they sound very much like synthesizers.
Loveless by Andreï Zviaguintsev
♪ 11 cycles of E – Evgueni Galperine & Sacha Galperine
The piano is a very recurrent instrument in soundtracks in general. In this one the brothers Galperine have captured a sort of tension and very singular intensity in a story on the research of a lost child in the middle of a complicated couple relationship.
La grande Belleza by Sorrentino
♪ Parade – Tape
There is always a lot of music in Sorrentino’s movie. In a very different approach to soundtracks, he used only music that already exists. There is no original score. There is almost not a moment without music, and I like how totally different types of music coexist, taking the spectator in totally different emotions. This is one of the quietest ones.
The Work by Jairus McLeary & Gethin Aldous
A group of prisoners do a seminar where they try to express their feelings and emotions. It’s an overwhelming movie, where people who seems to have a hard time expressing their emotions finally let everything out. In this scene one of the prisoners is talking about suicide, and another tries to recomfort him. When he takes him in his arms, it presses on the mic, and it makes a very interesting sound in which we can hear both voices and heartbeat.
There will be blood by Paul Thomas Anderson
♪ Open Space – Jonny Greenwood
The whole soundtrack of there will be blood is beautiful. There is a mix of already existing music (some Arvo Pärt for example) and original scores made by Johnny Greenwood, with very singular string arrangements.
The thin red Line by Terrence Malick
♪ The unanswered question – Charles Ives
The unanswered question is a masterpiece composed by Charles Ives in 1908. It’s surprising that it wasn’t used in more movies as it sounds very cinematic. Terrence Malick used it in The Thin Red Line, after the scene of a village massacre.
Andrei Roublev by Andreï Tarkovski
In Andreï Roublev, there is a long scene in the second part of the movie, where a young boy takes command of the construction of an enormous bell for the church. He is telling everyone that he’s the only one knowing how to make the bell ring. After a lot of incidents, the Bell is finished, and everyone comes to see if it will finally make a sound. And this extract is coming from that scene. The boy will tell shortly after that he had no idea if it was actually going to ring.
Le Lac By Nyima Cartier
♪ The lake – Pablo Altar
The last music of the mix is an improvisation I made that was used in a medium-length film called The Lake. This movie is questioning disappearance and death, through the story of a woman who tries to find the last tracks of her father before he died mysteriously near a lake. She will discover hints of a communication between the father and an extraterrestrial life before his death. The music brings the movie to the frontier of science-fiction, and tries to express the mix of emotions and disturbances the protagonist is going through.