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British Sea Power Discuss CERN Soundtrack
The Quietus , March 19th, 2012 12:31

Out Of The Present to be performed at Large Hadron Collider

Next week the Quietus will be jetting off to Switzerland to see if we can't give those scientists at the CERN laboratory a hand, and find the Higgs Boson Particle. While we're there, we're going to watch British Sea Power do a soundtrack to Out Of The Present as part of the Cineglobe International Film Festival. We dropped Jan Scott Wilkinson and Martin Noble, who will be playing the soundtrack at CERN, a line to find out more.

Can you tell us a bit about Out Of The Present, the film you're working on the soundtrack for at CERN?

Martin Noble: It's loosely based around Sergei Krikalev, one of the cosmonauts who spent 10 months aboard MIR, and is a bystander to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s.

Jan Scott Wilkinson: Mir is Russian for peace or world. It was largely a Russian mission where experiments were done on the human body, the effects of long term space travel physics and meteorology. It has beautiful shots of the earth, space and rockets, and also tells the story of the Cosmonauts. While Mir orbits for a year or so some of the Soviet states start to break away, so the main guy leaves the USSR but returns to Russia and a different map.

What is it about the film that you especially like?

JSW: I like the beauty of it all. The satellites that remind me of jellyfish, and the views of space and the Earth. Most of all, though, I like the cosmonauts and the way they do a difficult and scary job but still goof off regularly.

MN: I like all the main characters a lot. They start off looking very stern and serious before flying, but after they have settled on the space station you see a whole new side to them. They revel in the novelty of weightlessness. Eating bits of cheese stuck to a comically long strand of floating ketchup. They ride huge pieces of equipment through zero gravity, and there are all sorts of wires and machinery to crash into. Some of the footage is really poetic too, slow motion images of a huge silver balloon imploding in space.

Is it good to be working in outer space?

JSW: I’ve worked very intensely on it, for a day or three at a time, so sometimes I feel like I’ve been in space and the cosmonauts are my friends. Luckily, I’ve always liked space.

MN: It's good to work in a different environment to our last soundtrack Man of Aran. Man of Aran was all about the harsh reality of remote, basic living, and 'Out of the Present' is space exploration. The outfits are equally as good in both films though.

What's been different about the way you've approached this one compared to Man Of Aran? Are you using different instrumentation?

JSW: It’s very different. There is some more traditional and earthy music but other parts are closer to The KLF or Kraftwerk or Air. It’s also new music, instead of mostly reworking, like we did for Man Of Aran. I would like to say that it is still a work in progress in some ways. The first show at the Hadron Collider will mostly be me and Martin and our laptops. There haven’t been time and resources to take it to a full live show, but I’m also dreaming about Russian choirs and dancers... Who knows. At the moment I want the strengths of the film to come through, and to give a feeling of having been in space. By the end of it, your brainwaves should be working in a more peaceful fashion.

MN: This soundtrack is a lot different to Man Of Aran which was written and recorded together as a six piece. This is essentially a lot of sci-fi solo pieces, with some songs worked on by just a few people. There is probably a lot more variety and more electronic sounds than normal, but still familiar moments of gentle beauty and some zero gravity drones. It's bound to evolve if we play it again, probably more of a full six-piece approach.

How is it sounding thus far?

JSW: Somewhere between Short Circuit, Blade Runner, Beverly Hills Cop and Gustav Holst. It’s quite different to what some would expect.

Do you know where at the Large Hadron Collider you'll be performing?

JSW: The point where they condense the lasers down to the maximum strength of a billion suns I think. Should be fine.

Tricky situation - you've dropped a guitar string into the mechanism. Do you tell someone, or keep it quiet and hope it doesn't get in the way of the hunt for Higgs Boson?

JSW: I’d hope for an accident and look forward to the special powers that would surely follow, like Spiderman and so on. Martin could have enhanced climbing ability and I’d have a huge mind. We’re not bringing guitars, though. We'll have to say I dropped one of my marbles instead.