A soundtrack conjured up by Strawberry Switchblade member Rose McDowall and Canadian sound engineer Shawn Pinchbeck, to Grant McPhee’s film Far From The Apple Tree, which won plenty of acclaim for its inventive mixture of classic ghost stories and contemporary horror. CD edition contains extended versions of the vinyl tracks, plus an extra piece of music.
Vinyl LP £17.99 GLAMLP017
LP on Glass Modern.
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CD £11.49 GLAMCD017
CD on Glass Modern. Features extended intros and additional tracks.
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There are many connections between Scotland and Canada. Both countries excel at the sport of curling and produce high-grade whiskey. Nova Scotia, a place in Canada, even translates as 'New Scotland'. The latest connection between the two great countries is the collaboration between Scottish musician Rose McDowall and Canadian sound artist Shawn Pinchbeck on the soundtrack to 'Far From The Apple Tree'.
This soundtrack is an immersive and multi-faceted collection of ambient folk pieces that border on the elegiac in tone. The common thread binding all nine pieces together is McDowalls haunting, reverb-heavy vocals. The vocalisations have a funereal tone and lyrics talk of broken spirits and drowning. There's a burbling undercurrent of creepiness in all these songs. 'Spirit Flesh' even opens with the faint squealings of what sounds like a waterphone. There are hints of the kind of creepy instrumentation that Scott Walker used to great effect on 'Bish Bosch' and 'Tilt'.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. There's also an inclination towards the grand and majestic which I really like. Lots of the songs have this gorgeous soaring quality that are accentuated by McDowall's angelic vocals. I also like the grim irony of how 'Drown Me' is accompanied by the sound of trickling water. Pinchbeck and McDowall have done a good job of updating and diversifying the arrangements in this record. There's the occasional pattering of tabla and the sound of twittering birds. I love the blank, growling, static-heavy coda of 'Drown Me'.
I think it's worth stressing just how filmic this record can be. And yes, I can hear the chorus of 'well duh'-s but this soundtrack accurately conveys certain moods, not all of them enjoyable but certaintly all palpable. This soundtrack works as well on its own as it does accompanying a film.
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