I wrote these liner notes for The Crimson Wing soundtrack album that I executive-produced.
We always wanted to approach the score to The Crimson Wing a little differently, and if possible find a popular recording artist to compose the music. We just felt there was something exciting in marrying the sounds of an artist or band we liked with the extraordinary images we knew we could get at Natron. When I returned to camp from London after a series of music meetings armed with a collection of The Cinematic Orchestra’s past albums, Matt and I sat up one night listening to all these wonderfully atmospheric tunes, and hearing them in the context of that magical place we knew we had to sign them up. They just seemed the right fit for our images.
We were delighted to learn a few days later that frontman Jason Swinscoe had agreed to work with us. He had just completed the beautiful Ma Fleur and was fired up to get to work on something new.
I remember the first call I had with Jason about the score. We had to use Skype as we could only make calls through the internet at camp. It wasn’t a great connection (amazing that it worked at all!) and we must have been disconnected every minute during the hour-long call. Jason maintained his patience, as he did throughout what became a long and complex journey in writing his first score, and through all the frustrating fits and starts of the call we agreed on a direction for the music. We discussed using instruments to represent different animals, which instruments best suited the film, how natural sound might integrate with the music, and agreed on a vision for a score that married his signature electronic sound with something more orchestral. It all felt extremely exciting and frighteningly ambitious!
We encouraged Jason to come and visit the location to soak up and perhaps record the various atmospheres around the lake. When he did show up to present us with a number of demos he’d been writing against the raw footage we’d sent through to him, the place really seemed to touch him, like it did all of us who experienced it. A few days before, the resident volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai erupted (situated just a few miles from camp) which it hadn’t done for forty years, and so he arrived especially wide-eyed and more than a little nervous. But he left Natron with a much clearer idea of where the music needed to go, after perhaps one of the most exotic (and dangerous) show-and-tells in film composing history!
Matt and I are extremely pleased with the end results of Jason and his co-writer Phil France’s hard work on the score. We feel it achieves our original intentions: to drive the story, connect us with the characters and the place, and lift us through the incredible journey of these mysterious birds. We also think it stands alone as a body of work, and I am already enjoying blasting it in the car on extended drives now that I am back in the UK.
Each time I hear it, I am transported to that faraway place I was once lucky enough to call home.