Despite the fact that we can truly never see through another’s eyes, or share in their complex array of emotions, there is always the need to be close to and understand others, for them to be part of our lives. Isolation is one of the biggest fears plaguing the human population, so why are we so attracted to artistic portrayals of this disconcerting emotion?
Decoder Ring’s original score to Cate Shortland’s film Somersault (a film that follows the main character Heidi, played by Abbie Cornish, as she deals with the gray areas of maturing) has a way of distancing us from ourselves and our lives. It’s as if the score were a gust of wind through the deserts of our subconscious, kicking up so much of what is under the surface that we are engulfed in ourselves, stranded with our thoughts, and sheltered from outside stimuli.
“Heidi’s Theme” begins slowly with leisurely paced xylophone strikes whose softness bleeds into the pads, strings and guitars that follow. Comparisons with Sigur Rós are natural. The pacing and arrangement of instruments is reminiscent of the Icelandic group, but the members of Australia’s Decoder Ring take that glacial isolation and effectively applies it in their music.
Lenka Kripac’s vocal additions to “Somersault” and “Music Box” bring the deep mourning of an epilogue to the staggered funeral march of glitch-pop electronic elements and the building sorrow of guitars. Just as the members of Múm occasionally bring the voices of twin sisters Kristín Anna and Gyða Valtýsdóttir into the unfolding of their music, Lenka’s voice beautifully conveys the voices of sorrow usually sung by the instruments.
Like previous soundtracks by other post-rock bands (Explosions in the Sky‘s music, for example, was used for Friday Night Lights, and Godspeed You Black Emperor’s for 28 Days Later), Decoder Ring’s soundtrack for Somersault adds legitimacy to the descriptions of many bands in this genre as cinematic and epic. The swirling wisps of melodies on the album, originally released in 2004 by Red Carpet Productions, build upward like a nagging thought that becomes an obsession, like emotions spilling out into the physical words of authors or the images of filmmakers.
There is a beauty lost within fractures, a beauty that reminds us that we are not alone in our faults. Like other bands before it, Decoder Ring allows us to go astray through musical representations of emotion, but this soundtrack places the band amongst the key players of this genre.
Decoder Ring’s Web site: http://www.decoderring.com.au/
Bella Union’s Web site: http://www.bellaunion.com/
Somersault’s Web site: http://www.redcarpetfilms.au/somersaultStreaming audio