director notes: Ben Wheatley
Brighton dec 2015
Twitter played a big part in the soundtrack of High-rise. I chatted to both Clint and Geoff Barrow of Portishead through Twitter in the months running up to making the film. I don’t think i would have dared to try and contact time through their management. They seemed like untouchable parts of the culture operating in another sphere from me entirely. and yet through twitter there they were! Clint was following me on twitter and so when he said he liked A field in England i could email him directly.. and i did..
my email: hey Clint glad you liked the film. Ive got a fat spotify list with all your scores :) been listening since PWEI.
and that was the first step on the road that led us to working together! Incredible. (to clarify.. i also own all the soundtracks :)
We worked on the film from january 2015, demos bouncing back and forth and i went to his studio in LA and sat in a Jet lagged interzone as we worked on the cues. It was a great experience. I guess the way to describe it in terms of collaboration is the one between director and actor,. I direct.. i don’t DO so when i work with the actors i prod and suggest and support, and they give. Clint was really open and ready to get to the bottom of the project. I was surprised by how open he was, and i should have known better. But hey, before i had sat gimlet eyed in his studio He was CLINT MANSEL! sound track colossus.
It was a real treat as each of the tracks started to appear over the following weeks. High-Rise was a film that due to schedule had ended up with a lot of the dreaded ‘temp’ Editors and Directors like to lard their movies up with Soundtracks from other films while they work to make them more palatable for Financiers and Execs to watch. id managed to avoid this on my other films pretty much but on High Rise there it was.. demos have a hard job usurping polished temp thats been sitting in the cut for months. its like a narcotic that you have to ween yourself off. When the REAL and original music turns up you have to slam it in and go cold turkey. The new soundtrack however quickly overwhelmed the old.
The next stage was recording with the orchestra. We decamped to Moll in Belgium to record and mix. I met Clints long time collaborators Matt Dunkley and Geoff Foster. I settled into for what is for me one of the the most pleasurable parts of the film making process: SOUND! It was great to watch Clint, Geoff and Matt work. to be in the middle of quite a stressful machine..(always a lot of music to record and not tons of time.. imagine the worlds most expensive cab ride for levels of anxiety) Watching skilled creative people do their job is a great pleasure, and when you are largely pointless in the process ( what can i do at this point.. grab up a triangle and say I’ve got an idea!) it just feels like a massive privilege. Being around that many classically trained musicians is a buzz in itself, especially when you are as devoid of musical talent as i am.
The evenings were spent in quiet monkish contemplation of what had just happened. This was a surprise also, i had imagined it would be a bit more rock and roll. But no. Early beds and lots of rehydrating water ready for the next days labor. A few months past after Mol and the soundtrack was married to the film in the final mix but the The process really ended with the premier screening at Toronto film festival. The soundtrack sounded incredible in the cinema. I was very fucking happy indeed. So here you have in your hand a lovely heavy vinyal.. fuck.. the word i can never remember how to spell..vinyl or one of those anachronistic silver discs. The soundtrack in its raw form, away from the film. You can use it to imagine you are Robert Laing as you walk around your apartment. Feel the Mansellian unease ooze from your speakers. Revel in the sound of a bombastic and hubristic 70s that was doomed to failure.
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