Beyond The Edge [OST]
David Long is one of New Zealand’s finest soundtrack composers/session players. Need a job done – this guy will do it. And do it (so) well. We know him for his work too with The Mutton Birds and his appearances with various improv/free combos, an album as Slim Volume also. So many strings to his bow.
And speaking of strings – the sweep, the grandeur, the majesty, the power of his soundtrack to the Ed Hilary doco/dramatisation Beyond The Edge might be the thing that will have a few more New Zealanders singing his praises, recognising him as one of our finest musicians and composers.
I was tempted to review this album before I saw the film; I was meaning to. I have had this album for a month or so now and it’s been on (near-constant) high rotate and I’ve loved it of course. But beyond that I felt that it was one of just a small handful of film scores in the grand scheme that happily stood on its own away from the film. But then, I was saying that as someone who had not seen the film.
The music meant enough to me on its own – and anyway, knowing that the film was about Ed Hilary’s Everest climb I could spot the obvious references within the music, cues that stirred to evoke something of the Himalayas, of the Tibetan region (Seventeen Days of Marches). And then, almost by accident, I found myself at the film – not that I wasn’t going to see it anyway (eventually) and so I found myself reviewing the film; a great documentary, so worth seeing. But it’s not just lip-service to tell you that the music is a crucial aspect of this reimagining/recreation of the famous ascent. Long’s score is scene-setting without ever being scene-stealing, the perfect supporting score. In passages such as Khumbu Icefall I find the depth of Cliff Martinez’ film work.
And then again – now – away from the film, having seen it, I’m still so sure this work stands up on its own; the best thing a film composer could hope for I’m sure: to have their music serve the work and then sneak out on its own, mean something aside from when matched to the images.
One of my favourite pieces of music of this year even; certainly one I’ve played the most.