Saturday, 1 February 2014

James McWilliam & Nick Crofts - The Patrol (OST Album)

Info: War is an emotive subject, and how could it not be. Everyone had an opinion on the rights and wrongs of the invasion of Afghanistan following the 11th of September, 2001. The United States demanded that Bin Laden be handed over, the Taliban asked him to leave the country, America wasn't convinced, Britain backed their allies, and on the 7th of October, major operations, or war, commenced in Afghanistan. Too simplistic? Of course it is, there were many layers in the background that contributed to a war that, in some ways, is still running today, the main protaganists have been removed, but paradise has not been reached, 12 years later. 

I would argue that sometimes, it can be important to completely wipe clean politics, foreign policy, history, the past, agendas, and focus on the people who are placed in scenarios and locations none of us will ever be in, they were there, they are there, and from a strictly human point of view, we should have a curiosity regarding what they experience.

I think this was, in some way, and I hope I'm right, the sentiment behind award-winning British film, 'The Patrol', which won the Jury Prize at the Raindance Film Festival. Not to focus on the background to the war, but the experiences of those members of the British Army who ended up in Afghanistan, thousands of miles from home, and in an alien landscape.

The Patrol (OST) 'Firefight', video by Remy Connolly

More specifically though, I've been listening to the wonderfully haunting soundtrack to that film, by James McWilliam and Nick Crofts. From the outset this piece sets an insidious tone, almost replicating the rotor blades of helicopters half-way through, all the while ensuring we know we're being led somewhere sinister. The fourth track is 'S.T.A.B.' which sets the tone for the entire soundtrack, and in the words of James and Nick; 'We wanted to create a soundscape as unfamiliar and unsettling as the environment the soldiers find themselves in. Noise, distortion and expansive reverbs figure heavily...'

This is a very atmospheric accompaniment to the film, dubbed by some critics as the British Hurt Locker, it is the first film to deal with the war in Afghanistan from the perspective of the British Army. My personal favourites are the opening title, the aforementioned 'S.T.A.B.', which initially grabbed my interest, and fifth track 'Firefight', the track I made a slideshow video for above, however, like any instrumental soundtrack, it is the sum of all it's parts. At times it reminds me of Mogwai turning up to a gig and realising they only brought an acoustic guitar between them, and at others, like Portishead minus vocals, either way, it's a beautiful composition.

The Patrol is released in UK Cinemas on 7 February and the soundtrack is coming out (worldwide/digital) on 2 February 2014.

The Patrol, trailer

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