Solar Bears is a collaboration between electronica composer John McElheron and multi-instrumentalist Rian Trench. They met and formed at Pulse Sound Engineering School, started recording and were swiftly picked up by Planet Mu. Their album follows in the wake of expectation laid down by their recent “Inner Sunshine EP” and a series of remixes.
Solar Bears’ music is the soundtrack to a good life. Their song writing and production has a languid, pastoral grace that intertwines rock and electronics, twisting melodies through prog rock’s structures and sounds, occasionally making sharp turns into more tense post rock territory, sliding between longer tracks and short mood-setting miniatures. The album mixes analogue electronica with the quietly epic perspective and shimmering neon synths of late 70’s, early 80’s Kosmiche music and the synth pop it informed.
John McElheron has selected soundtracks and film scores that he had a profound effect on him whilst growing up. He says these sounds had way more of an affect on me, rather than more mainstream mediums such as television and radio.
Para One – Finale (Water Lilies)
This comes in at the end of the film and it could not be more perfect. Detuned synths and lush strings swell to create an emotional peak.
Stanley Myers – Cavatina (The Deer Hunter)
Cavatina is a personal favourite because of the simplicity and melodic strength it has. John Williams is known for his version but the film version has magical properties.
Paul Giovanni – Gently Johnny (The Wicker Man)
Lyrically and musically Gently Johnny is up there with the very best. The guitar riff is genius and the rhythm is extremly seductive which ties in with the nature of the piece.
Clint Mansell – Lux Aeterna (Requiem For A Dream)
I think this has been used countless times elsewhere since the film came out. It is quite definitive and timeless. I have a huge amount of respect for Clint Mansell and his work.
John Barry – Main Theme (Midnight Cowboy)
The score for Midnight Cowboy is a gem. Everything about it from the texture to the underlying meaning is truly breathtaking. For me this is John Barry’s greatest moment.
Aram Khachaturian – Gayane Ballet Suite (2001 : A Space Odyssey)
2001 : A Space Odyssey is full of lonely music. This particular piece is almost arctic in tone, highly isolating.
Alain Goraguer – La Femme (Fantastic Planet)
Imagination is central to the soundtrack of Fantastic Planet. It is next to impossible not to visual a distant world while this is playing. Beatiful sound design.
Ennio Morricone – Deberah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In The West)
Overall this is probably the single most emotive score in living memory. Each time I hear it, it remains with the same impact and resonance.
Joe Hisaishi – Feel (Dolls)
Hisaishi is best known for his work with Studio Ghibli and with very good cause. His arrangements and compositions always suit the scene perfectly.
It transpired the director wanted to use music like My Bloody Valentine so when Kevin Shields got onboard it was a match made it heaven. All his work on the work is supremely well judged. It has a unique spark to it.