Irish Sea Power

British Sea Power had the ridiculously good idea to re-score and release the definitive version of the 1934 classic Man of Aran.  I haven’t seen the docu-drama, but it looks like it’s about the sea and longing so this should be an easy fit.

You can pick up the DVD on May 4th (maybe in the UK only) or go to London April 23rd to see the film with live accompaniment at the BFI.


While we’re at it, watch the outrageously loud b-side ‘Water Tower’ below.


2 Responses to “Irish Sea Power”

  1. While Man of Aran is a beautiful and heartbreaking work and British Sea Power has found its way into many a garage sing-a-longs, I’m extremely reluctant to even consider their pairing. Them wanting to remake a soundtrack is perfectly understandable given the band’s grandiose leanings and no doubt it will shed new light on the too oft overlooked film; however, when modern rock bands (not to mention fans of modern rock bands) try to pair themselves with astounding works of visual art it easily and quickly diminishes the inherent historical worth, visual strength, and/or aesthetic soul of the piece.

    Flaherty made his mark with “documentaries” that implicitly questioned the idea of cinematic “truth” far before the idea of cinema-verite started floating around and when you have this kind of soundtrack behind it – any subtleties of a slanted truth become glaring even if the subtleties aren’t even there to begin with. Or on the other hand, the question of truth is completely lost or diffused in the overwhelming powers of simple spectacle.

    … but I like where they’re going with Water Tower, what’s more ripe for noise than an empty above-ground reservoir …

  2. A few things bother me with this line of thought. The first thing that comes to mind is that the film wasn’t meant to be watched without accompaniment. The other accompaniments I saw on YouTube were just awful. It was painful to sit through, as with most superimposed scores. The new soundtrack doesn’t do any more damage, and in my opinion is a vast improvement. (A quick search lead me to NYT’s original review. They had problems with the brash score back then too ).

    Second: Look at that cinematography. It is just as much of a spectacle as the music is. I would say it begs for “this kind of soundtrack behind it”. Even though it’s an important part of cinematic history, it was still made to be enjoyed.

    Finally, as far as the subtleties of cinematic truth are concerned, no soundtrack is going to hide that. (maybe this one ).

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