All Is Lost
(2019 - Disco Gecko Recordings - UK)
A lush and rich aquatic aural experience composed and performed by Mark Daly and Michael Harding, who already have a brilliant history of unique ambient electronica fused with dub and varied electro elements (including world music influences). Animat have previous projects where the duo take an already established filmscore, replace the original music for a new soundtrack with the permission and, in this case, full support from the director and production team.
'All Is Lost' is a J.C. Chandor film starring Robert Redford, in a suspenseful survival movie about a man lost at sea (the sole actor in the work is Redford). The OST for the actual film was by Alex Ebert (who is the frontman for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and usually a folkie musician, but with this he is a composer of gorgeous fairly sparse music, that also stands alone as a magical score. Another film Ebert did the score for is 'A Most Violent Year', which was also a J. C. Chandor movie, for those soundtrack lovers). The listener can easily imagine the general atmosphere and Animat do an absolutely grand job of making new music to not only frame all the experiences of this adventure, but also convey the emotions of the character as his days and nights continue thru the film.
It should be noted that Animat originally did a new soundtrack for screenings of the film across the UK during 2019, and this album 'All Is Lost' is made from remixed/rearranged studio recordings of that live music. While it may be confusing, the album is a 2nd refining of their already new version, in which they used elements from the film's sound effects track, and created their own product. The film takes place at sea, so the compositions reflect the terrifying ocean journey superbly. Twelve tracks plus two bonus tracks (if you buy the physical CD version - which is a very nice glossy gatefold digi-pak with a compass printed onto the disc) make up this ample soundscape of infectious music by the wizardry of Daly and Harding. The entire recording is magnetic and oddly, very little of the music draws attention to what instrument (out of a large collection) is being played at a given moment. The compositions are strong enough to suffice on their own as sound creations, that carry you on a trip often with difficult circumstances involved, and allows the listener to have an open experience.
A soundtrack it may be, rendered from and for, but the music stays vital and important. There are plenty of majestic passages, forward driving rhythms, and some quiet contemplative moments. Surprisingly, a myriad of hopeful instances also appear throughout. Perhaps not what one would expect from the title 'All Is Lost', but there lies the message of not giving up. A boundless album with much to admire.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 11 - 5 - 2019