2019 album. New original soundtrack for Buster Keaton’s 1926 comedy classic of the same name. Also available on vinyl.
Commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary as part of the BFI’s Comedy Genius season, the 23 track score was written within a two-month period over winter in the band’s studio at the edge of the Peak District, and sees the trio of Gemma Barkerwood, Louise Croft and Sophie Barkerwood give the revered silent film a startling electronica overhaul. Combining glitchy electronica, soaring post rock, and beautiful piano pieces, ‘The General’ is an emotional, transformative record. The band find moments of drama and heartbreak in a much-loved comedy, and enrich the bygone world of Buster Keaton with a gloriously contemporary score.
The album was preceded by a double A side single, which showcased the scope of ‘The General’ soundtrack. “Loves” is a simple, beautiful piece for guitar, piano and electronics, which charts Buster Keaton’s character Johnnie Gray woo-ing his true love Annabelle, while “Going Back” follows an extremely unusual chase scene with tangled electronica, ghostly treated voices, and a moment where the music and the action suddenly goes into reverse. Elsewhere, the album takes in shimmering electro (“Firewood”), a song which bleeds electronica into dub (“Train Steal”), gorgeous piano pieces haunted by electronics (“Reunited”, “Enlist”), and songs which melt all of the above (“The Flood”, “The Escape”).
Haiku’s albums are often described as “a soundtrack to an imaginary movie”, but this album artfully turns that notion on its head. Here’s a soundtrack to an actual movie which exists brilliantly in its own right.