By Charlie Brigden
White Bird In A Blizzard is the latest film from cult director Gregg Araki. A typically alternative approach, it tells the story of a girl whose mother disappeared when she was seventeen, and looks at the life of mother and daughter through juxtaposing time periods of the past and the present. The music – by avant-garde composer Harold Budd and musican Robin Guthrie (of the Cocteau Twins) – is more about exploring mood and atmosphere rather than providing specific cues.
There are obviously many schools of thought when it comes to film scoring, and the beauty is that none of them are right or wrong, it’s just dependent on what fits the picture. Given Araki’s non-commercial nature, you’d imagine he’d go for a more ambient kind of sound, and I have no problem with this, especially when it’s as lovely as White Bird In A Blizzard. Great film scores, no matter what form and structure they take, transport you to another world, and that’s exactly what Budd and Guthrie’s score does.
What White Bird does, at least to me, is encapsulate that desolate American midwestern feel. The sustained notes from piano and guitar are like echoes of the past, and presumably that not only works to underline the tales of the characters but also provide a somewhat timeless feel. There’s also a heavy sense of reflection, with the mood shifting between melancholy and a kind of epiphany. There isn’t a lot of music in there that you’d maybe call upbeat, but there are a couple of tracks – namely ‘Brock’s Theme’ and ‘White Bird’ – which have a more direct approach, with the latter in particular coming together in a beautifully hopeful way.
I didn’t see this coming, that a score from a flick from a director I’ve never really liked would be having such an effect on me, but obviously I’m glad it did. White Bird In A Blizzard is a wonderful score, one that makes you want to have the film get a bit more exposure, regardless of its quality. But either way, I implore you to seek this lovely album out.
White Bird In A Blizzard is out now from Lakeshore Records