Various Artists: Hanna Season 1 OST – album review
Invada Records / Lakeshore Records
DL available now with physical formats release date to be announced.
Featuring an original score by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow plus music by Karen O, The Insects, Beak>, Simon Ashdown and Yann McCullough, Hanna: Season 1 looks to be one of the soundtrack releases of the year. Simon Tucker reviews.
“We can’t stop here…this is bat country”. So said Raoul Duke in Hunter S. Thompson’s acclaimed novel Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Why mention this? Well about halfway in to listening to the score for Hanna Season 1 you are cloaked in the same sense of paranoia and claustrophobia that Duke found himself the victim of only we don’t need blotter acid or mescaline. Make no mistake about it this is a heavy listen that people who write taglines might refer to as “moody” or “atmospheric” whereas I’ll just call it “fucking brilliant”. What makes this such a great listen is the fact that what we are getting here is a brand new style of sound by Salisbury and Barrow. This is a sound far denser and grimier than their previous work with more grit in the machine. The inclusion of more wind instruments was, according to Salisbury “a way of linking Hanna to the natural world in which she was brought up, and also to try and capture her fierce animal spirit and her sense of wonder as she experiences the ‘new world’ beyond the forest.” and it is this blend of the more traditional sounds with the duos more well known synth heavy scores that adds a real queasiness to their tracks here.
Hanna Season 1 finds the duo branching out to work with other collaborators on the project and this working method has yielded some wonderful results which are there from the off with opener We Have Heller. This is a track made with The Insects (Massive Attack co writers Bob Locke & Tim Norfolk) and Yann McCullough and it is a snarling beast that rides over you like a Giger xenomorph. We Have Heller rolls up your spine and places teeth through your hair. Grime as beauty and fear as pleasure.
Aside from the score itself we get two star turns from Karen O whose song Anti-Lullaby is an acoustic piece that is plaintive and melancholic yet also carries that thematic thread of threat that runs through the whole score. Karen O’s other contribution is a cover of the Smashing Pumpkins classic Bullet With Butterfly Wings which takes the originals obvious anger and morphs it into an industrial tinged Blues that slinks and snarls.
Composer Simon Ashdown has a solo turn with the coldly serene Connections and The Insects take centre stage on the beautiful if brief Berlin Night Drive. Beak> also make an appearance with the >> album cut (and live favourite) Wulfstan II.
Even though there are many seperate tracks here created by a handful of artists the theme of collaboration shines through. You get a sense that there is a joint artistic vision at play and which carries through the entire project even when those involved are working seperately on their own pieces. Everything shares a world and it is this quality that is essential in helping us enjoy this as a collective piece away from the source material. Hanna Season 1 OST is a gleefully oppressive listen and it needs to heard by all.