In the film Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist trying to decode an alien language. The score was composed by Johann Johannsson, his third film collaborating with director Denis Villeneuve. In this episode, Johann breaks down a piece from the score called Heptapod B, and how, like the film, it revolves around the concept of language.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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arrival, Amy Adams, please a linguist trying to decode an alien language. This is containing arrived beyond tat. Sound forty minutes ago is going to happen. I don't know not budge you're. The top with everyone's list when it comes to translation, was spare language. The score was
caused by johan johansson. His third film collaborating with director geneva, live in this episode, Johan break
down a piece from the score called helped upon be and how
like the film revolves around the concept of language deception.
It is part of a series of doing over the next few months, highlighting film music that I think, could
and should be considered for an oscar. These words up so
our presented in partnership with new york magazine site vulture for more.
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hi. My name is John and I composed the score for the film arrival. The film is right,
but then you will be sent me asked
at an early stage and that the basic premise was about a linguist that is some charged with the task of establishing communication with an alien species at lance on planet earth.
very first sessions we did. I was working,
The studio in berlin, with some great unlocked machines, spy
several days recording various
instruments and kind of creating these rich, very layered, very deep and very complex analogue tape, loops unrecorded them a difference.
beat so a very low note, for example, recorded at high speed and then played back at the lower speed. It becomes this sort of sub sonic grumble really, and we did this with several instruments. Cello trumpets-
The human voice, plus
Each channel we were doing sound on sound recording, so we were recording
What are the sound while keeping the previous out, so we had these sort of ghostly remains of the previous loop. These sounds were very important part of the basic kind of sound welder that I was constructing. That really sets the tone for the film.
the rhythm was established very, very early on this kind of basic.
System based on pattern, we use the modular synthesizer to create the based wrong and its played by a human. You know. So it's not not a machine beats it's not quite on grid. The role of the base term is really to keep a kind of rigid tension throughout the track, because almost everything else is arithmetic and kind of random. You know those are really the only electronic elements and all track the base from.
The rest of the discussion is all
pieces of wood from very different trees that are planned.
with various methods
Sport is really about very basic elements of the voice language and would seem
to be something elemental that we could still do a lot of interesting things with by moving up and down the plank. You get different residences, indifferent sort of tones,
We did many many layers of visa performances, various single baited rhythms. Then I took those recordings and unprocessed them further. Their filtered distorted slightly this peace,
was written to an exposition montage that kind of shows
the process of the linguistic physicists working together to decipher and analyze both the written language on the vocal sounds.
the aliens, america and basically trying to learn their language
it was immediately clear that the human voice would play a large part in the score.
but I wanted to use it in a way that it,
and been used, and in movies before at least to know- and I am certainly not incite fi. If you think of suspicion require you think
about two thousand and one hundred getty. That was something that I definitely wanted to stay away from and find other techniques other ways of using the human voice,
and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and earn an. I avoided long notes. I wanted to work with this guy.
stuttering, random rhythm pattern of fema voices. I want
but something that was almost like a cloud
of these, the cattle rhythms earlier torque unpredictable
out of time, many layers of different singers- I was working with the theatre of voices are conducted by popular everything, was written out on sheet music, but
We also improvised one of the first things that became clear was that this would be a worthless, vocal score. So
the choir, is never actually singing real word. The stinging philip,
both are singing nonsense. Words.
I was listening to legendary I'm guard vocalist john labourer piece of hers called the area,
at one point you here
this sort of leaping melody, whoa whoa water water. What donna? What what or not
does it once, but I sort of latched onto that, and while this is this is really great, I decided to
sample ads and create a loop out of it? I slightly changed one or two notes:
and then I asked my frequent collaborator. They're gonna taught her to sing it water below tat. No one, and I want to know what an outbreak
almost like baby talk like language being developed and and being formed, and that's
no resonates with the actual scene where they are reverse engineering, the language based on the on the writing and on the sounds
by the aliens lotta or not what an up, what are not bad enough, but are not bad enough.
a lot of the elements are our rhythmic. You know
random patterns and the stream
sire there to emphasise that
The strings kind of echo,
choir and away playing
a very simple harmony, but playing them slightly. Rhythmically lisa random patterns, the wood wins thought about halfway through the song and emphasise the rhythm and provide variation to the harmony towards the end. They serve a purely rhythmic purpose or from just keeping the beat
the brass as a very simple swelling court part,
It makes it a little bit more kind of white screen. You know, and then you know you
grows into into this kind of
Finally, the film is about.
how do you communicate with an intelligent species where there are no commonalities? No point of reference in common and how language shapes
our understanding of the world that the land.
that you learn and the language that
thinking has a tremendous effect,
upon our understanding of the physics of the universe and physical
concepts like time and the.
The of time is an important one and in the film and playing with the idea,
of this sort of linear mechanical really
and these are rhythmic. Ali rhythms was something that I think conceptually fitted very well with the phone.
Now, here's heaped upon be from the arrival score by johan johansson
Visit song exploded, dot net, slash arrival to watch the trailer for the film and learn more about Johann johansson. This episode is
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Transcript generated on 2022-06-07.