Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir went the extra distance for her score for Chernobyl = taking a real power plant as inspiration for her haunting score.
In a fascinating interview for Score: The Podcast, Guðnadóttir recounts how she followed the film crew to a decommissioned nuclear power plant in Lithuania – even donning a Haz-Mat suit for the research. (Lithuania here is a stand-in for the original site in Ukraine.)
Guðnadóttir, the composer and cellist (she’s played with Throbbing Gristle, scored films, and toured with Sunn O)))) was joined by Chris Watson on field recording. But this wasn’t just about gathering cool samples, but as she puts it, about listening. So every sound you hear is indeed drawn from the landscape of a similar Soviet-era nuclear plant, but as she tells it, the act of observing was just as important.
“I wanted to experience what it feels like to be inside a power plant,” she says. “Trying to make music out of a story – most of it is about listening.” So they go into this world just to listen – with a man who records ants.
And yes, this finally gets us away from Geiger counters and other cliches.
It’s funny to be here in Riga, just last night talking to Erica Synths founder Girts about his experience of the documentary – having lived through the incident within reach of radiation fallout.
Thanks to Noncompliant for this link.
The HBO drama trailer (though a poor representation of the score – like many trailers, it’s edited to materials outside the actual film score):
Score: The Podcast on Apple Podcasts