Director Daniel Goldhaber’s adaptation of Andreas Malm’s book How to Blow Up a Pipeline has had a rather explosive reception from audiences — its thesis that the environmental justice movement needs less passivity has triggered terms of both endearment and ire, depending on a person’s given belief system. One key element of the Neon-distributed film is Gavin Brivik’s compelling score.
For those wondering just how Brivik was able to pull of his beautifully unhinged blend of synths and field recordings, the composer provided Vehlinggo with some insight into his composition process. He also gave us a behind-the-scenes video that is pretty friggin’ cool. If you’ve never seen a musician sample some pretty wild field recordings, then you must.
“This was the first film I worked on where I flew out to the set of the production and recorded a bunch of samples of my friend Morgan Greenwood banging on oil drums in the desert,” Brivik said. “The director gave us so much freedom to roam around the set with a backpack full of drumsticks, chains, and string bows. The entire crew would stare at us and ask, ‘Who are those crazy people making all that noise?'”
Brivik says it wasn’t merely a gimmick to record “found sounds.” They were key to providing the film with a truly complementary and meaningful score.
“When you record actual found sounds that have a significant meaning to the theme of the film, it creates a deeper purpose for the music,” he said. “It’s easy to just score the emotions with traditional instrumentation, but when you have to work in oil drum samples, bowed metal, and rusty pipes, it becomes more challenging. I guess I am just bored very easily, and this was a way for me to push my craft and create a more unique and difficult approach to scoring.”
It’s safe to say Brivik delivered. (Side note: Horror fans might recognize Brivik’s name and compositional style from his work on Goldhaber’s 2018 film, Cam.)
How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Check out the full score below via Spotify. (Or you can search around and find it on your favorite service.)
More About How to Blow Up a Pipeline
The film, which stars Lukas Gage and Kristine Froseth, is about a group of young environmental activists who embark on a mission to sabotage an oil pipeline. It’s been described as a blend of a high-stakes heist flick and a radical exploration of the climate crisis we are facing and will face in the years to come. The film is out now, after premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. (Side Note: The trailer is below, but note that trailers don’t always (and often never) feature any score cues from the film. So if you scrolled all the way down here to watch the trailer, make sure you check out the embeds above.)