Ned Beauman on Mica Levi

Profile by Ned Beauman of one of the best film composers I’ve ever heard. I love this character moment:

“I know it must seem like I live in a cave,” she said to me at one point, and indeed I sometimes felt not so much like a journalist as like a clippings service, updating Levi on the progress of her own career. She was surprised to learn that she was the first female nominee for Best Original Score in sixteen years, and only the fifth in the history of the Academy Awards. She was surprised to learn that Alex Ross, a critic she admires, had praised her work on this Web site. She was surprised to learn that Karl Lagerfeld had used two pieces from her “Jackie” score for his recent Chanel couture show of sixties-inspired twinsets. Watching the video on my phone, she marvelled at the excess of the event, which was held in a mirrored arena in Paris’s Grand Palais. I asked her if she would be getting royalties from Chanel. “I should look into that!” she said.

Mica Levi: “Something quite human”

Missed this interview with Mica Levi in Sight and Sound on her score for Under the Skin. It was by far the best film score I heard last year. I love that, unlike a lot of film composers, she talks about the music in the interview, not just what it’s meant to evoke. Levi:

A lot of it’s microtonal—and I like that, it sounds like unison. It sounds more uncontrolled because it sounds like a lot of people playing, instead of just one. Instead of the 12 tones we’re used to, it’s wavering in between them, and [using] the clashes that they create—which can sound out of tune, but can be more expressive because it’s not precise and accurate. To me it sounds comforting. It’s meant to sound uncomfortable, but I find something quite human about it.