After reading your synopsis and watching the R&D videos on your website, the first musical concept that springs to mind is… nebulousness. A fuzzy cloud of musical notes bouncing around like microscopic atoms that in turn create a musical texture for the underscore.
This example from Grand Budapest Hotel is perhaps overly quirky but hopefully illustrates that idea of lots of notes creating a dreamlike wall of sound.
One potential way of creating this nebulous texture would be by using a looping pedal and layering sounds. This piece I originally performed live with a looping pedal and by gradually adding reverb and delay effects it creates a progressively more dreamy sound. This could definitely be something we explore during R&D and then record to form part of the soundtrack.
Another way of creating this nebulous sound could be inspired by classical minimalism, particularly the work of Steve Reich. Even though it’s very percussive and rhythmically complex, the repetitive nature of it creates quite a textural and hypnotic wall of sound. I could imagine Kate working on a research breakthrough underscored by this.
After exploring more of Steve Reich’s work I thought about Different Trains and how it musically incorporates and mimics snippets of recorded voice. Although this might be counter to your non-verbal style of theatre (are you also against including any prerecorded voiceover?) it could be something we explore. Interviews with other female scientists and perhaps more widely women who encounter difficulties in their profession.
I LOVE to incorporate sound design / sound effects into my music, although it can sometimes veer into gimmicky or cheesy territory. I feel this piece that I wrote incorporates sound design in a subtle and emotional way that blends with the music. Incorporating sounds of the lab is definitely something I’d like to explore during the R&D for Flux.
And, of course, I want a thread of 80s to be woven throughout the score. It’s nice having that contrast of atmospheric underscore and bangin’ 80s tunes, but I’d like to tie them together a bit more naturally and seamlessly. Perhaps by using select 80s synths or characteristic sounds in the underscore.
Or I could even rearrange a famous 80s hit? For example it could start off with the original and then morph into an instrumental / ambient version of the melody. I’ve done similar things before using QLab to sync the two tracks which means the transition can be cued at any time for the performer whilst still sounding seamless.
I adore the synths at the start of this Kim Wilde song, the vomit inducing spinning camera less so.
And just to put that idea of mixing the 80s and atmospheric underscore together into practice I put together this piece that blends from the 80s tune into atmospheric underscore using some of the melodies from the original song.
I’m not sure the legalities of doing this with PRS and copyright but that’s something that we can discuss further down the line.
There’s definitely loads of directions we could go in with this score but hopefully these tracks serve as a solid foundation for us to explore and take further.