Release Date: 27 October 2017
Radiohead drummer Philip Selway’s new album is a departure from its two preceding albums (Familial and Weatherhouse). It’s the soundtrack to the film drama Let Me Go, a story about mothers and daughters; about loss and mistrust; about the ramifications of a World War II crime; about secrets, trauma and lingering ghosts. Mirroring the film’s haunted and intimate nature, Selway’s score is grounded in strings and piano, plus guitar, electronics, musical saw, glockenspiel and bowed vibraphone, and the occasional use of bass and drums, creating a paradoxical sense of beauty and unease.
In the film, Helga has kept the truth from her own daughter and grand-daughter, and subsequently kept her own emotions tightly bound in silence, so Selway’s words revolve around the core theme of abandonment and the ties that bind. “You can apply the words of ‘Walk’ to any of the female characters,” Selway says; namely Traudi, Helga, her daughter Beth and her granddaughter Emily, who joins Helga in Vienna to meet the great-grandmother she hadn’t even realised was alive. “The four women in the script were the starting point, so I wrote for a string quartet, especially since their sound is so warm. The interplay between the instruments was a nice metaphor for the different generations.”
The musical saw on tracks such as ‘Helga Saw’ and ‘Let Me Go (Rhodes)’ also serves a purpose: “It’s an otherworldly sound, and a very jagged instrument, which is appropriate for the film’s drama – and the music mushroomed from there. Michael Woods’ beautiful cinematography, which captured all the beautiful light in Vienna, also fed into the instrumentation and arrangements. And each actress as she was cast also shaped my approach. Such as Juliet Stevenson, who plays Helga – I immediately thought of Juliet in Truly Madly Deeply, and Barrington Pheloung’s music for the film, which also led me down the string-quartet route. I feel the soundtrack is in tune with the emotional range and overall aesthetic of the film.”