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Listen To Karl Steven's Soundtrack For Black Hands

Listen To Karl Steven's Soundtrack For Black Hands

A.K. / Monday 9th November, 2020 3:18PM

In his latest foray into soundtracking, award-winning Aotearoa composer Karl Steven (Queen Neptune) has tackled the daunting task of writing the score for Black Hands - a dramatised TV series recounting the infamous Bain family murders. As expected, the Black Hands (Original Series Soundtrack) will send a chill down your spine, but that doesn't mean it's not heart-stoppingly beautiful. First and foremost, Steven sought to "create something respectful of the Bains and their deep love of music," and delved into composing male choir hymns, the sort of choral singing once enjoyed by David Bain and his father Robin Bain in Dunedin. A 16 part choir was recorded in Tāmaki's Mercury Theatre, as heard on tracks 1, 3, 6, 9 and 11, accompanied by stark viola, violin and cello. Previously Steven has been awarded APRA Silver Scroll Awards for his work on series The Bad Seed and 800 Words, and for film score Come To Daddy (starring Elijah Wood), not to mention festival awards and a long lists of nominations. He opened up on his process with Black Hands, read that here and listen to the sound track if you're prepared to feel spooked...

"This is a difficult story on every level, and in making the music for it I tried hard to create something respectful of the Bains and their deep love of music. My first task on the project was to arrange some hymns for male choir (of the sort in which both Robin and David performed). I was struck by the stark simplicity of these pieces and, using a palate of string trio with occasional vocal ensemble, I tried to write in a similarly unpretentious style. Rather than create demos and mock-ups digitally, as is usually the process for scoring, I took these pieces straight to the players who did a wonderful job bringing them to life, finding that difficult balance between restraint and expression, and negotiating technical hurdles gracefully. A huge thanks go to them (listed below) for their artistry and patience, as well as to the amazing production team for giving me the latitude to find a musical language for this series."

You can watch the first couple of episodes via TVNZ, here's a wee sneak peak...


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