Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith - Soundtrack - Tindersticks

First premiering at the 60th BFI Film Festival in 2016, Tindersticks release the soundtrack of the acclaimed film Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith. The film, directed by frontman Stuart Staples, was made as a tribute to a man who the average person on the street may have no idea about. Smith was an amatuer, but enthusiastic, naturalist and photographer who initially received derision from his more “educated” peers in the 1900s. Between the early 1920s and 30s, Smith became a pioneer of micro-cinema with a focus on plant and insect life filmed from his studio/home in North London, and using innovative designs and self-constructed inventions to capture astounding timelapse images, such as the Secrets of Nature series (from which most of Minute Bodies is drawn), that captivated the British public’s imagination and are just as amazing to this day. As Staples has said, “His work transcends the constraints of its time, and now it teaches us about patience, commitment, ingenuity and determination”.

Recorded at the band’s studio in France with collaboration from Thomas Belhom, Christine Ott, David Coulter, and Julian Siegel, the film’s soundtrack incorporates the slower Jazz instrumentation and dissonance that the group have been increasingly peppering throughout their mainstream releases and takes it to its extremes. The combination of saws, nose flutes, Hammond organs and angelic voices culminate in creating a sense of mesmeric alien wonder. From the sparse introduction of ‘Percy’s Theme’, through the dreamlike ‘Gathering Moss’, to the avant garde Jazz of ‘World in a Wine Glass’, Minute Bodies plays through like an ethereal ballet.

The only issue with Minute Bodies, which can be a curse with many film soundtracks where music and image are so closely intertwined, is that it lacks the immediacy to be seen as an independent piece of work - unlike Mogwai’s Atomic for example. Thankfully, Tindersticks have released Minute Bodies.. as a joint CD and DVD/Blu-Ray release so that the piece can be appreciated to its fullest. As a viewing experience the study of patience and of the world under our noses driven by the hypnotic score is a breathtaking piece of work which, unfortunately, cannot be fully replicated through audio alone.

Overall

As a standalone audio piece, it’s good. As a project as a whole, it’s outstanding.

7

out of 10
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