The title of John Parish’s forthcoming compilation album, Screenplay, has various meanings. A collection of music he has written for the screen, it toys with industry terminology. By borrowing the language of the narrative and applying it to the score, he is staking a claim for the role music plays in film, the extent to which it has its own story to tell. By bringing together cues from several films, rather than releasing the full scores of any of them, the album is exploring the extent to which music for films has any life beyond the films themselves, beyond matters of narrative. The films included on Screenplay are Nowhere Man, Plein Sud, Sister (aka L’enfant d’en Haut), and Little Black Spiders. The last of these has had its end credits made available for free download, courtesy of the Screenplay record label, Thrill Jockey. It’s a stylish mini-suite, opening with looped vocals whose evident seams make the results sound more like notes played on a keyboard than sung by a choir. In time, strings and other instruments kick in, all with the studio ingenuity and slow-burn drama that Parish has brought to his work with PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse, and others in the past.
Here is a trailer for Little Black Spiders, featuring different music: