Belle & Sebastian Pick Out Their Favourite Soundtracks

Belle & Sebastian Pick Out Their Favourite Soundtracks

Chris Geddes digs into his record bag...

Belle & Sebastian have had a busy ol' year.

Headlining their own Boaty Weekender - a festival/cruise across the Med - they will also headline Pitchfork Paris in October.

Alongside this, they've also been working on fresh material, agreeing to take part in their first full soundtrack project.

Days Of The Bagnold Summer is the directorial debut of Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners), and the score features 11 brand new Belle & Sebastian songs alongside a handful of spruced up re-recordings.

Out on September 13th, the soundtrack album has a life of its own, featuring some wonderfully affecting moments.

Ahead of this, Clash invited Belle & Sebastian's very own Chris Geddes to sift through his record racks and pluck out some golden soundtracks.

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The Wizard Of Oz - Music by Harold Arlen, lyrics E.Y. Harburg (1939, soundtrack released 1956)

One the very first records I ever owned, and still in my collection today. Classic songs, and wonderful golden age Hollywood orchestration.

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North by Northwest - Bernard Herrmann (1959)

Herrmann was a master at incorporating contemporary classical techniques in his scoring, and created some unique orchestral textures. This is one of his most memorable scores, from Hitchcock’s most stylish thriller.

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The Ipcress File - John Barry (1965)

It’s probably fair to say that the band are all huge fans of John Barry’s scores.

We’ve covered the theme from Midnight Cowboy, and of course everyone loves the Bond soundtracks, with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service being a big favourite, with the fantastic electric harpsichord on the title track’s reworking of the classic theme. But the score for this altogether darker spy story is my personal pick of his work. 

Barry blends a jazz rhythm section, flutes and vibes with the east european cimbalom to create a sound that instantly conjures up the Cold War.

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick famously scrapped the original score that composer Alex North had written, and instead used the classical music he’d cut the film to as the final score. It’s impossible to imagine the film now without such iconic moments as the Strauss fanfare in the opening sequence, or the space ship docking to the sound of the Blue Danube waltz.

I watched this with the LA Philharmonic performing the score live a few years ago, and it was incredible, especially the dissonance of the Ligeti pieces.

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The Graduate - Simon and Garfunkel (1968)

A big reference for people in the group, Stuart especially, in terms of how songs can be used to drive the narrative in a move, although the songs had already appeared on the duo’s preceding LPs so it’s an early example of the soundtrack as compilation album that’s now so common.

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Performance - Jack Nitzsche (1969)

A wonderfully disorienting mix of swampy blues rock and whooshing moog synthesiser provides the score to this psychedelic gangster film that starred Mick Jagger and James Fox.

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Una Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna - Ennio Morricone (1971)

I could have picked any number of the maestro’s hundreds of scores, but this is one of his finest, switching between heavy beats with fuzz guitar, and soft harpsichord with Edda Dell’Orso’s wordless soprano vocals.

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Caravan - Rahul Dev Burman (1971)

A fairly early score from Burman, who like Morricone has scored literally hundreds of films. The movie includes a great dance scene, to the song Piya Tu Ab To Aaja, voiced by Asha Bhosle.

A few years ago some Indian sellers started selling records on ebay and suddenly albums like this that had been pretty hard to find over here and generally expensive became a lot easier to pick up, so I went pretty deep in Bollywood soundtracks for a while.

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The Wicker Man - Paul Giovanni/Magnet (1973, soundtrack released 1998)

A haunting psych-folk soundtrack to a truly brilliant movie.

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Shaft In Africa - Johnny Pate (1973)

Featuring vocal contributions from the Four Tops this one the funkiest Blaxsploitation soundtracks. Pate had also collaborated with Curtis Mayfield on many of the Impressions’ hit records and the equally fantastic soundtrack for Superfly.

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Under The Skin - Mica Levi (2014)

A soundtrack that is just as haunting was the movie it scores.

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Arrival - Jóhann Jóhannssonn (2016)

When the band first played in Iceland someone in a record shop in Reykjavik recommended Jóhannssonn’s first album Eglabörn to me, and I loved it.

He went on to become a really successful soundtrack composer, and this score is a great one that blurs the lines between composing and sound design.

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Belle & Sebastian's 'Days Of The Bagnold Summer' soundtrack album will be released on September 13th.

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