HyperNormalisation playlist: Pye Corner Audio, worriedaboutsatan and more

Adam Curtis’s music supervisor, Gavin Miller, shares some the arpeggiated synths and creepy atmospherics that score Curtis’s latest documentary

I’m in a band called worriedaboutsatan, and ended up working with Adam Curtis after I approached him about five years ago to do an interview, primarily about the use of music in his films. I’d been watching them for years, and was intrigued by how he’d use snippets of really amazing stuff – Nine Inch Nails, Burial, Brian Eno and Ennio Morricone, all jostling for room over harrowing images of war and degeneration.

I spoke to him on the phone and wrote up the piece. After that we just kind of kept in touch. He’s a really nice guy and very accommodating to a squealing fanboy like myself. He’s also very up on new music, and into a lot of obscure stuff. He listens to a lot of music, but I think he gets hungry for new sounds quite easily. My job as music supervisor was basically to send him playlists of stuff I thought would fit in his films. It took me a while to get the hang of it, and the early ones I sent him were full of music that, looking back, would not have worked in a million years. He later told me that the only people who ever sent him music were me and Martin Jenkins, AKA Pye Corner Audio, whose haunting synthscapes crop up quite often in Curtis’s films too.

Here are five tracks in HyperNormalisation that you may not otherwise have heard.

worriedaboutsatan – Blank Tape

This is actually the first time this track has been premiered in full, outside of the bit that appears towards the end of Hypernormalisation. Curtis came to one of our gigs last year, and told me that he was loving music that was really noisy, but turned really melodic. I mentioned that we were working on something that fit that bill to a tee, and sent it to him the minute I got back from the show. It’s taken from our forthcoming third album of the same name.

Thomas Ragsdale – Warning Mass

Tom Ragsdale is the other half of worriedaboutsatan, and whenever I send stuff to Curtis, I make sure to include some of our solo endeavours – mainly because we each make the kinds of music that work well in his films, but also out of shameless self-promotion. I guess when you’re as DIY as we are, you need to create a bit of luck. Ragsdale made this piece for a film he soundtracked called Bait, which was released last year and directed by Dominic Brunt, aka Paddy from Emmerdale. But the arpeggiated synths and brooding piano work really well in HyperNormalisation, and also feature quite a lot in the short film Curtis made for Vice recently.

Pye Corner Audio – The Black Mill Video Tape

When I first started sending stuff to Curtis, I sent him loads of Pye Corner Audio, completely oblivious to the fact that Jenkins was also sending him his own stuff separately! Jenkins is just a genius, and all his stuff is incredible – it lilts and wanes with this really creepy atmosphere, like a soundtrack from an alternate 70s, all slowed down to a trudging funk. We’re playing together at a show in London in February too, and absolutely cannot wait. We might just concede defeat and let him play for three hours instead!

Gavin Miller – Fotograf (Part 2)

This is a little solo thing I did a few years ago that I never thought would do anything but sit on my laptop. I was amazed to hear it in HyperNormalisation, mainly because I’d forgotten all about it, and had to go sifting through my own BandCamp to try and place which track he’d used! It’s the backing music to a bit about Reagan and Gaddafi, and it fits quite nicely. Not that I had that in mind when I made it.

Ghosting Season – Far End of the Graveyard (3am Version)

Ghosting Season was a more techno-focused project that me and Ragsdale were involved in for a few years, but recently put to bed. This is essentially the demo version of a track that pops up on our album. I think Curtis is a fan of this one, probably due to the volume of reverberated guitars that feature on it. It crops up in a few of his videos, most notably the Charlie Brooker specials that he made, and rears its head in HyperNormalisation. It’s not on Spotify or Shazam or anything like that, so I thought I’d include it here, in case anyone is interested.

Gavin Miller

The GuardianTramp

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