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THE MUSIC OF BEING HUMAN: THE DARKEST SOUNDS YET

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Garret Keogh, Online Editor | 09:00 UK time, Saturday, 21 February 2009

  ep4p4.jpg

New to BH? Watch out, this post contains spoilers from series one...

 

In the latest in our series looking at the music of Being Human, Alex Pillai, the director of episodes 3 & 4, tells us how he took the show to its darkest place yet...

 

Mitchell, in attempting to reject his vampiric side, and recapture his human nature, inadvertently rouses the hostility of the local neighbourhood, and causes the death of a child.

 

Though funny in parts, Brian Dooley's script is suffused with Mitchell's doomed yearning.  Even whilst planning the episode, it was not clear how this contemporary music track would fit into such a painful vision.

 

Luckily we have been blessed with the gifted composer, Richard Wells.  He immediately caught onto the clashing emotions within the piece, and produced an original soundtrack that evokes both yearning and fear. 

 

Listen to the complicated time-keeping of the guitar on the track over the crowd rioting outside the house - it is both melodic, and yet dissonant.  Similarly, Richard was able to perfectly capture Fleur's elation on seeing her resurrected son again at the train station - mixing joy with her terrible fear.  As poets would tell us, the perfect Horror is that which mixes attraction and repulsion, and Richard Wells' music for this scene, shot at TempleMeads station, has both these strands, pulling emotionally in opposite directions.

 

In editing such a sensitive piece as episode 4, where a child's welfare is at the heart of the issue, the control of tone was an essential part of my work, so that the story would be palatable.  With that in mind, I decided to keep other people's music out of the episode, so as not to dilute either Brian Dooley's voice, my own, or that of Richard Wells.

 

The exceptions to this are the opening and closing sequences, where we are with Mitchell's solitude and despair.  These are universal moments - we've all had that existential' waiting in the rain with a cigarette' moment (even if you've never smoked!). 

 

I have been a long time fan of Brixton-based Alabama Three.  Their mix of guitars and vocals always seems to evoke the gothic darkness of the Louisiana bayou, home of Anne Rice's vampires.  When we put 'Don't call the Doctor' on the opening, the music just seemed to be coming out of Mitchell's head - when Larry Love, Alabama's lead vocalist, tells us "I'm in a lonely place", that is exactly what Mitchell is feeling.

 

Mitchell's defeated trudge to rejoin Herrick at the end of the episode has the hopeless air of someone who has partied too hard, and is washed out and washed up.  'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife', again from the 'La Peste' album (2000) by Alabama Three, creates a neat musical loop with the opening - Mitchell has tried, and failed, to be human.

 

 

Episode 4

Track & Artist

'Don't call the Doctor' - Alabama Three

'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife' - Alabama Three

'Barbie Girl' (on radio) - Aqua

'Dr. Kettering's Death' (on TV) - from the soundtrack of 'Ghost of Frankenstein' (1942) by Hans J. Salter

 

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Wow, I just love what you guys have done with the music in this series so far - it's incredible how much thought has to go into it, and how the music impacts so much on what the audience feels too. the opening scene, I thought, was really unique and really did set the scene for what was to come.

  • Comment number 2.

    Fantastic again. And very appropriate to only use original music for the most part.

    I had never heard of Alabama 3 before but LOVED the tracks from them on this episode. I managed to find the first one by typing the lyrics into Google but couldn't find the one at the end, so am happy I now know and can download it.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 3.

    Thank you once again for this!
    I am using Spotify to create a collaborative palylist of all the tracks mentioned or at least as much as I can, check it out and add to it if you want!
    Spotify can be found here: (spotify:user:karode:playlist:0Vn9BISgZxYjdaifD1w97T)

    and the Being Human playlist I have created is here: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    As posted previously I have done this while waiting to see if BBC will produce a Being Human CD... :-)

  • Comment number 4.

    Brilliant again thank you :-) I agree - the first scene of this episode really was brilliant one of my favourites so far actually and I love the song I typed the lyrics into google aswell lol but i couldnt find the last one as we only hear 1 line so thank you for this :-) keep up the great work guys it really is a fantastic show with a fantastic soundtrack

  • Comment number 5.

    Last Friday, I went to a bookstore's going-out-of-business sale. The only CD I gave thought to was an Alabama 3 import. I decided against, then came home and watched this and kicked myself.

  • Comment number 6.

    The Alabama 3 track over the start sequence is actually called Too Sick To Pray.

    I love the music selections in general for the show, but the two Alabama 3 tracks for Episode 4 fitted brilliantly.

  • Comment number 7.

    Alabama3 are great. I'd never heard of them before this blog entry. I've just downloaded a few tracks. I love 'too sick to pray'.

  • Comment number 8.

    Is there anywhere I can get Richard Well's musical score for this episode it was amazing, The scene when Bernie appeared at the end was amazing and the music gave me goose bumps. Richard well done it was fanastic.

 

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