Saturday 26 May 2018

Rock... The stirring sounds of the small screen

Master of the soundtrack: Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds
Master of the soundtrack: Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds
José González
Vestiges & Claws is the third album from Swedish folk guitarist José González
John Meagher

John Meagher

The final episode of the hugely popular first series of Broadchurch provided one of the great denouements of recent TV drama. Almost nobody involved knew how it would finish, including lead actors Olivia Colman and David Tennant. But one key contributor was kept fully in the loop by writer-director Chris Chibnall: soundtrack composer Ólafur Arnalds.

While millions of viewers in Britain and here speculated about the identity of the killer, the Icelandic musician was told who it was before the scenes were even shot. "It was important that I knew so that I could decide what the music should be like whenever that character was on screen throughout the series," he says.

Broadchurch - which is nearing the end of its second season - boasts one of the most striking soundtracks on the small screen. Arnalds' strings and electronica score captures moments of tenderness and sadness as well as menace. Much of the pleasure of watching the series is derived from the dramatic score - and virtually every moment is soundtracked to some degree.

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