WORKING with huge acclaim in the shadowier textures of electronic music now for longer than we care to recall, Kevin Richard Martin – aka The Bug, King Midas Sound, Techno Animal – has composed a new score for Andrei Tarkovsky’s incredible 1972 sci-fi Solaris, which will be released on Phantom Limb on June 25th.
Based these days in Belgium, Kevin was invited by the Vooruit Arts Centre in Ghent to compose a new score for a film of his choice last May; Solaris was, he says, a “natural choice”.
The resulting score, entitled Return To Solaris, mirrors the film’s intensity and psychological devastation. If you haven’t seen it, you so should – masterpiece is the watchword; in sketch, a psychologist is sent to a space station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane; but it investigates love, horror, sorrow, nostalgia, memory and dystopia on its way.
The original score came courtesy pioneering Soviet electronic composer Eduard Artemyev and is an incredible score in its own right, and also $$$ for any pressing on Discogs; “it was with a certain amount of trepidation I stepped into such large footprints,” says Kevin.
He need not worry, as a first reveal in the shape of “In Love With A Ghost” illustrates; it perfectly captures the alienation, the claustrophobia, the deracination and the airlessness of that lonely, distant orbit in bleakly beautiful electronics. You can hear that track below.
Drawn to its “narrative struggle between organic, pastoral memories of a lost past, and the harsh, dystopian realities of a futuristic hell,” Kevin mined his collection for suitable equipment, favouring antiquated, hands-on hardware over computer-based production. He acquired an original Pulsar 23 drum machine, created by cult Russian synth builders SOMA Laboratory and much of his new score is centred around its spectral sounds.
On completion, he performed Return To Solaris with the film in the Vooruit theatre over two sold-out, socially distanced nights last autumn.
Kevin Richard Martin’s Return To Solaris will be released digitally and on strictly limited, gatefold sleeved 2xLP by Phantom Limb on June 25th; you can place your order at the label’s Bandcamp page, here.