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The soundtrack of the documentary Songs Of The Water Spirits by Nicolò Bongiorno, composed by Matteo Milani and Walter Marocchi

Data di pubblicazione 17/09/2020

Located at the northern tip of India, surrounded by the Himalayan and Karakorum mountain ranges, and largely desert, the Ladakh territory is one of the most inaccessible areas of the planet, which has always been a crossroads of ancient cultures and religions. It is hard to imagine that such a remote region, apparently detached from the rest of the world, can actually be a catalyst for global issues and problems. And yet it is so.
In Ladakh and throughout the Tibetan plateau glaciers are melting rapidly, causing catastrophic floods and periods of extreme drought; the impact of nascent mass tourism undermines cultural balances and contributes to environmental degradation; political tensions between India, China and Pakistan and the militarisation of borders trigger frequent social and religious conflicts. Climate change, unbridled globalisation and political instability threaten human survival not only in Ladakh, but worldwide.
This is the context that director Nicolò Bongiorno went through during three years of filming, resulting in the documentary Songs Of The Water Spirits; and this is the story that Matteo Milani and Walter Marocchi have translated into music in this homonymous soundtrack.

In a work with strong anthropological connotations it would have been legitimate to expect a "derivative" sound commentary: the road taken here is deliberately different, however, and the ethnic inspirations are shaped by a combination of timbre elaborations and electronic inventions that meet the now roaring now suffused touches of electric and acoustic guitars, powered by epic and evocative wind instruments and angelic vocal suggestions. A musical texture that also recalls contrasts, such as those between strength and fragility, or between science and religion, which the film describes carefully and that could not fail to resonate in the soundtrack.
The method of composition used also benefited from a creative and technical approach that could be defined as multidisciplinary. In their work, in addition to being composers, Matteo and Walter often cover the roles of sound designer and film editor respectively: this allows for a unique work of writing, arrangement and finishing, in which the composition is shaped and enhanced organically during the editing, post-production and mixing phases. In the case of Songs Of The Water Spirits then, the work took place during a global pandemic and continued during months of lockdown, when instrumental contributions had to be coordinated and recorded remotely; and significant is the the way that the emergency situation experienced by the whole world echoes in the myths and popular beliefs still handed down today in Ladakh, that tell of mysterious water gods, powerful nature spirits ready to rebel if their survival is jeopardised...

Songs Of The Water Spirits seals an important point in the long artistic brotherhood between Matteo Milani and Walter Marocchi: a film and a soundtrack that reach remote places and times speaking of our future, to remind us that our planet really needs listening.

Listen to the Official soundrack Songs Of The Water Spirits here:



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