Archive 81 Composers Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow (Podcast)
Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works.
It’s safe to say that the world of film music, especially modern film music, owes a lot to Geoff Barrow of Portishead. This is largely due to the instrumentalist and musician’s creation of an independent label Invasion Records in 2001, which focused on hip hop and experimental acts before shifting its focus to releasing film scores.
But he’s a prolific film and television composer in his own right, having teamed up with composer Ben Salisbury in the early 2010s for an abortive score for the 2012 film. Dredwhich they later released as DROKK. From there they navigated an easy partnership with filmmaker Alex Garland, for whom they have composed all of his works since, from Ex-Machina for Annihilation for Developers: sly, unsettling scores that use found sounds and minimal instrumentation to convey the strangeness of Garland’s worlds.
It’s an approach that works well for one of Netflix’s latest shows (now a one-season wonder thanks to recent news from its abrupt cancellation). The show follows an archivist (Mamoudou Athie) tasked with restoring a cache of mysterious documentary footage from a burned-out building in New York known as Visser. From there, he finds himself drawn to the perspective of late filmmaker Melody (Dina Shihabi) and the secrets she uncovered during her investigation. Timelines merge, prophecies unfold, and the true nature of the Visser’s fate becomes clear.
For the podcast, Ben and Geoff were kind enough to tell me about the origins of their years-long partnership, Geoff’s work with Invada Records, and the painstaking but rewarding process of creating the analog atmosphere of Archives 81.
Archives 81 is currently streaming on Netflix. You can also listen to the score of Archives 81 on your favorite music streaming service courtesy of Invada Records and Lakeshore Records.