The Great Invisible
Music Composed By: David Wingo
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
On April 20, 2010, a state of the art oil rig operated by BP exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven crew members were killed and the explosion's fireball could be seen from 35 miles away. The fire burned for two days and the oil rig sank, causing the largest oil spill in American history. The oil flowed for three months, dumping millions of gallons of oil into the fragile ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico. The Great Invisible is a documentary by Margaret Brown that explores the immediate after-effects of the explosion and oil spill and the effects on the Gulf years later.
The musical score of The Great Invisible was created by American composer David Wingo who got his start in film composition quite accidentally. After sending his friend David Gordon Green some ambient music he had composed, he received Green's latest student film, with Wingo's music threaded in, matching the film perfectly scene for scene. Since then, Wingo has been tapped to create score for a number of films, including George Washington, All the Real Girls, Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special and more.
The Great Invisible Soundtrack features a score that emulates the sultry sounds of Louisiana and the deep south, with acoustic guitars, harmonicas, electric guitars, bass, washboards and more. As the repercussions of the spill are realized, the music becomes much darker with more bass and electronic sound. According to Wingo, "Margaret and I spoke a lot about how the music should reflect both the region as well as the subject matter...I thought in terms of approximating the sound of machinery and gears grinding when coming up with the background beds in some of the pieces, after creating, then running musical loops through several other effects it sounded like various repetitive motions of some machines slowly deteriorating...I was thinking of these industrial types of sounds as the background, so with the foreground we wanted to reflect more of a regional feel of the bayou and Deep South, so the score sort of oscillates between this folksy/bluesy vibe and the ambient, darker, sometimes industrial sound…even when one side of the equation is much more prominent, the two styles are co-existing together in various degrees throughout."
Wingo's alternating and, at times, blending of the sounds of the South and the industrial world makes for an amazing listen. As a stand alone album, the music is quite enjoyable and I would recommend it highly for road trips. As background music for the documentary, I think Wingo captured the feel of the locale as well as the damning effects of the oil spill that still haunts the area today. The Great Invisible Soundtrack is an excellent album well worth the listen!