Solomon Grey - Selected Works Including Music from The Casual Vacancy
Composed By: Solomon Grey
Distributed by: Astralwerks Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Solomon Grey is a music project based out of London created by Tom Kingston and Joe Wilson. Meeting in Oxford while performing in a cover band and influenced by electronica, classical and jazz music, the two created a new style of music by creating a hybrid of organic instruments, computer programming and electronics. In 2013, Solomon Grey released the debut single, Gen V, on Black Butter, followed by another single, Firechild, that November. After drawing attention for these works, the duo began creating music for film, writing the music for The Wild Atlantic Way, Gozo and The Casual Vacancy.
In April 2015, Astralworks released a ten-track album featuring selected works from the duo, both songs and musical score from The Casual Way. According to Joe Wilson, “Jonny Campbell [Director] was interested in using one artist and their songs for the entire series. We spent months writing and recording before we saw one frame of footage…Interwoven within the score are elements from our own tracks, as a band/artist. There are several strings and synth parts adapted to work within the score as well as some of our commercial tracks.” Tom Kingston adds, “We found the score writing quite freeing – because the canvas was so broad – we could throw any ideas around and anything goes…We took a lot from watching films like Her where Arcade Fire had used both their own music and composed music to really fill the world within the piece.”
The BBC/HBO miniseries, The Casual Vacancy is adapted from the works of J.K. Rawling. It follows the citizens of Pagford, a small British town, who are fighting for a spot on the parish council after the death of Barry Fairbrother. The music created for this miniseries by Solomon Grey has an 80s synth/pop feel. The songs, Last Century Man, Firechild and Miradors left me thinking that they may have been created for a film about time travel (keep in mind that I hadn’t read the liner notes before listening to this album). The lyrics spoke of losing oneself in memories, looking back in time, not quite fitting into “now” and more.
As I listened to Solomon Grey - Selected Works Including Music from The Casual Vacancy, I found myself smiling. The music in the songs and the score took me back to the 80s. Containing good beats in addition to synths, I found myself enjoying this album very much. The couple of tracks that weren’t used for the miniseries – End Theme and Gorm/Blue – were equally enjoyable. I enjoy the style of Solomon Grey and look forward to listening to more from this group…hopefully playing on mainstream radio here in the States someday.