For his upcoming film We Bought a Zoo, Cameron Crowe recruited Sigur Rós frontman Jonsi to write the score. Along with nine themes and three previous songs, The artist ended up writing two new songs and we have our first listen of one today. Titled Gathering Stories, the closing track is actually co-written by Crowe himself. Check it out below via NPR, followed by more details.

01. Why Not
02. AEvin Endar – Jónsi *new track
03. Boy Lilikoi – Jónsi
04. Sun
05. Brambles
06. Sinking Friendships – Jónsi
07. We Bought A Zoo
08. Hoppipolla – Sigur Rós
09. Snaerisendar
10. Sink
11. Go Do – Jónsi
12. Whole Made of Pieces
13. Humming
14. First Day
15. Gathering Stories – Jónsi *new track

Notes from Crowe on the score:

Both with Sigur Rós, and in his solo work, Jónsi has always made music that captured the human adventure. Early on, it was obvious that this music would have a profound effect on the making of “We Bought A Zoo.” In preparation for making the movie, we gave all the actors and crew members a copy of Sigur Rós transcendent documentary, “Heima,” (Icelandic for “home”). We all watched the film and listened to the music, and it quickly seeped into our own journey in filming the real-life story of Benjamin Mee’s book. The actors listened to the music during their takes; it was immediately part of the film’s DNA. Even the signs guiding our crew members to the set revealed our inspiration “Heima.” During filming, I sent Jónsi a photo of one of the signs. He wrote back with characteristic enthusiasm. On our last day of shooting in April, I contacted Jónsi again and asked him if he was interested in scoring the film. I sent him a copy of the script, and a Quicktime of one of the scenes. The story affected him. He’d already begun composing new music for the film when he arrived from Iceland with his toy sampler keyboard and a headful of ideas.

His first theme for the movie fit perfectly. Within a week, Jónsi had composed a series of themes that would reflect everything we’d hoped for. In his music were all the highs and lows and passionate in-betweens of the film itself. Over the course of several visits to Los Angeles, Jónsi sculpted and orchestrated a soundscape with elements I’d never had in a movie before: bells, strings, cymbals, toy pianos, even melodies played through a small Dictaphone. The instinct that began the movie had come full circle. On a warm fall night in October, we finished. The e-mail he sent last night before boarding the plane back to his home in Iceland says it all: “It was such a blast.” And so it was. Here, with thanks from an inspired director, and special gratitude to Alex Somers, who helped shine it through a prism of love and wonder, is Jónsi’s first score for film. This is his music for “We Bought A Zoo.”

Cameron Crowe
October 2011

The We Bought A Zoo OST will be released through Columbia Records on December 13th while the film starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning and John Michael Higgins, We Bought a Zoo hits theaters December 23rd, 2011. Check out the latest trailer below.

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