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Listen to Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Full Score for Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Arrival’

Written by on November 11, 2016 

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As Rian Johnson put it, “Arrival opens this weekend. I can’t imagine a better moment to go see a humanity affirming sci-fi movie about overcoming what divides us.” Indeed, Denis Villeneuve‘s sci-fi thriller — as scripted by Eric Heisserer, who recently broke down his screen-writing process — is not just a big-hearted, intense experience, but one that shows what can be achieved when barriers are broken. Reteaming with the director after Sicario — and before Blade Runner 2049 — is composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, whose eerie and bold score perfectly melds the idea of communication with both our language and that of the aliens in the film.

“I also wanted to avoid the kind of choral writing that is associated with sci-fi, like Ligeti’s for example, so instead of sustained clusters of sound like his, I worked more with short staccato phrases that are sung arrhythmically or have irregular rhythmic patterns,” the composer tells Little White Lies. “These are then layered on top of each other to create a kind of cloud of short staccato, rhythmically ambiguous voices. There are also very few synthesised or artificial sounds in the film – the sounds are all acoustic in origin and all played by hand, with one or two exceptions. However, I very often treat and process the acoustic sounds digitally, to achieve unique textures.”

Check out the full score below, as well as Max Richter‘s “On the Nature of Daylight,” which also crucially factors into the musical landscape of the film. We’ve also added a new, surprisingly touching featurette, clips, and a batch of images.

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This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Amy Adams in a scene from "Arrival." (Jan Thijs/Paramount Pictures via AP)

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Arrival is now in theaters nationwide.


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