Boomkat Product Review:
Oscar-nominated composer Hauschka lends his acclaimed descriptive talents to an original score for ‘Upstream’, a 2019 film by writer Robert Macfarlane, that traces the course of the River Dee in Scotland from aerial shots
The evocative camerawork of ‘Upstream’ is sure-footedly matched by Hauschka’s windswept string arrangements, which follow the film’s journey from the floodplains near Braemar to the river’s source on the summit plateau of the Cairngorm mountains - the highest spring site of any river in Britain.
There’s a faithfully rustic, folksy dissonance to the strings that steers the score away from your typical, ubiquitous Netflix documentary styles to something more expressive, experimental, and emotionally intelligent, mirroring the film’s “dream-flight into wilderness and winter” with a guile and sensitivity recalling Richard Skelton’s evocations of the Lake District, but scaled up to colder latitudes in the expansive couple of ‘Movements’, before beautifully accompanying filmmaker Rob Petit’s location recordings and the Gaelic voice of poet Niall Gòrdan in ‘Uisge Dhè’, while ‘Here The Heart Fills’ pairs the gorgeous Scottish accent of Oscar-nominated singer Julie Fowlis with Petit’s field recordings in a way reminding of Lord Of The Isles and Ellen Renton’s 12” for Whities.
“Robert Macfarlane: “The Cairngorm Mountains are Britain’s Arctic. In winter, storm- winds of up to 170 miles per hour rasp the range, and avalanches scour its slopes. Born of fire, carved by ice, finessed by wind, water and snow, the Cairngorm massif is a terrain shaped by the elementals. It is a landscape far more kindred with upland regions of Iceland, Norway and Greenland than it is with the green fields of England.”