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Brian McBride: The Effective Disconnect

Album Summary

>McBride, Brian : Vanishing of the Bees, film score
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Echo Park, CA.

Given how Stars of the Lid often garnered cinematic comparisons due to the lengthy instrumental bent of their music, it's little surprise that member Brian McBride was commissioned for film work, as was the case with his 2010 release. Thematically suggestive of Vangelis' early solo soundtrack for a documentary on endangered species, L'Apocalypse des Animaux -- perhaps the reason the first two songs have a shared French title, "Melodrames Telegraphies (In B Major 7th)" -- The Effective Disconnect was written for a film discussing the early 21st century crisis affecting bee populations and its possible impact upon the wider ecosystem and food chain. McBride's work is almost instantly recognizable, as similar as it is to Stars of the Lid, with long, slow tones and orchestrations stretched out into even more beautiful soundscapes, with pauses and spaces as important as the sonics themselves. Hints of utterly blissed-out shoegaze, avant-garde classical arrangements, and exploratory electronic music from previous decades recur here, as they have throughout McBride's work, with the string pieces on the three-part "Toil Theme" being among his best yet; it's both beautiful and haunted. There's a notable break in form with "Several Tries (In an Unrelated Style)," which is a series of brief fragments ranging from calm piano to what sounds like an oddly played, heavily microphoned kalimba. Heard separately from the film, little beyond the titles (the most obvious being "Beekeepers vs. Warfare Chemicals"'s soft chiming percussion followed by rich, mournful strings and tones) suggest a direct connection to the documentary itself -- there are no found sound sources of buzzing bees -- but the sense of slowly ebbing beauty, something fragile that almost seems to disappear, remains crucial, and thus, perhaps giving one title the greatest impact: "I Know That You Don't Like the Future Like I Do." ~ Ned Raggett


Mojo (Publisher) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Using guitar, piano, strings, flugelhorn and trumpet, McBride's mini-suites move away from the continuous ambient drones of SOTL, approaching a mood of too-bright summer melancholy..."

Uncut (magazine) (p.94) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[C]lassical strings and piano conjure up moods of pastoral beauty and looming dread with a wonderful, sometimes terrible precision."


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Works Details

>McBride, Brian : Vanishing of the Bees, film score
  • Performers: Lauren Chipman (Viola); Lauren Chipman (Violin); Stewart Cole (Flugelhorn); Stewart Cole (Trumpet); Brian McBride (Glockenspiel); Brian McBride (Guitar); Brian McBride (Piano); Brian McBride (Trumpet); Tom Senning (Piano); Jeffrey White (Cello)
  • Conductor: Brian McBride
  • Running Time: 41 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Film Score