Milan Records today releases THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) by composer ARTHUR SHARPE. Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Sharpe for the film, which tells the true story of Louis Wain, the eccentric British artist known for his psychedelic depictions of cats. Working in close collaboration with his brother and the film’s director Will Sharpe, the composer was tasked with creating a soundscape that carries the viewer not only across time spans but also on the trips into Louis’ mind, which become more frequent and extreme as the film unfolds. Sharpe’s score speaks to Louis’ chaotically beautiful and ever-changing world, combining traditional orchestral instrumentation with an ensemble of unorthodox instruments like the musical saw, the theremin (performed on the score by a descendant of Leon Theremin himself), the mellotron, and more. The resulting 24-track collection captures both the electrical innovations of the time period that inspired Louis’ artwork as well as the sweetness and levity inherent in both his own demeanor and the cats he became famous for representing. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is out now in US theaters and arrives on Prime Video US today, Friday, November 5.
Of the score, composer ARTHUR SHARPE says, “The story is set in a certain era but Louis was thinking years ahead, so we tried to acknowledge that, especially when exploring his inner world and the theme of ‘electricity’. Louis's idiosyncrasies are a huge part of what we explored with the music, and there is also the romance and the playfulness of the cats themselves. We had to find a way to marry all of those themes together, themes which could seem disparate on the face of it. It was a case of using traditional instruments, orchestral instruments, strings, woodwinds and so on but marrying that with things like the theremin, the musical saw, and other electrical textures. We wanted to explore electricity in different ways. It’s definitely been a film where I’ve been able to research all sorts of weird and wonderful things.”
“A major part of the world building comes down to the score,” adds the film’s director WILL SHARPE. “Arthur and I started working together from the script stage to try to find a language for the music that captured the playful idiosyncrasies of Wain, while also delivering the deep emotional swells that come from the love story at the center of the movie.”
The extraordinary true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures helped to transform the public's perception of cats forever. Moving from the late 1800s through to the 1930s, we follow the incredible adventures of this inspiring, unsung hero, as he seeks to unlock the "electrical" mysteries of the world and, in so doing, to better understand his own life and the profound love he shared with his wife Emily Richardson (Claire Foy).
The film boasts an all-star ensemble supporting cast including Andrea Riseborough (Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), The Death of Stalin), Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hunger Games), Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary, Dumbo), Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education), Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake, Southcliffe), Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac, Vox Lux), Phoebe Nicholls (The Elephant Man), Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick, Pan, Four Lions, Utopia), Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch), Richard Ayoade (Soul, The Souvenir), Julian Barratt (Mindhorn, Flowers, The Mighty Boosh) and Sophia di Martino (Loki, Flowers). It was recently announced that Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Free Guy), Nick Cave (20,000 Days on Earth) and Olivia Colman (The Crown, The Favourite) appear in the film, with Colman narrating.
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is directed by BAFTA winner Will Sharpe (Flowers). Story by Simon Stephenson (Luca, Paddington 2), screenplay by Simon Stephenson and Will Sharpe. The film is produced by Shoebox Films and SunnyMarch, and financed by STUDIOCANAL and Film4.bSTUDIOCANAL have sold the film worldwide.
Arthur Sharpe began his career in Film & TV writing music for the soundtrack to the BAFTA-nominated feature film Black Pond and co-scoring The Darkest Universe with Ralegh Long.
He then went on to score the Channel 4 series Flowers, written and directed by his brother and frequent collaborator, Will Sharpe. Arthur's work on the first series won him the RTS Craft and Design Award for Best Original Music while he also gained an Ivor Novello nomination for Best Television Soundtrack for the second series.
Other TV works since then include the series Women on the Verge, created by Lorna Martin and Sharon Horgan; series 1 of the BBC1 comedy Ghosts, written by and starring the Horrible Histories ensemble and directed by Tom Kingsley; and Neil Forsyth’s pitch black BBC comedy drama Guilt.
Teaming up with Will once again on The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, the score combines more traditional orchestral instruments with slightly more unusual ones such as the musical saw and the theremin (played on the film’s score by Lydia Kavina, a descendant and once pupil of the instrument’s inventor Leon Theremin). The blending of sounds helped create the chaotic yet beautiful world of Louis, mixing the period feel of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with the innovations in electricity that would start emerging in Louis’ later life and that would play such a huge part in his thoughts and art throughout, while also capturing a sweetness and levity that was so inherent both in his nature and of course in the nature of his beloved cats.
Since finishing work on the film, Arthur has gone on to score a second series of Guilt and is currently writing for the Sky and HBO series Landscapers, due to come out late 2021/early 2022.
Jeremy [Six Strings]