MANTA RAY is the first release of Snowdrops, a French-based keyboard duo composed by Mathieu Gabry and Christine Ott (Yann Tiersen, Tindersticks, Foudre !...) ; this opus is the soundtrack they composed for Phuttiphong Aroonpheng's film of the same name, which has won several awards including Best Film in the Orizzonti section at the Venice Film Festival.
Strangers in a strange land...
Borders, belonging and banishment are the issues in Manta Ray. The Thai film trains a poetic look at the void of humanity through the story of two men, a Thai fisherman with peroxide blonde hair and a nameless stranger stuck in a foreign land and supposed to be a Rohingya of Myanmar, whose continuing persecution is constituting one of the biggest human rights scandals of our time.
The realism of this story melds with magical elements into a complex whole leaving plenty of room for interpretation. Aroonpheng's first feature is a mesmerizing experience, sometimes compared to Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee & Hitchcock's Vertigo.
Snowdrops' soundtrack brings another dimension to Aroonpheng's movie. The duo was especially focused to build their sound here on a frame of keyboards of different generations (Ondes Martenot, Mellotron, MS2000 or Altered keyboards). The color is sometimes dark (‘The Mangrove’, ‘Losing a Friend to Death’), sometimes surrealistic (‘Lights in the Deep), and in the case of ‘Weird Dance’, a suggestion of romance between the two main characters on the rhythm of a dreamy electronic tune. The French duo also re-arranged a composition (‘Hot Springs’) by renowned Thai singer Rasmee, who features as an actor in the movie.
Always moving in a physical and sensorial approach, Snowdrops were also involved in the sound design of the movie, as the music is often merging with the other auditive elements and with the images themselves as an organic painting; this hypnotic experiment finds its climax at the end of the movie, with Ott's piano running wild and Gabry's soundscapes swirling in between The Harmony of Rohingya's Voices in a breathtaking scene.
Snowdrops is Christine Ott & Mathieu Gabry : Ondes Martenot (Original, Dierstein, Ondéa & Ondomo), Piano, Mellotron, Korg MS2000, Augmented Yamaha EZ150, Boite à bourdons BAB V, Field Recordings & Soundscapes
feat. Wanlop Rungkamjad (voice on 'Monologue Theme'), Rasmee (singing on 'Hot Springs'), Aphisit Hama & Rohingyas voices (Hajee Ismail, Aryukarn Pathan, Sayed Alam, Mohamed Armin, Abdul Kalik, Abdul Dorahaman, Abdul Armin, Mohamed Rafik, Zab Zayida, Younus Mohamed, Salem Rashenkran, Saultan Ahmed, Kasim Khan Pataan, Abhu Kalarm, Anam Arkani, Aye Begum, Saheeda, Ismael, Jafar, Ismail, Rajuma, Nazima, Kasim, Fatima, Azeem, Enuos) on 'Circles / The Harmony of Rohingya's voices'
All music recorded by Snowdrops, from august 2017 to may 2018
Additional sounds recorded by Chalermrat Kaweewatttana & Teekhadet Vucharadhanin in Thailand, 2017
Mixed by Charles Bussienne, Arnaud Rolland & Snowdrops at Polyson Studio (Paris) and Serpentine Studio (Strasbourg) from april to october 2018
MANTA RAY by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
produced by Diversion (th), Les Films de l'Etranger (fr), Youku Pictures (ch), Mit Out Sound Films (th),
distributed by Jour2Fête
Artwork design by Wrongdesign
Cover and inside illustration by Unnada Trirattanawong
Layout by Richard Knox & Mathieu Gabry
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