British filmmaker Carol Morley has spent the past two decades making short films and documentaries, but tomorrow, her first full-length feature, The Falling, finally hits theaters. The movie tells the story of two best friends at an all-girls school that’s suffering a fainting epidemic in the Sixties, and the soundtrack — by Tracey Thorn — came about after a series of unusual encounters.
“I’d seen her two previous documentary films, The Alcohol Years and Dreams of a Life, and I tweeted about how much I liked them,” says Thorn, the singer-songwriter and memoirist best known for her role in “Missing” duo Everything But the Girl. “She saw that and came to a book signing I was doing for Bedsit Disco Queen.” After Thorn appeared in one of Morley’s dreams, the director reached out immediately. “When I said that I’d never done a film soundtrack before and didn’t really know how to do it, she said, ‘Perfect.'”
Thorn’s goal was to provide music that could have been made by characters themselves. This meant lots of what she calls “school-orchestra instruments” (recorder, triangle, xylophone) and loose lyrics that alluded to the themes of the film without retelling its story.
The creative process unexpectedly brought her back to some of her own early recordings. “It sounds more like music I made with the Marine Girls or on my first solo album, A Distant Shore,” Thorn says. “I think that’s because I was deliberately trying to inhabit the mindset of these teenage girls. So it took me back into myself, in a way that I found really enjoyable.”
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Songs From the Falling, a collection of Thorn’s work from the film, will be released Monday on Strange Feeling Records. Listen to the full EP below and pre-order a copy here.