Simon Fisher Turner recently released a restoration of The Epic of Everest dir. Captain John Noel (1924) for the British Film Institute’s National Archive. The Epic of Everest dir. Captain John Noel is the official film record of Mallory and Irvine’s ill-fated 1924 Everest expedition. The film was released onOctober 18th in cinemas and the score on October 22nd via digital download by Mute.
Composed, orchestrated and conducted by Simon Fisher Turner throughout the past year, Simon “went about gathering the musicians in the same way I cast extras for Jarman’s films.” Brass plays a big part in the overall soundtrack (“the album was almost jazz”, he admits) and the score features Cosey Fanni Tutti(Throbbing Gristle, Carter Tutti Void) on cornet (“she sounds fantastically Tibetan”, says Fisher Turner) and Gyratory System’s frontman Andrew Blick on trumpet. To complement the brass, he enlisted labelmate James Brooks (Land Observations), drummer Asaf Sirkis (Asaf Sirkis Trip / Gilad Atzmon) and the pioneering cellist and composer Peter Gregson, currently the Artist in Residence at the School of Design Informatics of Edinburgh University as well as the Thapa family, a Nepalese family he found through the Embassy in London. In addition, Simon Fisher Turner explains, “Both my children were keen to help so we recorded sounds throughout the last year and in two different churches, with them playing cup gongs and prayer bowls.”
Where his previous score for the British Film Institute’s restoration of the The Great White Silence (1924)utilized instrumentation and artifacts directly relating to the Terra Nova Expedition led by Captain Robert Scott, here Simon Fisher Turner chose to take a different route. Although he had access to artifacts from the expedition, he chose to concentrate more on the texture, than the truth of the sounds he evoked with this minimal, sparse soundtrack. Instead, he explains, “the truth is in the film.”
This is a collage, explains Simon Fisher Turner, “only made possible with the internet connections we have these days. It’s a soundtrack made from found and stolen life sounds, alongside new music and fake foleys.”
THE EPIC OF EVEREST TRACKLISTING:
4. Cho Oyu
7. Nanga Parbat
10. Broad Peak
11. Ama Dablam
13. Gyachung Kang
14. Nanda Devi
16. Tirich Mir
Simon Fisher Turner is renowned for his film soundtrack work which began with Derek Jarman for whom he scored many feature films, from Caravaggio (1986), through to Jarman’s final work Blue (1993).Caravaggio (1986) was the first film in a long relationship with the British Film Institute which most recently has seen him compose the score for restorations of two silent films, Un Chant D’Amour dir Jean Genet (1950) and The Great White Silence dir Herbert Ponting (1924) which premiered in 2010 at the BFI London Film Festival and was awarded Best Archive Restoration at the Focal International Awards in 2011.
With a career as varied and diverse as his current projects, Simon Fisher Turner began as a young actor in Tom Brown’s Schooldays, and in between then and now has released records as The King Of Luxembourgand Deux Filles. His collaborations have most recently seen him performing live at the Institute of Contemporary Art with Factory Floor as part of their Artists In Residency and at the Roundhouse with the artists Ashley Paul and Nik Colk Void (Factory Floor / Carter Tutti Void) as part of The Pace Of Time Festival. Earlier this year he participated in Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tomoyasu Hirano’s Kizuna project, a collection of artists’ works raising funds for the organizations dealing with the recent natural and manmade disasters in Japan (http://kizunaworld.org and the premiere of his collaboration with Shiro Takatani, Chroma, recently premiered at the Festival de Marseille.