All of which is perhaps a long-winded way of saying that having McBride pen the music for George Langworthy and Maryam Henein's documentary Vanishing of the Bees seemed like an obvious choice. McBride was asked to compose a series of mini-suites that addressed a series of themes proposed by the directors, from the difficulties in the life of beekeepers to the developing Colony Collapse Disorder that has become such a topic of distress within that community over the last several years. But familiarity with the material's conceptual birth isn't really necessary for enjoying the music here. Without visual cues, The Effective Disconnect sparks bedroom hallucinations of its own. It drifts, submerges and resurfaces with the kind of weary grace for which McBride has become known, a sentimental memory trip that should serve as an enticing companion piece for many snowing evenings in as the weather sours.
The two "Melodrames Telegraphies" compositions that open the album mine the spacious strings and soft drone approach so reminiscent of his work with SotL, while "Several Tries (In an Elevated Style)" takes that restraint to extremes, its cloudy drones expanding into a more traditional string assembly that wouldn't sound out of place in a Sigur Ros coda. The three "Toil Theme"s at the album's center are a bit more overtly melancholic, their mournful strings swaying against silted, ambient blur.
With its twinkling glockenspiel and grandiose orchestration, "Beekeepers vs. Warfare Chemicals" is a study in subtle turmoil. Though it opens in full flight mode—almost buoyant, a moment of hope and aspiration—the violin descends into swells of subtle turbulence and hushed piano. It's one of the few moments where McBride's music becomes, perhaps, too bound by the film's narrative; one senses too intimate a connection between subject and music for the two to be separated without lessening either's impact. For the most part, though, The Effective Disconnect evades these too-literal links to the film's story, and it's sure to please both long-time SotL fans and newcomers simply looking to beautify their quiet hours.
Tue / 23 Nov 2010
01. Melodrames Telegraphies (in B major 7th) Part 1
02. Melodrames Telegraphies (in B major 7th) Part 2
03. Girl Nap
04. Several Tries (in an Unelevated Style)
05. Supposed Essay on the Piano (B major piano Adagietto)
06. Toil Theme Part 1
07. Toil Theme Part 2
08. Toil Theme Part 3
09. Beekeepers vs Warfare Chemicals
10. I Know That You Don't Like the Future Like I Do
11. Chamber Minuet