Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Murakami’s Musical Comrade: Jonny Greenwood

Synergy is a dubious prospect.

Take any two items, two artists, two ingredients (chocolate and peanut butter, anyone?) and hope for the best. Jonny Greenwood’s announcement that he’d be scoring the soundtrack to the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s nostalgic novel Norwegian Wood perked up my ears.

Greenwood’s score is an outgrowth of work he composed for the BBC Orchestra:

“I wrote [the] piece mostly in hotels and dressing rooms while touring with Radiohead,” he told TwentyFourBit. “This was more practical than glamorous – lots of time sitting indoors, lots of instruments about – and aside from picking up a few geographical working titles, I [don’t] think that it had any effect where, on tour, it was written.”

Greenwood (of Radiohead fame) and Murakami are two of my favorite artists. The moody, funereal riffs on Greenwood’s soundtrack for There Will Be Blood a few years ago is almost difficult to listen to: the violin strings are like violent pricks to the skin, the elongated musical phrases that echo the frontier landscapes perfectly.

I’m dying to know: How will Greenwood imagine the fictional world of Murakami’s coming-of-age novel, Norwegian Wood? What’s the musical thoughtscape of a shy college student named Toru in late ’60’s Japan? What influence will the Beatles, iconic to Toru and Murakami himself, affect the musician’s score?

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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