Cameron Crowe recruited Sigur Ros frontman Jon Thor Birgisson (aka Jonsi) to compose music for his new film We Bought A Zoo.
Columbia Records have set a December 13th, 2011 release date for the original motion picture soundtrack for We Bought A Zoo.
Composed at the personal request of director - and huge Sigur Rós aficionado - Cameron Crowe, for the movie that will be in theatres everywhere December 23rd from Twentieth Century Fox, the soundtrack includes original music composed by Jonsi which plays an integral part to the films heartfelt emotional landscape.
Written and recorded in short order, over four months this summer/fall at the famous Village Studios in Los Angeles and at the singer's home studio in his native Iceland, the soundtrack to We Bought A Zoo comprises more than half-an-hour of brand new music from Jónsi, including two full songs and nine achingly beautiful themes, plus reimagining's of songs from Jónsi's acclaimed solo album, 'Go', as well as what might well be regarded as Sigur Rós' most memorable tune, in 'Hoppipolla'.
"[Jónsi] arrived from Iceland with a toy sampler keyboard and a headful of ideas," says Cameron. "Within a week, [he] had composed a series of themes that would reflect everything we'd hoped for. In his music were all the highs and lows and passionate in-betweens of the film itself. The instinct that made the movie come full circle."
Cameron's relationship with Jónsi and Sigur Rós goes back almost as far as the band's position in the international spotlight, to 2001 and the director's much-noticed inclusion of three of the band's songs in the hugely successful Tom Cruise film 'Vanilla Sky'. Cameron has long heralded the band and their filmwork, to the extent that the secret project name for We Bought A Zoo was, in fact, 'Heima' in honor of the band's 2007 tour film.
"Early on it was obvious that [Sigur Rós'] music would have a profound effect on the making of We Bought A Zoo," says Cameron. "In preparation for making the movie, we gave all the actors and crew members a copy of Sigur Rós' transcendent documentary, 'Heima'."
Even ahead of getting Jónsi on board as composer, We Bought A Zoo was broadly 'temped' with Jónsi' solo material. It's an open secret that Cameron would encourage Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and the other actors on the movie to listen to specific songs by the band to create the right energy for a scene.
"The actors listened to the music during their takes; it quickly became part of the film's DNA," says the director.
Perhaps even more potent is the fact that the closing scene of We Bought A Zoo is a cinematic homage to a specific moment in 'Heima' when gleeful crowds stream in a Sigur Rós show in the far North of Iceland or, in this case, the newly opened zoo.
Among the original score and new songs is 'Gathering Stories', a song co-written by Jónsi and Cameron, in something of a collaborative first for the notoriously private Icelander. Orchestral arrangements on the score have been handled by previous Jónsi working partner, and 'Reader' soundtrack composer, Nico Muhly, who brings his quixotic genius to the string and brass sections.
We Bought A Zoo Soundtrack
1. Why Not
2. AEvin Endar - Jónsi *new track
3. Boy Lilikoi - Jónsi
6. Sinking Friendships - Jónsi
7. We Bought A Zoo
8. Hoppipolla – Sigur Rós
11. Go Do - Jónsi
12. Whole Made of Pieces
14. First Day
15. Gathering Stories – Jónsi *new track