The Moomins [OST] by Graeme Miller & Steve Shill

Release date: February 10, 2017
Label: Finders Keepers Records

When you think of kids show theme music, I doubt weird avant-garde folky, electronic, psychedelic, space music is what comes to mind but, as it stands The Moomins has probably the best tv show soundtracks I can think of, courtesy of Greame Miller and Steve Shill, and I would never have expected it to be anywhere near this good. One word of caution though: this is such a fucking ear-piercingly loud album, I’d advise listening to it on 75% volume or even less if you want to fully enjoy it.

The opening theme is surprisingly understated but does a good job of showcasing the wider variety of the album’s stylistics with chilled electronic elements meeting fluttery folky melodies and spacey ambient padding in a strangely endearing bricolage of sound. The second track ‘The Travelling Theme’ is fairly similar as with most sophomore tracks on an album but it makes a lot of sense to accompany the characters on the show with this reoccurring motif whenever possible. Other examples of this are ‘Party Time’ and ‘The Outro Theme’.

‘Hobgoblin’s Hat’ is a weird deserty jingle that is tragically short; it’s a beautifully psychedelic piece of soothing, almost tribal music and another testament to the soundtrack’s timeless pioneering sound. ‘Hatty Fattner’s Row’ arguably occupies the same general arena of style with a more dance-orientated tribalism in its sound; it’s actually astonishing that most of this music was featured on a kids tv show, it’s utterly brilliant. ‘Midwinter Rites’ for example is like some whacked-out shaman on a peyote trip journeying to a spirit realm through ritualistic drumming and pitch-surfing vocals. And the delirium does not stop there, ‘Leaving Moomin Valley’ feels like leaving reality through the brain whilst coming up on LSD and just to be clear, if you’ve never seen The Moomins, there’s two clear audiences: people on hallucinogenic drugs and children…and the two are very similar in terms of demeanour and imaginative capabilities as well as threshold for intense shit. ‘Most Unusual’, ‘Comet Shadow’ and the ‘Comet Theme’ are also standout as stellar examples of lysergic psychedelia on the album and generally excellent pieces of music.

‘Creepers’ acts a somewhat of a bridge between the album’s hallucinogenic space tones and it’s more traditional sounding music by utilising orchestral rhythms against avant-garde experimentation to cinematic effect. It’s funny, the pieces that really standout as being for kids to me on this album all realistically fit into the classical category which ironically is often seen as some sophisticated form of high art for adults when really it is in fact, a stripped back simplistic form of music that can be easily understood and enjoyed by children of all ages or regressed washed-out beatniks alike. These guys really knew their demographic. These tracks more or less say what they are on the tin for example, ‘Piano Waltz’ and ‘Woodland Band Afar’ both of which lean heavily on the classical side of things and do it very well whilst also simply being exactly what they’re labelled as, as often is the case with soundtracks.

Overall, this album is a fucking surprise and a revelation, whether you’re on drugs or have small children or Gnod forbid, both, this is an album for you and having delved into the tv series I can safely say, get that shit on as well. Sure, if you like psychedelic music, experimentation and genre-surfing avante-garde soundtracks or have a general interest in television/kids show soundtracks this is probably for you as well but, I warn you it’s a fucking shock to the system.

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