While Mike Nichols' 1966 film of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? gets more frightening every time you watch it, Alexander North's score to the same film gets more consoling every time you hear it. Nichols' film, particularly the performances by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, has scenes of terrific intensity, but North's score, though faithful to what's on screen, has a tenderness, even a sweetness, that transforms the ultimate meaning of the film. Part of it is North's characteristically evocative orchestration with some cues delicately scored for guitar, celesta, bass clarinet, harpsichord, and a pair of harps, while others are scored for spare almost spooky winds arrayed against soothing strings. But most of it is North's soaring melodies and brooding harmonies – and especially his big-hearted main theme. By prefiguring the film's reconciliatory ending, the solace offered by North's score transfigures all the horrors enacted between Taylor and Burton.
Rocket is Alex G’s 8th full-length—an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, stretching to his 2015 Domino debut, Beach Music. Amid recording, Alex made headlines for catching the attention of Frank Ocean; playing guitar on his two 2016 albums, Endless and Blonde. More than stylistic cues, what Alex took from the experience was a confidence in collaboration. Rocket wears this collaborative spirit proudly, and in its numerous contributors presents a restless sense of musical experimentation, effortlessly jumping from sound collage to dreamy folk to bouncing Americana.