Download Our "Ambient Electronic" Mixtape

Photo by Gavin Hellier

Photo by Gavin Hellier

Guest DJ: Max Esposito, Documentary Filmmaker

In any given film, getting to the heart of a subject and story is absolutely critical. When it comes to approaching a soundtrack with this in mind, subtlety can be the key in letting a story breathe and evolve naturally.

Jump into the serene waters of our new Ambient Electronic mixtape — ten tracks that rise and fall with synthetic and electronic waves. Enjoy.

When we interviewed Max Esposito about his recent documentary Raising 7, his use of an ethereal soundtrack provided an emotional weight without being overbearing. Nothing should ever be forced, especially when it comes to conveying an emotion. Esposito shared his thoughts on some select tracks from his mixtape. Read below let us know what you think by commenting below.


1. "Intimidated by Silence" by Cars & Trains

I'm using this song toward the end of another documentary as, to me, the song sounds like a conclusion: it's low-key yet upbeat and it drives forward without being overpowering. It's like, "Hey, here's this subject that you've met through this film, you've seen their struggle, you've seen them grow and change, you've felt compassion toward them and now you're going to hear their takeaway, what they've learned and where they are headed." *Intimidated by Silence (Instrumental)* is a song that is going to help signal the transition into the final chapter of a story.

2. "Celeste" by Kye Kye

I love and have used quite a bit of Kye Kye's music. I remember licensing a Kye Kye song a while ago and talking with one of the Marmoset guys about how excited Marmoset was to have Kye Kye on the roster. "Celeste" (Instrumental) is nicely tucked away in the Kye Kye catalogue as it's not a Staff Pick but it is the ambient mood I find myself often looking for.

There's a fantastical sound being channeled reminiscent of Sigur Rós and then an unexpected build that gives the song potential to use in film as it has that shift in movement. I believe this is a good song to use in full or in portion in longer form docs as a breath between heavier, busier story elements. *Honest Affection *is another great song by Kye Kye for the opposite affect; it shifts out of a calmer, quieter sequence.

3. "Discover" by Magic Sword

This song is definitely outside the genres of music I typically use in docs but I love the drive and tension in the first 1:30 so much. It's got the Daft Punk Tron soundtrack thing going on without being over the top and I think that subtly of the build could work really well for a docu-style sports spot. Personally, I might fade out before the synths come in as I think the song does a really good job of what it needs to do in those first :90.

4. "The Gentle Deep" by Carinthia

This song is also a great ambient track. While melancholy, I believe it would also work great as a breath between more frenetic moments or sequences - perhaps a calming pause of little visual moments between the moments and slower, reflective soundbites from a doc subject.

5. "Backwards" by Hustle and Drone

I really like the drone and pensive mood in this song. I've listened to it quite a bit while driving, trying to think of how to fit different doc sequences to it or whether it could be applicable to some abstract projects. It almost made the cut in Raising 7 - it would have been paired with an introspective scene of the football players playing catch at night in the high school parking lot under the lights, maybe with their soundbites about growing up. I think the tone of this song lends itself to this idea of watching these tiny little moments in our lives pass by, and
knowing that you can't get those moments back. You could take it as far as saying the song almost bridges the gap between the visuals happening on screen and the viewers' own nostalgia for those human experiences.