Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Sound Of Zardoz

First the bad news: there is no official Zardoz OST.

The good news: Mounds & Circles have created one from the DVD! Imperfect, with snatches of dialogue, but the closest we could get to capturing the film score proper.

John Boorman commissioned David Munrow to compose the score, no doubt having been impressed by his groundbreaking work reviving early music with his outfit, The Early Music Consort, and period soundtrack projects such as The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elisabeth R for the BBC, and Ken Russell's film adaptation of Huxley's The Devils of Loudon.

The soundtrack for Zardoz uses a sprinkling of electronic noises woven into early chamber instrumentation, renaissance and Ligeti-modernist choral passages, Debussy flute suggesting Zed's affinity with Pan and Tibetan tingsha cymbals to top it off. On paper this looks rather confusing but the score works seamlessly with the sound effects and serves to enhance Boorman's visuals without dominating, possessing an almost timeless quality as it folds together styles from different periods to create the sound of futures past, as is only appropriate for the Eternals in AD 2293.

The film ends as it begins in a romantic mood with Munrow's reworking for voices and early instruments of Symphony No. 7 in A, op. 92, 2nd movement by Ludwig van. Vidi well, my brothers.

DM rocking the bass shawm - take that, Circulus!
Munrow was an incredible driving force during his career, recording over 50 albums as well as lecturing and touring the world, bringing extinct instruments back to life and collaborating with many artists, including Shirley and Dolly Collins.

Following the deaths of his father and father-in-law soon after one another, Munrow's world fell apart and he hanged himself in 1976 at the age of just 34. Thankfully his work lives on despite this tragedy,  through his many recordings, and one item of particular interest: a recording included on the Voyager Golden Record , sent off beyond the solar system on the Voyager space probes on their journey through the cosmos.

The hills are alive...


  1. Oh wow, and pray how can we humble ones listen to it?

  2. Unmann-Wittering31 August 2011 at 08:42

    If you can see the Soundcloud box, simply click on the track you want to hear and wait. If you can't see the box, your pc might need upgrading!

  3. I'm listening now (dressed only in a pair of red underpants).
    Thanks for this wonderful custom soundtrack. I like it.

  4. The sacrèd sounds were once kept
    In Munrow's temple as he slept,
    But in that sleep the Boorman crept:
    He took the song, and off with it lept!
    Holding it hostage, as the people wept.

  5. No, there is a Zardoiz soundtrack, it was released on 7 inch vinyl.

  6. I know the one you mean, but it is not related to the film - apart from being obviously inspired by it.

  7. The new Blu-Ray has an isolated score track.