Matthew Herbert has created a new soundtrack for the first ever British sci-fi film for the BFI.

Matthew Herbert, composer said:

A Message from Mars has such a unique visual language, from acting to camera angles, that it has required a different approach to the soundtrack. So many conventions we associate with sound and music in film didn’t seem to be relevant. Apart from the sound design, all the musical contributions are made from recordings we made of a piano, the instrument of choice for film accompaniment in 1913. We chose a specific piano from 1913 to give it an authenticity of tone and, partly due to its age, we managed to coax a whole range of exciting textures and timbres from it.

Manipulation of these sounds was also done by members of the New Radiophonic Workshop, in part to acknowledge the kind of experimentation the original Radiophonic Workshop did with keys on piano strings (like the Doctor Who Tardis sound). It’s not been an easy job to create a new soundtrack in under 10 days but the idealistic naivety of the film itself has allowed for a more stripped back, impressionistic approach – a simple sound, for an innocent picture. Don’t be fooled though, the message that the rich should show compassion, grace and tolerance for the poor couldn’t feel more contemporary or relevant.

For more information visit the BFI website