Eiko Ishibashi - Evil Does Not Exist

Format: LP
Availability: PRE-ORDER

Following their collaboration on 2021’s Oscar winning Drive My Car, Eiko Ishibashi & filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi up the ante with a deeply inspired synergistic exchange: music for images, visuals for sounds. Eiko’s score initiated the project that has become his celebrated new film (Best Picture – BFI London Film Fest, Asian Film Awards, Silver Lion – Venice Film Fest, Best Score – Asia Film Awards). Every nuance mixed & mastered by Jim O’Rourke.

Evil Does Not Exist is an expansive new soundtrack undertaking from Eiko Ishibashi, a stellar further display of her ability to explicate the depths of the unspoken in her music. That it is also the soundtrack to the new Ryusuke Hamaguchi feature is marvelous news for all who loved her score for his Oscar-winning 2021 film, Drive My Car. That her music harmonizes effortlessly with the state of nature as depicted in his film, a nuanced tale of humans’ uneasy efforts to maintain co-existence with the delicate state of the planet, is a further profound achievement. At play here, though, is much more than fantastic new music from a powerful new film — it is evidence of a vital recomposition of the relationship of sound to narrative, and composer to filmmaker.

The impetus for this came when Eiko was asked by overseas promoters for a program of live performances backed by visuals. After some thought, she asked Hamaguchi if he would make something for her to use for this purpose. Says Eiko:

I believe that Mr. Hamaguchi is not only an excellent storyteller, but also creates films with a strong musical quality. When we worked together on Drive My Car, I could see his dedication to sound, and it was a very enjoyable collaboration. So, I approached Mr. Hamaguchi with the idea.

Hamaguchi adds:
The core of the production was creating video footage for Eiko’s live performance. I couldn’t develop the film through dialogue as I had done before. That was the most significant difference, and that was also the most intriguing point of this project for me. I felt that the actors existing powerfully and largely independent of Eiko’s music would create the most compelling synergy when eventually combined with her music. As a result, each actor, led by Hitoshi, was truly remarkable, and I was moved on set.

This led Hamaguchi to develop the script further, with sequences of dialogue. In the end, he made two works: Gift, a silent film to act as a visual score for a live performance by Ishibashi, and Evil Does Not Exist, his new narrative feature film, which provided the visual material for the silent film Gift and features Eiko’s music as its soundtrack. This is a fittingly synergistic exchange within their two disciplines, in which the moods and intentions of the music and the film acted in practical conversation: each one a sovereign statement, made possible by its relationship with the other.

Eiko’s compositions are scored for violin, cello, guitar, drums and keyboards. Her longtime partner Jim O’Rourke played the guitar and mixed and mastered the recordings when they were done, eliciting further the necessary nuances of atmosphere and mood that one would expect in one film, much less two!
Evil Does Not Exist was released last year in Japan and Europe, and has already won several prestigious awards (Best Picture – BFI London Film Festival, Asian Film Awards, Grand Jury Prize – Venice Film Festival, Best Score – Asian Film Awards). In the United States, the film debuts nationally in May 2024, distributed by Janus Films/Sideshow.

Encountering Eiko’s music in the film onscreen or playing on the home stereo, the experience is equally overwhelming, making us happy that Evil Does Not Exist actually exists.

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