Plutonic Rainbows

Edward Williams - Life on Earth (BBC TV Series 1979)

This is currently only £4.99 from Trunk Records. A beautiful, haunting record.

The ever-reliable Johnny Trunk has outdone himself yet again, pressing up and reissuing the previously unavailable Edward Williams soundtrack to the 1979 BBC TV series ‘Life On Earth’.

According to the backstory behind this treasure, a lucky digger stumbled upon one of the original handful of copies privately pressed up by the composer for the musicians involved with the score. Trunk got wind of this, and as you can imagine became quite rightly overjoyed, as to his knowledge it was never commercially available. David Attenborough’s original series was considered a groundbreaking piece of natural history television, and as anyone who has viewed any of the BBC’s nature programmes will know, the music always plays a crucial role in the narration and ambience of such viewing. In contrast to the slightly ripe ebullience of soundtracks to todays HD, slow-motion nature-porn, ‘Life On Earth’ has a rich, and often haunting chamber suite backing, played by a majestic orchestral array of flutes, clarinets, strings and harp with subtle embellishments of Radiophonic electronics.

The effect is remarkable still, even without the visuals, but we do have small markers in the titles, like ‘Fish of the Sea - Shoals and Loners on the Reef’ mirrored by shimmering harps, warbling clarinets and dreamy washes of synthesizer, or the gracefully alien drift of ‘Comb Jellies - Gymnopedie for Jellyfish’, with Satie-like flutes and angelic harps.

It’s an overwhelmingly wonderous and magical listen that any fans of Trunk records should be salivating over, while everyone else should really make the investment for the good of your record collection. Amazing.