Jim O’Rourke

Hands That Bind OST

Drag City • 2023

Geniuses are so out, but exceptions are always welcome. Jack of all trades, Jim O’Rourke can undoubtedly be described as an exceptional artist. The composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and former member of Sonic Youth and Gastr de Sol has left his mark on pop music over the last few decades. After collaborating on dozens of film soundtracks, this is the first time that a soundtrack which he scored himself has been released worldwide. 

Jim O’Rourke, who recently released the deeply personal »Shutting Down Here« (2020), now presents an electro-acoustic meditation that closely follows the pace of farm work on the Canadian Prairies. Director Kyle Armstrong’s »Hands That Bind« has been described as a »slow-burn prairie gothic drama«. In rural Alberta, supernatural phenomena haunt a small community as a conflict over land use rights erupts. 

The soundtrack is a quiet thriller, composed of a tidal ebb and flow punctuated by a sparkle and shimmer that spreads aimlessly. The trembling of wild blades of grass can be heard in a refreshing breeze that sweeps across a vast landscape, leaving us in its midst in silent anticipation. Metallic and wooden drones loom just as darkly, while thin organ chords provide a sporadic glimmer of light. The instruments form an echo chamber across the nine tracks, whispering small sequences of notes to each other between an ominous whistling of overtones. Then a hellish flickering and rattling slithers through a dry wheat field, before almost otherworldly spheres resound, until cymbals and a monotonous stomping bass appear to usher in a rite that comes to an abrupt end in a sudden howling, delusional confusion.