August 5, 2009
Yo La Tengo are Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew. Not only are they Hoboken’s most famous indie-rock trio, but they are also the one of the most prolific bands in the genre, releasing more than 15 albums since 1984. In 2001 they composed an instrumental score for eight aquatic-themed short documentary films by Jean Painlevé. Called “The Sounds of Science,” the complete score was first performed live at the 2001 San Fransisco Film Festival. In 2002, it was released as a CD called The Sounds of the Sounds of Science.
Clocking in at just under 12 minutes, “The Love Life of the Octopus” is the hypnotic sixth track on the album. It was written to accompany Painlevé’s Amours de la pieuvre (1965), and it is available as a free full-lenth MP3 download at www.yolatengo.com, where you can also hear samples of the other 7 tracks. (The CD might also still be available from their website, but the store is currently down for repairs.)
This spring Criterion Collection released Science is Fiction: 23 Films of Jean Painlevé, a 3 disc box set with special features that include a live performance of “The Sounds of Science” score by Yo La Tengo. Buy it on Amazon.com.