Searchlight: Jim Williams

Jim WilliamsAfter finally experiencing Julie Ducournau’s excellent film Raw, checking out the soundtrack was next on the list. So much of my writing process revolves around music it’s become integral to the experience, and if there’s one thing most writers have in common, it’s our love of soundtracks. Jim Williams’ score for Raw is one of those soundtracks that expertly captures and enhances the essence of the film without feeling overbearing or intrusive, which makes it excellent background music for creatives.

Jim Williams is a guitarist and composer building quite a resume with his production music. Starting off in television, he’s scored tracks for Hotel Babylon, Harley Street, and the Minder series, among others. Perhaps best known for his work with director Ben Wheatley, Williams scored Down Terrace, Sightseers, and two of my favorite films, A Field in England and Kill List. Anyone reading this who has any say in bringing soundtracks to the streaming arena, please help the Kill List score become more available to the masses … that would be great. Williams built the soundtrack for Kill List around a very simple melody, using it through-out as a malleable theme, shifting with a subtle ebb and flow that creates dramatic tension in layers as the trauma plays out on the screen. Short, but effective, it enhances the film as a form of dialogue, sinister and violent.

RAW soundtrackWith Raw, we find Williams perhaps at his very best, combining ambient drones with subtle electronic music that rattles the nerves and heightens the ever-growing sense of dread and tension. As with most film composers, he works closely with the director and editor, looking for ways to tie certain themes with the characters in the story. By connecting musical theme with character, emotions soar in ways we can easily comprehend while soft undertones drive the scenes into unchartered territory. A good score should blend with the beats, synchronized and balanced, and Williams certainly has the chops to make that happen.

Though he’s known for this darker music, Williams recently branched out into scoring animated feature films, with Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling releasing early 2018. More than likely, we’ll see Jim Williams again soon, probably in another Ben Wheatley film, or perhaps in Raw director Julia Ducournau’s next film, which is supposedly about a serial killer. Until then, there’s quite a bit of his music floating around the internet. The Raw soundtrack is available for streaming through several sources and comes highly recommended.

 

BOB PASTORELLA


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