Invisible Hand Film - Original Score
In addition to the commercial work we do as Dream Louder, we also happen to score films, create audio installations and perform as the group Heavy Color. Our first chance to score a feature length film happened to be in 2020 for the Mark Ruffalo produced film Invisible Hand.
INVISIBLE HAND, the new Rights of Nature documentary from Mark Ruffalo, Joshua Boaz Pribanic and Melissa A. Troutman has now won four best documentary awards: Best Documentary Feature from the Hollywood Verge Film Awards, Spotlight Documentary Film Awards’ Gold Award, 2021 Common Good International Film Festival Audience Award, and Accolade Global Film Competition Award of Excellence for Documentary.
How we got involved:
In 2014, the Lake Erie Algae Bloom reached a critical point, and Toledo water was deemed unsafe for consumption or even showering. That algae bloom can be traced to rising levels of nitrogen in the shallow lake due to agricultural runoff pollution, along with multiple other factors. So, local activists formed Toledoans for Safe Water, a grassroots organization that has crafted the Lake Erie Bill Of Rights. LEBOR, although it’s consistently been challenged in court, has become an inspiration to many around the globe in the Rights of Nature Legislative movement that asserts that “natural ecosystems have an inalienable right to not only exist but to flourish.” The fight for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights is a central storyline in the film Invisible Hand and ties Toledo to this worldwide movement.
We approached the directors of the documentary Invisible Hand because we were seeking ways to further align our artistic voice with our ideals. I had seen some press about Invisible Hand and was inspired to reach out to offer our music for a future project as well as to connect the work being done in Michigan via the organizations Title-Track and the Clean Water Campaign, and in Toledo via LEBOR with the directors and reporters at Public Herald. We were certainly surprised when Joshua from Invisible Hand responded by asking if we could write and produce the score in less than a month.
Leading up to the pandemic, we had been working on compositions for a multimedia installation and film with Toledo native and Brussels based artist Haseeb Ahmed that had us thinking about wind patterns and currents. So the music we had been approaching was already heavily influenced by our natural world. After speaking with the director over the phone about Invisible Hand, it was apparent that there was some deep alignment. We sent over some sketches of how we wanted to approach the music and the film team liked it. So from there we hustled like crazy to create the score in about 3 weeks.
When composing the movements for the film, we explored the different pieces by assigning them elemental properties. This allowed us to consider nature or at least these representations of nature in an intentional way. Limiting ourselves to certain aspects of each element.
Air: for movement and change.
Water: for life, emotion and humanity.
Fire: for injustice, for outrage, for power.
Earth: for grounding, for patience and strength.
There happens to be a particularly beautiful scene in the middle of the film that centers around the Standing Rock Reservation and the fight to halt the DAPL pipeline running through tribal lands. The music that the Directors had initially chosen for the scene was in fact a very powerful piece by multi-instrumentalist Colin Stetson and it wasn’t going to be easy to convince them to re-score it. But in many ways, this scene was the centerpiece of the film and we were determined to compose something that could bring the same level of intensity and emotion to a nearly seven minute musical montage. After multiple iterations and total re-writes we finally landed on the piece that felt truly married to the picture and thankfully the directors felt the same way.