Shape of song

Brief Encounter has a lot to answer for; the appropriation of much-loved music for a film score can feel intrusive and often belittling. There is an irrevolcable loss of innocence when a tender, treasured tune that has companionably quivered and nibbled at your earlobes for years is suddenly gang-raped into a hard little whorish soundbite before your ears, pressed into the service of some overblown indie epic or histrionic historical mamillorama. For a visual thinker and a writer, every melody has its own integral and insistent shape and story, so pimping out a stellar song as an extra in some prosaic picture feels like a dramatic as well as aural crime. The problem is prettily pictured in Martin Wattenberg's Shape of Song software, my lastest multisenosry obsession and a masterpiece of science and sensibility. Visualising the 'deep structure of a composition' by drawing 'musical patterns in the form of translucent arches' for pieces from Hendrix to Handel, these whorling works of geekart describe the distinct and sensuos spatial narratives that exist within these sounds: the tunes are scripts in themselves.

In fact, the soundtracks of Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone et al may try to fuck us blind and teary with an emotional blunderbuss, but at least they're trained for purpose: supple sonic strumpets of infiinite variety. And even the tailor-made tunes are beginning to outclass the films they're written for. John Williams' pumping, phallic adventure themes may all sound the same, but they continue to pack a pore-prickling punch, and in Spielberg's lastest Indy installment that familiar musical motif still makes you shiver and swell regardless of the neutered nonsense on screen.

I wish someone would make me a film that looked, sounded, smelt and felt like this.