Toronto-born composer penned music for Gore film



Kevin Yatarola photo.


Ambient musician Michael Brook plays Revival tonight.

Putting together a sound score for the eco-documentary An Inconvenient Truth proved to be quite the challenge for Toronto-born composer-producer Michael Brook.

“About 70 per cent of the film is a very informative-heavy lecture,” explains the 55-year-old down the line from his Los Angeles home. “You either felt like you were being manipulated or, more often than not, felt just annoyed that one particular thing was making everything else less easy to follow.

“So what I ended up doing was putting in bits whenever (former U.S. vice-president Al Gore) was off camera or doing voiceovers. Because I thought people needed to have a little rest from digesting all this information.”

Brook’s information specialty, for a good 25 years, has been ambient music — specifically, timbre and texture. His atmospheric compositions can be heard on soundtracks to big-screen efforts such as Heat, Albino Alligator and Affliction; his electronically enhanced guitar sonics are featured in films Black Hawk Down, Mission: Impossible 2 and The Pledge. And along with the more than half-dozen recordings he’s made — including his latest, RockPaperScissors — Brook has collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Robert Fripp and U2 guitarist The Edge.

“In many ways, it’s a immersive and environmental form of music,” Brook explains of his love of atmospherics. “I became interested in it mostly through the intro sections of Indian music. Then when I heard what (Eno) was doing (in the ‘70s), it furthered my interest.”

An inventor as well, Brook came up with the Infinite guitar — which allows an electric guitar note to be held with infinite sustain — utilized by The Edge on U2’s 1987 disc The Joshua Tree.

“I found it more useful than the EBow I had originally ordered (from a catalogue) — but only because the people I had ordered the EBow from lost my order,” Brook says.

  • Michael Brook performs at Revival tonight.