Through A Musical Lens: Ainu Mosir by Clarice Jensen

Directed by Takeshi Fukunaga, ‘Ainu Mosir’ is a coming-of-age tale set in an indigenous village in Northern Japan where a community‘s livelihood depends on preserving and performing ancient traditions for visiting tourists. The film focuses on 14-year-old Kanto who has been taking under wing by a family friend after the death of his father as he struggles to find his place between modern life and the traditions of his people. The soundtrack for the film was composed by cellist Clarice Jensen, who serves as the artistic director of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), and has collaborated with a diverse & stellar array of artists ranging from Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, Björk, and Stars of the Lid to Arcade Fire, Jónsi, Nick Cave, and Taylor Swift to name to just a handful.

Seen in the light of that background and her burgeoning career, the fifteen-minute long EP recorded at Jensen’s home in Brooklyn is perhaps only the tip of a colossal creative iceberg, but one which represents the addition of new dimensions to her work while yielding sublime pleasures to listeners willing to lend it an ear. Much of the music was performed on cello and electronics but the work also sees Jensen expanding her palette with elements of piano as she integrates subtle themes with musical soundscapes deftly woven from textural and percussive manipulations of her instruments.

Full disclosure – I have not had a chance to view the complete film, but even as the first few seconds of the trailer unfold, it is easy to see how organically and authentically the discreetly understated score will fit. As a purely musical listening experience, Ainu Mosir creates an inviting liminal space rich in narrative cues and atmospheric beauty.

Ainu Mosir is now available from the 130701 imprint of Fatcat Records for digital download and streaming on most major platforms. The film has been distributed in North America and is currently available to watch on Netflix. 

Links: Bandcamp | Clarice Jensen | Fatcat Records | Ainu Mosir trailer