Radio 1 Rescores Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011) is remembered for its stylish visuals, for its taciturn lead character, and also for its distinctive soundtrack. Which is why it may sound like a less than stellar idea to strip out Refn’s musical choices and rescore the whole film. But that is exactly what Britain’s Radio 1 did.


Radio DJ Zane Low spearheaded the project, sourcing new music from bands and performers as diverse as CHVRCHES, The 1975, Bastille, Bring Me The Horizon and Laura Mvula. For obvious copyright reasons, this rescored version is not available for online viewing, but the whole endeavour is documented in a series of videos and interviews on the Radio 1 website.


As was to be expected, this rescoring had some fans of the original up in arms. But regardless of the artistic quality of the outcome, the actual process is an interesting one from an analytical point of view. At its heart, this is artistic research: by reverse-engineering a complete soundtrack in this way, valuable insights about the relationship between visuals and music can be learnt. The project calls into question the inevitability that fans often feel about the coherence of a finished movie (feeling that no other music could have complemented the scenes any better than the director’s choice). Radio 1’s daring rescore challenges that¬†deterministic idea by producing an alternative version that has its own artistic merits.