Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir created a soundtrack to a Harlan Coben book

The project, by agency BETC, saw the composer write a score and performance to accompany the French release of the American thriller writer's latest novel, Runaway.

26 November 2019

Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who wrote the scores for the recent film Joker and TV series Chernobyl has completed the charades category triptych by scoring a book – the French release of American thriller writer Harlan Coben's new novel, Runaway (Ne t’enfuis plus).

The project was put together by agency BETC for publisher Belfond Editions, aiming to "elevate the storytelling experience" by combining two rarely combined media, music and books, as a way to "dive deeper into the mysterious world" created by Coben.

The score combines cello, zither, organ, piano, vocals and more to create an atmospheric and eerie aural accompaniment to the text. The title of each song, such as Missed Connection, Stray Bullet and The Mysterious Sect corresponds to a page number indicating the precise moment the reader should begin each track.

"I’m not sure if there has ever been a soundtrack set to a reading experience," Coben says of the collaboration. "When I write, I can’t just stir your mind - I have to stir your heart. Hildur picked the perfect music for Runaway to do exactly that." Hildur in turn remarked that with film and TV work, "you have so much visual info, it takes over. When you’re reading and when you’re listening to music, you have much space to create your own world."

The soundtrack debuted at Paris music hall Olympia, where extracts of the novel were read on stage by actor Stéphane Varupenne of the Comédie Française, accompanied by the curated soundtrack. It can be listened to online and a bought on limited edition vinyl.

In a similarly unusual meeting of disciplines, also showing experimentation in recorded media, last month we spoke to designer Nelly Ben Hayoun who signed a record deal with The Vinyl Factory to release the full audio of her feature-length vinyl documentary I am (not) a monster.

We also recently met BETC founder Rémi Babinet to find out more about its brand campaign for Lego, Rebuild the World – the company's first in 30 years.

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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