Xiu Xiu & Mitski – “Between The Breaths”

Xiu Xiu & Mitski – “Between The Breaths”

Mitski recorded vocals for a song featured on the How To Talk To Girls At Parties soundtrack. The movie tells the story of a kid coming of age in the London punk scene of the 1970s and stars Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and Ruth Wilson. There’s a sci-fi element worked in, seeing as how the script is based on a Neil Gaiman story of the same name. John Cameron Mitchell of Hedwig And The Angry Inch directs.

Mitski’s contribution to the film’s soundtrack is called “Between The Breaths,” and it was composed by Mitchell and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart. It’s a galactic electronic number that finds Mitski stretching her voice in really cool, unexpected ways. Some spoken word elements are woven into the composition as well. Here’s what Mitchell had to say about working on the soundtrack with Stewart:

This film began as a short story gleam in the eye of Neil Gaiman which was then refracted through Philippa Goslett’s adaptation. She saw our hero Enn as a young Neil-like punk comic book artist from much-mocked suburban Croydon. Naturally the film includes 70’s classics: the first UK punk single “New Rose” by The Damned (Captain Sensible & Rat Scabies did time in Croydon); Lou Reed’s “I Found a Reason” (thank you Hal Willner and Laurie Anderson!), “Nursery Chymes” by the great Bruno Wizard of The Homosexuals (who cameos as our club MC). But DIY being both our medium and our message, this album favors the new stuff and we had didn’t have room for period gems like Bruno’s “Soft South Africans” or Dub Specialist’s “Starring Dub”. The punk side of things is anchored by our fictional band Dyschords, created by Bryan Weller and singer Martin Tomlinson (bless you Danny Fields for those YouTubes videos of Martin’s band Selfish Cunt). Kudos to Dyschords producer/mixer Rory Attwell. AC Newman contributed the instant classics “Fuck All” and “Angry Universe” (inspired by a line from the short story) while Ezra Furman delivered the creamy “Rainy Life”. Along with Justin Craig and Tits of Clay (the Broadway Hedwig band), I formed The Dyslexic Cnuts (which lasted for a day… so punk) to record the song “Extraction” with cabaret legend Amber Martin who offers the melt-in-your-mouth “Bermuda” (and who also voices the soul singer in Mum’s kitchen scene). The vast and deep alien soundscape was conjured by sonic sorcerers Matmos (who also give us the faux krautrock “Flecken”, or “Cum Stain” in German). Maestro Nico Muhly provided alien choral textures and a glorious Exit Requiem for our departing aliens (or was it a Brexit Requiem?). Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and I spawned the trans-species alien-punk “Eat Me Alive”, performed live by Alex Sharp and Elle Fanning, as well as our space-dance credit song “Between the Breaths” voiced by indie goddess Mitski. Bless you Michael Hill for shepherding our musical flock. I urge the reader to make things with her/his/their mates. As with us, a wonderful time will be had by all.

Listen to “Between The Breaths” below.

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