Former Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir guitarist (and current member of Muerte Pan Alley) is making forays into the world of film soundtracks. He scored the British TV documentary Inside The Ku Klux Klan, the dark, existentialist comedy Intersection, and, before them, Country Fresh: A Ghost Guitar Soundtrack, a yet-to-be-released low-budget, horror comedy written and directed by Terry Irwin.
Country Fresh: A Ghost Guitar Soundtrack is a collection of pieces composed solely for the guitar that mesh country finger picking with stoner/doom metal, spaghetti western, experimental noise, and film noir jazz. Taken as a whole piece, Country Fresh is a trippy and hypnotic journey through folk melodies, dissonant intervals, and heavy, distorted drones. It is a movie unto itself, leaving the visuals to the imagination of the listener. The last two songs on the EP are from a short film titled Bag, made by AMGC/Muerte Pan Alley drummer Jason Woolley.
Abstract. Psychedelic. Blues. Country. Avant garde. Jazz. Progressive. North Americana. Stoner rock. North Africana. Sonic. Ambient. Exotica. Haunting. Brooding. Hypnotic. Beautiful. Compelling. These adjectives could describe the melting pot of musical moods in The Soundtrack to Intersection and Music For Inside the Ku Klux Klan , but that doesn’t clarify the motion picture. Both were originally scored by Keelaghan as largely solo guitar pieces.
At different times each director encouraged him to release the music. After mulling it over for an overly-extended period he enlisted Woolley and Rob Oxoby from Muerte Pan Alley, embellished the arrangements for some tracks, expanded others into songs, revived bits from the cutting room floor, and strung them together into two musical suites. The intention was to assemble the compositions and six-string soundscapes to play out with the dramatic arc of an auditory movie for intronauts and visually impaired persons alike. Rest assured, these were the best of intentions.
Part one is the music from Intersection, a short film by up-and-coming American director Brendan Beachman. The clever, very dark, existential comedy played at the Palm Springs International Short Fest, Oxford Film Festival, and Foyle Film Festival among others. It won an award for best editing from Rhode Island’s Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Film Festival and was a daily pick on Filmshortage.com.
Part two is music originally written for BAFTA award-winning documentarian Daniel Vernon’s Inside the Ku Klux Klan that aired on British TV in 2015. Following a Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, it foreshadowed the spotlight on the resurgence of racist groups in the American socio-political landscape during the 2016 presidential election campaign. As a grim postscript to the doc, in February of 2017 Frank Ancona, the leader of the KKK chapter documented in the film, was murdered.
Beachman and Vernon similarly, but unrelatedly, contacted Keelaghan about using the music of Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir for their projects. Coincidentally, conversations with each director evolved into asking Keelaghan to take a stab at doing original scores, since he could capture more moods than the AMGC back catalogue.