“This bitter earth/On the nature of daylight” is the song that concludes Martin Scorsese’s 2010 psychological thriller Shutter Island. None of the music for the film’s soundtrack was actually composed for the film but it was (expertly) curated by musician and long-time collaborator Robbie Robertson, whom Martin Scorsese originally met on the set of The Last Waltz in 1976.
The soundtrack consists of several pop songs from the 1950s combined with contemporary classical pieces from composers like György Ligeti, John Cage, Alfred Schnittke or Brian Eno and Max Richter. Dinah Washington’s “This bitter earth” was originally released in 1960 while “On the nature of daylight”, a minimalist piece by post-classical composer Max Richter (b. 1966) first appeared in The Blue Notebooks (2004).
The latter appears twice in Shutter Island: once in its original version and then remixed with “This Bitter Earth”‘s vocal track. Working from distinct musical eras and styles, Robbie Robertson’s remix impressively manages to generate something entirely new. A haunting and flawless creation.