ABSTRACT

In 2007, the American alternative rock band Wild Colonials released a limited-edition 2-CD set entitled Home Movie Sound Kit. With its retro cover design featuring a few frames of a film and the promise of music “for synchronizing sound with your very own home movies” the album playfully evokes the promotional strategies used to market a bygone era of production music—the little-known home movie soundtrack album. While Wild Colonials regularly contributed songs to television programs and feature films such as David O. Russell’s Flirting with Disaster (1996) and Nick Cassavetes’s Unhook the Stars (1996), Home Movie Sound Kit is not a compilation album of their contributions to movie soundtracks, but rather offers instrumental versions of their songs, ostensibly creating background mood music versions to be used, as they posit, for home movie accompaniment. Of course, by the time of Home Movie Sound Kit’s release, video recording with sound had long since replaced the production of silent home movies, making the album a self-conscious parodic anachronism. Yet, with its claim to two “stroboscopic” CDs, “authentic” music, and instructions on use, the Home Movie Sound Kit would not be out of place alongside its more earnest progenitors—the home movie soundtrack albums that were widely available from the beginning of the 1960s through the 1970s. In this chapter, I aim to shift the common conception of a soundtrack album away from its predominant understanding as a compilation of music from an existing film to a consideration of albums that provided music (and to a lesser extent sound effects) to be used with films—specifically home movies.