THE PREGNANT GROUND – Andreas Gutuen Aaser


The Pregnant Ground is a 2019 short film produced at the UK’s National Film and Television School that follows a woman who is trying to come to terms with having had a miscarriage. As part of her journey she begins to believe that the ground below her apartment becomes pregnant.

Written and directed by Haolu Wang, the score is by UK-based Norwegian composer Andreas Gutuen Aaser who has also written the music for the Norwegian documentary, Jeg ser deg. Aaser’s score for The Pregnant Ground is very similar throughout, with very little to differentiate between the seven tracks. Processed violin and cello create an ambient tremolo motif that is a constant presence that puts the listener on edge. A flute also features but, as with the strings, is processed almost out of all recognition, becoming more of an electronic tone than an organic woodwind instrument. Together, a soundscape is created that envelopes the listener in a despairing cocoon – probably a very appropriate musical environment for the story. The despair of the score is accentuated by the relentless downward direction of the music: the score seems to be based around a descending motif and idea. Only the final track, “A New Chapter”, provides any hint of beauty with a solo violin providing a clear melodic statement – a clear differentiation from the ambiguous soundscape that has gone before. But even this melodic line echoes the descending, downward direction.

The Pregnant Ground feels like a score that works best in the film and I am not sure that it’s suited as a standalone listen. I am also not sure who the album is aimed at: the music perhaps doesn’t contain enough to be of interest to the casual listener and someone familiar with the movie may not even find the music memorable enough to want to listen to it again away from the movie. It’s clear that the composer had a clear vision of how the music contributes in helping to tell the story, but I wonder if the music would be best served by being retained within the movie.

The album can be listened to in full and purchased HERE on Bandcamp and is available from other online stores as a digital download or to stream.

Rating: *½/*****

  1. Loss (1:12)
  2. Hospital (0:51)
  3. Ming De (0:59)
  4. Freeze (0:49)
  5. Grief (1:14)
  6. Awake (0:42)
  7. A New Chapter (1:33)

Running Time: 7:23

Andreas Gutuen Aaser (2019)

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