posted April 10th, 2024

Out June 28th via Drag City, Evil Does Not Exist is an expansive new soundtrack undertaking from Eiko Ishibashi. Her score harmonizes effortlessly with the state of nature as depicted in the new Ryusuke Hamaguchi feature, a nuanced tale of humans’ uneasy efforts to maintain co-existence with the delicate state of the planet. Following her marvelous 2018 Drag City album, The Dream My Bones Dream, and her score for Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning 2021 film, Drive My Car, Evil Does Not Exist is a stellar further display of her ability to explicate the depths of the unspoken in Eiko’s music.

Eiko’s compositions are scored for violin, cello, guitar, drums and keyboards; her longtime partner Jim O’Rourke played the guitar while handling mixing and mastering. The lead single, “Smoke”, sets the scene with ominous, insistent shimmering of cymbals over placid breaths of flute. As kick drum sounds approach thunder and flutes edge ambiently into the red, panic sets in — rolling restive over the trapkit, until Ishibashi’s orchestration thickens the drone and burgeons invisibly into microtones.

A vital recomposition of the relationship of sound to narrative, and composer to filmmaker, Eiko’s newest body of work started when she asked Hamaguchi to make a video for a live performance. For Hamaguchi, the core of the resulting production was creating footage for Eiko’s work, initially setting out to create a silent film: “I couldn’t develop the film through dialogue as I had done before,” Hamaguchi shares. “I felt that the actors existing powerfully and largely independent of Eiko’s music would create the most compelling synergy when eventually combined with her music.” The resulting performances from each actor led Hamaguchi to develop the script further and add sequences of dialogue, creating two distinct works in the end: Gift, a silent film to act as a visual score for a live performance by Ishibashi, and the narrative feature film Evil Does Not Exist, which provided the visual material for the silent film Gift and features Eiko’s music as its soundtrack.

Released last year in Europe, Evil Does Not Exist has already won several prestigious awards (Best Picture – BFI London Film Festival, Asian Film Awards, Grand Jury Prize – Venice Film Festival, Best Score – Asian Film Awards). In the United States, the film will debut nationally in May 2024 (distributed by Janus Films/Sideshow), while Eiko’s soundtrack arrives on LP and digital platforms June 28, 2024. For the occasion, Eiko Ishibashi will perform her live score to Gift in New York and Chicago with film screenings of Evil Does Not Exist hosted by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Tickets are on sale now.

Eiko Ishibashi 2024 Performances


5/1 & 5/2 - New York, NY @ Film at Lincoln Center / Walter Reade Theater ^
5/4 - New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge #
5/7 - New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge #
5/11 - Chicago, IL @ Logan Center for the Arts ^

^ GIFT live score performance by Eiko Ishibashi + film screening by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

# Performing the music of Drive My Car


4/11 - Warsaw, PL @ Timeless Film Festival Warsaw @ POLIN Museum*
4/12 - Poznań, PL @ Grand Hall CK Zamek*
4/13 - Wrocław, PL @ New Horizons Cinema*
4/14 - Łódź, PL @ National Centre for Film Culture / EC1 Łódź*
4/28 - Urdine, IT @ Far East Film Festival @ Teatro Nuovo – Urdine, IT *

*GIFT live score performance by Eiko Ishibashi

Artists in this story: Eiko Ishibashi