Edge of the Knife, with its brooding and ominous textures, is a soundscape by Kinnie Starr which resonates deeply with 2020's global crises and state of environmental, political, and Covid unrest. Edge of the Knife (SG̲aawaay Ḵ'uuna in Haida) was released in 2018 and won Best Canadian Feature Film (VIFF), Canada's Top Ten (TIFF), and countless other awards. Starr's score was nominated for a Leo Award. EOTK is the first feature-length movie to have been made exclusively in the Haida language.
To compose the score for EOTK, Kinnie Starr immersed herself in this supernatural drama about the precarious mental health of the young man in the film, Adiitsii, who is drawn into madness by the spirit of the forest, a metaphor fit for 2020.
Film scoring -- and ambient music -- is a no departure for Starr, who first started making music by layering languages gathered on buses, birds in trees, and trains thudding under bridges using a 4 track cassette recorder as she traveled the Americas doing graffiti in the mid-nineties. This is a little known fact about Kinnie Starr who is best known for her iconic presence and distinctive style; she has been breaking barriers between genres and conversations since 1996. Starr's most recent work can be heard in the alternative hip hop record Feed the Fire (2018), and the pop single with Amanda Rheaume, "The Best" (2019).
The themes explored in Edge of the Knife soundtrack are also not new to Starr. "Creating the soundtrack EOTK," says Starr, "was a chance for me to empower the narrative of the film, but also to try to get inside some healing of my own. I was managing a brain injury during composition. The guttural moans and dark melodies apply to the film, but, like all art-making, reflect outwards, in this case into the nuanced nature of brian injuries, and of trauma, and of trying finding balance in an imbalanced world."
Perhaps the music in this soundtrack, and the era we are in, can best be expressed in the Haida saying: "The world is as sharp as the edge of a knife; as you go along, you have to be careful or you will fall off one side or the other."