Solitary Recordings

When 35-year-old New York–based film composer J. Ralph set out to write, record, and produce the soundtrack to Wretches & Jabberers, Gerardine Wurz­burg’s heartbreaking documentary that tells the story of the road trip of two autistic men, he had one goal in mind: “I wanted to create an experience of what it could feel like to have some of these emotions of brutal isolation or intense longing to connect with people—a human prison that no one can see,” says Ralph. To reach this ambitious aim, he brought a self-curated group of artists into the studio—including Carly Simon, Scarlett Johansson, Devendra Banhart, Antony Hegarty, and Bob Weir—and made an unusual request: The musicians were not to see or hear the song they would play until the day of the recording. “A very tall order to ask of somebody,” admits Ralph. The recently released results are folksy, fragile, and, as Ralph can confidently say, “singular and celebratory.” More info at