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Real Estate Song “Horizon” Used in Flat-Earther Documentary, Band Disputes Approval

FARNHAM, DORSET - SEPTEMBER 01: Martin Courtney of Real Estate performs at End of the Road Festival at Larmer Tree Gardens on September 1, 2017 in Farnham, Dorset. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Real Estate seem like the kind of band who know the Earth is round. From their 2014 album literally titled Atlas to tracks like “Three Blocks,” “Same Sun,” and “Horizon,” the New Jersey five-piece have long embraced metaphors of the spatial variety, soundtracking those perfect summer days spent biking to the beach, or looking up at those endlessly-distant, yet totally-proven-to-exist things called stars spread out against the rippling midnight sky. In a strange turn of events, the band’s song “Horizon” was recently featured in a Flat Earth documentary called Behind the Curve, which they now say they did not approved the music for, as Pitchfork points out.

Filmmaker Daniel J. Clark screened the documentary at last year’s DOC NYC film festival, and the documentary has since found its way onto Netflix, prompting one fan on Twitter to ask Real Estate if they had any thoughts about the film’s use of their song “Horizon.” “Found out about our song being in it last night from a friend,” the band responded on Twitter. “…And while I do think it’s a pretty funny decontextualization to use our song Horizon in a doc about flat earth’s, no one in the band approved it.”

The song was allegedly licensed for use in the film by Domino Publishing, the label and publishing house behind the band’s 2014 album Atlas from which the song is taken. For Netflix subscribers and Flat-Earth enthusiasts at home, the song itself appears around the 45:30 mark in the film. Find the band’s Twitter exchange below and revisit our 2014 interview with the band in the buildup to their album Atlas.

Update (2:00pm): In a statement shared with Spin, the film’s producer Caroline Clark says that “the song was licensed from Domino Recording Co. and Domino Publishing Co., who own 100% of the master rights and publishing rights (respectively).”

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Behind the Curve premiered at the DOC NYC Film Festival. While the film was shown at the festival, it originally premiered at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto. Spin regrets the error.

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