Ever since Mondo and Death Waltz Recording Company have joined forces like some sort of mighty Voltron-like super hero, spreading incredible soundtracks across the world, I feel I’ve become an addict. Yes, I was hooked even before this merger of horror vinyl Gods, but now it’s just getting ridiculous.
Oh well. Admitting you have a problem is the first step in ordering more records, right? Or is it the first step in quitting? That can’t be right. Why would I want to quit? Nonsense I say. Just nonsense.
So yesterday afternoon the mail people dropped off another cardboard square on my front porch and it is indeed the newest Mondo/Death Waltz goody. It’s what you would call a re-imagining of the score to 2013s The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears. I have not seen the film, but after reading up on it I was immediately interested. It’s a homage of sorts to all those giallo films of the 60s and 70s by Mario Bava and Dario Argento. From the looks of it it’s shot beautifully; vivid colors and exquisite cinematography are throughout the film. Basically, you would sit through this film much like you sit through a David Lynch film. You’re not there for story arcs and character development. You’re watching this movie because it’s gonna be really f****d up. Lots of nudity, graphic violence, incredible set pieces, and a hallucinatory experience all around.
However, one thing this film didn’t have was an original score. The filmmakers, in lieu having original music, used older music pieces from classic giallo films. So Blanck Mass’ Benjamin John Power was commissioned by Alison Poltock and Andrew Simpson from the East End Film Festival and curated this alternate score to the film. He invited other like-minded musicians to score different scenes from the film. The result is a moody, dark, droning collection of synth music that is on par with some of the best I’ve heard.
The artists that contributed pieces to the soundtrack were Roll The Dice, Helm, Moon Gangs, C Spencer Yeh, Konx-Om-Pax, Blanck Mass, and Phil Julian. These musicians come from all over the world, and bring something unique to the table. Roll The Dice have a John Carpenter vibe, while Moon Gangs sounds like a cross between Sinoia Caves and the droning beauty of Oneohtrix Point Never. C Spencer Yeh has all the hazy swish of Frizzi and Rizzati, with some dreamy drone thrown in for good measure. Konx-Om-Pax is downright freaky. Synth jabs, percussive pounding, and what sounds like a spaceship landing in a corn field make up the whole of their piece “Head Stab”. This probably is what a head stab sounds like. Blanck Mass is all tension building and drone, then they throw in some beautiful swaths of synth strings to throw your equilibrium off.
What’s nice is that the individual styles don’t butt musical heads here; instead there is a cohesiveness throughout that gives you the feeling of moving from one scene to the next. Each piece flows into the next flawlessly here. I was sold on the album artwork alone(it’s quite stunning, and I believe the original movie poster art), but with each listen I’m pulled in more and more. This record truly is a work of aural art.
This is one of those releases that keeps me coming back for more. It’s the whole package: impeccable packaging, interesting backstory, highlighting an obscure film, and a stellar group of musicians. Before this soundtrack, I only had a vague knowledge of the film The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears, but through music that’s not even in the actual film, I’m extremely excited to see it. And what makes this even better is that these intense musical pieces were created out of inspiration the artists got from the film itself. I know that’s how scoring works, but this seems a little different. The movie was made, in the can, and nearly two years old by the time this record happened. Nothing was really at stake here. It was just each of these musicians sitting down, watching a scene, and then creating something out of what that scene did to them. It also helps that I really kinda dig this kind of music. The drones, the electronic whisps, the hazy, analog-fueled psychedelia…these are the sounds that I hear when I’m alone with my thoughts. Please, don’t be frightened. I’m not a serial killer. I just really dig this sort of thing, that’s all.
So I really need to find this movie and see it. Maybe I’ll mute the sound and play this record while I’m watching it. The dialogue really is a mute point in these films. It’s the visuals and the music. That’s what counts. Okay, so that’s not a nice thing to say. I’ll watch the movie as intended first, then go back and watch it with this album playing. Either way, I think I’m in for a treat.
Enjoy your Saturday.