Clint Mansell

Love Lies Bleeding

In this ⟪ REW | FF ⟫ column, I look back and then sprint forward to some thematically connected music that has recently graced my rotations, and today’s subject is SOUNDTRACKS! It’s no surprise that TV, film, and even ballet scores would appeal to followers of Headphone Commute, with their emotional trajectory conceived to complement the visual progression of the story. Yet, in my opinion, it’s more than just an accompaniment to the film, which is why I hungrily consume these soundtracks as standalone and self-sustaining albums. Perhaps the best place to start this feature is with the latest from one of my favourite film composers, Clint Mansell. To this day, the absolutely required listening from this English musician are Requiem for a DreamThe FountainMoonBlack Swanand, of course, the original Pi soundtrack. On the score for the “blood-soaked revenge thriller” Love Lies Bleeding, I immediately recognise Mansell’s signature touch to composition [it is especially evident in the title track], but now with urgency and tension, building, dropping, picking up again, into the chase for melancholy, anguish and resolve. The use of retro, 80’s synth-infected but lifted for the modern times’ instrumentation [like that gorgeous and shattering bass] is an impeccable combination which seems to transform me into the setting imagined by the film’s romantic chiller directed by Rose Glass. And all that without seeing the movie first [it’s due out in May of 2024]. What bigger compliment can I bestow with just those words? It’s highly recommended!


Much Unseen Is Also Here

The latest release from Brian Williams, who should be already well-known to the dark ambient and drone scene as Lustmord, is not a soundtrack, but it might as well be one. Throughout his impressive 40-year career, Williams has worked on many horror games, television series and films, including From Dusk Till DawnStrange Days, and The Crow, as well as alongside bands such as ToolIsis, and SWANS. And it is Williams’ distinctive approach to doom-rich, low-end-rumbling, dread-inducing world creation that keeps me coming back for more. I may not always enjoy the exact state of mind that his music puts me in, but I can always confirm that it makes me feel something. And for that, I can simply call Lustmord a master of his trade. This latest solo studio album, Much Unseen Is Also Here, is designed as a three-part journey to be experienced in a single sitting, immersing you in a parallel world of existential fear and uncertainty, reflecting this LA-based composer’s ongoing exploration of our unimportance through sound. “My music is not meant to be explained – only listened to as a means of exposing the sheer insignificance of our primitive thoughts and actions within the vast scale of the cosmos – a scale which we as a species are ill-equipped to comprehend.” Prepare to plunge into the depths of ritualist emptiness and ultimate dismay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… The 2×12″ coloured LP is already sold out, but there are a few remaining copies of a clear one still left on Lustmord’ Bandcamp.

Carla Pallone

Midnight Skin

Whenever I listen to this soundtrack for the medium-length movie Midnight Skin by the Greek director Manolis Mavris, I can’t help but be reminded of Mica Levi‘s fantastic Under The Skin soundtrack, which doesn’t employ synthesis to create that ‘otherwordly’ atmosphere, but instead explores the natural sound of the instrument to make it all feel uncomfortable. On this soundtrack, Mavris goes for the strings that first evoke a sense of neoclassic romanticism and then push us over the edge into an empty gorge where bass can swallow us whole. I may not have heard any music by Pallone before, but on this upcoming release for the French kythibong records, she demonstrates an exceptional ability of composing atmospheric worlds that transform the mind and swing the aura, all without the visual aspect of the film. Again [and I apologise for this repetition], but this is one of the most essential aspects of what makes great composition to me. The only downside to this release is that it’s rather short, with most tracks somewhere beneath the 2-minute mark and only two, out of the eight, above the 4 — that means I’ll have to listen to this score on repeat. And since in my ⟪ REW | FF ⟫ column, I often mention music still to be released, this one should be on your radar on March 29th of this year. And yes, I recommend you grab the vinyl from the label’s Bandcamp page.


Never Coming Back

Finally, after a couple of hours spent crawling deep below our dire awareness, I climb out of that lair towards a synth-driven soundtrack to the 60’s film Carnival of Souls. This mysterious ghost movie narrates the story of Mary Henry, who moves to a different town following a car crash, finding herself estranged and tormented by strange visions. As you may have already guessed, this is not an original soundtrack but rather a newly re-imagined score for the cult movie, which has influenced everyone from David Lynch to George A. Romero and Lucrecia Martel. For this new rendition, Antwerp-based Mia Prce, recording under her pseudonym Miaux, folds overlaying sine waves into harmonically rich tapestries emulating ethereal church organs, which paint an overlapping sense of elevated longing and haunting claustrophobia. “This realm is immersed in melancholy, yet ultimately holds promises of hope and redemption.” Fans of the scores for films like Suspiria (including that of Thom Yorke), Colin Stetson‘s Colour Out of Space, and It Follows by Disasterpeace will feel right at home among the retro-rich analogue synth lines with “seemingly simple yet circular patterns” in the hands of this Sarajevo-born and now Belgian artist. The record is scheduled to be released in May of this year via VIERNULVIER on digital and vinyl.