Thom Yorke - Suspiria

80

The Guardian

(XL)

Following the critical acclaim afforded the soundtrack work of Radiohead bandmate Jonny Greenwood – Phantom Thread was Oscar-nominated – Thom Yorke makes his first foray into film scores. Suspiria is Luca Guadagnino’s reimagining of a 1977 Dario Argento horror flick, and certainly there’s a darkness to much of the music here too, most obviously A Choir of One, a 14-minute drone. The unsettling instrumental Voiceless Terror, as its title suggests, is hardly a bundle of laughs either.

Nestled within the murky unease, however, there are also moments of fragile beauty, not least Suspirium, a combination of keening Yorke vocal and piano that could have fitted seamlessly on to In Rainbows. Unmade mines a similar vein, while the acoustic guitar on the hypnotic Open Again finds itself gradually submerged beneath a wash of eerie sounds. There’s relatively little of the glitchy electronica that defined Yorke’s most recent solo album, 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Instead, this 80-minute soundtrack features choral pieces (Sabbath Incantation), sparse piano interludes (The Hooks) and ominous interstices (The Inevitable Pull). It’s to Yorke’s credit that the sense of foreboding he conjures, whether in the discordant Volk or the more elegant Olga’s Destruction (Volk Tape), manages to be so evocative even without Guadagnino’s visuals.

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Sun Oct 28 08:00:12 CET 2018

60

The Guardian

(XL Recordings)

This is a very different beast from the other high-profile soundtrack recording of the season, A Star Is Born. That film’s songs rarely descend into mere signposting for the plot and work perfectly as a separate album. But without the luxury of diegetic songs, the Radiohead frontman’s music for Luca Guadagnino’s forthcoming Suspiria remake is instead much more traditional, belonging in the background to ramp up the emotional cues, and as such is not as satisfying a home listening experience.

The analogue synth pulses of Volk are imaginatively arranged and enjoyably raw compared with the sweeping Zimmer-lite of so much current soundtrack work – but are melodically basic, and tame compared with the uproarious prog-electronic bacchanal of Goblin’s soundtrack for the original 1977 film. Better are shorter pieces such as Voiceless Terror and The Room of Compartments, which swell with dread and will get napes prickling in cinemas. As pure audio, however, they are very much for Yorke completists only. The choral piece Sabbath Incantation, similarly well performed, feels like a signifier for religiosity rather than a standalone work. There are also outright failures:the echoey plink-plonk piano on The Hooks, The Balance of Things and Olga’s Destruction is dangerously close to horror movie cliche, and the film’s central theme Suspirium, based around unimaginative upward arpeggios, is a disappointment.

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Fri Oct 26 10:30:04 CEST 2018