Fuck Buttons man leads a powerfully dense electronic re-score for Italo-horror homage
Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power, more latterly active in his impressive Blanck Mass guise, has recruited an international cast of collaborators for this intriguing re-score to a new-ish movie that honours the lurid old Italian giallo horror flicks of Dario Argento (‘Suspiria’) and Mario Brava (‘Hatchet For The Honeymoon’).
Bruno Forzani and Hélène Cattet’s ‘The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears’ is a 2013 homage to those widely admired (though sexually suspect) films. Originally scored with music culled from original giallo features, the directors decided to commission a new soundtrack exclusively for the East End Film Festival, choosing Power as their man.
It was an inspired choice as he has evidently put all of his considerable creative energies into the project. Casting a list of electronic innovators from his impressive array of associates and assuming the role of curator rather than sole composer, Power handed his contributors – himself included – a free-reigning brief to score given scenes without any knowledge of what the others were planning. And it’s quite the masterstroke. New York’s C Spencer Yeh, Stockholm’s Roll The Dice, Glasgow’s Konx-Om-Pax and London’s Helm, Moon Gangs and Phil Julian, thrill, enthrall and creep us out in equal measure, all the way along.
Roll The Dice set the portentous tone with an appropriately atmospheric builder that peaks with thrilling beat-driven energy before giving way to Helm. Their claustrophobic synth drones and burning, low frequency foreboding recalls Broadcast’s recent eerie soundtrack for another Italian homage piece, Peter Strickland’s 2012 cult hit ‘Berberian Sound Studio’, creating a degree of tension that hardly needs visualising. There’s real space in Helm’s pieces too, which benefit from well-considered production values that are maintained throughout. Distant cymbals clash against diabolic organs and rolling, looped, bell-like sounds. For whom they toll, of course, remains to be seen…
So far so good, and so far so horror OST. But for so much creative weight to have been thrown behind this work, the listener’s ears need variety. Thankfully this is duly provided by both Moon Gangs, who lighten the tone with their outstanding analogue-heavy Popol Vuh-like dreamscapes, and C Spencer Yeh, whose beat-heavy percussive crashings introduce an unexpectedly Neu!-esque momentum. Konx-Om-Pax meanwhile weigh in with perhaps the most loosely arranged and impressive passage, throwing in plenty of abstract ambience and unsettling Radiophonic sounds to great effect.
And then comes the curator himself. Sounding very much at home in an oeuvre seemingly made for his desecrated cathedral-dark visions, Power’s gargantuan, granite-dense sound edifices are way more Fuck Buttons than Blanck Mass here, and appropriately so – highly intimidating and hugely impressive. After that, Phil Julian’s closers are fittingly climactic and adrenalinised. Wild synths squall and howl, distorted strings arpeggiate to an almost unbearable point before a heavily reiterated wall of pure electronic noise is brought to a sudden, stunning halt. It’s superb stuff, and wholly worthy of your attention whether you see the film or not.