Sensory Delights: Only Lovers Left Alive // Lower Spectrum // Indigolab // Marlais // Benedict Carey // Stèv // FREE DNLDS

Posted on June 10, 2014 by

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It’s been a little while between posts for me- to make up for my laziness, I’m offering 6 recommendations in one post!

Last month I saw Jim Jarmusch’s newest film, Only Lovers Left Alive, where Tilda Swinton and Tim Hiddleston play an ancient vampire couple, coping with the existential angst which comes with eternal life. The film is a sumptuous experience: the unique atmospheres of modern day Tangiers and Detroit providing a sense of eternal decay mirrored by the organic textures of the costume and set design. I doubt I’d actually see this movie again- it was a fantastic, unsettling experience but the rambling dialogue, for me, was best enjoyed only once. Like a very decadent weekend with very intense friends you hung out with at uni who have now become professional artists- where you drink way too much but don’t eat and end up light-headed, hungover and doubting your own reality.

So to my first recommendation- the fantastic soundtrack! It was by far the best bit of the film. Music plays such an important role in the two main character’s lives, the soundtrack had to be as seductive, engrossing and transporting as the movie itself. It was scored by Jozef van Wissem, ‘Dutch minimalist composer and lute player’ (than you Wikipedia ;)) and features Jarmusch’s band SQÜRL, Yasmin Hamdan, Zola Jesus and Madeline Follin from the Cults. The score mixes the worlds that the Vampires have inhabited and discuss during their aimless conversations; the Middle Ages and Shakespearian England, Romantic eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe, and the rock explosion in nineteenth century America and Britain. It also throws in contemporary sounds from Detroit and Tangiers. Its rolling, cyclical compositions make you feel a part of the eternity of everlasting life; where climaxes and endings are just the beginning of another long stretch of the mundane.

On the theme of fantastic soundtracks, I’ve got a collection of electronic artists that I’ve been enjoying for their engrossing experiments with electronica. The one thing I think ties them together nicely is that they all create music which is cinematic, atmospheric and wonderfully constructed.

If you like dark, sexy beats, which sneakily grips you and leaves you wanting more, try Lower Spectrum (Australian producer, Ned Beckley). Perfect for a classy, emotional thriller (or just a good option for parties).

UK artist Indigolab has a relatively large following online and it’s not hard to see why, he produces a hugely versatile mix of music including ambient dub, folk, fuzzy guitar electro-rock, and much more I can’t describe. And he’s amazingly prolific, releasing a new track every few weeks. It’s hard to know what genre would suit his music the best, so I’ll throw two out there: a coming-of-age film about disenchanted, self-destructive twently-somethings, or a gritty crime-drama told from the point of view of petty criminals. But both told with a hint of whimsy, like the characters are trying to better their lives, and maybe they will.

I keep liking Marlais (from Berlin) more and more every time I listen. I want to get up and dance or cry to the soaring, orchestral and romantic music that Marlais creates. Which terribly difficult when I’m listening to it at work. The music is undoubtedly electro and is in touch with other trends in this genre, but has more soul. This would suit an epic yet unsettling romance, where it is revealed that one of the parties was only in it to destroy the other’s life, and break their heart.

Stèv (Stefano Fagnani), from Ancona, Italy, creates music which is basically just wonderful to listen to. He is devoted to exploring the relationship between nature and the artificial, electronic and live music. This would suit a film which embraces travel, self-discovery, and the little things in life (how every Italian). Not much dialogue- more close-ups of the protagonist, sunsets viewed from train windows across empty fields, and dancing with strangers on cobbled streets at night. Maybe in the rain. My favourite is his release from 2 years ago, Windmills.

Benedict Eris Carey, from Sydney, uses software he created himself to extract music from sample sounds (created by other instruments, percussion and incidental noises), to create hypnotic, sensual soundscapes. You might not think it could be something you could sit and listen to, but I often find I can’t stop. This the perfect soundtrack for a film about someone lost in an unknown place: the outback, an enchanted forest, another planet, their own mind. Creepy and beautiful.

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