Loving this. This is Steve Moore from Zombi, the synth-prog group who brought us the top faux electronic soundtrack albums Surface To Air and Spirit Animal in the 00s. If you know those records you'll know what you're getting here. This recording is an actual score to a film though. Cub is a retro-synth soundtrack that's so good it doesn't need to pretend it's anything new. This score is the sound of a man and his synthesiser creating fabulous minimal and spooky analogue sounds not unlike John Carpenter whereas Zombi were more like your full on horror prog rock group along the lines of Tangerine Dream or Goblin. Best soundtrack of 2015?
COLD IN JULY - JEFF GRACE
I missed this one when it came out so if you like your synth horror soundtracks, like the above, this is for you. I have come across two excellent Jeff Grace soundtracks previously 2011's The Innkeepers and The House Of The Devil from 2009. I knew this was more synthy than those aforementioned two scores which were a lot more symphonic but Cold In July while tipping its hat to John Carpenter moves beyond mere cloning of ones influences. Jeff Grace feels like a real contender for the electronic score crown. Cold In July is undeniably a post millennial classic synth soundtrack that makes the terrific and very enjoyable music of Umberto, Zombi, Salisbury & Barrow feel like mere fanboys playing at wanting to be their heroes Moroder, Goblin, Tangerine Dream etc. Grace was once an assistant to modern soundtrack legend Howard Shore, hinting at what you're getting here (Carpenter meets Shore meets some mysterious new ingredients) and that something more intellectual might be happening here. Grace has made a synthesiser soundtrack his own like no one has really done since the early 80s. Achieving that is no mean feat and should put into perspective his talent and potential. Somehow he puts new textures into the atmospheres of these tracks and adds a new level of sophistication to synth scoring. I hope Grace continues doing electronic soundtracks as I feel he is on the verge of something great within this field. Cold In July is up there with the best recent soundtracks and gives Mica Levi's brilliant Under The Skin from last year a run for its money. This is some serious synth biz and then some.
BEYOND THE BLACK RAIBOW - SINOIA CAVES
This slab of synth candy is from 2010 but wasn't released until 2014. Beyond The Black Rainbow is highly rated amongst synthesiser soundtrack aficionados and it doesn't disappoint. Caves is a member of the psych-prog rock group Black Mountain and apparently has another cosmic synth gem under his belt with 2002's The Enchanter Persuaded. Having quite enjoyed what I had heard of Black Mountain on the radio, many years ago, I didn't really know what to expect from this Caves soundtrack but geez it's a real delight. After Umberto released the fantastic Prophesy Of The Black Widow 5 years ago at the height of Not Not Fun's great run of releases, I thought there may not have been any life left in this kind of retro synth gear, how wrong I was. On Beyond The Black Rainbow Caves piles on the tension and cosmic grandiosity. VHS memoradelia and dread fuelled dark ambient are the order of the day here. Eerie intergalactic vistas are intertwined with sprawling cosmic prog workouts to great affect, rejuvenating the spooky sci-fi soundtrack genre. Another bewdy.
LAW UNIT - ANTONI MAIOVVI & UMBERTO
This one came out a few months back and passed me by so I'm glad to be catching up with it now. I'm not really sure who Maiovvi is but I know he released an album on Not Not Fun last year and recorded a soundtrack for the 2012 short film Yellow. I totally dig Umberto's four albums of faux horror/sci-fi soundtracks From The Grave, Prophesy Of The Black Widow, Night Has A Thousand Screams and Confrontations. It's been a couple of years since Confrontations so I've been wondering where the hell Umberto have been. Law Unit delves into much darker territory than Umberto's previous Goblin/Carpenter-esque synth confections. Some of it heads into industrial/EBM/dark ambient type zones making it a bit different from past Umberto releases. Still getting my head around this new, harsher direction for Umberto but I guess I have to start looking at it as a collaborative tangent rather than a wholly new look Umberto. Having said that, it's not bad though.