Beyond The Black Rainbow
Jeremy Schmidt records as Sinoia Caves and here offers the soundtrack to a film that is now four years old. But this is a new album that’s both the soundtrack to the Canadian sci-fi film Beyond The Black Rainbow and a statement in the swirling sounds of analog synths from Schmidt (also a member of the group Black Mountain) – it’s like Rick Wakeman with a decent editor, or Aphex Twin working beatless with Hammer Horror films as his only inspiration.
I’m drawn to soundtrack work – increasingly when I haven’t yet seen the film; often the music is my entry, my entrée and though I’ve yet to see what’s being called a cult classic I can hear how crucial Schmidt’s music must be, you feel these pieces as cues that will help to support arresting images. Black Rainbow is a film that’s told visually – there’s little in the way of expository dialogue so clearly the music needs to help tell the story, needs to be there to offer something around the images.
There’s an extraordinary depth to some of these pieces, even with a slight running time and soft, muted moments – and yet I’m hearing it as the album outside and away from the film; a trigger to check out the accompanying images, sure, but most certainly as a piece of work in its own right.
There’s space and moodiness, intrigue and just a hint of horror’s greatest trick – paranoia – that is evoked in this score. But it also feels like a beatless version of techno, an ambient techno drawn in delicate pastels. As if John Carpenter storyboarded the musical ideas and concepts but called in Angelo Badalamenti to oversee and orchestrate.
It’s only a hunch obviously, since I haven’t seen the film, but I’m hearing this as an album in its own right. I hope that continues to be the case after catching up with the movie. Because it’s been one of my favourite sets of spooking and unsettling sounds – yet somehow it’s also warm and comfortable too – in recent weeks. I can play this over and over, looping it for hours, a wonderful walking soundtrack that lingers and lurks and then begs to be played over and again.