Gazelle Twin scores the latest entry in the Amazon Prime Welcome To The Blumhouse film series. Simon Tucker reviews.
Release Date: 18th December 2020
Format: DL (physical to follow at a later date)
If you were going to write a dream list of artists you would like to score your latest psychological horror film then Gazelle Twin would always be near the top. The music that Elizabeth Bernholz makes as Gazelle Twin has always managed to walk that fine line between the malevolent and the majestic, the terrifying and the transcending. With Nocturne we get a score that taps into primal fears via guttural drones and symphonic chorals.
Talking about the score to The Quietus, Gazelle Twin said that “The director wanted there to be a strong appearance of feminine rage featuring heavily in the score, building around the classical pieces. She wanted to use some of my existing tracks, Unflesh and Belly Of The Beast, in a couple of scenes, so I took leave from the vocal style of Unflesh, which has a lot of strong chest singing inspired by Bulgarian Folksong.”
“It became a motif that the music editor, Shie Rozow, weaved throughout the film for those especially fierce moments. Then there’s the ‘dread drones’ that haunt the whole score, getting more and more intense.“
That’s a key phrase when entering Nocturne for the whole piece is shot through with this queasiness that churns your stomach as your creep through pieces like the stop/start backward slipping Vivian’s Fall which morphs in to a sci-fi climax of sound and synth or the ebb and flow of Consummation which pulsates away before it enters an abstract zone of euphoria and terror (I’ve not seen the film but from the title and the sound I can figure out what we’re soundtracking here). This fullness of sound is this score’s biggest asset as even in its most ethereal moments then is a heaviness anchoring the pieces splitting the music between the stomach and the mind.
Using Gazelle Twin’s previously released Unflesh and Belly Of The Beast adds a sonic punch to the guts and if you are new to the music of Gazelle Twin then these will be no doubt be highlights. They are two wonderful tracks that showcase the arranging and production skills that Gazelle Twin possesses and her wonderful gift of getting that balance between human and machine just right with another fine example of this being the shock-shout cue, Juliet’s Rage. Even on the surface pieces that feel like pure synthetics (The Book) have underlying them a distant maybe-not-so-human feel like a guttural growl that rolls along deep underneath the cues leaving you unsure whether or not what you are hearing is flesh or microchip, heartbeat or drum machine.
Nocturne isn’t all doom and heavy gloom though. The choral hymnal beauty of Moira’s Sacrifice and Juliet’s Sacrifice bookmark the score and which are given nearly identical themes only with the latter somehow feeling sadder and more down beaten than the former which does seem to have a slight tinge of hope that runs through it.
This is a wonderful score that delivers the aforementioned feminine rage in spades. Gazelle Twin blurs all manner of edges morphing and melding the humane and the insidious, the organic and the artificial leaving you thrilled, appalled and elated which in the end is what it means to be human and to be living. Every second you are listening to this score you are alive and you are present which is exactly what we all need right now.
Listen to Juliet’s Rage here: