Death & Vanilla - The Tenant - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Death & Vanilla - The Tenant

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-02-02
Death & Vanilla - The Tenant
Death & Vanilla - The Tenant

With this release, it is quite obvious that Death & Vanilla are really brave people. Trying not to re-invent, but rather come up with a completely new score for a movie that already had one takes guts. It takes even more if it is a score for one of the best psychological thrillers made, Roman Polanski’s The Tenant, with which the original composer Phillippe Sarde has already done an impeccable job. What is even more astounding is that Marleen Nilsson (Farfisa Compact), Anders Hansson (Hagstrom Kent, Roland SP-404 and Technics SL-1200) and Magnus Bodin (Moog Prodigy and Musser M55) recorded this in 2015 at the “Cinemascore” festival in Spain along with the two-hour performance and screening of the movie itself.

The thing is that Death & Vanilla were able to come up with music that is constantly on the edge between gentle and melodic and completely sinister, something that both the movie and the original Roland Topor novel (“Le Locataire”) tried, and succeeded in keeping. The movie itself is one of those thrillers that at the time (and still) was probably able to instigate terror even in somebody like Vincent Price, who was dominating the horror movie scene at the time.

What D&V came up with is an almost perfect cross between their undercurrent Krautrock influences (Can, Faust, Agitation Free) and ‘sinister lightness’ of Angelo Badalamenti’s scores for everything David Lynch. It ranges between shadow and darkness, but is still something you can listen to because it replicates real-life situations that can at the same time be both pleasing and terrifying. Another name that operates currently on the music scene with a similar-ish style are Bohren & der Club of Gore,  the German purveyors of smiler musical moods

The relative light motifs of the few introductory numbers like “Zy and Choule” (and "relative" should be taken in its precise meaning), are constantly interchanged with darker shades of themes like “Walls Have Teeth” or more percussive sounds of “Dioz Delirium,” and really dark tonalities of tracks like the one with a very descriptive title, “The Bouncing Head.”

By playing along with the presentation of the movie itself, if you are good (and Death & Vanilla are), you are able to follow the moving images and integrate the music into them. But what about when you separate the two and let the music stand on its own terms? Here, again, it is obvious that Death & Vanilla have utilised an instinctive touch that enabled them to come up with an album that truly holds its ground just as a piece of music. All in all, a great job.

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