Let me preface this post first by saying I have not seen David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows….yet. I have every intention of watching it as soon as I can. It’s been on my radar for nearly a year now and from everything I’ve read about it to the trailer I am more than excited to watch it. But, giving that I’m a sucker for a great horror film score it’s no surprise that I now own the It Follows soundtrack on awesome blue and white vinyl. And let me just say, if the film is even half as good as Disasterpeace’s score, then the film is going to be an absolute classic.
I think there has been just as much talk about the soundtrack to this movie than there has been about the movie itself. Some might see that as a slight to Mitchell’s creation, but to me that can only be a good thing. A great score can make or break a movie, and especially in the horror genre. A great score can make a great film timeless. A great score can make a sub par film decent enough.
A perfect example of that is The Shining.
I just watched Kubrick’s much controversial 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 isolation madness masterpiece. Now I say the film was controversial not because of its content, but of the fact that King hated it and that it was decidedly more “inspired” by King’s novel rather than a screen adaptation(I’m sure Stephen King still cashed those royalty checks despite not agreeing with Kubrick’s overall vision.) For me, The Shining still holds a type of claustrophobic genius and overall creepy smarts. There’s more there than just a haunted house and a guy falling for the charms of the ghouls that run the joint(I have watched Room 237, the doc about all the crazy theories that Kubrick was putting in hidden meanings and messages, and thought it was ridiculous.) Anyways, one of key elements to The Shining, besides Nicholson, was the score. The combination of Wendy Carlos’ synth pieces(the beginning scene with the camera floating above the water in the mountains is still undeniably genius), and Krzysztof Penderecki’s symphonic pieces pushed the film into another dimension. Into timelessness. I feel that Disasterpeace, aka Rich Vreeland, has done a similar thing with his score for It Follows. Now, since I haven’t seen the movie I can’t say that without a doubt the music enhances the film. I’ll just say with a score this good there’s nowhere but up from here.
When I talked to Vreeland back in February of this year I’d asked him if he was given specific points to hit with the score. Certain composers to pay homage to. He said director David Robert Mitchell had given him some directions to go at times, but still let Vreeland be creative. Indeed there are some definite moments where John Carpenter, Wendy Carlos, Charles Bernstein, and Cliff Martinez make their presence known in the musical vibes. But, Vreeland’s music as Disasterpeace, which is largely in the video game world, has its own distinct sound. It’s retro while still feeling very modern.
I have to admit that when I first heard his music I was imagining this guy holed up in a room somewhere surrounded by all these vintage synths and reel-to-reel tape machines driving himself mad all night trying to get that right oscillation or buzzsaw noise from a Prophet or Mini Moog. After our talk I found out that was absolutely not the case. In fact, Vreeland has almost no synths. He’s nearly all computer-based. Virtual synths and digital recording. He could take his whole gear setup along with him in a laptop. Not only that, but he doesn’t release anything on vinyl. He feels it’s a waste of natural resources and a hit on the environment. It’s all digital files for Disasterpeace. I was pretty bummed when I heard this, but I got it. There is an ease to the idea of that kind of simple living. Everything you need in a laptop. No muss no fuss. No lugging of heavy as hell keyboards. It’s all compact and ready to go. I respect that, really. You see, it’s just not me. I’m a textural guy. I like feeling the keys under my fingers. I like “things”, as they say. The clutter created by knobs, faders, circuits, and vacuum tubes. That’s just me. It’s obvious Disasterpeace doesn’t need all of that to create moody, emotional pieces of music that put you somewhere besides your own headspace. It doesn’t matter how you make your art, just as long as you make it and you mean it.
Also, fortunately for us(well, me at the very least) it was director David Robert Mitchell’s decision to put his film’s soundtrack out on vinyl. Vreeland gave his blessing to do so, so they did.
There’s such a great mix of incidental and emotional on here. Even though I haven’t seen the film yet, I can just imagine what the hell is happening in it during pieces like “Greg”, “Snare”, and “Pool”. You just know some serious shit is going down. You just know it.
If you’re a fan of classic synth scores; Carpenter, Carlos, Martinez come to mind, then you need to pick this album up. If you grew up in the 80s watching horror films on Betamax and VHS tapes then you will definitely want to own this album. If you’re concerned about the environment, then download it. But if you’re like me and you’re concerned about owning something real…something you can hold in your hands and covet like Gollum covets the ring, then get this thing on beautiful blue and white vinyl, put it on the turntable, and drop the needle.