Steve Moore elicits so much dread and grandeur in the film scores he creates. His work in the independent horror/sci fi/thriller film world can’t really be touched. Along side composers like Wojciech Golczewski, Kreng, Ben Lovett, and Theodore Shapirio to name a few, Moore has the magic touch that can make a low budget film sound like a big budget blockbuster. The Guest, The Mind’s Eye, Cub, and Mayhem have all benefited from Steve Moore’s synth work and deft sonic touches. His latest, Joe Begos’ excellent Bliss, might just be his best work yet.
For those not in the know, Steve Moore’s main gig is with the prog electro duo Zombi. Imagine two Pittsburgh horror/sci-fi teens obsessing over Romero, Argento, Rush, and Goblin and then making music based on those obsessions. That’s the synth-heavy world of Zombi. When Moore is recording under his own name(both solo records and movie scores) he takes the music in far more spatial regions. He creates the perfect mixture of mood, desolation, and heady vibes.
Bliss, Joe Begos’ 2019 (sort of)vampire film is by far the indie auteur’s best film. He works in low budget horror/sci fi, but it’s top shelf low budget. Old school practical effects, over-the-top acting, and lots of extreme violence combined to give the old school video store stalkers more than their money’s worth. The Mind’s Eye was his first time working with Steve Moore, and that collaboration was a great coming together of sight and sound(with an amazing head explosion for good measure, ala Scanners.) With Bliss, I feel these two have surpassed the B-movie realm and have fallen firmly in exploitative art-house world. It’s street-level, visceral, and a beautifully dark metaphor for the things we do for our art.
For Bliss‘ Gaspar Noe-meets-Abel Ferrara shock to the system, Moore keeps things more low key than usual. There’s more soundscapes and ethereal noise than on his previous outings. There’s an 80s vibe to tracks like “Diablo” and “The Bite”, with fuzzy bass and a guitar solo that sounds like it could’ve come from an 80s cop procedural. There’s a melancholy vibe throughout as protagonist, artist Dezzy(played by Dora Madison Burge) descends into madness chasing the muse under the influence of a hallucinogenic substance. Moore builds slowly(“My Masterpiece”) into full-on sonic chaos(“You Don’t Look Good”) which leads to an almost electo-metal vibe in “First Kill”.
Moore never relents and knows just when to pull back and give us a reprieve, such as in “Murderer” and short-but-sweet closer “Sunlight”. Whether within the context of the film or enjoying the score on its own, Bliss is a fantastic listen in any context.
Steve Moore once again outdoes himself with Joe Begos’ 2019 dark masterpiece. He’s upped the integrity of the film with his deft touches, and in turn takes Bliss to new dizzying heights.
8.5 out of 10
Steve Moore’s Bliss S/T is available now via Relapse Records. Buy it here. Joe Begos’ Bliss is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and will be available to stream on Shudder January 31st.