The wait is over. Today, Vehlinggo gives you the American premiere of “Cold Summer,” the first single from Le Matos’s soundtrack to the horror film Summer of ’84. Experience this killer track below and also learn where to see the film and how to buy the soundtrack. We’re talking about the crew behind Turbo Kid, so it’s pretty obvious this is a can’t miss premiere today.
On “Cold Summer,” Montreal-based Le Matos and the duo’s friend Computer Magic take the Le Matos theme cue for Summer of ’84 and make it into an exquisitely haunting electro-pop number. (You can learn more about the making of “Cold Summer” and the score on Saturday on The Vehlinggo Podcast, when I have Le Matos on as guests and we premiere yet another track from the score.)
The song is officially released as a single tomorrow, when MONDO/Death Waltz opens pre-orders on the special, two-disc 180g vinyl edition. (Samuel Lee Turner’s artwork for the single and soundtrack release are a sight to behold.)
The Return of the Turbo Kid Crew
I’ve seen Summer of ’84 and have heard the entire score. I can confidently say that the folks behind Turbo Kid have made a compelling film backed by an equally compelling score. It’s an overall nostalgic experience that never gets too cheesy or too retro for retro’s sake, but it will mess you up a bit.
Summer of ’84, now playing in theatres and available on video on-demand on Aug. 24, is directed by RKSS — the trio of François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell — who are all longtime friends of Le Matos’s Jean-Philippe Bernier and Jean-Nicolas Leupi. (A gifted cinematographer, Bernier is essentially the fourth member of RKSS.)
Their first feature foray together, the stylized and heartfelt Turbo Kid, was an international cult favorite. The soundtrack, which MONDO/Death Waltz released, has seen multiple pressings, some of which are rare and highly coveted on Discogs. The single, “No Tomorrow,” was an upbeat and engaging take on the Turbo Kid theme.
This time, for Summer of ’84, the upbeat vibes are replaced with a horror/thriller about the evils real and perceived that lurk in one suburban neighborhood in Oregon in 1984. Four very creative pre-teen boys (expertly played by Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, and Cory Gruter-Andrew) and the girl next door (the excellent Tiera Skovbye of Riverdale) seek to solve a string of murders of teenage boys and come up with some interesting conclusions. Rich Sommer, who played Harry Crane on Mad Men, portrays a neighbor who provides plenty of fodder for the kids’ imaginations.
The film plays your heartstrings with tender loving care before scaring your soul right out of you and making you question everything about what you’ve seen. At its core, it reminded me of the wild shenanigans in which my friends and I used to get involved back in the late ’80s in our “innocent” suburban realm. Our parents would boot us outside in the morning and not be too concerned with what we were doing unless we missed dinner or came home long after dark.
The Le Matos score captures the film’s cascade of sensory experiences perfectly. They tap into influences such as Tangerine Dream, Harold Faltermeyer, and Mac Quayle, while retaining their own beloved electronic style, to create nuanced, synth-driven cues. I’m really impressed with all of it.
Together with screenwriters Matt Leslie and Stephen J. Smith, RKSS and Le Matos present a story that draws you in and keeps you in — whether you’re feeling the warmth of friendship and young love or utter gut-wrenching suspense.
Anyway, go see it in the cinema and make sure to secure your physical copy of the score. (A digital version of the latter will be available on Bandcamp and such on Aug. 24. Oh, and please do check out my podcast on Saturday, Aug. 18, because it’s loaded with Le Matos and Summer of ’84 goodies.)
Le Matos ‘Cold Summer’ Credits & More
Original music composed and recorded by Le Matos: Jean-Philippe Bernier
Jean-Nicolas Leupi. Lyrics and vocals by Danielle “Danz” Johnson (Computer Magic). Mixed by Jean-Nicolas Leupi. Mastered by James Plotkin. Artwork by Samuel Lee Turner. Title by François Simard.
Oh, and while I have you, make sure to pick up a vinyl copy of Le Matos first album, Coming Soon 2007-2011. I wrote the liner notes, which give you a great idea of the origin story of the band.
Summer of ’84 is presented by Gunpowder & Sky and Brightlight Pictures.