One-Liners Reviews

6 Soundtracks You Need to Experience Right Now

I’m generally of the mind that the more scores and soundtracks people are exposed to, the better. Even if you don’t see the film, you should listen to the music. You can often get much out of film music even if it’s separate from the images it’s meant to complement. (This is a belief that many composers don’t share, but I think they’re being modest.)

That said, I don’t want to write a post with 20 releases that will overwhelm you and leave you not wanting to listen to anything at all. So I went into hyper curative mode and found six recent scores you need to check out ASAP. Your life doesn’t depend on it, but hell — might as well add some joy to your life.

Carla Patullo — Porno (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Carla Patullo’s score to Keola Racela’s succubus-centered horror film is an eerie, haunting collection of cues — infusing the macabre into the sultry, while layering on a brush of Elfmanesque camp on the most foreboding and batshit scary passages. Out now via Lakeshore Records. You can catch this Fangoria-produced film on VOD.

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum — Don’t Look Deeper (Music from the Quibi Series)

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum’s experimental electronic score for Catherine Hardwicke’s sci-fi series is an entrancing affair. There are colorful, upbeat moments brimming over with a poignant vivacity, but there are also tempered, pensive cues that hover with a bit-crushed sensibility. Or, on a track like “Hearing,” there is a classic, flute arrangement blended with a Berlin-school vibe. Electronic meets acoustic, synths coexist with orchestras. All of this is to say that Kroll-Rosenbaum has a predilection toward deploying a vast store of tools, moods, and modalities to bring the most out of the narrative. Maybe you’re not supposed to look deeper, but you will certainly want to listen to this multiple times and at great depth. (Also, hat tip to singers Taura Stinson and Eden Kontesz for their work on some key tracks.) Out now via Whistle Records.

Joseph Trapanese — Project Power (Music from the Netflix Film)

Joe Trapanese is well known for his work collaborating with and bringing the best out of popular French acts M83 and Daft Punk in the film space — Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, respectively. He’s also a founding member of the extraordinary LA composer collective The Echo Society. Among his most recent work is his propulsive and evocative synth score for Nerve directors Henry Joost’s and Ariel Schulman’s Jamie Foxx-starring flick Project Power. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback join Foxx in this tale about a pill that can grant superpowers for five minutes. Trapanese proffers a powerful musical journey with elements of Vangelis’ Blade Runner score blended with his own deft artistry as a film composer. (It’s a cliche to compare a score to Blade Runner, but you’ll hear what I mean with the brass/synth dichotomy.)

Walter Mair — The Unfamiliar (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Walter Mair’s score for The Unfamiliar is deeply unsettling in the way it manipulates acoustic and organic sounds into something twisted and otherwordly. A simple string instrument becomes a sinewy, grotesque iteration of itself. Percussion comes in blasts and splatters that stick to your skin like bloods-strewn molasses. Collaborator Thomas Mertlseder adds an almost histrionic foreboding to the cues he shares with Mair. You might not really know where the acoustic ends and electronic begins and that’s all right. Just sit back and be enveloped by this deeply off-putting and eminently engaging score to Henk Pretorius’ PTSD-infused horror flick. Streaming now via Lakeshore Records.

Ben Lovett and Valen — “Little Red Riding Hood” from The Wolf Of Snow Hollow (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Vehlinggo favorite Ben Lovett has teamed up with singer Valen for an entrancing — haunting, really — cover of Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs’ 1966 classic “Little Red Riding Hood,” which will feature on the soundtrack to Jim Cummings’ forthcoming film The Wolf of Snow Hollow that’s coming out on Oct. 9. The original had a classic ’60s camp vibe amid its minor-key, garage-rock sensibility. Lovett maintains the night-spell of the clean and delayed electric guitar while using a robust tapestry of cinematic orchestration and leisurely drums to add a massiveness to the song. Valen’s vocals are far spookier and more earnest than Sam the Sham’s. Overall, I can’t wait for this whole soundtrack and film to come out. It seems promising. You can nab the Lovett-Valen EP digitally. Lakeshore is handling the release.

Stephen Shannon, Kevin Murphy and David Turpin — The Lodgers soundtrack

Stephen Shannon’s, Kevin Murphy’s, and David Turpin’s score to Brian O’Malley’s 2017 gothic-horror film about the most-haunted house in Ireland gets the luxurious vinyl treatment from Vehlinggo friends Burning Witches Records. (Turpin also wrote the film’s screenplay.) The score itself will slowly but certainly scrape your sense of courage away with its dirty silk white gloves, but the beautiful “lake blue” vinyl color will hypnotize you so you’re none the wiser. You can watch the film on Netflix.


(Editor’s Note: The One-Liners column is a concise but meaningful way to highlight Vehlinggo-recommended releases. It’s not exactly weekly, but it can be. Entries are almost never one line, but they could be. Check out the most recent One-Liners post.)

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