Published Apr 22, 2019Richard Vreeland has undergone quite the metamorphosis from his days as a chiptune artist and 8-bit videogame composer. While there were plenty of hints at what Vreeland would grow to be capable of in those early works, it was his score for David Robert Mitchell's clever STD horror flick, It Follows, that really began to redefine him as a composer.
Even still, as intense a stylistic leap as that was, it's nothing compared to what Vreeland (still committed to his Disasterpeace moniker) has accomplished with his second collaboration with Mitchell, the meta modern Hickcockian Under the Silver Lake.
Demonstrating immense attention to historical detail, Vreeland has composed a work of stunning harmonic complexity that reverently evoke the most effective elements of classic cinema composers like Bernard Herrmann, while still managing to feel like a unique entity unto itself. And he personalizes it without inserting any noticeably modern tools, relying on what would have been available to orchestrators in the "Golden Age" of cinema, and very comfortably exploring the full capabilities of the instruments to maximize their potential to generate emotional nuance.
Including the original tracks and cover songs performed by fictional band Jesus and the Brides of Dracula is novel, and the songs are also authentically good for what they are, but for flow, it would have perhaps been better to include them as a separate EP. A couple of R.E.M. songs as soundtrack offerings, on the other hand, feel wholly unnecessary. Regardless, at 34 tracks, there's plenty to appreciate for fans of the sort of bold compositional gymnastics the right kind of film can bring out in a brilliant musical mind. (Milan)