MUSIC REVIEWS

Broadcast: Berberian Sound Studio Movie Soundtrack

Broadcast - Berberian Sound StudioIt was two years ago that Trish Keenan passed away from complications with pneumonia. At the time she and her partner James Cargill were working on a soundtrack to an independent film called Berberian Sound Studio. After Keenan’s passing, Cargill finished the score on his own and two years later it has been released on Warp, following the film’s release last year. For fans of Broadcast, the soundtrack is a must-listen, especially in light of Keenan’s untimely death. The 39-track album is mostly composed of short (many 30 second or less) tracks that supplement the film. The parts may feel fragmented but overall the soundtrack is still a relevant piece of work that serves as a reminder of Broadcast’s talent for creating emotive, moody and haunting soundscapes that tend to linger in the mind long after listening.
As it turned out, Broadcast’s sound was perfect for a psychological thriller like Berberian Sound Studio. Whether you see the movie or not, you’ll surely get the eerie, unsettling tone that it’s going for. The film is set in the 70s and is centered around a sound effects editor who goes crazy when the lines between his life and an Italian Giallo (horror fiction) film he’s working on begin to blur. Each short snippet on the soundtrack is uniquely creepy and evocative of the emotionally splitting psychological breakdown being experienced by the movie’s main character Gilderoy, a timid man who’d only ever worked on nature documentaries before being recruited to do the sound for a horror film.
Broadcast’s score accentuates Gilderoy’s inner turmoil and the spooky happenings in the film by using hissing vintage sounds, spine tingling harpsichords and ghostly organs. There are few vocals but when they are present they vary between darkly angelic and what sounds like the squealing, gurgling outbursts of one who’s possessed. Inspiration was taken from 70s Italian horror film soundtracks, but given a modern twist with the heavy use of electronic effects.
All in all, the results were extremely effective, and may even make you curious to see the film, which you can check out a short clip of below.
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