Various Artists

Blanck Mass Presents: The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears

In 2013, French-Belgian directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani put together one of the most visceral, sumptuous deconstructions of the giallo horror genre, in the form of the hyper-stylised and barely coherent The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears. While hanging on the thread of a narrative about a missing lover and an Art Nouveau building that held many dark secrets, the duo were more concerned with striking on the more perverse elements of the genre – that is, the lavish colour schemes, inventive gore, the sensuous link between sex and death – and stretch these to the very limits of the imagination. It barely made sense, but then it didn’t have to – it was an exercise in repetition, experimentation, excess, and the crinkling of leather and metal scraping over skin.

Death Waltz Records, renowned for their reissues of seminal and oft-overlooked horror film scores, have taken a different path here, choosing to get Blanck Mass (AKA one half of Fuck Buttons, Benjamin Power) to gather some friends to create an entirely new score. The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears has no original score, having kept in with the giallo pastiche reimaginings and used snippets from other giallo films. Each artist has been given a scene to work with, and without knowledge of what other scenes were being scored or indeed who the other collaborators were, set about bringing their own knowledge to the work. An intriguing premise, it has brought about an intriguing result, as garish, intoxicating and confounding as the source material.

The album starts with ‘Portal’ by Stockholm’s Roll The Dice, one of two artists (the other being Konx Om Pax) to provide a singular track. ‘Portal’ is the most concise and "together" track on here, arresting in its insistent oscillation and urgent beats, a intoxicating cocktail connoting danger, malice and ecstasy, the track title a clear indication we are disappearing through the Argento looking glass. So far, right on the money.

Helm is next, whose triptych – the lurking ‘Strange’, the whirring, operatic ‘Mirrored Palms’, and eleven-minute creeper ‘Silencer II’ – lurks in a darkened corridor, the menace moving in the shadows in slow motion. It isn’t far from his own work, and while very good, it imbues its source material with a colder inertia and detachment.

Moongangs’ effort ‘The Light And The Glass’ is closer to the luscious, operatic ‘feel" of what a giallo score entails. ‘The Apartment’ however holds an ethereal sparseness, atmospheric winds blowing throughout, showing the emptiness of the characters as exemplified by the ultra kitsch setting and the menace that lies beneath.

C Spencer Yeh’s ‘The Worst Of All Gifts’ lays down a moment of reprieve, highlighting the emotional abyss that often exists within the characters in a traditional giallo feature; before the warped ‘Music Like Bleeding (Blood)’ takes a nightmarish turn, a minor krautrock beat overlaid with piercing organs, sped up tape, falling rain and chugging guitar. It’s the most interesting track here on its own, and fits the shift in the film where repetition of a waking dream speeds up the heart rate.

Konx Om Pax has named their contribution ‘Head Stab’ after the surreptitiously vagina-shaped wound that the killer leaves in their victims’ skulls. This thirteen minute exploration feels almost like a microcosm of the film itself, rather than condensed to any singular scene, albeit without any ratcheting of tension. It’s an oscillating, messy, between-states disorientation, high pitches harming the listener even as it lulls them in.

Blanck Mass uses a series of bite-sized tracks to take a contemplative approach to the discovery of "the hole" – the high tension of ‘The Hole’ and ‘The Hole Revisited’ bookending what is a somewhat euphoric rise in tempo.

Phil Julian finishes the album off – ‘The Final Sequence’ scoring the "reveal" of the film’s narrative while ending on a cicada-screeching about-turn that perfectly mirrors the sudden twist into sinister realms; ‘Laura’ a slowly coalescing siren call of horror; and the heart-racing circular ping of ‘End Credits’ – with a sense of dread that encapsulates the mood that the film itself consistently conveys.

The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears is a strange release in that as a compilation it is an intriguing concept that hangs on its collaborators’ individualities, whilst as a score it feels strange, elliptical, elusive. But then again that is how the film ultimately feels. A highly worthy experiment.

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