ms.45Many moons ago, I once went to the pub dressed as a nun.  This was done because

  1. It was Halloween;
  2. It was also a Saturday;
  3. I assumed that, because of points 1 and 2, everyone else would have made some sort of effort; and
  4. Due to me deciding to do this rather late, it was all they had left in the shop.

Imagine my surprise when I swanned (nunned?) into said establishment only to discover that nobody else had bothered.  Worse than that, everyone else then decided we were all going to go to the local Student’s Union bar, where nobody else had bothered either.  I wish that I could say that I learned a valuable lesson from this, but I didn’t.

I mention all this because this is a soundtrack to a film that I know nothing about other than the cover (which is a stunner, courtesy of Alice X. Zhang) features the titular heroine in similar garb, and that set me of reminiscing.  It also helps that the actual vinyl arrived similarly nun-coloured, which is always a bit of a treat.

This is a very  strange record, and having not seen the film I can only assume that it describes a story arc that begins with paranoia and ends with a disco.  It all starts off creepily enough, with Window Breaking unsettling the listener with repeating piano sketches overlaid with synthy xylophone and occasional full-on electronic washes.  It gets no less apprehensive with a couple more eerie piano tracks that sound like they would be so much fun listened to alone and outside in the middle of the night, and quite frankly I could listen quite happily to a whole album of this.  And then it all starts to get a bit weird as the electronic orchestra starts to slowly but surely kick in, further thickening the pensive atmosphere.

Then it gets weirder still with a spot of brief no-wave guitar anger for First Attack, from which it all becomes a bit percussive and spiky.  Voices 2 closes the first side with a distinctly unsettling choir that is guaranteed to give any listener funny dreams for days afterwards.  This is all well and good, but for a horror soundtrack you’d be thinking “well, where can it all go from here?” as it finishes on such a frightening downer.  Where it goes next is altogether stranger than you’d reasonably expect.

For a start-off, I have to assume that the “Thana walking” part of Bass and Drums Thana Walking refers to the strutting drum beat, as the bass line is wonderfully manic and complicated and conjures up all manner of weird imagery of someone walking very oddly indeed.  And thus, the stage is set for a second half that the casual aural observer would be reasonably forgiven for assuming that someone somewhere had pressed another film’s Side Two on here by accident.  A bit of piano paranoia appears to assure us that no such administrative error has occurred, and then the saxophone arrives; first as bedrock and occasional seagull impersonator during Thana In The Mirror V2 (which I have to say, reminds me a lot of the old Limara advert.  One for the Dads there), and loiters about for much of the rest of the record in suitably jazzy fashion before bringing the curtain down with a track entitled Ms 45 Dance Party which does exactly what it says it’s going to do.

 

When so many labels are springing up all over the place to revel in all things soundtracky, it’s been interesting to watch the Death Waltz Recording Company decide to veer off the beaten track with their current subscription roster – their latest output has plucked oddities from all manner of genre cinema that others wouldn’t go near.  As with all their previous output, music is paramount with DWRC and Ms. 45 is another prime cut that has been put together so well, whilst retaining that “what the bloody hell was that?” factor that is why I love music and films in the first place.  Top notch.