Thom Yorke

Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film)


Oct 26, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Anything Jonny Greenwood can do, Thom Yorke can at least have a go at. Greenwood branched into the world of movies over a decade ago, usually as Paul Thomas Anderson's in-house composer. Now his Radiohead bandmate wants to try, Yorke's first score produced for Luca Guadagnino's remake of Dario Argento's 1977 supernatural horror Suspiria.

Like Greenwood, Yorke aligns himself with a visually ravishing auteur, one who also happens to have a great ear for music. Guadagnino commissioned Sufjan Stevens to write songs for his last movie, Call Me by Your Name, netting him an Oscar nomination along the way.

Yorke has crafted something between a score and individual songs. It's a far cry from the music in Argento's original, courtesy of Italian prog rock bank Goblin. This is an eerie tonal poem, hard to grasp and hard to shake.

Despite his songwriting ability, Yorke isn't so far out from traditional score orchestration. Piano plods along in the dark as strings swell from great depths. It's in keeping with the slow, sinuous appeal of the movie, unfolding in fits and starts, never sticking long in one space.

"A Storm That Took Everything" opens proceedings like a ghost orchestra tuning up before Twin Peaks comes to town in "The Hooks." These carefully unveiled instrumentals sit alongside more conventional songs. The highlight is "Suspirium," full of piano, wind instruments, and Yorke's ethereal singing. He keeps shifting, serving whispery guitar on "Open Again" and chilling choral backing for "Sabbath Incantation."

It's not quite the complete package of course. Like most music composed for cinema, it suffers without the images, sound that exists to enhance is often lacking when left alone. It doesn't lack anywhere near as much as most scores do though, suggesting Yorke might match his bandmate after all. (

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telemedical web
November 7th 2018

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