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15 February 2016

Goblin - 'Suspiria' (Attic)

Here's a Canadian pressing of an extremely popular soundtrack from a film that I saw back in college, a cult classic I guess, though I thought it was pretty silly. What I liked about the film - essentially all I can remember - is the weird shit it did with spatial relationships. The house where the heroine is trapped (or whatever the hell the plot was) felt unnavigable, like the inside was bigger than the outside, and Argento tossed aside film conventions to make this sense of unease. It's kinda like the good half of that Mark Z. Danielewsky novel House of Leaves, and not the boring James Dean part. Goblin are loved by horror film fans more than I think by Italian progheads, though they aren't disrespected by any means. I'm much closer to an Italian proghead and always found the soundtrack basis of their work a little bit off-putting, but that's just a personal problem, cause you'll see lots of soundtracks here. Listening now to Suspiria, I really like the way that certain repetitive strings oscillate on tracks like 'Witch'; it cuts through the haunting synths which really root this a lot closer to whatever genre Einsterzende Neubauten are (is that 'industrial'?) or early Nurse with Wound than to Area. I mean, this is some good music! Some really dark and sketchy moods, but it's aggressive, not content to just sit back and be creepy. Suspiria the soundtrack is a soundtrack of active terror, which even underneath the most uncomfortable moments still maintains a creeping unease, so you never have a respite. There's some funky synth-lines on 'Markos' that takes things more towards synth-pop, though it stays instrumental and never resolves things - the percussion is flamboyant and the lead instrument in many ways. 'Blind Concert' is the typical prog-rock sounding track, an arena-esque instrumental with long ripping guitar solos and a more conventional feel; I'm sure it appears in the film, but this is undeniably a rock song and less soundtracky. It's OK but I couldn't hear anything in one listen to make Goblin stand out from other prog bands of the era; if anything, it's a bit indistinct especially given how aggressively idiosyncratic the rest of the record is. Closer 'Death Waltz' is a bit of old timey music, surely used in the film for a creepy effect but here serving as a carnivalesque closer. They put out a ton of records in their career and I'm sure there are Goblin completists out there, but Suspiria is all I need, just as it's the only Dario Argento film I've ever bothered to see. Sometimes you know your limits and while this is a fine record, I'm cool to stop here.

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