Saturday 18 November 2017

Broadcasting the sound of cult horror

John Meagher

John Meagher


Berberian Sound Studio



Berberian Sound Studio is an Italy-set psychological thriller that had a limited art house release last summer, but attracted glowing reviews.

It centres on an English sound technician employed by a film studio specialising in horror to create all manner of grizzly aural effects and stars Toby Jones, who was last seen playing a decidedly creepy, lecherous Alfred Hitchcock in the BBC-HBO television feature, The Girl.

The soundtrack is only now seeing the light of day and will appeal to aficionados of the under-rated British experimentalists, Broadcast, whose founder Trish Keenan tragically died of pneumonia during the making of this album in 2011.

Listened to without the context of the film is a challenge, to put it mildly, but what's not in doubt is the willingness of Keenan and James Cargill to play with sound and texture.

The short, fragmentary tracks – a total of 39, many less than a minute long – showcase an innovative use of instruments, both organic and synthetic.

All manner of found sounds are employed and there is no shortage of snatched screams and dialogue from the movie.

In truth, this album will have limited appeal beyond Broadcast's fanbase, but as a calling card for the Peter Strickland-directed film, it does a very good job indeed.

KEY TRACKS The Equestrian Vortex; Mark of the Devil

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