Steven Severin – Vampyr (CD Cold Spring)
Steven Severin made his name as the bass player for Siouxsie and the Banshees but after a rather difficult tour in 2002, that they reformed specially for, he fortuitously received an email with a request for him to provide the soundtrack to a British, independent, supernatural thriller, London Voodoo. He did the whole score, really enjoyed it and realised what it was he wanted to do and has since then been working in the area creating soundtracks with a dark ambient leaning.
Vampyr is the third album in his Music For Silents series and it’s a soundtrack for The film Vampyr, written and directed by Carl Dreyer back in 1932 and its soundtrack is long since lost which in some ways makes Steven’s job easier as there is nothing to compare to, or for him to consciously or unconsciously use as a starting block to his own soundtrack.
I’ve not seen the film and when reviewing a straight forward soundtrack, as opposed to a ‘songs from…’ album it would have perhaps been useful if I had. Seeing as the film is 80 years old I imagine it is out of copyright so perhaps the audio and film could have been combined on one disc but maybe that would be too expensive to produce.
The Cd is broken up into 15 tracks and runs for just under an hour. The pieces are primarily keyboard based sounds and the way they are written and performed manage to convey atmosphere and a sense of unease that befits a horror film in a way it would be very easy to loose with pieces like this listened to on their own with no visual stimulus. There’s no particular standout piece they all work well in their own ways but the whole album is best listened to all the way through as you then get a far better sense of the moods of the film as the pieces rise and fall.
A pretty successful album and while I’d like to have heard this whilst watching the film, at least, for the first few listens it manages to stand on its own two feet as an album that you can easily return to for repeat plays. DB