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Matt & Bubba Kadane, "Music From the Film Hell House"

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My one true test for any soundtrack or "music from" compilation is whether it can stand alone from the subject matter it was written for. Otherwise, it makes little sense to release it on its own, as the value of having "that music from that one scene" must be incredibly low. Enter the Kadane brothers' EP of music from the film Hell House, and for the most part they pass the test. Unfortunately, some of the tracks are just sketches — as they should be for a soundtrack — and do not blossom into full-fledged compositions.


Without a reference point in a film that I haven't seen these tracks fall by the wayside, and at a mere eighteen minutes, it's hard to see this as anything but a companion piece of merchandise. However, some of the longer and complete compositions captivate my imagination completely. Left to its own devices and with only a title to set off the chain reaction, my mind comes up with plenty of scenery and atmosphere to allow these tracks to run around and play. "Hell" doesn't sound like my version of it, but it does convey the emotions of someone suffering through a period of genuine strife. There is a beauty to the feeling of loss that drapes the track and its simple guitar structures, and I immediately felt the hairs on my neck rise. There's guitar and banjo in a lovely waltz on "Alex," and "Speaking in Tongues" is chilling ambience with a playfully nuanced shock value that strikes when least expected. "Christy" and "Sex Before Marriage," no doubt meant for scenes close to each other in the film, felt cold and distant, and did not hold my attention for long. The last two tracks, though, "Harvest" and "Wrestling," are what hold the whole thing together. They are the most full-fledged, most descriptive, and most charming, particularly the trumpet by Bob Weston on the latter. Matt and Bubba Kadane could easily make a career of this, and Pleximusic is growing a nice little garden of indie rock film scores. Truth be told, however, I'd much rather reach for their other music in Bedhead or The New Year than this, despite the fine moments I found within.


Last Updated on Sunday, 02 March 2014 21:24  


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