SCHULZE, KLAUS  Next Of Kin (OST)  LP   (Roundtable)   36.99

A cult slab of Berlin School horror-electronics that was recently issued in tandem with a new Blu-ray release of the film, which I have actually yet to see. I've certainly known about it, though; 1982's Next Of Kin has built up quite the buzz amongst horror film aficianodos in the past, earning a reputation as a tightly-made and atmopshere-heavy psychological horror film. Some circles have even referred to it as an Australian take on the giallo genre, but with heavy doses of chilly, spare ambience a la Kubrick's The Shining. I can't wait to see it, obviously. But this long-awaited vinyl edition of the original soundtrack is pretty enjoyable on its own, and a no-brainer for fans of Klaus Schulze's work.

The background to this soundtrack is one of the most convoluted things i have ever read.

As it stands, the music here is exemplary. The title theme pairs droning synth and a steady snare / kickdrum backbeat to excellent minimalist effect, a sorrowful minor-key melody taking shape over the course of the track. It exudes a powerful mounrful moodiness from the start. Synth-strings emerge as more expressive tom rolls and polyrhythmic patterns take over, the result being a masterful spook-prog workout. The following pieces range from the bassy Moog-esque throb and darting keys of "Love Theme" and "Rhythm Fugue"'s pumping arpeggios, scintillating background sounds and deep, sinister bass beat , to the disturbing dissonance of "Body In Bath " and the motorik drive of "Next Of Kin". Schulzes' signatire chordal clusters, flurries of rapid-fire notes, and hypnotic arpeggiated sequencers mark almost every piece utilized here. All throughout the soundtrack, you also get these subtle romantic orchestral pads and exotic tonal percussion accompaniment, bursts of strange and distressing atonal sound, washes of abstract metallic shimmer, deep cosmic fields, fusion-tinged gestures, spectral moans, reverb-filled spaces of ethereal drift, and sprawls of terrifying electronic ambience. Several tracks have a very similar feel to Tangerine Dream's work of the same time period, which is no surprise. But the mood and intensity is different, a sensation of impending violence and a constant aura of dread flowing through the entire score. It stands as some of Schulzes' creepiest work.

The highlight of this soundtrack is the final "End Theme ", in which Schulze draws forth eerie electronically-generated voices that sing in a strange lilting fashion over a pulsating backbeat that could have been featured in an Argento film. It's unique in the collcrtion of pieces, a tense chorus of digital ghosts wandering amongst cavorting roto-toms and

I want to point out that this release has some of the best liner notes I've seen lately. The label presents a very nice heavyweight inner sleeve that has an entire article / essay on the one side, that goes into considerable depth on Schulze's development of the score, the making of the film itself, and puts all of this context with the state of Australian cinema at the time - it's an engrossing read. The other side of the sleeve has the original haunting poster one-sheet and some key stills from the film. Again, visually and info-wise, this soundtrack release is of very high quality.

Australian import.

Track Samples:
Sample : Title Theme
Sample : Body In Bath
Sample : Crash Loop