Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2018 November 26 • Monday

For the 545th Soundtrack of the Week we're listening to Susan Justin's score for Forbidden World (a.k.a. Mutant), and it's on groovy translucent grey vinyl!

The record begins with “Theme from Forbidden World”, an intriguing blend of what sounds like both electric and acoustic instruments with a pleadant harmonic movement and inexorable drive. There’s a brief synth solo in the middle whose particular sonority clashes with the rest of the track, but otherwise this is a splendid opening theme.

The “Titles” track is a simple, haunting and mesmerizing piece for synthesizer, spare and ghostly.

What are possibly synth horn sounds make a s trong declaration and sound almost triumphant for “Birth and Death”. Again, both the melodic and harmonic shapes of the music seem just right.

“Mourning” begins with a single low-note pulse. It moves up a step and then an eerie but beautiful electric single note line, something you can imagine a theremin doing, floats above it. After that comes an unexpectedly forceful keyboard entrance, playing strong chords, followed by a delicately melancholy acoustic piano part.

For this score Justin got Craig Huxley to play his famous “Blaster Beam” instrument, as well as a Jupiter 8 synthesizer, and I reckon that these are providing most of the otherworldly electronic soundscape of “Alone”, which builds to surprisingly rhythmically driven climax.

“Steam Room” is another hypnotically pulsating synth-driven cue with very satisfying shape and structure, a mixture of beauty and tension.

The first side ends with “Mutation”, which is the closest thing to a conventional song on here. Nobody sings anything but there’s a definite melodic voice taking the spotlight and a pounding beat pushing everything forward.

The second side begins with “Xarbia”, a somewhat menacing and pensive track, with different atmospheres, textures and feels and a few dramatic stings. There’s also the same element of lyrcism that runs throughout this score and makes it one of the best electronic- and synth-centered scores I’ve heard.

“The Hole” begins almost completely textural and atmospheric, yielding eventually to a rhythmic and lyrical passage that develops into something that suggests a peak of action and suspense.

Acoustic piano with the sustain pedal employed creates the lonely and sad world of “The Doctor Returns”, with only very subtle synth strings accompaniment in the background.

Dialogue from the movie (“cognitive retribution”) occupies “The Laser Shower”, presumably the movie’s famous and infamous shower scene, and perhaps the synth tones you can hear under the voices only exist in the finished film itself, which would explain why we’re hearing a dialogue track.

“Communication” begins as a series of ascending lines with some notes sustained, like building chords out of blocks and giving the impression of a sonic pyramid. Then the blaster beam comes in and transports the listener to a darker and more expansive space, very effectively suggesting terror and peril.

After which we come to “The End”, a short electronic cue with some of the weirder sounds on this record, no doubt from the blaster beam again.

And then the record concludes with a reprise of the theme. This is really a wonderful record and I’m really glad somebody released it.