Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2019 March 18 • Monday

François De Roubaix's music for Daughters of Darkness is the 561st Soundtrack of the Week.

The main theme, a waltz with dabs of fuzz guitar, haunts the score, returning over and over to maintain the proper spectral mood. The melody is played on an instrument with a strange watery sound, perhaps guitar through some kind of effect though it could be keyboard.

“Love on the Rails” is another theme that the composer gets a lot of mileage out of. It’s deceptively simple, with a relaxed backbeat and a spacious, restrained voicing on top with some subtle accompaniment by horns.

“Red Lips” is the main theme in a different key and with what sounds like a zither taking the melody at some point with acoustic guitar in the background. The same watery instrument plays it, as does violin. You can hear accordion in there too. There are a lot of textures going on.

There seems to be some Bernard Herrmann influence in “Arrival at the Manor”, particularly in the Psychoish writing for strings.

It sounds like solo keyboard is responsible for the contrapuntal calliope sound of “Countess Bathory (Halo)”, a short but pretty track.

“Ballad in Bruges” is another take on the main theme but this time as a bittersweet accordion-voiced number with some assist from cymbalom and an unexpected freak out ection at the very end with piano and electronic noises.

A mixture of short statements from cymbalom, fuzz guitar, harp, celeste and other instruments introduce another variation on the main theme in “The Countess and the Inspector”.

Male and female voices wordlessly crooning a descending line with choir-like harmonies kick off “Tale of Torture and Vampires”, which is otherwise familiar from what we’ve already heard.

“Valerie, Ilona and Stefan” brings back the mellow backbeat we heard before but has some different guitar and string parts.

The harp gets featured in “The Dunes of Ostend, Flagellation”, a hypnotic piece of music that eventually reprises “Love on the Rails”. You hear this again as “Pursuit on the Dunes of Ostend”.

A very eastern European-sounding version of the main theme describes “The Countess’s Kiss” while “The Countess’s Bite” is a sparser arrangement of “Love on the Rails”. This comes up again as “Accident and Cymbalom”.

After a brief string introduction “The Phantom Organ and Piano” does deliver on the promise of its title, a reiteration of the main theme.

Strings and crickets kick off another visit to our main theme in “Daughters of Darkness (Ending)”, a typically mesmerizing, moody, atmospheric and romantic conclusion to this haunting and beautiful score.

And then there are some bonus tracks.

“The Bruges Band” is presumably source music and while not the cheeriest music you’ve ever heard it sounds quite peppy in comparison to the other cues here.

One of the most interesting tracks on the CD is the reverb-drenched electric guitar-driven “Dracula 68 Woodstock (Of Fish and Men). Besides the guitar there are a wooden flute and some minimal hand percussion. It’s as bewitching and mysterious as its title.

And then there are a few remixes of the original tracks. Not sure what this is all about but they’re kind of cool.

“Ilona’s Jazz” is like an electro acid jazz piece that took a bunch of valium and features trombone and synth.

“La nuit sous la mer” and “Le rap des lèvres rouges” are both fairly groovy and have French lyrics.

Finally there’s a bonus song called “Vampire” that’s clearly based on the main theme and also has French lyrics.