The links between post rock and cinematic imagery are well documented. It’s a genre whose form lends it to accompanying images, real or imagined. Sprawling, effects-driven soundscapes are created in such a way as to circumnavigate the concept of “traditional” song structure, offering the listener something that allows more interpretation and consideration. It is not formless or undisciplined, rather, it provides a framework within which aural pictures can be presented to the audience; that, I guess you could say, is its mise en scene.
So it’s no surprise to find bands and filmmakers working together. Switzerland’s Killbody Tuning has produced this album of music – “47°0’40.00”N / 6°42’20.00”E” which has been used by filmmaker Julien Humbert-Droz in his film “Derniere Chasse” (“Last Hunting”). Previously they have re-worked songs by French actor and poet Philippe Leotard as part of the play, “Clinique de la Raison Close”. They are, therefore, closely connected to, and inspired by, visual performing arts. Like Sydney’s Dumbsaint, the nature of the music and the content of the visuals work in tandem with each other.
The question, of course, is whether the music stands up on its own. After all, it’s all very well producing a soundtrack album, but if it ends up sounding like random pieces that are pointless without a visual context, then who is going to buy it? Probably nobody. Well, this album is an interesting mix of songs: some are, as you’d expect, long post-rock workouts, heavy on the effects; others feature vocals and have a somewhat more traditional feel to them. It’s a nice contrast.
‘Marker Of Change’ features breathy, ethereal vocals over a mellow soundtrack which ultimately builds up to a suitably intense climax. Compare that to ‘Seestrasse’ which takes a position sans vocals. The peak of the sonic climb is reached at an earlier point in the song before the music fades down to a simple guitar pattern. Maybe it’s a three act versus a five act structure. Whatever, it demonstrates the two distinct sides to this band’s character, though ultimately the album should be taken as a whole; each piece slotting into place to complete the album.
The vocals make their return on the final track, ‘Muswell Hill’ (ever think you’d find a song with that name on an album by an avant-garde Swiss band? Welcome to the wonderful world of post-rock), and do so to powerful effect. The instrumental tracks deliver a satisfying post-rock experience, ideal for the soundtrack to a film; composed, structured and delivered very much as you’d expect. But the vocals really lift the album to another level; they connect immediately with the listener as language adds yet another dimension to the music. With them Killbody Tuning becomes something more than just another genre band, and finds their own, unique voice.