24 May 2022 - Thorsten
Ambient, Industrial, Drone | Sacred Bones | Release date: 10 Jun 2022 | Favorite song: Desecration
Are we allowed to appreciate the soundtrack to a movie about a serial killer? That is indeed a very good question as it is raising a question similar to the question of how to differentiate between the art and the artist. When listening to Blanck Mass’ newest score for the new Tony Stone movie Ted K the first is a question that might not directly come to mind, but it might arise when thinking about it and remembering that this is the score to the new Unabomber-movie!
Ted Kaczynski is an American serial killer who was dubbed “The Unabomber” by the American media, because his first targets were universities and airlines. This review shall not dive too much into Ted K’s biography, but one thing should be clear: The way this seeming genius terrorized the USA between the late 70s and mid-90s was exceptional and thus still fascinates a lot of people. Now, Tony Stone comes into play, who directed the new bio-pic about Kaczynski and who asked Benjamin John Power aka Blanck Mass to score that movie for him.
Power, a member of infamous Scottish electro avantgardists Fuck Buttons, is not a novice to scoring movies, quite the opposite – he even received a prestigious award for his score for Calm With Horses in 2021. And with Ted K he surely proves that he has quite a knack for it, as he is able to portrait some of the settings of Kaczynski’s life really well. He even produces something like a hit, because ”Montana (Main Theme)” has all the makings of a grand tune: a wide, meandering industrial melody line whose single occurrences sound a bit fringed out on the edges, a nice steady beat and a high-pitched third line as the surrogate vocals. The way that Power plays with lengths, little edges, intonation and speed makes for a great, nearly dance-able track. But when thinking about the resemblance between the wide spaces on this track and the wide spaces in Montana where Ted was caught, and the hard hitting second line and the notion that this might be Ted constructing and packing another one of his unusual bombs – then these two ideas might make you shiver.
Is it okay to feel that way about something that is so clearly related to a convicted and sentenced serial killer? One might say that it depends on your point of view, but I think that we can enjoy this track, and the whole record as well, because it is not music made BY Kaczynski but music made to underline his mindset and simply to support a movie about him. As Blanck Mass and its mastermind are in no way related to the Unabomber, one should not be denied the right to enjoy this soundtrack and maybe dance to ”Montana (Main Theme)”.
Something highly interesting about this droney ambient soundtrack is the fact that it shows Power’s perfect understanding for timbre and setting – and also for the correct usage of vocals, as he uses a female voice harmonizing wordlessly on one track and some black-metal resembling screams on another. One interesting track is surely ”Becky’s Theme” as it is a short but somewhat positive synth-track, which might be interesting to see how it works in the context of the picture.
This record sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a movie about someone as complicated as Kaczynski and – even more important – it also works as an enchanting piece of art on its own that everyone can enjoy for him- or herself. It won’t turn us into serial killers!