Les Vampires
Chateau Flight - Les Vampires
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Chateau Flight
Les Vampires

Because of their nature, silent films have long been a tempting source of inspiration for musicians. In the electronic world, both Giorgio Moroder and Jeff Mills have created their own scores for Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis, while Philip Glass created and Kronos Quartet played the amazing soundtrack to the originally silent Dracula. Now, the French house duo Chateau Flight has gone back nearly a century in time, creating music for Les Vampires, a 1915 film by Louis Feuillade.

Originally commissioned for a screening of the film earlier this year, the duo enjoyed what they'd created so much that they decided to release it as a standalone CD, despite not having a lot in common with their usual work. Over the course of eight untitled tracks and forty minutes, the group ranges between everything from mellow mid-tempo rumblers to prog to beat-laden workouts that dip into krauty territory. It's a compelling mixture, and after opening with gurgling analogue synths on "Untitled 1," things kick into gear more on "Untitled 2," with clattering, but smooth percussion and repetitive guitar figures that keep things moving forward.

"Untitled 3" gets a little more strange, stretching out a vocal cry, beefy keyboards, and some groggy beats before things lock into place and bust loose with a playful house feel (with accordion!) at the end. At nearly eleven minutes in length, "Untitled 5" is easily the longest track on the album, but keeps things interesting with some slow morphing as a more spacey intro turns into an extended disco-kraut ending that flames out in places with some delicious guitar work.

It's hard to tell just how the music fits alongside the film without having seen it, but fortunately the soundtrack for Les Vampires holds up very well on its own. Just about the time that you think it's going to be all smooth-rolling, they even throw a wrench into things with the funky "Untitled 7" that features some killer breakbeat freakouts. They're at their best when their beats, programming, and fiery guitar are all locked into a hypnotic groove (as on the end of "Untitled 8"), but there aren't any major miss-steps on the shorter release either. It might be worth syncing up the newly-created soundtrack and old film sometime in the near future and seeing what happens.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2006-12-14 21:51:49