“Well, great,” said Simon to Olivier. “Now what are we going to do with this thing?” The thing in question was an ambient soundtrack for a horror film, and the duo had just been told it would no longer be needed. Option #1: Scrap the project. Option #2: Find another horror film. Option #3: Tinker with it a bit, and see if anyone liked it. The duo – two founding members of Timber Timbre – chose the third option.
Last Ex’s debut album sounds like what it is: not a horror score, but something that used to be a horror score. In this incarnation, it’s too cheerful to be a horror score, except perhaps for the final act of Josh Whedon’s “Cabin in the Woods”. Sure, the Carpenter synths are present, adopting the sheen of 70s shock cinema. But the added drums and bass (no, not drum ‘n’ bass!) make everything seem a lot less creepy. When the plodding turns to pounding on “Hotel Blues” (1:29), the mood seems almost happy. And why not? Simon and Olivier might not have scored a movie, but they’ve made some damn good music, and more importantly, by shedding the constraints of commission, have made it their own.
Cue Constellation. Here’s the demo being passed around the office. We imagine an unmarked tape, wobbly and worn. “What is that buzzing instrument in “Girl Seizure’?” asks an intern. “Hey, is this the new Goblin?” asks another. Graham peers up from his PC. “It’s Last Ex. Like it?” Why yes, they do. But the tracks seem out of order, so they move them around a bit. Now it flows. Who needed that stupid movie anyway.
So yes, Last Ex (perhaps short for Last Exorcism Part II, the completely crappy found footage film released last year) has turned a scary album into a fun album, filled with everything from surf vibes (“Flute magique”) to Morricone magic (“Resurrection Drive”). And man, if the film had been meant for that particular film, the duo dodged a bullet. Better to emerge with reputation intact. The redeemed score has come out on top, and the musicians have a key addition to their resumes. Should another director come calling, they’ll be ready; but we prefer to think of them turning the tables, saying, “No thanks, but if you’d like to make a film for our soundtrack, we’ll be happy to talk.” (Richard Allen)
Release date: 14 October