By Alex Deller
Ten years on and ANTICHRIST, Lars Von Trier’s troubled arthouse genre piece, remains a polarising and extremely difficult experience. The uneasy viewing is matched by a similarly thought-provoking soundtrack, meaning this new vinyl release feels fresh, necessary and exciting despite its rather late-in-the-day arrival to our turntables.
The award-winning score from frequent Von Trier collaborator Kristian Eidnes Andersen (NYMPHOMANIAC, MELANCHOLIA etc.) is very much a game of two halves. On the one hand you have the film’s main refrain: a crisp new recording of Handel’s ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ (committed to tape, rather unfittingly, in a church), which exhibits a startling purity of tone and manages to convey a sense of great beauty as well as vast, chasmic sorrow.
Elsewhere, however, the sound design is far more abstract and far more ominous. Rather than overt groin-smashing heaviness, Eidnes Andersen conjures a dimly-lit murkscape that draws its strange groans n’ drones from natural sources, the vaporous sounds gradually cohering to form something that’s curiously familiar and yet utterly, unsetlingly alien. It’s this that makes the soundtrack a fitting release for Cold Spring Records – a longstanding experimental label whose challenging, outré roster has included artists as adventurous and sonically varied as Merzbow, Coil and Corrupted.
While relatively brief (the record is one-sided, with the flip laser-etched with the legend “nature is Satan’s church”) there’s nevertheless plenty to absorb and unearth, making for a subtle, enveloping experience that’s perfect for all those late-night meditations on sex, death, myth and the endless, aching power of loss.