A distinctive, cerebral score from musician Joe Delia for Alex Winter’s surrealistic dramatic thriller, performed by a small ensemble of keyboards, cello, drums and bass guitar.
The ‘Opening Titles’ are low-key and a little on the repetitive side, but things pick up with ‘Murder’, an off-beat, eerie cue with some refined piano work. This melody is also heard at various other times on ‘The Man Upstairs’, ‘The Cold Sweats’ and ‘Glass Suspects’. Best of all though is ‘Nick’s Theme’ with jingling piano that conveys both a sense of pathos and impending threat. This motif too features on many other cues like ‘Greenpoint Nocturne’, this time with added percussive backing, although at almost ten minutes it sadly outstays its welcome, while ‘Fever Dream’ offers the strongest version of the theme, incorporating cello to fine effect. Elsewhere, bass guitar makes an impression on ‘Shadows on the Street’ which has a slightly jazzy feel. Less effective though are the droning atmospherics of ‘What is Real’ and ‘Tied Up’, while ‘Chasing Will’ is rather strident and really amounts to no more than a continuous drum beat with sound effects.
Composer Delia performs all the piano and synth parts himself and keyboards are the dominant force on this score, although the aforementioned cello (performed by Jesse Levy) also plays an important role in the overall tone and colour of the work. There are fascinating sleeve notes by the director/writer about the entire process of putting the film together which I greatly enjoyed, right from the original conception, through casting and shooting, although oddly he doesn’t actually comment on the music itself. Surely a first in the history of soundtrack sleeve notes!!
Despite some repetition in places, this is an intelligent score with a deadly edge of underlying menace. I can only say that it has led me to want to see the movie itself. I think that is tribute enough.