A once haunting ambient/goth collaboration fails to progress
In 2004, ambient composer Harold Budd and Cocteau Twins’ Goth-mastermind Robin Guthrie worked together to write the chilling yet gorgeous soundtrack to Greg Araki‘s groundbreaking Mysterious Skin. The haunting waves of distant guitars and sparse atmospherics perfectly conveyed the mix of the blissful innocence and sinister undertones that the film contained.
The two decided to work together again on two seemingly identical “twin” records in 2007, After the Night Falls and Before the Day Breaks, this time without the context of a story to guide them. What once sounded expansive now sounded self-indulgent. The same is sadly true for their 2011 effort, Bordeaux. As gorgeous as some tracks are, like the mournful shoegaze of “Gaze” and the romantic piano/guitar soundscape of “The Belles of Saint Andrew”, this collaboration has well overstayed its welcome and fails to engage.
Mysterious Skin remains one of the most effective electronic soundtracks of the last decade, but the aimless records its writers have released in its wake are some of the least interesting music of their careers.