Chateau Flight

Les Vampires

by Evan Sawdey

19 April 2007

 

When was the last time that you saw Feuillade’s pioneering silent serial Les Vampires?  Don’t feel too bad—it was only made 92 years ago.  Yet there’s something genuinely unsettling about the mute pictures of old, and, of course, we can’t let it be.  Following the recent trend of electronic artists scoring silent films for screenings in the UK (the Pet Shop Boys did Battleship Potemkin, believe it or not), small house duo Chateau Flight tackled the classic thriller, and the results are surprising.  Even divorced from the images they accompany, this 40-minute work stands on its own remarkably well, smartly jettisoning aside the notions of both the pop song and tension-filled cinematic score to create a moody, distinct electronic work.  The undeniable highlight is the moody yet pumping track five (all the tracks are without labels), starting off with a terse beat that turns into an electric-guitar freakout half-way through.  Lacking any recurring melodic theme and switching moods quite feverously, the album itself doesn’t have much of an arc, but by the time it gets to the dynamic closing track (which sounds more like a full-band workout than just the work of an electronic duo), you’ll have gone thorough one of the most unnerving yet distinct sonic pleasures that electronic music has to offer.

Les Vampires

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