From Inside by Gary Numan Special Edition (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Gary Numan & Ade Fenton (CD review).

October 8, 2014 | By | Reply More

If I could have gone back in time and talked to my 16 year-old self and told him that I would be reviewing a Gary Numan album I would have been blown away.

Gary Numan has an incredibly long history of producing distinctive and dramatic music. Critical success has not always met with commercial success but his artistry and talent is titanic. Ade Fenton has worked with Numan on some recent albums and is frequently listed as producer.

FromInsideCD

Electronic music does some things better than any other genre. No other musical style conveys the alien and other worldly quite as well. The shift from major to minor chords which gives the feeling of menace descending into terror or the soaring heights of angelic strings and choral effects which builds hope or the clash and crash of the industrial music of marine diesel engines. All of these are used here to provide a harsh dystopian vision.

I haven’t seen the film or graphic novel by John Bergin so I can only comment on the album as it stands.

There are few light musical moments in this album. The sound of a train is referenced in the pounding beats along with a echo of hissing steam. The driving bass notes imply an unstoppable force. When a track has a title like ‘We Cross A Bridge Over Death’, you know it will be a difficult ride. Insectile buzzes and clicks crack and rattle over oppressive rumbles. There is a huge sense of ominous evil.

The track ‘On A Red Lake’ contrasts the darker feel of the previous one with echoing solo piano and a soaring choir. This builds with strings but the darker undertones are still there and return with force towards the end. Similar more relaxed tones are found in ‘A Moment Of Reflection’

‘So Many Bodies’ Begins with the ominous drone of a 1940s bomber and ends with a nightmare electronic roar.

Track nine ‘Refinery’ sounds more like traditional Numan fare but with pentatonic scales giving a sense of the exotic and strange. These themes are revisited in the track ‘Crows’. Discordant soaring strings hurry through ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’.

This contrast between lighter and darker tones is typical throughout. If Numan and Fenton had told this story in paint rather than sound they would have quickly run out of red and black, while the white and gold would have hardly been touched.

The list of track names reads like a list of horror titles. ‘The Empty House’ ‘My Part In This Is Over’ and ‘Almost Inhuman’. Reading those, you get a sense of the atmospheric feel of the tracks. The final track ‘Into The Eternal Flames’ gives a clue to the film’s ultimate end.

A perfect soundtrack affects the feeling of the movie viewer almost on a subconscious level. Too much and it becomes a distraction. Some of the best examples of soundtracks I can think of are ‘Zulu’ by John Barry and ‘The Rock’ by Hans Zimmer. Both of these seem to tell the whole story of the film’s lighter and darker moments.

You get the same feeling with ‘From Inside’, The tale is laid out in touches and moments like a musical snapshot. Perhaps the closest soundtrack in feel to this that I can think of is ‘Midnight Express’ by Giorgio Moroder. There is the same sense of drama and darkness but with fewer 1980s electronic higher tones.

This album makes an interesting listen. It is by no means easy going or light. It has stood some listens and I hear new tones and sounds each time.

It is hard to make a judgement as to how the music fits with the film but it is safe to say that the film is probably not a light-hearted family romp. The Wizard of electronic pop has been seduced by much darker magic and the results are dramatic indeed.

Andy Bollan

October 2014

(pub: Lakeside Records. 20 tracks 52 minutes. Price: $18.47 (US). ASIN: B00MK1RAX2)

check out websites: www.numan.co.uk and www.lakeshore-records.com/

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Category: Music/Audio

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