Boomkat Product Review:
On this inspired, alternate soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket’, Sam Willis homes in and expands upon the seminal Vietnam war film’s haunting sonic aspects for Ecstatic.
Marching forth from ‘White On White’ (2018), which saw Willis turn cues from overlooked British Constructivist artist Marlow Moss into angular electronic minimalism, ‘FMJ’ finds him rendering grimy rhythmic shrapnel and tense, lysergic atmospheres from processed samples of Abigail Mead’s original score for ‘Full Metal Jacket’. Broadly eschewing the film’s classic rock ’n roll cuts and marching songs, Willis highlights its deeply chilling undertones of dread and paranoia, focussing in particular on the accompaniment to key scenes in the suicide of ‘Leonard’, the bullied cannon fodder; the squadron’s recce of ’Ruins’; and the death of the female VC sniper.
Using a hefty arsenal of vintage hardware including PPG Wave synth/sampler, Emulator II, SP1200 and Prophet 5 to paint stark sonic imagery, Willis acutely acknowledges the film’s integral but perhaps overlooked input from Abigail Mead, a.k.a. Stanley Kubrick’s daughter Vivian Kubrick, whose Fairlight CMI compositions coloured the film’s most pivotal moments. Through interpolation and sampling, Willis deftly unpackages these moments to evoke a heavily present sense of impending brutality that’s alleviated occasionally by passages of sharp, glassy rhythm hinting at the film’s humid South East Asian location and febrile, dreamlike sense of duality and cinematic fantasia.
In step with a stellar run of Ecstatic releases including Novo Line’s imaginary fusion of the ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ and ‘To Live and Shave in LA’ soundtracks (‘To Qatsi And Die in LA’ [E041, 2019]), Abul Mogard’s ‘Kimberlin’ soundtrack, or Not Waving’s ‘Futuro’; Primitive World’s ‘FMJ’ is another immersive addition to the label’s now signature strain of impressionistic, imaginative musical storytelling.