Boomkat Product Review:
‘Sex’ is the 2nd exhibition soundtrack release by internationally acclaimed artist Anne Imhof, with Eliza Douglas and Billy Bultheel, following their soundtrack to the Golden Lion-awarded ‘Faust’ exhibition at the 2017 Venice Biennale
Combining dark, piano-led lieder, industrial prang outs, and grungy harpsichord works, the soundtrack to ‘Sex’ is every bit as strange and beguiling as ‘Faust’, again utilising Imhof’s Nico-esque vocals in ravishingly emotive, stately yet punkish style. The soundtrack was conceived in 2019 as one aspect of a much larger exhibit including paintings, sculptures, objects and architectural elements, and appears here reworked to spec for release, prior to its premiere performances at Imhof’s first dedicated Italian installation at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Turin, and later in Rome.
Part of a trilogy with ‘Angst’ (2016) and ‘Faust’ (2017), the soundtrack to ‘Sex’ occupies similarly lofty ground between polyphonic antiquity and the fractious complexity of the modern day, building an imaginary world where Imhof’s innovative vocals can best express her disenchantment with social meditation and the alienation of an atomised society obeying physical distancing, but still narcissistic and needy.
With proper poetic clout Imhof and her collaborators construct an ambitious staging for the songs, which aren’t necessarily “sexy”, but are rather brooding and lamenting, sweeping from the elegiac keen of ‘Helmet Waltz’ to the stark bombast of ‘Pretty People’ via standout parts of grungy chamber music in ‘Bullshit Song’ co-produced by Ville Haimaia (Amnesia Scanner), and the industrial eruptions of its ‘Moshpit’ parts, with striking choral arrangements in ‘Prince Waltz’ and Anne at her most poised in ‘Dark Times.’