Boomkat Product Review:
Preeminant percussionist-composer Eli Keszler sharpens his cinematic vision in a compelling first solo soundtrack for Dasha Nekrasova’s award-winning debut feature film - a psychosexual thriller set in Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious Manhattan apartment.
With peerless credentials set on ’Stadium’ - our AOTY, 2018 - and chops in 0PN’s soundtrack to the Safdie Brothers’ ‘Uncut Gems’, Keszler now steps up as a soundtrack composer in his own right with a Giallo-tinted OST for ‘The Scary of Sixty-First’. Dasha Nekrasova’s debut film (winner of Best First Feature Award at Berlin International Film Festival) surely benefits from Keszler’s brooding mix of electro-acoustic Giallo touches and acoustic drone atmospheres, deftly and typically used to evoke the haunts of Uptown Manhattan depicted in the film, and the dread contained therein.
The soundtrack finds Keszler placing a singular repository of techniques and production knowledge at the service of a new paradigm in his catalogue. Maybe best to let him explain: “The score was built around the ‘pentagram melody’ as we called it, a seven-note symmetrical pattern that formed the sign found on the tarot card, a repeated motif of dread and premonition found in the film. In the Scary Theme and later in Tarot Theme three variations occur, where each tonal triangle is introduced individually, followed by it playing in counterpoint to each other to complete the symbol. I wrote the score keeping in mind what I saw as the two layers of the film. The physical reality of the story which I depicted through humor and the surreal - emphasizing the stories nonsensical quality. And secondly through the dream/horror space that blurs the line between fact, fiction and cathartic violence.”
Across the 17 cues and themes we hear Keszler’s unique proprioception of space and tantalising feel for tone deployed at its eeriest and most unsettling, reflecting the flick’s core matter with a contemporary sensitivity and classic appeal. No doubt comparisons with Goblin and 0PN are warranted, but Keszler’s fine grasp of electro-acoustic fidelity and texture really set it off and lend a clammy shiver of spirit that we can imagine many other directors and producers will be seeking.