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Bryce Vine - Carnival Music Album Reviews

The debut full-length from the “Drew Barrymore” singer isn’t designed for conscious, focused listening. This is music for poolsides and basements.
Bryce Vine describes himself as “OutKast and Blink-182 got drunk with the Gorillaz.” Perhaps a more apt comparison is KYLE taking bong hits with Dave Matthews Band, or Jason Mraz sniffing poppers with Doja Cat. At 31, Vine is at an unconventional age for frat-rap prominence. He established a fanbase nearly a decade ago, as a contestant on “The Glee Project,” a reality television show based off the Ryan Murphy high school drama. His real rise came with 2017’s “Drew Barrymore,” a swirl of neon synths that went platinum, possibly by being added to every “Chill Vibes” playlist in existence.

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Bobby Krlic - Midsommar (Original Score) Music Album Reviews

Bobby Krlic (aka the Haxan Cloak) scores Ari Aster’s nightmarish new film Midsommar, and the result is transfixing, gorgeous, and terrifying at once.

Bobby Krlic has been crafting ominous, atmospheric work as the Haxan Cloak for ten years, so it’s no surprise his first stab at a horror-film score is so masterful. The director Ari Aster listened to Krlic’s music while writing the script for Midsommar, his follow-up to last year’s brilliant, slow-burning psychological horror breakout Hereditary. Aster decided who better to write the soundtrack than his muse, and the result is transfixing, gorgeous, and terrifying at once. Even without the film, Krlic’s revelatory work stands on its own.


The plot of Midsommar centers on a group of bros who visits remote Scandinavia for a variety of reasons: Pelle is visiting his home village; Josh wants to get some thesis research done; Mark wants to meet women, and Christian is just trying to figure his shit out. Christian has also invited his girlfriend Dani, who has recently suffered a horrible tragedy, in an attempt to repair their relationship, which is hanging by a thread. Whereas Hereditary began in relative mundanity before its plunge into hell, Midsommar throws us into a deranged folk tale within its first fifteen minutes and never lets up for the ensuing two-plus hours. Krlic’s score alternately offers the relief and turns the screws.

The film opens with colorful hand-drawn folkloric images coupled with Krlic’s cheery and romantic “Prophecy.” The piece is a breath of fresh air with cherubic vocals and harp strums—music straight from Disney version of Snow White. It’s the perfect tone for a film in which the hand-stitched floral costumes are just as bright and stunning as the blood that is ultimately shed. During “Gassed,” which accompanies one of the film’s most disturbing scenes, strings cry like nails on a chalkboard, sobs of agony collide with aching violins. Krlic’s drastic tone shifts map precisely onto Aster’s story, but they are just as dramatic on their own.

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There’s a sinister aspect to Aster’s choice of setting during the midnight sun. Evil doesn’t come from the shadows; it walks out into the blazing light, rendering the ensuing murder and chaos no more comprehensible. Even though darkness can be terrifying, the routine of day and night provides its own comfort. At first, Krlic’s soundtrack captures the instinctive panic that comes with the upset of environmental and cultural norms. But as Aster’s characters grow acclimated to their new surroundings, he relieves us with symphonic moments of clarity (“The Blessing”) and triumph. “Fire Temple” is his exquisite farewell with strings that writhe with sorrow, with intensity, with relief. In life or death, none of these emotions are exclusive, and Krlic’s work continually reminds us that it’s all one tremendous grey area.


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