Chateau Flight Les Vampires

Chateau Flight have made their name as soulful house remixers at home with broken beats and African polyrhythms. As such, they’re not the first artists one would think of to produce a soundtrack to the 1915 silent film serial Les Vampires. But a commission is a commission and 40 days of work produced 40 minutes of music that stands out from the rest of their repertoire. Freed from the constraints of the twelve-inch single, this disc is a suite that deals with beats and ambience in more thematic than programmatic ways. There are plenty of horror film signifiers — disembodied screams, foreboding rhythms and scary arpeggios — although the obligatory Theremin is absent. Guitarist Nicolas Villebrun is along for the ride and he broadens the sonic palette with inventive chords and textures. As a suite, the claustrophobic, mathematical work of mid-period Orb comes to mind, but with a few moments of angry release. Chateau Flight don’t dispense with the danceable rhythms, though given the subject matter it’s hard not to think of the video for "Thriller,” or the opening to Blade 2, whenever a beat drops. And of course, the obvious comparison is Queen and Giorgio Moroder’s period piece soundtrack to Metropolis. Les Vampires never entirely transcends the question of whether the music might be appropriate to the images but this is quite an absorbing project that stands on its own. (Versatile)