Published Jun 25, 2018Jordan Peele's 2017 directorial debut, Get Out, was a hit, to say the least, exposing us all to "the Sunken Place," whether we were ready for it or not. Peele didn't do it alone, though, with several key collaborators helping him realize his dark and sinister vision. Musically, this came via the work of Michael Abels, whose haunting Get Out score has at last been released on vinyl, thanks to the soundtrack heads of Waxwork Records.
While relatively unknown before Get Out, Abels' music career actually stretches far back into the early '90s, with the American composer/ arranger working on a variety of pieces in the worlds of classical and opera. As could be expected, that more traditional background shines through in his Get Out work, though with Abels also blending in a fascinating array of different styles.
At its core, Abels' Get Out score is a horror soundtrack (and most definitely not a comedy), often recalling the classic Hitchcockian fright pieces by Bernard Herrmann. This primarily comes via a chilling array of orchestral pieces that conjure up some seriously sinister sonic atmospheres, whether it be through jagged string movements, ghostly harp plucks or terrifyingly inhuman operatic vocal work.
And while these classically minded horror pieces make up the bulk of the score, it's often when Abels stretches further into the unknown that the music Get Out truly shines. Look no further than the main title "Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga" — an earworming gospel spiritual featuring twisted-up backwoods guitar and a choir's repeated chant of the Swahili phrase "Siki Lhisa," which fittingly translates as "be careful" in English. It's a complex piece of work, and one that thankfully makes repeated appearances in a variety of forms throughout.
As Jordan Peele explains in the album's new liner notes, "I envisioned distinctly black voices harmonically creating an unnatural sound. The absence of hope. The void of the voiceless. A disembodied Negro spiritual. The Sunken Place." And that's exactly what we get thanks to Abels' work.
While the Get Out soundtrack has been out digitally for quite some time, Waxwork's new release marks its debut on vinyl, which boasts a variety of perks. Not only is there new art by Leslie Herman, but Peele has penned exclusive liner notes explaining his choice to work with Abels and how their collaboration came to fruition. It also doesn't hurt that the vinyl has been pressed up on some beautiful-sounding 180-gram coloured vinyl, with the gatefold sleeve featuring old style tip-on gatefold jackets with satin coating.
All together, it's an impressive soundtrack package and one that Get Out most definitely deserves. (Waxwork Records)