Released on Nomadic Kids Republic last month, René Margraff's latest output under his Pillowdiver moniker, 'Frozen Soundtracks', was envisaged as a tribute to the soundtracks certain films that hold some meaning to him. The track titles are, as such, rather self explanatory, with each track being almost an homage to that particular film. What one mustn't think however, is that this album is either a set of 'reworkings' of the referenced films' soundtracks, nor that it is a set of disconnected tracks that work only in relation to their cinematic counterparts - almost as new soundtracks. Whilst the 'vibe' of each film and accompanying soundtrack are easily recognised in Margraff's release - for instance in the beautifully hazy synthesised strings in 'Twin Peaks' - if the track names were removed, or one was not aware of their referencing material outside of Margraff's own output, this release would stand alone as another immense, throbbing Pillowdiver release regardless.
The album begins with 'Twin Peaks'. Even without the title, the connection to Lynch's magnificent series and film is unmistakable, opening as it does with a throbbing sample of the soundtrack, over which slowly circling hisses, clicks and strings build into a gently clipping wave of distortion. Margraff's own unmistakable artistic vision is indeed very evident in this release - and can only be said to be shown ever-stronger for it, so easy as it is to almost fall into another artist's own musical ‘shoes’ when using material taken from their own work, no matter how abstracted. The Pillowdiver sound - landscapes that can only be described as massive, veering between ethereal forms and distorted monoliths - is still in full evidence on this record, and has only developed since 'Cassette Recordings', released on Analogpath in June.
'Woman In the Dunes' sees, as does 'Le Mépris', a new side to Margraff's sound more akin to the work of Shinobu Nemoto in ‘On the Beach’ as Summons of Shining Ruins - layering hard-edged electric hiss and distortion with a set of more atonal drones that seem to be calling from the bottom of an ocean of reverb, all done whilst still retaining his semi- orchestral sensibility in terms of production and breadth of sound. This development, however different from his previous work, is what propels Margraff's release from simply another beautiful example of sound processing into the realm of a release that almost creates its own personality, able even to stand alone from the artist. The dichotomy present between the two sonic personalities evident in 'Frozen Soundtracks' is staggering, and yoyo-ing between these two extremes acts not only as a fantastic palette-cleanser between tracks, keeping each individual composition musically 'fresh', but also gives this release the feeling that René Margraff's output is going to become ever more gripping.
Review by Max Hampshire