When a composer begins to write a soundtrack for a film, there are three things to accomplish. First, it must attribute in some way to getting a feeling across to the audience in association with the scene it plays over. Second, the composer has to write under the circumstance of the director/screenwriter while simultaneously compromising the composer’s own style. Third, and most importantly to a musician, it can stand alone from the film and still procreate an impact. Ulver formidably accomplish all three with apparent ease and grace, and also illustrate an unfamiliar way to approach arranging the soundtrack apart from the film.
Lyckantropen is a short film by up and coming director/writer Steve Ericsson only running for just under a half hour. It’s very interesting and captivating due to its ominous tone and open-endedness. Ericsson obviously paid attention to color patterns throughout the scenes and transitions because of how the sum of the parts corresponded so well, and getting all the ideas of what exactly happens across in a half hour is inimitably refreshing and powerful. It’s no wonder why Ulver agreed to work on the film. It seems they paid just as much attention to the music playing through each scene as the director did to his portion. This is also Ulver’s first of two dives into the world of soundtracks, and it’s pretty incredible how well they adjusted to this format.
The film deals with the emotional breakdown of a man and his family, but the means of how strong the events play out is due to the music behind them. Without the music, the film would still be interesting but could not convey the same impact. The music brings the kind of current that rushes through you without you knowing until that one note hits with the certain event that bursts you open and you can realize so much more about what you’re witnessing. The music can only be described as emotional, piano driven dub electronica with very subtle percussion, if any, that plays as slow or fast as the film allows it, adding a very strong, dark undercurrent of wonder. Though, wonder is not the only key word here, but also mystery, and sadness and hate. Ulver manage to use recurring themes of these dub-piano dirges to melancholic effects, and create spin-offs of the sound with shrouds of brass that sounds like it wants to escape when the music gets quiet…and then the piano strums in with its repetition. When the drums do fully work their way in, the piano gets much more sad and inclusive while the weird, yet familiar mixing board effects build upon the ever-evolving theme, while incorporating certain sounds of from the film to add that much more.
The best thing about Ulver is their ability to adapt. They can use any given situation or feeling and produce a whole record without overplaying or showboating, they just get their point across and finish in silence. When you watch the film and lose your mind in the soundtrack, that’s the best experience for you to begin to understand what the film is actually doing. The ending is so bizarre if you pay that kind of attention, and was obviously meant to be that way since the film just screams “eerie” even without an eerie plot. Ulver’s contribution to these emotions is recognized and utilized to full effect, you just have to witness it, and listen.