Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has released "Suspirium," a haunting, minimalist first single from the score to the upcoming remake of Dario Argento's 1977 film Suspiria. It is streaming now via Yorke's official Youtube channel, above.
Departing from the futuristic electronic-oriented instrumentation featured on nearly all of his solo output, Yorke still manages to create the surreal, dark sonic atmosphere associated with his work through sparse piano instrumentation and haunting vocals. Through lyrics like, "This is a waltz thinking about our bodies / What they mean for our salvation," and "All the road signs black with silence / Now tomorrow's at peace," he hints at the tone of the film (about an American dance student that enrolls at a prestigious dance academy in Berlin carrying dark occult secrets) while still leaving some mystery pre-release.
The sound of the single is completely unlike the classic score of the original 1977 film, composed by Italian prog-rock band Goblin. Whereas the original score was more focused on traditional rock instrumentation, this track takes a different, more subtle approach to create an unsettling atmosphere for the film. However, it seems doubtful that the rest of the soundtrack will follow this acoustic format as he stated at the Venice Film Festival that he drew heavily upon the film's 1977 Berlin setting, particularly "Krautrock and all the music of that period and previous to that that I really loved," according to Rolling Stone.
He also shared some insight about how his creative process evolved while creating the soundtrack and how working in the studio was evoking the magic of the film, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
It was one of those moments in your life where you want to run away, but you know you’ll regret it if you do... I watched the original film several times, and I loved it because it was of that time, an incredibly intense soundtrack. Obviously Goblin and Dario worked incredibly closely when they did it together... But it was of its time and there was no way I could reference it in any way... There was no point, other than what I found interesting was they used repetition of motifs, again and again and again. Part of your mind was saying, ‘Please, I don’t want to hear this anymore.' ... That was really great...
There’s a way of repeating in music that can hypnotize. I kept thinking to myself that it’s a form of making spells... So when I was working in my studio I was making spells. I know it sounds really stupid, but that’s how I was thinking about it... It was a sort of freedom I’ve not had before. I’ve not worked in the format of song arrangement. I’m just exploring... I’m putting things out into my studio and seeing what my studio is bringing back. It was a sort of maybe a beginning launch of an idea... It was just a really cool way to totally immerse myself in an area I wouldn’t normally go with full permission.
Suspiria: Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film will be the first film score Yorke has done in his career. It will also be his first full-length solo work since 2014's Tomorrow's Modern Boxes. The soundtrack will be released October 26 through XL Recordings, the same day the film will be released in New York and Los Angeles before a wider theatrical release on November 2.
Yorke will be going on a fall tour, and tickets are now on sale.