Liner Note Author: David Robert Mitchell .
A major part of the impact of David Robert Mitchell's 2015 indie horror hit It Follows comes from its deeply creepy score, which was composed by Disasterpeace (aka Rich Vreeland). The film's premise is diabolically simple: the heroine, Jay, gets an STD -- that's sexually transmitted demon -- that looks like a human and will slowly, inevitably, stalk and kill her unless she gives it to someone else. Vreeland's music is just as powerful in how it channels dread, terror, and hopelessness; even the impressionistic track titles ("Anyone," "Linger") signal the gut-level emotions he plays on so masterfully. Best known for his albums of chiptune music and his video game soundtracks, Vreeland's first film score borrows from some of the best film composers as well as his own oeuvre (several pieces from his score for the puzzle platform game Fez were used in the film's temporary music). Dominated by throbbing, droning, and screeching synths, the music's vintage sound mirrors the film's hard-to-place era, but also feels very much of its time; It Follows' biggest influence is John Carpenter, whose pulsing scores for his films were a fashionable inspiration for many 2010s musicians (Carpenter himself also released an album of non-soundtrack music, Lost Themes, in 2015). "Title" is the clearest homage to the director's music, riffing on the Halloween theme, but Vreeland also nods to Goblin on "Detroit"'s arpeggios, which convey the grandiose decay of the film's setting, and to Vangelis on the melancholic character study "Jay." The more frightening cues are just as nuanced, spanning the panicky "Old Maid," "Doppel"'s frantic sheets of noise, and the almost tangible stabbing, pounding, and scratching of the climactic "Father." Vreeland's reverence for horror music tradition never gets in the way of making his own mark, however, and It Follows is a self-assured and -- most importantly -- truly unsettling debut as a film composer. ~ Heather Phares