Italian composer Teho Teardo has created some fine works, and Ballyturk is as good as anything he’s penned. Written to accompany the play of the same name by Edna Walsh, whilst the digital version of this album has been out since the production opened in September, complications with the distributer has meant that the physicals have only just become widely available. This soundtrack is a powerful, stirring body of work.
Whilst this soundtrack would have dramatically punctuated the pauses in Walsh’s frenetic piece, in isolation the soundtrack is regal and fantastic, though it ebbs within the bowels of sadness. It’s propelled largely by the dynamic and luscious cello playing of Lori Goldsten (who has played with Nirvana and Earth) and Nick Holland (Balanescu Quartet). Most songs focus around the low-end thunder that crackles beautifully; opener Poisonous His Envy starts with a bleak dialogue as the cellos saw away. Higher string parts layer over and oscillate, creating a slightly disorientating effect. It’s a slow, solemn march of a song that grows with each laboured step. As the track becomes louder the cello starts to slide down notes, a guitar line strums high notes in double-time and background noise envelops. It ends up a wonderful wash of noise.
Whilst this clearly a soundtrack, it’s also a post-rock record, although the two undoubtedly blur into each other’s spectrums. As Teardo picks out a guitar riff in Foreboding over a nicely ascending progression it recalls something Mogwai might place amidst their noise, something soothing. Just as the guitar scratching in the opening haze could have been a Hood guitar line, Teardo’s compositions want to chime and ebb simultaneously and often do so – providing a lull that never actually feels comfortable.
I Thought We Knew Everything There Was To Know buzzes; the stings are high, piercing and menacing. Under this a soft sequence plays several rounds before a bass note amplifies the song massively. It’s part Max Richter, part Goblin and it’s thrilling. Indeed the whole album excites, a series of songs that crackle with untapped power, occasionally pulsing within an inability to contain themselves but often rolling out like a brown tide into a grey sky, uncomforting but beautiful.