Thom Yorke dials things down on 'Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadgnino film)'

The Radiohead frontman composes a moving soundtrack for the horror film.

Dario Argento’s 1977 cult Italian horror film Suspiria is a bizarre blip in film history – its Jungian nightmare of witches, ballet and a hallucinatory predilection for the colour red is so influential it even earnt a mention in Hollywood quirkathon Juno (2007). Remade by new-age Italian-American wunderkind Luca Guadagnino this year, Thom Yorke has replaced the original’s demonic prog-rock soundtrack by Goblin, a huge part of its original success. 

Those hoping for a free-wheeling Yorke record will be disappointed – the soundtrack appears to have been remade similar to how Guadagnino remade the film; with a modern sheen, bloated and mostly, untouched. The 80-minute record has a surgical sparseness to its production, hinged upon an atmospheric propulsion only Yorke is able to conjure. 

Much of the music here, unlike Goblin’s sound FX-splatterfest, feels built for sensory deprivation – somewhat jarring, considering Suspiria is sensory overload. Warbling synths melt into solemn incantations before morphing into droning slide guitar, only to dissipate into heinous feedback. Though many of the record’s ‘songs’ are wedged between icy slabs of film score, moments like the witch-fascist conflation blues of ‘Has Ended’ remind us Yorke is never an imitator of anyone but himself.