Review: Hear My Eyes delivered an electrofying technicolour nightmare with its ‘Suspiria’ live score
04.03.2020

Review: Hear My Eyes delivered an electrofying technicolour nightmare with its ‘Suspiria’ live score

Photo by Simon Aubor
Photo by Simon Aubor
1 / 3
Words by Chris Swan

★★★★

Melding the worlds of music and cinema, Hear My Eyes is an ongoing series which tasks musicians with composing and performing live scores for some of film’s most evocative works.

For its fifth iteration, Hear My Eyes brought together one of its most exciting collaborations to date. Assembling members from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Fia Fiell, Bullant and Cold Hands Warm Heart along with Leah Senior and the Melbourne Chamber Choir to compose and perform a brand new score for Dario Argento’s technicolour nightmare Suspiria.

With a house packed full of music and horror aficionados, the stage at Hamer Hall was washed in purple light as the supergroup took to the stage. The typical rock setup of guitars, drums, bass was supplemented by a grand piano, harp and members of the Melbourne Chamber Choir, promising something truly special for the waiting crowd.

One of the key ingredients to building dread in a horror film is suspenseful music, and the original score composed by Goblin is one of the most iconic horror soundtracks of the ’70s. The haunting melodies help create both a lurking sense of mystery as well as genuine horror in the viewer. So, needless to say the supergroup had a rather large task ahead of them.

As the lights dimmed, the funky bass lines and synth waves washed over the crowd, accompanied by a belt of timpani and Gregorian chants from the choir. Rather than going for spooky mood music, it was immediately apparent we were in for a night of schlock fun, with music more in line with John Carpenter than the original Goblin score.

Cheers from the audience erupted as the film began, the music thumping so loudly it drowned out the audio of the film. Luckily Suspiria isn’t a film that’s heavy on story, with the vibrant and trippy visuals giving the audience all they need to navigate the tale of a dance academy run by witches.

The style of music the supergroup presented shifted the tone of the film slightly. In its original form, Argento’s film is one that slowly builds into a nightmarish fever pitch of striking visuals and grisly, over-the-top murder, but this new version gave us a more playful and inviting vision.

The powering bass and guitar kept the film moving like a freight train, while the harp – brilliantly played by Genevieve Fry – and piano brought in the more classic horror elements, beautifully punctuated by haunting voices of the choir.

Performing as if they’d been doing it for years, the band knew exactly when to settle and let the film speak for itself, never over-playing moments or drowning out set pieces for the sake of spectacle. Silence is important in a film like Suspiria and they incorporated it perfectly.

That being said, King Giz fans were given plenty of opportunities to rock out, with highlights being the scene with maggots raining from the ceiling and Suzy’s run-in with a bat, in which the guitar shifted into true Nonagon Infinity territory.

Once again, Hear My Eyes have brought together a perfect match of visuals and music to create a rocking night of entertainment. Not only was it a truly unique viewing experience, you couldn’t help but smile as funky ’70s bass and synth dazzlingly accentuated Argento’s hyper colour horror masterpiece.

Keep your eyes on the Hear My Eyes website for future shows.