Death and Vanilla


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It's no surprise that when the 2012 Fantastisk Filmfestival in Lund, Sweden needed a band to score a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyers' classic 1932 horror movie Vampyr, they turned to fellow Swedes Death and Vanilla. The duo's debut album from earlier in the year had shown that they were making expansive, cinematic-leaning music already and obviously had the skill set to make it work. Expanding from the core duo of Marleen Nilsson (organ, sampler) and Anders Hansson (guitar, zither, sampler) to include Magnus Bodin on Moog, Petter Herbertsson on bass, and Magnus Westerholm on vibes and percussion, the band captures the spooky, foreboding mood of horror with a light touch that weaves a spell of ominous beauty throughout the 70-plus-minute running time. Listening to them play live as the film unspooled was probably the ideal way to experience the music, but it stands on its own very well. The arrangements are well thought out and executed, full of interesting twists and turns as the instruments appear and vanish and the mood shifts and alters. It was a wise choice from the festival heads to hire the band, which came through with a very compelling, highly listenable score. It was first released on cassette by Moon Glyph in 2013, then on a limited-edition run on vinyl by Kalligrammofon in 2014 with the addition of nine minutes of music from an early rehearsal. Death and Vanilla's record label, Fire, then gave the music the wide release it deserved in 2017.

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