Posted on December 30th, 2013 (11:00 am) by Jake Cappuccino

Released in late November on Telefuture Records, Makeup and Vanity Set’s newest release Manifold was commissioned as a film score. Keeping that in mind, this is an eerie, ambient, haunting cold winter night of an album and soundtrack, like that of some dark, bleak, nightmarish sci-fi world. Anthony Scott Burns, the director of the short film also titled Manifold, described his feelings about the music: “I believe that the music in a film can absolutely make or break it… MAVS music makes the film Manifold.” MAVS’s soundtrack definitely enhances the Canadian film which is available for free on Vimeo.

The first track, “Things to Come,” is a premonition of, unsurprisingly, things to come in the film. A deep, ambient, bass, like a never-ending upright bass note, opens the song. Single piano notes join in and give the song an ethereal quality. There is no conflict just yet.

The second track, “Yearling,” hints of the conflict to come. To convey this, MAVS uses all kinds of clicking and scraping noises as well as low pitched piano hits. A washboard scraping and a wooden raking over fluctuating samples lend an uneasy tension to the track before it changes into some repetitive keyboard work. The main character is attempting to solve the mystery, but he does not anticipate the oncoming dire consequences. The track ends with more ambient noise and scraping. That character has found a lead, but does not yet know its significance.

The third track, “A Warning,” is more chill, ambient, and slow. Someone is trying to save the main character from suffering his fate. MAVS evokes this with his use of a windy background noise and somber piano notes. The two characters are speaking outside in the cold winter day and the main character learns that something is wrong and awry. Ragged, frenetic wind chimes suggest the closeness of the climax.

The fourth track, “Closed Loop,” opens with more low-pitched, ambient noise. A synthesizer comes in with a repetitive loop; the character now attempts to escape his fate. The sounds are pitch perfect here. They convey a sadness at his inability to escape in spite of his efforts. He has to face the conflict head on in a battle, but the pounding bass at the end of the song and the same low-pitched, ambient noise tells his fate; he does not survive the encounter.

The last track, “Omni,” suggests the plot’s falling action and end of story. The truth has been discovered and the main character is dead. The synth and sample work and the continued use of ambient noise suggest the sci-fi nature of the short film. The ambient noise, like a never ending violin note, gets louder and louder until it is the only sound left. The main character’s struggle was inevitable and inescapable.

The plot of the short film closely follows the structure that I have laid out. That being the case, Makeup and Vanity Set has made a good soundtrack as the soundtrack matches, more or less, what appears on screen. As a stand-alone electronic album, Manifold is a decent dark, ambient, electronica album. As a soundtrack, its creativity is better realized. Listen to the soundtrack and then watch the short film. The soundtrack clearly enhances and complements the film in a strong way.

Track List:
1. Things to Come
2. Yearling
3. A Warning
4. Closed Loop
5. Omni

Makeup and Vanity Set - Manifold
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

60 / 100
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