Neil Chaney - Aura(OST) [Cold Spring - 2021]
From the folks over at Cold Spring Records here’s a CD release of the soundtrack for the 2018 horror film Aura ( aka The Exorcism of Karen Walker). The film's plot tells of a couple who discover a Kirlian camera, a device that takes pictures of a person’s aura. The forty-minute/ fifteen track soundtrack is a decidedly varied affair- moving between creepily hoovering and grimly twinkling synth string scoring. Onto coldly pared back-to-brooding electronica, through to gothic horror house piano meets melancholic string swooning, onto dark-deep ambience.
The release is presented in the form of a four-panel digipak this features, as you’d expect, a selection of stills from the film, with the front taking in a creepy illustration of a woman’s hair been lifted up by unseen hands. Aura was directed by Englishman Steve Lawson and featured an English cast- though seemingly everyone in the film is attempting to put on a US accent, I guess to appeal to the stateside market…I’ve not seen the film, and over on IMDB it’s not got great reviews. But I can certainly say the soundtrack is rather good- with a nice variation of the type of tracks and some memorable-to-creepy melodies too.
The fifteen tracks/cues each run between one to four minutes, with the album as a whole making for a consistent release, which can easily be played as a stand-alone CD. The tracks move from the coldly pulsing vibe like electronica meets stirring dark choir unease of “A New Home”, onto the ghoulish ambient scaping and deep ebb of “Asylum Visits”. We have the billow abyss meets shrill/ uneasy ring of “Séance Continues”. The creepily compressed sing-song voices meet grown terror fed synthetic orchestrion of “Exorcism”, or the creepy piano key rise meets glum string swoon of “It’s All Over”.
Throughout the score, Chaney has a great ear for both mood and melody, and he executes both with talent and well-selected instrumental tone/ character. This is seemingly his first released soundtrack- though he’s already scored a few indie horror films/ shorts. Before his soundtrack work he was involved in a few industrial/ ambient projects- Pessary that mixed industrial noise and horror film-score inspired soundscapes. And industrial dark ambient crossbreed Satori.
This is the second recent soundtrack release from Cold Spring- and I must say once again the label has picked a decidedly varied and memorable score which aptly moves from the darkly grand, onto eerily stripped, and deeply foreboding. If you enjoy creepy, haunting, yet harmonically tinged instrument music, this is a must!...let’s hope Cold Spring severs up some more soundtracks down the line.