An evocative soundtrack for a documentary on Franco-Saudi relations.
The LP's black sleeve points to the film's ominous mood. Kouchian's soundtrack is no less suggestive. Following the Los Angeles-noir fantasies of his last album, Pacific Alley, and its successive remix package, this release swiftly reminds you of Kouchian's versatility. The soundtrack opens up with a chilling orchestral piece that swells and recedes in a formless mass of mournful, Eastern-tinged strings. It sounds at least partially synthesised, and the layers creep in and fade out without obvious rhythmic markers.
There are plenty of string-led incidentals here, as you would expect from a soundtrack, and the tone is unremittingly sombre. Kouchian's tendency towards maximalism can be felt at times in the clamour of discordant frequencies. Beyond the orchestrations there are excursions into more electronically minded fare. The fourth piece rides neutral pads with vintage, lab-science synths lingering atop a supple but weighty bass thump. It's here that a parallel with Pacific Alley emerges. Together with the LP's constant tape hiss, Kouchian can't quite shake off his love of sounds that evoke a VHS-warped past.
While the strings have an emotional message to impart, the inquisitive melodic sections are open to interpretation. Rowdy drums bowl into earshot. Delicate chords offer a reprieve before the next storm cloud passes over. Clearly, the music has specific relevance to the documentary, but the pieces are no less evocative in isolation. Saudi's subject matter is vividly realised by Kouchian's music.