Everything about the Vombis Records release of Last House on Dead End Street combines to create an absolutely terrifying package. All of the art is taken from frames of a rare 35mm print of the infamous grindhouse shocker, and they're blown out just enough to make you feel like you're looking at something forbidden.
The track listing inside is in the familiar library music format -- apt, as this soundtrack is a collection of library pieces, which took clever fans of the 1977 film years to search out and identify. The descriptions are succinct, but perfectly convey the taut nature of these recordings, with the word "throbbing" making repeated appearances, along with equally accurate summations as "insistent," "tense," and "nebulous," amongst others.
The collection of sounds found on Last House on Dead End Street's two sides are certainly less a score in the sense of 'music', than a score in the sense that this is a series of sounds, which set the mood and tone for the music. It's more akin to the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop or the Forbidden Planet score than anything else out there, and is far more appropriate for creating a sense of unease and foreboding than for outright pleasure.
There are the occasional musical pieces: "Beat Me 'Til I'm Blue" is absolutely shocking in terms of its upbeat funkiness. Also, coming as it does in the midst of all these brooding tones, the bass only serves to further discomfort the listener, as it's almost so low that it's experienced and felt, rather than heard. However, it's absolutely the exception, which proves the rule for these pieces.
Last House on Dead End Street is an album that we can only suggest listening to in separate sessions. Take a break between the two sides. You'll need it to come down and steel your nerves for the second side's assortment of sounds in ever-increasing volume, which makes the first's quiet insistence seem like child's play.
The pure simplicity of this release allows the compilation of "electronically produced cues" to really shine, even divorced from the film's visuals. With Last House on Dead End Street, Vombis Records have put out something that stands at the apex of audio sleuthing and sinister audio mechanics.
LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET (1977) / COMPOSER: VARIOUS ARTISTS / LABEL: VOMBIS RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW