A couple of weeks ago I was driving through a snowstorm at night on the way home from work. The podcast I was listening to ended and to close out the show ten minutes of the Star Wars score played. I never felt safer while driving through snow. As a child of the 80s I had great memories of the images from the movie and the sounds of the score. Together they were magic and now, when played separately, still hold up because of the past viewings.
There was also a debate recently over who is more important in comics, the writer or the artist.
The answer is if two pieces of art are created as part of a collaboration they will never be as strong on their own as they are as a whole. Thus, a soundtrack to a movie I’ve never seen cannot have the same effect on its own as it will when heard in the theater.
Upon first listening this soundtrack was just there. Interesting, but more forgettable background music than an emotional investment.
Then I went looking for 20 Matches and suddenly it all made sense.
20 Matches features a young woman telling us about a serial killer in Vienna, Austria. The killer claims twenty immigrant women as victims, one per year. The entire movie is filmed by match light in front of the woman’s face (as played by Nina Rausch).
Hearing just a snippet of this soundtrack in the trailer changes everything. What was once bare now fills the room. Silence now screams. Together the movie and score become terrifying but also enraptures. A movie that uses darkness as a plot point needs music like this. Every note sounds like its hiding something. There are notes not being played, whole measures lurking just beyond what can be perceived. Expect to discover more with every listen.
Wirsig is being compared to Trent Reznor and I think that’s an over simplification. The sound is not quite the same, but the genius is comparable. After many listens I became aware that Reznor is much smarter than I am and only through multiple times on multiple devices can the levels of meaning in his work start to be understood. Same with Wirsig. A half dozen plays later and I’m still discovering. When the full 20 Matches is available to the world every second of both works will have to be reevaluated.