Carl Zittrer ‎– Black Christmas

3 out of 5

Label: Waxwork Records

Produced by: Thomas Dimuzio (mastered by)

Yeah, my ears totally rejected this on first listen.  It’s a fairly short playthrough, one collage of noise per side, played at 45 RPM – maybe 30 minutes total? – and it’s not a wholly pleasant thing: clips of Billy’s gibberish from the movie with harsh, atonal sounds chopped in, surreally smooshing into creepy Christmas carols, and lots of shrieking.  It’s, like, one of those Halloween sound effects albums you might put on for whatever reason people put those on; I rationalized that it certainly makes sense exactly as a film score for that reason, but not really as a listenable soundtrack, which is how I try to rate these things.

And I still would maintain that, but further context from Carl Zittrer’s liner notes gave me more appreciation for what I was actually listening to, which made playing it through again certainly more interesting…  So here’s the gist: this is not really a soundtrack, but rather “a re-imagined, re-composed, and re-mixed interpretation from Billy’s perspective.”  Zittrer had chopped and screwed a bunch of strange elements together already for the original score, which was thought lost, then found, then reworked into this new “experience.”

Which it is: an experience.  It’s a weird one, more of an avant-garde listen than anything, and honestly pretty spooky throughout, especially if you had no context of the film to which to map this.  Having familiarity with the movie, though, alongside an understanding of Zittrer’s approach, enhances that experience with some additional immersiveness… if you care to get in to Black Christmas’ Billy’s mind.

The rating is still affected in that I seriously doubt I’ll be revisiting this, but I applaud Waxwork and Carl for getting together and finding a unique way to re-present this to us.