3 out of 5
Label: Waxwork Records
Produced by: Pilotpriest
I’m going to be obnoxiously dismissive: Pilotpriest’s ‘Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ is what happens when you’re tooling around on your keyboards after O.D.ing on Stranger Things seasons.
Of course, this is, to a certain degree, accurate, as per ‘Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’s description, from Waxwork Records: 22 tracks “…draw(ing) inspiration from 1970’s and 80’s cult-classic films.” Those films might not all be E.T. (in fact, none of them are), but the Killian Eng Star Wars-y artwork and neon-colored vinyl speak to a certain mentality, and we’ll just say that Pilotpriest – aka Anthony Scott Burns – isn’t scoring these movies, so much as responding to them while being in a certain mindset. That mindset tends to be dominated by synthwave-y tunes, but the mood does shift over the course of the 3 LPs, and I do think that’s controlled from a sequencing perspective, which I appreciate. Opener Body Double has a nice, creeping lead-in, for example, and though we go through a stretch of moderately generic head-bobbing beats for the rest of the first LP (for After Hours, Rumblefish, and more), the D-side really kicks in to gear (The Black Hole, Legend…) by bringing in more modern sensibilities. This could, I suppose, be said to morph into “darkwave” at this point, if we’re sticking with such terms, but it’s also when the album starts to sound like something definitive instead of being another entry in the trend of retro electronic music from the last 5 or so years. The E-side – Xanadu, Flight of the Navigator – shifts gears back again, becoming a bit dancier and including vocals, but we end well, with F-side’s Run, The Canyons, etc. bringing in notes of hope and discovery that give the journey an appropriately epic-affecting sendoff.
As I’m not a huge fan of this general scene, I need something rather unique to grab my attention, and there isn’t much on Pilotpriest’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack that hits that. That said, I do think the concept is cool, and the music is undeniably professional, and purposeful in its affectations and visual presentation.