3 out of 5
Label: Lunaris Records
Produced by: Alan Sinclair
Setting aside the so-damn-good opening and closing themes – something Alan Sinclair, a.k.a. Repeated Viewing, has been able to consistently deliver in amazing quality across his many soundtracks / imagined scores – Frozen Existence is a set of near awesomeness, quite hindered from that potential by allowing some ideas to stretch on for too long, to the extent of perhaps having one or two tracks too many.
What I will always give Sinclair credit for is in not just doing the obvious, and delivering the most accessible synth- / darkwave stuff each song. He commits to these being scores (and I’m perpetually unclear when they are or aren’t real), meaning songs are “set” and titled so as to feel like they properly belong to scenes, and aren’t just structured as singles. There is a legit narrative going along with this music, and despite my criticisms, I can hear how every track could be a perfect fit for that moment in the story. As a listening experience, though, Frozen allows for long stretches of drone / ambience, without either leaning into that enough to make it fully immersive, or adding enough nuance to make it a bit more directly engrossing. The B-side’s concluding tracks land a perfect balance of this, with a couple minutes of cold, chilling minimalism leading into some tunefulness, picked up fully by the closing theme. Prior to this, though, the flow keeps getting interrupted, as soon as the second track, Here Forevermore / A Legend, which is rather repetitive, and is then somewhat repeated itself by followup track Solstice.
Midway through things perk up from Cellar Heat to Investigation (Part I) – another flow like the album’s end, building form ambience to a beat – but Investigation ends rather abruptly, and has an odd coda in Investigation (Part II).
These sections, taken in bits and pieces, are excellent, and definitely visually evocative. Strung together as one album, though, while there’s a tonal throughline, the album expands and contracts oddly; cutting out a song or some minutes here and there could’ve made for a much tighter listen.
Though not considered part of the rating, the special edition of this came with a single with two extra tracks: You Scratch My Back, I’ll Stab Yours, and Maniacs Strutt. On its own, this was a fantastic single: Scratch / Stab is an oddly funky bit of ambience, very creepy, and Strutt is almost exactly as its title suggests – like an Irish pub jig, as skewed through Repeated Viewing’s retro horror gloss. Neither of these tracks “belong” with the Frozen Existence movie, but separately, they’re two lesser-heard sides to RV’s sound, and a lot of fun. Thankfully, for those of us who missed this limited edition, they’re available with the digital version of this album, alongside something of an ambient coda – Afterlife Advice – and an alternate take of Love After Midnight. Afterlife would’ve been better suited as an interstitial – it has nice atmosphere, but feels lost tacked on at the end of the experience. The Alternate Love is a worthwhile listen, though, as it’s much more direct, but proves that the “muted” version on album was better suited to the overall vibe.