Song of the Day: A hypnotic, slow-burn of weird ambient music

I’ve been listening to more movie soundtracks lately while I’m writing and researching my podcast/novel project. I came across one song from the soundtrack to a science fiction/horror film that I absolutely love.

The song is called “The Alien” and it’s on the soundtrack for Annihilation, the 2018 film that was based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. I saw the movie and read the book, but I’ll get to that later. First, I’d like to talk about the song.

“The Alien” is more than twelve minutes long, and it’s a hypnotic and slow-burn of weird ambient music. I’m not quite sure how to describe the various electronic noises made in the track. I guess the best words to use are jarring and haunting. I usually play this song – and the entire soundtrack – late at night while I’m researching or writing.

Annihilation, both the movie and the novel, are excellent, in my opinion. The novel is part of VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, a series of books about scientists who explore an area on the Florida coast known as “Area X” that’s been closed off to the public for decades.

It’s a strange and unsettling book that includes beautifully twisted descriptions of the wildlife and landscape of the coastal habitat, and the scientists’ descent into madness. The movie was also cool, and it starred Natalie Portman as the main character.

Ben Salisbury is the British music composer who created the Annihilation soundtrack in collaboration with Geoff Barrow. Barrow is also English and he has been making music for a while, as he helped form the trip hop band Portishead in 1991.

The Salisbury-Barrow duo have done a lot of work on sci-fi/cosmic horror film soundtracks recently, including creating the score for Ex Machina and a TV series called Devs.

Check out “The Alien” below. If you like it, cool. If not, no worries.

Also, you can support Ben Salisbury’s music by checking out his website at this link. Support Geoff Barrow by checking out his Twitter account here.

(Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash)

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