Motion pictures and ambient music have a long history together. Whether it’s from mystery or crime/drama movies from the 1950’s, or modern day horror & science fiction films, the recognizable screeches and drones become the lifeblood of any scene requiring a change in adrenaline or emotion, albeit from live orchestrations or manipulative synth arrangements. When the combination of the two are matched perfectly, there is nothing more audibly or visually entertaining that will get your senses moving on all cylinders. What’s even better, is when we have this same kind of musical experience that doesn’t necessarily go along with a feature film. Instead, we rely on the impassioned vibe of the music to allow us to create our own visual – our mental motion picture, if you will. That leads me to Witnesses and the release of their latest effort, ‘III’. Filled with dark, cinematic-themed tunes and great use of urban-styled field recordings, ‘III’ sounds as if its a soundtrack already made for a movie that hasn’t even been written yet. From top-quality orchestrations & sparsely used vocals to soothing synth drones, ‘III’ runs the gamut of audio variety.
The albums aptly titled lead off track, “Introduction”, is a tranquilizing synth arrangements that could easily compliment the opening credits of a movie, good enough to draw the audience in without giving away too much. “The First Part”, has some creepy orchestral droning in the background, while a melodic piano piece starts the track. Broken down into several pieces, this near twelve minute long song could be used for several genres of movies, including crime (from around two and a half minute to the five minute mark), science fiction (from around six and a half to the nine minute mark), and drama due to the heavy use of field recordings for the remainder of the time. “The Second Part” starts with a simple keyboard drone followed by beautiful female vocals that make this one of the standout tracks on the album. The sound is crystal clear and production is crisp. About halfway through, the tone shifts to a discordant style orchestral tone as if a distressed or uptight moment has come about. It suddenly stops and when the music starts again, we’re greeted with live drums to close out the track. “The Third Part” featured more ethereal style droning, with various soundscapes integrated in the mix to add some variety. At around the three minute mark, were treated to a warm and melodic part that features a guitar and drum arrangement. “The Fourth Part” is heavier on the synth part than some of the previous tracks but the songwriting is great and the end result is a smooth, memorable dark Jazz moment. “The Fifth Part” blazes in with a nerving introduction before morphing into a consoling chamber music tune with exceptional vocals. Toward the end of the track, there is an awesome 80’s retro synth wave arrangement, that fits in perfectly. “The Sixth Part” melodic synth drones that crescendo in and out of the mix several times and the free space is augmented by effortless piano playing. The last few minutes of this track features some evil sounding dark ambient drones. The final track “The Seventh Part” is a short piece that again features the drums and clean guitar riffs that play over a steady orchestral sounding drone. As the drums fade out, the droning continues until the song finally comes to a halt.
Witnesses have done a great job combining the elements of cinematic score and ambient music. Although there are other elements thrown in like vocals, guitars and drums, the basic concept of creating a rugged soundtrack that could cover several genres of movies has been met. This is an excellent album that is full of surprises and I would love to hear this actually matched up with a movie one day. Please show your support for Witnesses and download ‘III’ at the link below.
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