[ARTIST] Ben Babbitt
[TRACK] Waiting and Watching
[ALBUM] Paris Window (OST)
[LABEL] Not Not Fun
Director Amanda Kramer’s prompts for composer Ben Babbitt’s soundtrack to her enigmatic film Paris Window read like magnetic fridge poetry – “warped ambient bumper muzak tension” – but the results skew closer to some hypnagogic contemporary noir: lulling, low-lit, and laced with lingering dread. Electronics, strings, and percussion swoon and seethe in heady mirages of dreams and delirium, romance and menace. The narrative it accompanies is equally opaque and out of time: two eccentric siblings psychologically unravel through divergent fixations, one obsessed with the hypnotic infomercials of a mysterious self-help institute while the other falls in love with an ambiguous doppelganger.
Babbitt’s background scoring experiential video games (Kentucky Route Zero) and collaborating with exploratory songwriters (Angel Olsen, Weyes Blood, Eartheater) is evident in his versatility and finesse, flowing fluidly between starkly minimal and densely layered modes. Like all the most dynamic film music, the pieces weave a story of their own. Serene synthetic swells decay into murmuring television static and eerie vocal fragments; close-mic’d drones turn acidic then claustrophobic, mirroring sleep paralysis transformed into panic. Babbitt builds a window into a surreal world, seen through shadows and smeared, street-lit glass.
-Not Not Fun
Violin and viola on “Waiting and Watching” performed by Dina Maccabee.