Soundtrack review: Maison Close (Gast Waltzing – 2015)
“Maison Close” is a French TV show which follows the struggles of several young women forced to work in an opulent brothel. The score was written by classical jazz musician Gast Waltzing. I must admit I hadn’t heard of either the score or the composer before receiving this score.
The opening credits are smooth and jazzy as I would have expected. The cue is short and cool and fitting for opening credits. It doesn’t impose and you might find yourself recognizing it and humming it. “Plastic light” actually has something in it that made me think of Philip Glass. The darkish atmosphere and the woodwind instruments sent me there. It makes me think of a small and mysterious town where everything seems normal until you peak a little deeper.
“Primal fuck” is short and intense. It keeps a hand on that dark veil that covers this score. “Psychotic” is melodic and ominous. “Maison Close” is starting to establish an identity for itself, a sense of unrest. This track doesn’t scare me or make me feel uncomfortable but it does get me a bit worried. The end is particularly menacing with a bunch of strings suddenly rising up. “Catfish” is the first real highlight of the score for me. It’s a sorrowful and strong piano tune which rolls in a way I am familiar with. It makes me sad but there’s a determination in the music which gives way to hope. I imagine a character which will not give up. A simple piano theme like this tells me volumes and I can relate to it. It’s the kind of piece I get lost in and forget where I was when it started.
“Curtain light” is more improvisational than the previous cues and again the atmosphere brings “Koyaanisquatsi” to mind. It’s a special kind of menacing and I am strangely enjoying it. It’s some sort of light Gothic sound that’s both inviting and worrisome. It bleeds into “Heroe” which is the most horror cue so far. There’s also some sort of background noise which will not let you sleep after you hear it. The piano sounds broken and the whole thing plays like a crazy nightmare where pieces that wouldn’t normally fit together blend into a crazy mix. I like this kind of experiment.
We are still in scary land with “Sunday”. After this dark piece ends “Ugly man” waltzes in with a sound lighter and jollier than anything we’ve heard to far. Quite a strange name for such a happy period song. There’s a lot of woodwinds and the cue evokes a country fair to me. “Suzan” is on the same spectrum as the rest of the score but leaning more towards tenderness. That dark veil is still there, the composer makes sure of it, but you can find warmer and happier moments underneath.
“Cake” is a lullaby and I am still not sure what to feel about this score. It’s intriguing enough and I like the general sound but sometimes I feel the motifs are repeating themselves and there’s not a whole lot of variation. “Fun time” cements the weird carnival general feeling of “Maison Close” and I guess it fits the story and the setting. With this track I’ve also realized that I like the score. The violin sealed the deal for me. Gast Waltzing wrote a strange but enjoyable little score and it’s well worth a listen.
Cue rating: 85 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 10 / 27
Album excellence: 37%
09 Curtain Light
24 Fun Time