Of the many adjectives that have been lavished upon Cul de Sac's utterly original, trans-genre instrumental sound over their thirteen year tenure, "cinematic" has certainly been a common one. Perhaps the band instinctively realized that their music was a perfect compliment for the moving image, for in their early days Cul de Sac would perform live with experimental films as a backdrop, and often have created live musical accompaniment to many screenings of classic silent pictures. So when Cul de Sac were commissioned by Boston's Cityscape Motion Pictures in 2001 to compose the original score for The Strangler's Wife - a low budget, feminist-leaning slasher film made for New Concorde, the production/distribution company owned by "King of the B's" Roger Corman (Little Shop of Horrors, The Masque of the Red Death etc) - their cinematic music became positively widescreen. The Strangler's Wife is the original motion picture score by Cul de Sac, a soundtrack album that also happens to be one of the most diverse and musically vivid recordings of Cul de Sac's career.
In the middle of what was to become Cul de Sac's fifth studio album (2003's critically heralded Death of the Sun), the band switched gears to lend their unique avant/psych-rock atmospherics to The Strangler's Wife. Thoroughly absorbed in the script and rough cuts of the film, the band began composing music specifically for key scenes. Glenn Jones came to the studio offering one of the best songs of his career - "Mirror II (Mae and Elena)", a yearning, Fahey-esque acoustic ballad (heartstring-tugging courtesy of Jonathan LaMaster's emotive violin melodies). Samples and electronic compositions were brought in by Cul de Sac electricians Robin Amos and Jake Trussell, exactingly constructed for certain scenes. The rest of the music was either composed in the studio or improvised on the spot, as the film was running. The resulting score unfurls a sonic scene-by-scene recreation of the movie as Cul de Sac heard it. From the film's opening sequence "First Victim (Apple)/Main Titles", Cul de Sac offer up a dose of their idiosyncratic Kraut-vibe, with a touch prog that brings to mind Goblin's 70's Italian horror film scores…but from there, the musical plot is anything but predictable. Sentimental/ominous acoustic-fueled compositions, horror show sound paintings, visceral drum 'n' bass meltdowns, ambient tonal soundscapes - all are revealed through the course of the recording, with remarkably dramatic effect.
In the spirit of classic Italian horror film scores of the 70's and film soundtracks scored by avant rock bands such as Nosferatu (Popol Vuh), More (Pink Floyd) and Zabriskie Point (Various), Cul de Sac has concocted music of a tremendously detailed, dynamic scope. The Strangler's Wife is a silver screen moment for one of the most expressive experimental rock bands of the last decade.