An enfeebling hollowness characterizes HEALTH's dark electronic pop. On 2007's HEALTH and 2009's Get Color, the Los Angeles-based quartet seemed to specialize in what might be described as "Grim Reaper ambient": vocals and tinny synthesizers bled through filters until impossibly brittle, riding a four-horsemen-of-the-apocalypse forward-momentum to its doom, drenched in absinthe. Remember the look on Elijah Wood's face in Return of The King, right after he's been impaled and cocooned by that humongous spider? HEALTH embody that expression; there's something hopelessly beyond the pale about the sounds singer/guitarist Jake Duzsik, guitarist/keyboard player Jupiter Keyes, bassist/Zoothorn player John Famiglietti, and drummer B.J. Miller make together.
News that HEALTH were scoring the third Max Payne video game didn't come as a complete shock: there's always been a pointedly cinematic cast to their sickly, undulating pulsations. What's surprising is how easily the group adapted to the soundtracking genre requires, pouring its distinctive echoes and flutters into hair-raising interlude pools largely free of vocals yet as richly evocative as the verse-chorus-verse anti-arias on its studio records. Ironically, in the act of adding dimension to an ultra-violent videogame, HEALTH evolves: "Tears" is a tableau of stuttering cyborg desolation, the sinister "Dead" seethes static and slow-motion explosions, and "Torture" bends plangent guitar figures into a meditation on loneliness, while "Max: Panama" evokes It's All Around You-era Tortoise.
SOTC emailed with Famiglietti about making the Max Payne 3 soundtrack and how HEALTH hooked up with Rockstar Games in the first place.More »