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Dominik Scherrer and Natasha Khan’s Soundtrack for Requiem and the Unexpected Appearance of the Language of Angels: Wanderings 10/52

In 2020 the normally heavy and doom metal orientated label Svart released on CD and vinyl Dominik Scherrer and Natasha Khan’s soundtrack for the television series Requiem (2018), a supernatural thriller in which an urbane London sophisticate classical cellist comes adrift as she attempts to unravel a set of mysteries connected to her past in a Welsh town and its surrounding rural area.

The soundtrack brings to mind a classic darkly playful ethereal release back when on 4AD that you never knew existed – think His Name Is Alive’s debut Livonia (1990) – and as with the series contains an air of what Scherrer describes as “pastoral spook”.

There is something about the series that seems to hint at hidden layers in the story, and this somehow places it at a subtle, eerie remove from much of mainstream television drama.

The album’s booklet includes writing by Erik Stein which reveals that the series does indeed include (semi-hidden) layers. Stein discusses how the series and album refer to and draw from the work of real life 16-17th century Anglo-Welsh mathematician, astronomer, teacher, occultist and alchemist John Dee, with the series featuring one of his books and the (imagined) work of his son.

Stein discusses how Dee and his collaborator John Kelley:

“formed the foundations of so-called ‘Enochian’ magic, a system of ceremonial sorcery based on the evocation and commanding of various spirits. Dee and Kelley claimed that they could communicate with these spirits through their own ‘Enochian’ language, [which they said] had been revealed to them directly via a series of angels.”

Stein describes how Scherrer and Khan used the names of those ‘Enochian’ angels for the album’s track names (“Aigra”, Naa”, “Izraz” etc) and also that Khan “uses ‘Enochian’ words and phrases as her lyrics” during the album.

Dee also claimed to speak to angels and spirits via a black mirror and created an esoteric figure called the Monas Hieroglyphica (which is said to embody his vision of the unity of the cosmos and has a horned devil-like meets Einstürzende Neubauten logo appearance), both of which interconnect with elements that appear in the series.

Requiem made for intriguing yet unsettling viewing before I knew all that. Now… well, brrrrr indeed.



Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:


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