Sean Lennon – “Demon Daughter” (Stereogum Premiere)

Starring Louisa Krause, Carol Kane, Jemima Kirke and Dan Fogler, Ava’s Possessions is a film by Jordan Galland intended to flip the demon-possession genre on its head. Having previously created film scores for Galland’s films Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Undead and Alter Egos, Sean Lennon handled the music for this one, too. Lennon’s newest soundtrack embodies an ambiance as old as the genre itself while still allowing room for more modern elements. He’s created a work with a wide range of sounds and themes that somehow all embody the type of atmosphere that you might expect to find in the an abandoned ’60s hotel lobby. Hazy doo-wop choruses are featured in “Different Drum,” while “Naphula’s Theme” and “Spirit Possession Anonymous” are compilations of whirring synth sweeps. Essentially it’s a retro horror soundtrack with an indie-rock sensibility.

Here’s Lennon on his longstanding collaboration with the director:

Jordan Galland and I are the Fellini and Nino Rota of an extremely small area of downtown Manhattan. About a 3 block radius.

Today we’re sharing Lennon’s “Demon Daughter.” Check it out below.

And here are a few more words about the Ava’s Possessions soundtrack from Galland:

The process of scoring the film was varied, and quite a long undertaking. One song, “Blame Beelzabub” we needed to write and record before we filmed the movie, and it was very tough to find that perfect tone, the mix of grounded subtle comedy and horror, in the lyrics and music. We wrote close to a dozen versions of it. We were still tweaking it two years later when the film was being mixed. Some times we knew exactly what needed to happen, what sort of music would support and elevate the scenes, and then it would go very smoothly. But other times, I was trying to go for something that Sean instinctively knew was a bit of a stretch, and not quite right. He was very patient with me, especially when I was off on a tangent, second-guessing the work. We both wanted it to feel like it’s own original world, not just an homage to THE EXORCIST or BLUE VELVET or something. Much of the music for the film was inspired by some horror genre soundtracks, but also a kind of pulpy, neo-noir vibe. A little KILL BILL, a little DRIVE. Twangy guitars and muted rhythms, eerie, elastic retro synthesizers. We’d dust off all kinds of old instruments and experiment with them. We even recorded the terrifying sound of Sean’s bathroom door creaking open. Sean’s knowledge of film music is archival and always expanding, so I would play something like the soundtrack to THE SHINING as a reference, and he would nod, knowingly, and then encourage me to listen to something that I couldn’t even pronounce, an old foreign soundtrack that was under the radar, obscure, and we’d debate it for a month or two, and then record something completely different.

Both Ava’s Possessions and its soundtrack are out this Friday, 3/4. Pre-order Lennon’s film score here.