'Sounds for Crime Scenes' is a rollercoaster of unsettling emotions and, at the same time, a carefully curated collection of tracks with high musical value.

Have you experienced the haunting beauty of ‘Mandy,’ the 2018 film starring Nic Cage, or delved into the eerie depths of Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ 7th episode? If you found yourself entranced by their blend of ethereal atmospheres and raw emotion, then you know the power of a captivating soundtrack.

If you’re craving more of that intoxicating vibe, look no further than IXV‘s latest offering. After almost a year and a half since the release of their debut album, “Live from The Cosmic House,” the musical duo returns with a finely crafted creation, “Soundtracks for Crime Scenes,” released this March.

The band describes their music as a fusion of trip-hop, industrial intensity, and cinematic allure—a true homage to the silver screen. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Portishead and Massive Attack, IXV, comprising Irina Movileanu on violin and Vladimir Călin on synth, has crafted a captivating and unique auditory journey that pays tribute to the art of cinema in all its enigmatic glory.

What makes IXV’s new project truly stand out, however, is the dynamic interplay between its two creators. While Vlad brings a pragmatic, foundation-building approach to the music, delving deep into sound design and technical mastery, Irina’s perspective is that of a free-spirited, experimental soul, infusing the project with anarchic creativity.

Together, they form the roots and the vines, intertwining to create a musical experience that defies convention and invites listeners into a world of dark beauty and sonic exploration.

As Vladimir puts it, “I think music should be experienced more with your emotions than with your head. And with that in mind, that is how I like to make music. Funny thing about emotions, they always come attached with memories. And if I make a song that makes you feel something, and that makes you remember something, then I can rest happy.”

Irina adds, “I always pursue the monumental and grotesque. Fascination is the goal I work for. I find the idea of beauty to be restrained by its wish to be perfection, and I would always prefer to skip a note and go a bit over the top than be restrained.”

Listening to the album’s 13 tracks available on Spotify, you’re instantly ensnared by the feverish ’80s angst, with raw, seemingly untamed tracks like ‘Freak’ unexpectedly revealing extravagant melodic harmonies.

There’s an explicit dark energy and brooding violence in this album—a restrained thirst for vengeance. Each gong and drum hit offers glimpses and flashbacks of a sociopath’s scrambled memory. You might even dare to think that, perhaps, that’s the album’s core concept—an hour-long serial killing mental cosplay.

After a delirious three-song gestation, the album gives birth to the first violin sounds with ‘In The Headlights,’ pulling us from the shadows of lethargy with a fast-paced, anxiety-infused virtuoso performance.

The plot twist, to use cinema nomenclature, comes during ‘The Ashtray Man,’ when the album turns into a noir blood-chilling story, and you, the listener, replace your murderous drives with those, I like to believe, of not so innocent detectives. Because to catch a criminal, you have to become one. A bad lieutenant, since we already mentioned Nic Cage once.

Lyrics like ‘It was a cold, rain-soaked night in this forsaken city/The kind of night where the darkness seeps into your bones/And the only warmth you find is from the faint glow of a cigarette’ evoke a bluesy poetry that lingers.

The sinister, trippy disco ball continues spinning through the mid-album, starting with ‘Euphoria,’ an unexpectedly catchy cyberpunk track, followed by ‘Oceano,’ a natural, almost nostalgic composition akin to a whale song, and ending with ‘Tension Dance,’ where the violent amalgam seen in the first tracks begins unleashing once more.

The violin sounds embedded in the next few songs, especially ‘A Swan’s Song’ and ‘Speak With the Dead,’ bring back some of the classic noir that IXV seems to want to associate with, illustrating, perhaps more pregnantly, the album’s title.

This is where you begin to understand that the whole album was an unsolved case all along. One of those unanswered detective mysteries. A murder has occurred somewhere, and you failed to find the culprit. All the intense struggle to solve it, oscillating from despair to giving up, has left you drained and unable to reconcile.

Overall, ‘Sounds for Crime Scenes’ is a rollercoaster of unsettling emotions and, at the same time, a carefully curated collection of tracks with high musical value.

Catch these guys live at Control Club in Bucharest on the 30th of April and in Cluj-Napoca on the 7th of May, where they will play the album live for the first time.

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Soundtracks for Crime Scenes’ Available Here

Featured Photo: ‘Soundtracks for Crime Scenes’ Album Cover Art by IXV

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Romanian writer based in Cyprus. Co-founder CVLTARTES. Author of "Hailbringer: A Romanian Folktale"