When Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat’s not writing about love and loss (read: sex and death) his interests stretch far and wide, including pure chart pop, sampling, and the world of instrumental theme music.
These collide in his second release under his Nyx Nótt pseudonym, which follows on from a previous incarnation as L.Pierre where he constructed soundtracks to imaginary movies, using TV and film library music.
Originally intended as 90-second TV themes, that idea was abandoned that as being “too gimmicky”; instead we get a set of eight lengthier instrumentals, more pop and playful than predecessor ‘Au Pieds de la Nuit’ (or indeed Arab Strap’s most recent effort ‘As Days Get Dark’).
Titles are almost self-explanatory – ‘Docudrama’ could perhaps soundtrack some Chernobyl-style epic, while ‘Thriller’ has urgency, its strings swirling towards some unknown adversary.
‘Porno’ is languid, almost jazzy with brushed beats but happily not (in my head at least) conjuring up images of plumbers searching for non-existent leaks.
‘Caper’s jazzy horns could be soundtracking a Terry Thomas farce as the influence of old mucker Bill Wells – the outsider jazz player who recorded with Moffat an award-winning album a decade ago – looms large. For sheer contrast, ‘Actioner’, with its sawing strings, shows shades of the John Carpenter-influenced ‘Hallowe’en’ EP Moffat recorded under the Ben Tramer pseudonym.
Other highlights include ‘Swashbuckler’, its nautical air augmented by militaristic drumming and accordions, while ‘Tearjerker’s plaintive violin gives way to squelching robotic beats – one for the end of the world at the hands of some robotic overlord perhaps.
Whichever channel you hop to, don’t watch (or listen) alone.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Lancashire Post .