The many talents of Jill Tracy, whose darkly romantic music has graced films like The Fine Art of Poisoning (now playing in our short film library) and accompanied screenings of the silent classic Nosferatu, are a natural fit for all things gothic and beautifully macabre... so it feels like supernatural synchronicity to discover that Jill has collaborated with Bauhaus co-founder David J for a new rendition of that band's most legendary hit “Bela Lugosi's Dead” – which genre fans know well from the opening scenes of Tony Scott's 1983 vampire film The Hunger.
Photo by Audrey Penven
The idea for this post-classical “cinematic version” of the song – which Jill describes as “a spooky sonic rollercoaster ride” honoring the tone and mood of the original – was born during the recording of “Sell My Soul” from her album The Bittersweet Constrain, which she says was partly inspired by Bauhaus.
“The engineer Alex Nahas kept referring to my signature dark grand style of playing as 'Bauthoven,'” she recently told FEARnet. “I loved that phrase.” She then started developing the concept of a piano intro which would gradually reveal the familiar rhythm of the classic tune.
“This seemed to be an unknowing foreshadow of what Fate had in store,” Jill noted, “as I did not even know David at that time!”
Artwork by Michael Houghton
With David on lead vocals and Jill at the grand piano, the song also features Ysanne Spevack on antique autoharp, violin and backing vocals, Kenny Annis on stand-up bass and percussion by Randy Odell.
“We recorded practically in pitch darkness,” Jill says of the session, which was captured live in a single take. “That's why there is such a gorgeous, seductive urgency to the piece: the band could only hear... and feel... and react.”
You can stream the track below, and be sure to visit David J's Bandcamp page to get the download.