Recording information: Invada Studios, Bristol; The Victoria Rooms, Bristol.
Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury first collaborated on the excellent Drokk: Music Inspired by Mega-City One, an imaginary soundtrack to the world of the comic book character Judge Dredd, and their Ex Machina score is just as compelling. Their music for Alex Garland's artificial intelligence thriller recalls Drokk -- as well as influences like John Carpenter and Vangelis -- but this time Salisbury and Barrow take a more restrained approach. Beautiful but unsettling atmospheres like "The Turing Test" and "Watching" seem to come straight from the uncanny valley, while the serene "Skin" allows them to explore different emotional territory convincingly. Ex Machina's lengthier tracks expand on the duo's roots: "Falling" fuses synths and guitar harmonics into a sparkling web while "The Test Worked" builds on a bubbly analog synth motif that recalls vintage library music as well as Boards of Canada's blend of ethereal and sinister. Subtle and haunting, Ex Machina is another fine example of the quality film music Invada released in the 2010s. ~ Heather Phares