Recent, Soundtrack Reviews

KURO (OST) – Tujiko Noriko

Tujiko Noriko - Kuro

Listening to the soundtrack of 2017’s feature from Joji Koyama and Tujiko Noriko’s is an ornate experience of serene dissemination that breathes on its own. You don’t necessarily have to watch the movie to find out its haunting elegance and understated rumination. Kuro, an arthouse drama, tells the story of a Japanese woman living in Paris with her paraplegic lover. Soon, the mystery unravels. Weaving together personal history, anecdotes and myths, the story takes a dark turn.

Thanks to Berlin’s Pan, whose new offshoot and soundtrack series, Entopia, kicked off its inaugural release with Kuro in May 2019. Kuro’s score, written and composed by Tujiko Noriko, who is also the protagonist of the movie, and mixed by Sam Briton and Will Worsley, is a milieu full of doubt and chimerical essence. It’s a stoic and unruffled ambient experience that feeds off incoherent and stretched melody riffs and humming condensed into a small space avoiding all the oscillation.


The last time Noriko put out a project, it was hard to know what would come next to that. But being the adroit songwriter that she really is, Noriko narrated a perfect snap of ambient sensibility in Kuro. Every track in Kuro (OST) is amply melancholic and haunting. And it would not be a hyperbole to state that it is an ambient masterpiece. Its release as an independent album through Pan only gives credit to its beauty, mostly without Kuro’s artful depiction, that might seem a bit inflated and flat in time.

Kuro is two stories simultaneously told in one nonlinear storytelling that blurs the line between what is real and what is not. It’s an experimental depiction comprising two different constituents, the voice that narrates the movie and the visual that follows. It’s the soundtrack that bridges this ‘gap in-between’. “We wanted to make a film that plays with, and at moments unhinges the mechanisms of storytelling, in order to produce a cinematic experience that allows for space and ambiguity for the audience to explore.” stated Joji Koyama and Tujiko Noriko. But even if we parse out the movie and leave the soundtrack on its own as a single project, the unbridled mystery that runs across the forty-minute ambient warble is something worth checking out.