20 Best Avant Albums of 2014

The year's best in noise, out-jazz, contemporary classical, ambient, drone and more

Mica Levi, 'Under the Skin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack'
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20. Mica Levi, 'Under the Skin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack'

For Jonathan Glazer's unsettling, existential alien flick Under the Skin, Micachu & the Shapes' Mica Levi created a score that's equal parts Krzysztof Penderecki and Bernard Hermann. It's mostly some swarms of strings, a flat electronic beat, a intense three-note melody and slow cymbal washes mutating in various forms — all of them tense. According to Levi, the alien feel was formed by "looking at the natural sound of an instrument to try and find something identifiably human in it, then slowing things down or changing the pitch of it to make it feel uncomfortable."