Ennio Morricone – Escalation

I spent yesterday in London touring Universities but managed to slip away long enough to nip to Berwick street and have a root through the basement of Sister Ray. I could, had I had the money, spent £1000 and still left there feeling there were just a couple more albums I could have picked up, but I don’t have that sort of money so I had to be picky. My first choice, from what was quite a large Morricone section, was the soundtrack to the 1968 film Escalation. It’s a re-release from Dagored and this one is one of the yellow clear vinyl versions limited to 500 copies. As you can see in the picture below:

img_3296

Dagored have this to say:

In 1968 the Maestro Morricone was at the height of his career scoring Sergio Leone’s classic “Once Upon a Time in the West”. For the soundtrack of Roberto Faenza’s cult debut movie ESCALATION, set in swinging London, 1968, Morricone teams up with fellow composer Bruno Nicolai and the vocalizations of Alessandro Alessandroni’s “Cantori Moderni”, making this one of his least minimal soundtracks.

Containing the legendary tune DIES IRAE PSICHEDELICO , this is one of the most essential Morricone soundtracks of all- time.

It’s certainly a beautiful object and though I haven’t seen the film, but will, I expect it to be really rather odd based on the soundtrack, which is equally beautiful and bonkers.

Here, courtesy of youtube, are a few of the tracks from it:

Album Tracklist:

Escalation
Dies Irae Psichedelico
Collage N. 1
Luca’s Sound
Senza Respiro
Luca
Casa Londra
Matrimonio
Collage N. 2
Carillon Erotico
Primo Rito
Secondo Rito
Funerale Nero

The soundtrack has all of the classic Moriccone traits, from harpsichord to wordless vocals (and some with words, shouty mad words, in Italian, probabaly), and they  work brilliantly.  With films this old it’s often possible to stream them for free online but I haven’t found anything yet, not even a clip, so I may have to try and find a dvd of it from somewhere.

I also nipped across the road to Reckless Records, which is, for the most part, used vinyl, but after a brief flick through the racks I didn’t see anything that I really fancied. There may have been a few things but it was organised in such a way that I couldn’t easily go to the sections I wanted.

Next time i’m in the area I’ll have to give it a little more time.

Record Fair: Rugby Town Hall

I went to  record fair in Rugby this morning at the town hall. It’s very impressive size wise from the outside but I went in the side and in to a rather small room that had 8 stalls. There were the usual stalls with volume at a low price but with little of interest, lots of 80’s stuff that wasn’t very good then and hasn’t improved with time. There were also a couple of stalls with some really good stuff, I could have spent several hundred pounds at these if I had that sort of disposable income, which I don’t, so I had to be rather selective.

The first thing I bought was the only Radiohead album I don’t have on vinyl, Pablo Honey, their debut. It’s a re-issue but it’s on coloured vinyl, which suits me fine as I do love a bit of coloured vinyl.

IMG_2549

I know Radiohead have issues with the song ‘Creep’ but I was quite surprised to see this one has 154 million views on youtube, which suggests it might be quite popular.

From the same stall I bought ‘Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ by the cure, not in the best of condition but OK. It’s one of my favourite Cure albums so it’s nice to get it. They had quite a few but the prices on some of them were prohibitive, at least for me.

IMG_2552

Finally, from the same stall I bought what turned out to be an unofficial pressing of Computer World by Kraftwerk, I had thought it probably was but its green vinyl, I was seduced for I am weak.

IMG_2550

I fail to comprehend how anybody could not love ‘Pocket Calculator’, just listen to it, it’s amazing.

The next thing was a copy of ‘The Pearl’ by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. I’m picking up Eno albums when I see them. I’d like the Ambient series but they are so bloody expensive.

R-r_58148-001.jpg

And sticking with Harold Budd I bought ‘The Moon & The Melodies’ A very nice copy, which is basically a Cocteau Twins album.

IMG_2551

It’s a wonderful album.

Finally, a copy of the soundtrack to ‘The Mission’ which is an amazing film which I highly recommend watching, not least because the soundtrack, which is brilliant, was by Ennio Morricone.

IMG_2548

I could have stayed longer and dug a bit more but it was so bloody hot today and the room had no air con. I was very happy with what I found anyway.

SPASMO!

The final record I picked up from the Record Fair at the Custard Factory on Saturday was the re-released soundtrack to the 1974 film, ‘Spasmo’ directed by Umberto Lenzi. There were two runs of 500 done for Record Store Day 2015, this electric blue LP with “The Mouth” cover art and a clear blue LP with “The Hand” cover art.

My copy is numbered 339 as you can see from the front cover.IMG_2482

spasmoback

And what a front cover it is. Just a little unnerving. Dagored have a number of great re-releases that you can find on their site here: http://www.dagored-records.com/

The synopsis of the film from IMDB is:  Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman’s body. A closer look proves that she’s alive. The next day Christian meets her again at a yacht party and they fall in love. Later at a nearby motel, something weird happens as they prepare to go to bed together: An intruder breaks in and starts beating Christian who accidentally shoots him with his own gun. A few hours later they find out that the corpse is missing and a series of weird incidents takes place.

Which is not a great synopsis to be fair, but, interestingly, the tagline for the film was:  Beyond “Psycho” SPASMO!

Spasmo is a film which has a rather weird, disorienting feel to it and this is reflected in Morricone’s score, consisting of a variation on three themes. The music Morricone composed for this odd film is somewhat disturbing and disorientating, as is the film itself and his use of unusual instrumentation adds to the overall weirdness.

There are some Morricone trademarks included, such as in the opening piece, Bambole, where we have wordless vocals, which always work a treat. At this point though, delightful though it is, if somewhat melancholy, there is no indication of where the soundtrack is going. Even in lighter moments there seems to be an underlying feeling that something isn’t quite right and the soundtrack does develop into a really rather difficult listening experience, which may well be why I love it so much.

Tracklist

A1 Bambole
A2 Spasmo
A3 Stress Infinito
A4 Bambole (#2)
A5 Spasmo (#2)
A6 Stress Infinito (#2)
B1 Bambole (#3)
B2 Spasmo (#3)
B3 Stress Infinito (#3)
B4 Bambole (#4)
B5 Spasmo (#4)
B6 Stress Infinito (#4)
B7 Bambole (#5)

How could I not love it really? It’s Morricone for a start, but it’s a limited run, in transparent coloured 180g vinyl with a freaky cover and a man being run over by a car on the back, It ticks all the boxes for me, just look at it:

spasmo2spasmo3

I covet it and I already own it! It’s a beautiful thing. If you care to have a listen, then please do, it’s probably not what you might expect:

And as a special treat for those with about 90 minutes to spare, here is the whole film, dubbed into English, but still the whole film. It’s over 40 years old now and is of it’s time, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially with such a great soundtrack:

Record Fair: Custard Factory, Birmingham

Yesterday I went to the Custard Factory in Birmingham for a record fair, although that wasn’t my sole reason for the trip, I did sort of time it so that I could escape the trauma of the Bull Ring for a couple of hours on my own with crates of records. I was a little disappointed when I  arrived as there weren’t as many stalls as I was expecting and quite a few were £1 and album or 6 for £10 and suchlike. This is fine, but they are generally things I’m not looking for or are in shoddy condition (not always but mostly). As I walked in I thought I’d do a quick video lap and you can see the exact point where I spotted something I wanted, right at the end where I’m about to complete the lap and veer back to the right.

This was the only stall I bought anything from. The seller had an entire crate of Ennio Morricone soundtracks and and if I’d had the budget I would have bought the entire crate. Unfortunately I was not that flush with money so I did have to be quite selective and the first I bought was the first I saw. This is it, you can see it at the front of the crate in the video:

R-2039962-1455544201-8443.jpeg

And here is the back cover:

R-2039962-1455544208-9230.jpeg

You may recognise Joan Baez who performs on the soundtrack. So this is an Italian film, or Docudrama if you like, called ‘Sacco E Vanzetti’, written and directed by Giuliano Montaldo that premiered in Italy on 16 March 1971.The story is based on the events surrounding the trial and judicial execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two anarchists of Italian origin, who were sentenced to death by a United States court in the 1920s. The film’s musical score was composed and conducted by Ennio Morricone with the three-part ballad sung by Joan Baez. The film is mainly shot in colour although it both starts and finishes in black and white, and also includes period black and white newsreels.

Label: RCA ‎– NL 33206
Series: Cinema Tre – HKAY 34524
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue
Country: Italy
Released: 1979
Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Stage & Screen

Style: Soundtrack, Experimental, Easy Listening

Next purchase was ‘Marco Polo’ which is a 1982 TV series I’ve never seen but it has a good cast:

Kenneth Marshall, Denholm Elliott, Tony Vogel, F. Murray Abraham, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, John Houseman, Burt Lancaster, Tony Lo Bianco, Ian McShane, Leonard Nimoy, David Warner, James Hong & Ying Ruocheng.

I only know the main theme but I’m very much looking forward to giving this album a spin and hearing the rest.

R-3551844-1334976668.jpeg

Label: Arista ‎– AL-8304, Arista ‎– AL 8304
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: US
Released: 1982
Genre: Classical
Style: Modern, Contemporary

The third soundtrack was for another Italian Film, this one called “La Banquière” (Lady Banker) from 1980 I think.

La_banquiere_Bande_Originale

Label: Général Music France ‎– 803 015
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: France
Released: 1980
Genre: Stage & Screen
Style: Soundtrack

Here is a bit of the film itself:

I bought this particular soundtrack for budget reasons, namely that it wasn’t expensive, but you can usually be pretty confident that there will be something worth having on any Morricone soundtrack. I wasn’t wrong, the opening track, ‘Dédicace’ is really quite lovely, so much so that I recorded the first couple of minutes as it played on my deck. It needs a little clean to see if I can get rid of some of the pops and crackles but it is very quiet at times so that does happen. Have a listen.

I have one other but I’ll talk about that in my next post.

Music you can’t listen to and music you can

When I saw Ennio Morricone at Blenheim Palace a couple of weeks ago he played some of the music from his score for the film ‘The Red Tent’. I’d never really heard of it, the film or the music, and I enjoyed it so much I decided I would get myself a copy of the soundtrack, or at least listen to it again. Neither of these things proved to be easy. The full soundtrack doesn’t appear to be available on any streaming service, well, I checked Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Prime and it wasn’t there. The main theme is, but there’s more to it than that and I wanted to hear it all. In particular, there is a track called “Others, Who Will Follow (Altri, Dopo Di Noi)” which is over 22 minutes long and takes up the whole of Side B of the soundtrack album.

Please bask in the glory of this album cover for a moment:

R-6462959-1424114449-5344.jpeg
Label: Paramount Records ‎– SPFL 275
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: UK
Released: 1971
Genre: Electronic, Stage & Screen
Style: Soundtrack, Experimental

Tracklist
A1 Love Theme From “The Red Tent” (Tema D’Amore) 3:31
A2 Do Dreams Go On 2:30
A3 Death At The Pole (Morte Al Polo) 4:11
A4 A Love Like The Snow (Un Amore Come La Neve) 2:12
A5 Message From Rome (Messaggio Da Roma) 1:40
A6 They’re Alive (Sono Vivi) 1:39
A7 Farewell (Addio) 2:51
B Others, Who Will Follow (Altri, Dopo Di Noi) 22:20

So I ended up buying it from Ebay, it arrived yesterday, and have since discovered it cheaper on discogs, ah well, my own fault.

Here is the main theme from the film, with a lovely vocal, it’s one of the few tracks available to listen to:

The 1969 film was a joint Soviet/Italian film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. It’s based on the story of the mission to rescue Umberto Nobile and the other survivors of the crash of the Airship Italia. Sean Connery plays Roald Amundsen, though I haven’t seen the film and can’t find any clips of it I think it safe to assume that Connery’s Norwegian accent is distinctly Scottish. Peter Finch plays Nobile, he probably sounds very English.

S0, June 23rd 2016 , Ennio Morricone at Blenheim Palace. The weather was good, a few spots of rain but barely noticeable. I didn’t take many pictures really as I only had my mobile with me but this gives an idea of the setting and whatnot, and not all the pictures are mine:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The internet is strangely quite on the subject of this concert. I can’t seem to find a review or post concert news anywhere. I do know that the M40 motorway was closed so a lot of people didn’t turn up until after the interval, which meant we had loads of room during the first half, which was nice.

Here is somebody’s phone video they posted on youtube from the actual concert, which is quite good quality. I was in the second row, and paid handsomely to sit there, but it was actually better to sit about 20 rows back I think as the stage was so high you couldn’t see everything and, as I was off to the left, I don’t think we got the full effect of the orchestra, although the view was much better than in this video.

I don’t have the set list from Blenheim but a couple of days later there was a concert in Ghent, and as the program was probably pre-printed for the tour, I’m going to go with the one below, until I can compare with my program and see if it’s the same, it won’t be far off:

  1. Volti e fantasmi (from “The Best Offer”)
  2. The Legend of the Pianist (from “The Legend of 1900”)
  3. Ribellione (from “Baaria”)
  4. Chi mai (From “Maddalena”)
  5. H2S (from “H2S”)
  6. Metti, Una Sera a Cena (from “Metti, Una Sera a Cena”)
  7. Croce d’amore (from “Metti, Una Sera a Cena”)
  8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  9. C’era una volta il west (Jill’s Theme) (from “Once Upon a Time in the West”)
  10. Giù la testa: (Sean, Sean) (from “A Fistful Of Dynamite”)
  11. The Ecstasy of Gold

    INTERMISSION

    It was at this point that I went off and purchased a Gin & Tonic from one of the concessions that was set up in the grounds. It was a lovely G & T, but it was £10, which is ridiculous, but I could have just not bought it I suppose.

  12. L’ultima diligenza di Red Rock(from “The Hateful Eight”)
  13. Bestiality(from “The Hateful Eight” and “The Thing”)
  14. Deborah’s Theme (“from “Once Upon a Time in America”)
  15. Addio Monti
  16. Thème de Vatel (from “Vatel”)
  17. Per le antiche scale (Preludio)(from “Per le Antiche Scale”)
  18. Irene-Dominique (from “L’eredita Ferramonti”)
  19. Do Dreams Go On (from “The Red Tent”)
  20. They’re Alive (SOS) (from “The Red Tent”)
  21. Other Who Will Follow Us (from “The Red Tent”)
  22. Gabriel’s Oboe (from The Mission)
  23. Falls (from “The Mission”)
  24. On Earth as It Is in Heaven (from “The Mission”)

    ENCORE

  1. Abolisson (From ”Queimada”)
  2. The Ecstasy of Gold
  3. On Earth as It Is in Heaven (from “The Mission”)

My mission at present is to get myself copies of the Soundtracks from which each of the tracks was taken. Some of them really aren’t cheap as they are out of print, but I’ll be patient and wait for bargains. I have ‘The Red Tent’ of course and I also have recently picked up a copy of ‘The Hateful Eight’, which is just brilliant. I also have Music From The Original Sound Tracks Of “A Fistful Of Dollars” & “For A Few Dollars More” but that still leaves me with 10 or 11 to get.

I have yet to see the film ‘The Hateful Eight’, but I will at some point and I am currently in the position of knowing the soundtrack really well (I’m about 30 plays in by now) but not the visuals. It’s a double and comes with a poster (which is nice but I never use them, they just sit inside the cover forever). Here it is:

H8tful

I stole this image from the internet but this is the cover I have, although there appear to be a few different versions.

Label: Decca ‎– 4769494
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: UK & Europe
Released: 2015
Genre: Stage & Screen

Style: Soundtrack, Score

Tracklist

A1 Ennio Morricone L’ultima Diligenza Di Red Rock – Versione Integrale 7:30
A2 Ennio Morricone Overture 3:11
A3 Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh “Major Warren Meet Daisy Domergue” 0:34
A4 Ennio Morricone Narratore Letterario 1:59
A5 The White Stripes Apple Blossom

Written-By – Jack White 

2:13
A6 Tim Roth, Kurt Russell “Frontier Justice” 1:50
A7 Ennio Morricone L’ultima Diligenza Di Red Rock – #2 2:37
B1 Ennio Morricone Neve – Versione Integrale 12:16
B2 Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen “This Here Is Daisy Domergue” 1:01
B3 Ennio Morricone Sei Cavalli 1:21
B4 Ennio Morricone Raggi Di Sole Sulla Montagna 1:41
B5 Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson “Son Of The Bloody Ni**er Killer Of Baton Rouge” 2:43
C1 Jennifer Jason Leigh Featuring Kurt Russell Jim Jones At Botany Bay 4:10
C2 Ennio Morricone Neve – #2 2:05
C3 Samuel L. Jackson, Demián Bichir, Walton Goggins “Uncle Charlie’s Stew” 1:41
C4 Ennio Morricone I Quattro Passeggeri 1:49
C5 Ennio Morricone La Musica Prima Del Massacro 2:00
C6 Ennio Morricone L’inferno Bianco – Synth 3:31
C7 Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Kurt Russell The Suggestive Oswaldo Mobray 0:47
D1 David Hess Now You’re All Alone

Written-By – David Hess

1:30
D2 Ennio Morricone Sangue E Neve 2:05
D3 Ennio Morricone L’inferno Bianco – Ottoni 3:31
D4 Ennio Morricone Neve – #3 2:02
D5 Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen Daisy’s Speech 1:32
D6 Ennio Morricone La Lettera Di Lincoln – Strumentale 1:41
D7 Ennio Morricone, Walton Goggins La Lettera Di Lincoln – Con Dialogo

Written-By [Letter] – Samuel L. Jackson

1:46
D8 Roy Orbison There Won’t Be Many Coming Home

Written-By – Roy Orbison, William Dees

2:44
D9 Ennio Morricone La Puntura Della Morte 0:27

Morricone provided 7 or 8 pieces to Tarantino who had a sound engineer rebuild these into what appears on the Soundtrack, which, apparently, is quite normal. The ‘Overture’ for example, was one of these Cut & Paste pieces. The soundtrack won the 2015 Oscar beating these composers to the prize:

  • Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
  • Carol – Carter Burwell
  • Sicario – Jóhann Jóhannsson
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

So, yes, if the Oscars are to be believed (and it’s debatable sometimes whether they are) then this is the best Soundtrack released in 2015 (on this occasion I agree).

There’s a very nice video for Neve below (Disk 2, Side 1, Track 2)

4 Albums: Number 4

Finally catching up with last Monday and getting to the fourth album I listened to.

I have quite a few albums released by Deutsche Grammophon, mostly old classical albums released in the 70’s and 80’s with composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and the like, the Classic Classical’s I suppose they might be referred to as, but I have some new releases as well, one of which is ‘The Blue Notebooks’ by Max Richter. It was originally released in 2004 but mine is a 2015 180g edition, until I bought this I’d been listening to it digitally.

the-blue-notebooks-b-iext28304229

If memory serves me correctly I was introduced to it by my friend Andy McGough, well, I say friend, it’s more complicated than that, but let’s not go into that now. I suppose it must have been not long after it was released, so at least 10 years ago. There’s a modernity about the music, as one would expect, and to my ears it least, it bridges a gap between the classical and ambient and includes texts taken from “Hymn of the Perl” and “Unattainable Earth” by Czeslaw Milosz and “The Blue Octavo Notebooks” by Franz Kafka, translated by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkinsand read by Tilda Swinton. There are also sound effects, such as a clacking typewriter, which add to the piece and make it feel complete and self contained.

The music itself is has an air of nostalgia about it, but not in some rose tinted spectacles to the past way, it is laden with melancholy and is somehow forlorn as though a soundtrack to a really rather sad film.

Below is a not brilliantly filmed live performance at the Royal Albert Hall of the opening two tracks from the album:

 

A1 The Blue Notebooks 1:20
A2 On The Nature Of Daylight 6:11
A3 Horizon Variations 1:52
A4 Shadow Journal 8:22
A5 Iconography 3:38
B1 Vladimir’s Blues 1:18
B2 Arboretum 2:53
B3 Old Song 2:11
B4 Organum 3:13
B5 The Trees 7:52
B6 Written On The Sky 1:39
B7 Bonus Track: On The Nature Of Daylight

Arranged By [Composer’s Assistant] – Henning Fuchs
Conductor – Lorenz Dangel
Orchestra – The Max Richter Orchestra

6:35

Here is the whole album, which, obviously, I’d recommend listening to:

So that’s the 4 albums, all different, but all somehow connected, in my mind at least.

Fp-Oner with  “6” (2015)
Oval with “94Diskont” (1995)
Ennio Morricone with “Lizard In A Womans Skin’ (Una Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna) (1971)
Max Richter with “The Blue Notebooks” (2004)

Ennio Morricone at Blenheim Palce

Tonight i get to see a living legend perform in the grounds of Blenheim Palace. It’s going to rain. It’s worth it though. Morricone is now 87 years old and had to cancel some concerts earlier this year due to a back problem, but the signs for tonight are good.

Just in case you are not aware of who he is, he is a composer, this is one of his, you may well know it:

Or perhaps this one will ring a bell:

Here is a quick factual table for you: Morricone has been involved with at least 19 different movies grossing over US$20 million at the box office

Year Title Director Gross (US$)
1965 For a Few Dollars More Sergio Leone 21,780,305
1966 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sergio Leone 25,100,000
1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic John Boorman 30,749,142
1978 La Cage aux Folles Édouard Molinaro 25,000,000
1982 The Thing John Carpenter 25,000,000
1984 Once Upon a Time in America Sergio Leone 30,555,873
1986 The Mission Roland Joffé 37,134,545
1987 The Untouchables Brian De Palma 106,240,936
1988 Frantic Roman Polanski 26,000,000
1989 Cinema Paradiso Giuseppe Tornatore 20,000,000
1990 Hamlet Franco Zeffirelli 20,710,451
1991 Bugsy Barry Levinson 49,114,016
1993 In the Line of Fire Wolfgang Petersen 176,997,168
1994 Wolf Mike Nichols 131,002,597
1994 Disclosure Barry Levinson 214,015,089
1998 Bulworth Warren Beatty 29,202,884
2000 Mission to Mars Brian De Palma 110,983,407
2013 The Best Offer Giuseppe Tornatore 20,489,700
2015 The Hateful Eight Quentin Tarantino 155,717,122

As long as it isn’t a torrential downpour it should be fine tonight. This is what the setting will pretty much look like:

 

Concert 15 image.721f935f

and here is a 2002 concert in full.

Ennio Morricone at Blenheim Palace

Absolutely over the moon that my good lady wife and I now have tickets to see Ennio Morricone conduct a 200 piece Orchestra at Blenheim palace in the summer. I have loved his music since I was a little boy, even though I didn’t know it was him, from ‘The good, The Bad & The Ugly’, ‘Fistful of Dollars’ and other spaghetti westerns, through ‘The Mission’, ‘Once Upon a Time In America’, and an appearance in ‘Kill Bill’ and recently ‘The Hateful Eight’. He is extraordinarily prolific having composed scores for over 500 films and over 100 other full length pieces. Morricone is basically a legend.

untitled

Our seats are about 10 rows from the front and off to the left a bit. It should be a great view.

We saw a concert on TV a few years ago, 2011 probably, set in Piazza San Marco in Venice, accompanied by the Roma Sinfoniettaa, and were enthralled by it. Eventually hunting it down on DVD so that we could watch it again. It’s on youtube now and you can watch it in all it’s glory below.