Jimmy Cliff in The Harder They Come

r-551103-1507215141-8967-jpegI was in the local used record store the other day looking through the stacks for something of interest and coming up with nothing much, well, nothing I felt I could justify spending the money on at least. There is a lot there I’d like to buy but sometimes the prices are prohibitive, such as a Mogwai 12″ single priced at £35, way too rich for my blood.

I did come across the soundtrack to the movie, The Harder They Come, a film from 1972. A young Jamaican man, wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers. I found a trailer for the DVD release, and if you look you can find the whole film on youtube, actually, I’ll just post it at the end of this to save you the trouble. Here is that trailer though:

The movie has some killer tunes which, I think, make this a pretty essential album. The one I was most pleased about, and which I hadn’t noticed was even on the album when I bought it, is Pressure Drop by The Maytals, love that track.

The soundtrack is mostly Jimmy Cliff though, and the tracks he provides are also essential. Hopefully you already know them, but just in case here they are (one is from 2012, the Jools Holland Show, great performance, he was 64 at the time):

I have never found Rivers of Babylon even remotely listenable, although I can only recall the Boney M version, but this one by The Melodians, well, I rather like it actually:

Johnny Too Bad by The Slickers was quite the surprise as John Martyn did a version on the album Grace and Danger, although I never knew it was a version, so to hear it performed so completely differently was great. The lyrics have been changed about a bit from the original Slickers version but here are both:

I have no idea why the last two tracks on the albums B side are also on the A side, but it doesn’t matter, they are worth listening to again anyway. This is an essential album and if it isn’t in that 1001 albums before you die book, it bloody well should be.

Oh, and there’s even some Desmond Decker:

Why aren’t you getting your own copy right now? No point in delaying, get on with it.

Tracklist

A1 –Jimmy Cliff  – You Can Get It If You Really Want
A2 –Scotty – Draw Your Brakes
A3– The Melodians – Rivers Of Babylon
A4 – Jimmy Cliff – Many Rivers To Cross
A5 – The Maytals- Sweet And Dandy
A6 – Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come

B1 –The Slickers – Johnny Too Bad
B2 – Desmond Dekker- Shanty Town
B3 – The Maytals – Pressure Drop
B4 – Jimmy Cliff – Sitting In Limbo
B5 – Jimmy Cliff – You Can Get It If You Really Want
B6 –Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come

Rating: 9.2

I am not recommending the film by the way, just the soundtrack.

Nosferatu – James Bernard

Back in the summer of 2016 I wrote this:

aaaaaaaaaaand finally, something  a little bit different. A 7″ single, or E.P. really, that came out on Record Store Day this year but was still in the store and, as I am a bit of a sucker for Soundtracks, I really had to pick it up and take it home.

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Record Store Day celebrates German cinematic culture this year with this special edition silver colored vinyl 7″ single of ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (translated as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror) from the 1922 German Expressionist horror film. The original score composed by Hans Erdmann has been lost, and what remains is a reconstitution of the score as it was played in 1922. James Bernard, composer of the soundtracks of many Hammer horror films in the late 1950s and 1960s, has written a score for a reissue. This particular 7” version contains audio performed in 1997 by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine. Limited to 3000 numbered copies.

Side A
Omens of Nosferatu
The Pursuit of Knock

Side B
The Ship of Doom

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It’s a wonderful thing and, although it was £7.00 I feel it was worth it and, of course, it wasn’t my money paying for it!

Below is a video that somebody made of it playing on their turntable.


 

So that was then. The full soundtrack came out and every time I went to the store I saw it but at £32 it was too rich for my blood, until they had a sale and I got it for £10 off. I just played it again this evening, here is a bit of it:

This resulted in the following exchange:

Wife: What’s this? I sounds like murder music

Verian: It is, it’s from the 1922 Nosferatu film, in blood red vinyl.

Wife: Why are you listening to that? Well you can turn it off, I’m putting the telly on.

This is where the extremely cheap bluetooth transmitter that I bought came in handy, it’s not ideal, but it does a job.

The entire film can be watched below, and I’d recommend it, although I am unsure which score was used for it.

You could also watch the film at http://nonsilentfilm.com where it has been the subject of a new sound design, so that it is no longer a silent movie, using Getty Images sound library. To be honest, I think it spoils it as at times it sounds like The Sims, but it was still a clever piece of work.

Album Tracklist

A1 Overture – Omens Of Nosferatu 3:03
A2 Hutter And Ellen 2:11
A3 Ellen’s Disquiet 5:12
A4 Journey To Orlok’s Castle 6:04

B1 In The Castle 5:21
B2 Ellen Sleep-Walks 6:10
B3 Hutter’s Discovery 3:24

C1 Loading The Coffins 3:58
C2 Ellen By The Seashore 3:23
C3 The Ship Of Doom 5:19
C4 Orlok’s Lair 2:43

D1 The Plague 5:55
D2 The Pursuit Of Knock 2:47
D3 The Power Of Orlok / The Death Of Ellen 7:34

Rating: 9.0

 

Random Item – Number 2 – 65daysofstatic

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This was yesterday but I pressed the random item on Discogs again and it came up with the soundtrack for the computer game ‘No Mans Sky’ which, if I remember correctly, has been slated as one of the worst games ever. I wouldn’t really know as I have never played it, this gives an idea though:

There just isn’t a game here. You get about eight hours of entertainment before you realize there’s nothing to do. Even with limitless exploration, there’s almost nothing to explore. It’s all the same.

One thing the game makers did get right is the soundtrack, performed by 65daysofstatic. When I stumbled across this I was a little skeptical thinking it would all be rather incidental and not very listenable, however, having given it a quick listen I found it not to be at all.

I had a look for a copy and found a guy who was leaving the country and selling off his record collection, so instead of the going rate I got the 4 LP box set for £30. Which is half (ish) of what it usually sells for and the copy I received was mint.

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Below is track 2 from the Side A of the first LP, and it is very much a 65daysofstatictrack and I love the damn thing:

It is a real shame as the music is just excellent and the game is, apparently, terrible, which probably resulted in the music being overlooked somewhat. The track below is ‘Debutante’ and was, I believe, used in the trailer for the game. I do know somebody who bought the game and played it for a while, they took it back and received a refund, as did many people.

Tracklist

A1 Monolith 6:18
A2 Supermoon 4:22
B1 Asimov 5:52
B2 Heliosphere 4:23
C1 Blueprint For A Slow Machine 5:54
C2 Pillars Of Frost 2:57
C3 Escape Velocity 2:55
D1 Red Parallax 4:47
D2 Hypersleep 2:53
D3 End Of The World Sun 7:26
E1 NMS_exteriorAtmos1 / False Suns 9:29
E2 Tomorrow / Lull / Celestial Feedback 10:54
F1 Departure / Shortwave / Noisetest 11:50
G1 temporalDissent / ascension_test1 / koaecax 10:07
G2 Borealis / Contrastellar 8:52
H1 Outlier / EOTWS_Variation1 11:59

I was just speaking to a chap who actually likes the game, although admits that it is incredibly repetitive. Interestingly he mentioned how good the music is but had no idea who it was by, so I was quite happy to speak at length about 65daysofstatic and the 4 LP box set I have of the music. I believe he fell asleep twice during this but I pushed on anyway.

Rating: 9.2

 

Alex Somers – Captain Fantastic (Music from The Film)

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Alex Somers is an American visual artist and musician from Baltimore, Maryland, who attended Berklee College of Music and Listaháskóli Íslands. Since 2010 he has been running a recording studio in Reykjavík where he produces, engineers, and mixes.

You may recognise some of his other work such as Artwork for the ‘Sigur Ros’ album ‘Takk’ or the ‘Hammock’ album cover for ‘Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow’. Somers has produced/mixed a few ‘Sigur Ros’ albums and the solo album from ‘Jonsi’, who he has released an album with as ‘Jonsi & Alex’ called ‘Riceboy Sleeps’.  So he is the kind of guy who is heavily involved but not front and centre and I was a little tentative about buying the music he did for Captain Fantastic having never actually seen the film.

Captain Fantastic Trailer:

alexsAs a lover of Sigur Ros though it seemed to me that it was worth a try but I saw it several times in the record shop and didn’t buy it until it was discounted by £5, it was still quite expensive though. The cover has round corners and the vinyl is, apparently, a duck egg blue. This version is limited to 1,150 copies, which is nice, more importantly though is that it is damn beautiful to listen to.

I do love a soundtrack as, quite often, the music is wonderful when listened to outside the context of the film, as is the case with this one. It is at times a little avant garde and at others modern classical, with some electronic and ambient scattered around. Where it is most appealing I suppose is where Jonsi of Sigur Ros is adding some incidental voices as it imbues the soundtrack as a whole with some grace and majesty.

The film tells the story of Ben (Viggo Mortensen), a father-of-six, who choses to raise his family off the grid in a forest in the Pacific Northwest. His wife is in treatment for bipolar disorder and Ben receives a letter informing him that she has killed herself. He packs up his children and they take a road trip to their mother’s funeral in New Mexico, despite warnings from his late wife’s father that he will have him arrested if he disrupts the funeral. I’ll leave the description there in case you ever decide to watch it in full, wouldn’t want to spoil it.

Often on soundtrack albums there is a theme that repeats and reprises but not so here, there are 24 tracks and almost all are individual pieces and none are disposable. There is a lightness of touch that Somers has, a delicacy, that suggests the music he has created would not be overpowering when used in the film but still manage to have their own identity when listened to as an album.

Tracklist

A1 A New Beginning 1:26
A2 Church 3:13
A3 Campfire 3:56
A4 Funeral Pyre 1:38
A5 She Slit Her Wrists 2:51

B1 Memories 2:14
B2 Fireflies 2:12
B3 Home 1:06
B4 Fell 2:35
B5 Dream 1:29
B6 Near Death 1:38
B7 Water (I’m Right Here) 0:57
B8 School Bus 1:37

C1 Forrest 2:47
C2 Look Forward To 2:58
C3 Keepsakes 3:32
C4 Remembering 7:16

D1 Unsoundness 2:01
D2 Waving Goodbye 0:47
D3 Day Of Your Birth 1:03
D4 Water (Not Go Home) 0:55
D5 Goodbye… 1:33
D Disappear 2:11
D7 Fortress 4:37

Rating: 9.1

 

 

Mogwai – Zidane Soundtrack

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I was in Cambridge for a few days in 2013 and popped into a record store just to have a little look around. It was encouraging to see that they had a fair few albums available and I was flicking through a bargain box beneath the main racks, finding nothing particularly interesting, until I came to the soundtrack to the film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, by Mogwai. I had seen quite a lot of the film, though not sat down and watched it all of the way through, and didn’t realise that it was Mogwai who had provided the soundtrack until this moment. Naturally, I bought it.

Tracklist
A1 Black Spider 5:04
A2 Terrific Speech 2 4:08
A3 Wake Up And Go Berserk 4:45
B4 Terrific Speech 4:47
B5 7:25 5:13
B6 Half Time 6:49
C7 I Do Have Weapons 4:16
C8 Time And A Half 5:56
C9 It Would Have Happened Anyway 2:34
C10 Black Spider 2 4:12
D11 Untitled
D12 Untitled

I read afterwards that there were a number of long term Mogwai fans that didn’t think much of this release, but it isn’t just a normal release, it has been specifically written to accompany the film but, to my mind, this does not detract from the music, quite the opposite in fact.

The music has an eerie tranquility and, when accompanied by the visuals, does a wonderful job, although I suspect that you have to have an appreciation for football to enjoy the film, regardless of who did the music.

The film is a documentary focused on Zinedine Zidane during the Spanish Liga Real Madrid vs. Villarreal CF game on April 23, 2005 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and was filmed in real time using 17 synchronized cameras. During the last minutes of the match, Zidane was sent off as a result of a brawl, well done Zidane.

Mogwai provided the soundtrack to the film, at the request of Douglas Gordon. After seeing some footage of the film with a remix of “Mogwai Fear Satan” playing in the background, they agreed to do it.

Here is a clip from the film accompanied by the Mogwai track 7:25 (I think)

Mogwai played the soundtrack live over the film at one point, as they did for ‘Atomic’, at Coventry Cathedral, which I desperately wanted to go to but I was away on that day, a major disappointment as what I was away doing was 96% less interesting than seeing Mogwai.

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The opening track, ‘Black Spider’, is probably my favourite, based on the number of times I’ve played it, and it’s below if you wopuld care to have a listen. This album is probably not ideal as an ‘Introduction to Mogwai’ as it is composed for a very specific purpose, but if you like and know Mogwai already then for me it’s a must have.

Death & Vanilla – Vampyr

There are certain things that make me interested in a record which are often related to a good back story, amongst other things. ‘Vampyr’ by Death and Vanilla has things that interest me in abundance. I have their eponymous 2012 album and like it very much, not least because I paid very little for it, but also because I liked the aesthetic of the music, this is what first drew me to this album. Here in list form are the reasons why I was so interested in it.

  1. I knew the band already, which is always a plus
  2. It’s a soundtrack, and I like soundtracks.
  3. It’s a soundtrack to a 1932 film by Danish director Carl Theodor, which In itself means not a lot to me but I do like a silent film.
  4. It was recorded live as the film played.
  5. The packaging is lovely as is the grey marbled vinyl. image004
  6. It has moogs and mellotrons.
  7. The entire original film along with the original soundtrack is available on youtube
  8. I plan to see if I can overlay the Death and Vanilla over the actual film and see what happens.

It is a really interesting soundtrack that I’ve already listened to several times just as a piece of music, in 4 parts, and really enjoyed.

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If you’d like to know more about the band then here it is, taken directly from http://www.firerecords.com/death-and-vanilla/

Formed in Malmö, Sweden by Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson, Death and Vanilla utilise vintage musical equipment such as vibraphone, organ, mellotron, tremolo guitar and moog, to emulate the sounds of 60s/70s soundtracks, library music, German Krautrock, French Ye-ye pop and 60s psych. They revel in the warmth of older analogue instruments to create a more organic sound, each loose wire and off-kilter noise adding to the rich atmosphere.

After a handful of successful releases including a debut EP in 2010, their self-titled LP in 2012 – which sold out on pre-order – and a beautifully designed 7” single, the experimental pop duo were invited to compose a live soundtrack for the classic horror film, Vampyr (1932), for the Lund Fantastisk Film festival in Lund. In 2015, newly signed to Fire, the band returned with a new, full length album ‘To Where The Wild Things Are.’ Named after the Maurice Sendak children’s book, the album is comprised of pop music with a wild, dreamy and experimental edge, celebrating imagination and the ability to travel to stranger recesses of the mind.

Next came the ‘California Owls’ 12″ coloured EP. Opulent and timeless, ‘California Owls’ is a reverb soaked spectral-pop song drenched in 60s-psych while the dark and swirling melodies of ‘Follow The Light’ has a ‘Walk Away Renee pace’ (Guardian). Creating deliciously enticing soundscapes, full of moody moogs and breathless vocals, their influences are as diverse as their music.

Following a run of UK successful live dates in Spring 2015 including Rough Trade East, Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, Levitation Psych Fest (France) and Incubate (Netherlands), Watch this space for more live date announcements from the formidable trio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stranger Things – Vinyl

Stranger Things was an absolute smash hit for Netflix this year. The first season of the series, set in the 1980’s, follows the disappearance of a young boy and the monstrous chain of events it launches in the small town. I was captivated by this show, partially because it’s very much from my era, or very nearly, I’m more late 70’s early 80’s, but it’s near enough. I also really appreciated that it was only 8 episodes. So many series drag on for 20 or more episodes and it can just be too much to watch, and the need for that many cliffhangers at the end of each episode becomes rather tiresome. I’m struggling with the Walking Dead, still a couple of series behind, there’s just too much of it and it’s basically the same thing happening every episode. I have the first 13 or 14 volumes of the comic, which I was reading well before it appeared on TV, and exactly the same thing happened there, I stopped buying them as it is the same thing over and over again, for the most part at least, just presented differently. With Stranger Things, 8 episodes is just about perfect.

I also loved the music, for which the soundtracks of Tangerine Dream were highly influential, as was Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks score, among others. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein—the soundtrack’s composers, as well as members of the Austin synth band S U R V I V E, had one of their tracks, ‘Dirge’, used on the original pitch of the series and so were in from the beginning. Here is the track they used, which, when I listen to it, I can see it slipping seamlessly into the Stranger Things score:

I pre-ordered Volume 1 of the score but it was a little delayed for some reason or other, eventually arriving last week, a few weeks late but that was OK. I have the red/blue vinyl version, which is rather nice:

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I’ve no idea how many of these were pressed, quite a few I suspect but I can’t seem to find any info on that, it’s called a ‘Deluxe Edition’ for some reason, possibly because the gate fold sleeve is 425g, which is pretty sturdy.

Tracklisting:

LP1
1. Stranger Things
2. Kids
3. Nancy and Barb
4. This Isn’t You
5. Lay-Z-Boy
6. Friendship
7. Eleven
8. A Kiss
9. Castle Byers
10. Hawkins
11. The Upside Down
12. After Sarah
13. One Blink for Yes
14. Photos In the Woods

LP2
1. Fresh Blood
2. Lamps
3. Hallucinations
4. Hanging Lights
5. Biking to School
6. Are You Sure?
7. Agents
8. Papa
9. Cops Are Good at Finding
10. No Weapons
11. Walking Through the Upside Down
12. She’ll Kill You
13. Run Away
14. No Autopsy
15. Dispatch
16. Joyce and Lonnie Fighting
17. Lights Out
18. Hazmat Suits
19. Theoretically
20. You Can Talk to Me
21. What Else Is There to Do?
22. Hawkins Lab

The best known piece from this, is of course, from the opening credits:

I’ve listened to the whole thing several times and love it. Take Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, bit of Kraftwerk, Angelo Badalamenti, some John Carpenter, maybe a dash of Nine Inch Nails and mix them all up and this is what you get.

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I also pre-ordered Volume Two, from the Invada Records site and this was listed as a ‘Limited Edition’ and mail order only, though, again, limited to how many I don’t know. This arrived this week and I’ve had a listen. It is different music to Volume One but very much in the same vein. That there are two volumes for this episode run does show how closely involved Dixon & Stein were in the creation of the series as music is often repeated, and it is at times of course, but a new piece would be created, perhaps with a sublte difference, for different scenes in the show.

I’m a sucker for coloured vinyl of course and this one is really rather nice:

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Tracklisting

1.Hopper Sneaks In
2.I Know What I Saw
3.Rolling Out The Pool
4.Over
5.Gearing Up
6.Flickering
7.First Kiss
8.Crying
9.Walking Down The Tracks
10.Where’s Barb?
11.Speak Of The Devil
12.Danger Danger
13.Tribulations
14.Flashback
15.Kids Two
16.Talking To Australia
17.Night Of The Seventh
18.See Any Rain?
19.Coffee & Contemplation
20.Inside The Black Room
21.Starts To Rain
22.Eleven Is Gone
23.Time For A 187
24.Something In The House
25.Still Pretty
26.Abilities
27.Tendril
28.They Found Us
29.Bad Men
30.Spiked Bat
31.Making Contact
32.What Do You Know
33.It’s Not My Boy
34.Something In The Wall
35.Let’s Go
36.Leap Of Faith
37.In Pursuit
38.Breaking And Entering
39.Stranger Things (Extended)

If you have yet to see the show, and many people haven’t as they don’t subscribe to Netflix, then the track names mean very little but both Volumes are a great listen regardless of whether you’ve seen the show or not. The one gripe I do have, and it is perhaps not entirely fair of me, is the use of the same image on the front of both volumes, but also that Netflix logo, it irks me that it’s there though I can’t quite pinpoint why it irks me, it just does.

I’ll finish with a trailer for Season 1. This was just a fabulous series and I highly recommend it to anybody who hasn’t seen it.

 

 

Moon – Clint Mansell

cs521457-01a-bigA little while ago I picked up the soundtrack to the film ‘Black Swan’ by Clint Mansell and recently I picked up another of his, from the movie ‘Moon’. I watched the film  a while back but had no idea that Mansell had done the music, so the plan now is to watch the film again and pay a little more attention to it in context.

If you haven’t seen the film then I highly recommend it as it has a lot going for it. Firstly, it’s a British Sci-fi film, which you don’t see many of, it’s considered to be scientifically possible rather than far fetched flying through space faster than light speed and shooting lasers at each other and suchlike. It’s also a good story and has a great performance from Sam Rockwell who goes through a bit of a personal crisis towards the end of his three year solitary shift mining Helium-3 on the far side of the moon.

This was a modestly budgeted film that grossed under $10 million worldwide, but that same year The Pink Panther 2 grossed over $75 Million, which actually proves nothing other than how much a film grosses is not a measure of it’s quality. The Pink Panther 2 was bloody abysmal.

Just in case you didn’t know, The script for Moon was written by Duncan Jones, who is the son of David Bowie. Here is a trailer for the film so that you can get an idea of what it is all about and there’s a bit of the music by Mansell in it as well:

The soundtrack is subtle, repetitively simple even, with piano appearing throughout and with a repeating theme, sometimes in glimpses and sometimes not but with each piece evoking what has past and what is to come. I like Mansell’s soundtrack work, well, the tow I’ve heard so far anyway. ‘Black Swan’ is a lot more intricate, which it would be, being based on ‘Swan Lake’, but there’s a lovely ambience around the Moon soundtrack and it is a good listen regardless of being a soundtrack.

Tracklist

1 Welcome To Lunar Industries 7:12
2 Two Weeks & Counting… 2:00
3 I’m Sam Bell 3:45
4 I’m Sam Bell, Too… 5:05
5 Memories (Someone We’ll Never Know) 4:53
6 Are You Receiving? 3:18
7 Can’t Get There From Here 3:17
8 “We’re Not Programs, Gerty, We’re People” 5:10
9 The Nursery 3:46
10 Sacrifice 3:03
11 We’re Going Home 3:42
12 Welcome To Lunar Industries (Three Year Stretch…) 10:04

Here is the entire soundtrack:

Bwhahahahahaha

 

As soon as Pip goes for a shower then the game is afoot! Isn’t that right Mother?

Angelo Badalamenti – Soundtrack from Twin Peaks

Did you love Twin Peaks? I did, it was so odd and somehow compelling, with the show creatingtp1 a feeling that everybody there had something to hide, whether it related to the death of Laura Palmer or not. The strange, slightly uncomfortable viewing was enhanced greatly by the music of Angelo Badalamenti, who seemed to have created a perfect musical accompaniment.

I pre-ordered a re-issue, re-master of the soundtrack a while ago and it arrived last week, it’s a lovely thing. It has a die cut outer sleeve and an inner gatefold housing a coloured vinyl, what colour? Damn fine coffee coloured apparently. tp2

I went to the location where the series was filmed in Washington state back in 1999 (With friends Dirk and Allison pointing things out) and it was quite weird to be there. What you see on the TV screen is, of course, not what is there in reality, however, seeing the actual place made the whole show seem somehow more real and, in many ways, rather more frightening as the protection of the TV screen was removed. I watched it again after visiting and, even though I knew what happened, it still put me rather on edge a lot of the time.

Who could forget this:

Genius! Also crazy, but genius all the same.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack all week and I do now plan to watch the entire series again, for a third time, because, well, why not?

You can, should you wish, remind yourself of just how good this soundtrack is by playing the video below.

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:

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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.

QUITE THE W/E FOR VINYL BUYING 10

aaaaaaaaaaand finally, something  a little bit different. A 7″ single, or E.P. really, that came out on Record Store Day this year but was still in the store and, as I am a bit of a sucker for Soundtracks, I really had to pick it up and take it home.

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Record Store Day celebrates German cinematic culture this year with this special edition silver colored vinyl 7″ single of ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (translated as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror) from the 1922 German Expressionist horror film. The original score composed by Hans Erdmann has been lost, and what remains is a reconstitution of the score as it was played in 1922. James Bernard, composer of the soundtracks of many Hammer horror films in the late 1950s and 1960s, has written a score for a reissue. This particular 7” version contains audio performed in 1997 by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine. Limited to 3000 numbered copies.

Side A
Omens of Nosferatu
The Pursuit of Knock

Side B
The Ship of Doom

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It’s a wonderful thing and, although it was £7.00 I feel it was worth it and, of course, it wasn’t my money paying for it!

Below is a video that somebody made of it playing on their turntable.

Final Total: £51.00

 

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

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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:

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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:

Les Revenants

There was briefly an American made TV series called ‘The Returned’ the synopsis for which is as follows:

The American adapted series follows residents in a small town whose lives are disrupted when people who have been dead for many years begin reappearing. The series premiered on March 9, 2015, but was cancelled by A&E after one season, on June 15, 2015.

This suggests it wasn’t really very good. I saw a few episodes and it was actually quite watchable, but here’s the problem, it was a remake of a French TV series called ‘Les Revenants’ which is ‘The Returned’ but in French, which in turn was based on a 2004 French film They Came Back (in French titled Les Revenants) directed by Robin Campillo, and the French series was really very good indeed and part of the reason for that was because it didn’t happen in America. It was French, in France, with French people, which is part of what made it interesting for some of us non-French folk. The same thing happened with Forbrydelsen,_DVD‘Forbrydelsen’ (The Killing), it was Danish, set in Denmark with Danish people speaking Danish and the way the characters behaved, each look, each sigh, every little nuance, could not be separated from that. The American version was terrible I thought. It premiered on April 3, 2011 and it’s cancellation was announced in July 2013 but AMC picked it up for a third season after a renegotiation with Fox Television Studios and Netflix. It was again cancelled by AMC in September 2013, but Netflix announced in November 2013 that it had ordered a fourth season consisting of six episodes to conclude the series. The complete fourth season was released on Netflix in all territories on August 1, 2014. While this one did get to the end, the original Danish series was brilliant television and, to be honest, didn’t need a remake. Yes it was subtitled, but that didn’t detract from it at all, it was part of what made it so interesting. Moving it from Copenhagen to Seattle  wasn’t the answer and the U.S. version missed many of the subtleties that made the original so good, not least Sarah Lunds jumpers.

I’ve digressed, but remakes in English are a pet hate of mine, remakes in American English even more so (I have nothing against America by the way, just most of it’s TV executives). Back to Les Revenants, what the U.S series lacked just as much as the very Frenchness of the original was the truly brilliant Soundtrack by Mogwai. Why didn’t the U.S verison use an already existing soundtrack which the composers/performers were quite happy for them to use? I’ve no idea. I do know they gave the job to Nicholas Jaar instead, who I really like, so that was an excellent move, had he done it, for some reason it never happened and now I can’t even find a music credit for it on IMDB or a few other places I’ve looked. As far as I can ascertain from ‘Tune Find‘ it wasn’t scored, they just used songs such as the following:

Welcome Home – RADICAL FACE
Lost In My Mind – THE HEAD AND THE HEART
Elephant’s Bed – DESERT NOISES
Time’s a Headache – MOZES AND THE FIRSTBORN
Better for You – SAID THE WHALE
Canon In D Major – MAINZ CHAMBER ORCHESTRA & GUNTER KEHR

I’m at a loss with these choices. They may very well be wonderful songs, but why use them when the original score was so very good. I have an example, below is a video that somebody has put together using clips from the original French series using the track ‘Special N’ from the soundtrack by Mogwai.

Oh my, to me that is just wonderful, the underwater scene with the animal corpses coupled with that music is mesmerising, or you could have this fine song from the U.S version:

That’s enough moaning from me, put simply, the Mogwai soundtrack works as an album just as well as it does a soundtrack, it’s beautiful, haunting music that I go back to time and time again, it just has an intimate, low-key brilliance that really resonates with me.

Track List:

  1. “Hungry Face”
  2. “Jaguar”
  3. “The Huts”
  4. “Kill Jester”
  5. “This Messiah Needs Watching”
  6. “Whisky Time”
  7. “Special N”
  8. “Relative Hysteria”
  9. “Fridge Magic”
  10. “Portugal”
  11. “Eagle Tax”
  12. “Modern”
  13. “What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?” (cover of a song by Washington Phillips, written by Charles Albert Tindley)
  14. “Wizard Motor”

Here, should you wish to enrich your life, is the whole album: