Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paul Giovanni and Magnet - The Wicker Man OST (1973, Trunk, 1998)

With Robin Hardy's 1973 film "The Wicker Man" a different method was employed for the score. Instead of the typical startling and abrasive strings striking fear into the hearts of watchers, Hardy chose Paul Giovanni to write pastoral Celtic-style folk songs conducive to the setting of the film, Summerisle. These songs are probably more effective at making the watcher feel uncomfortable as they don't initially seem creepy, however, the deeper one gets into the plot of the film, the more disconcerting these ancient pagan sounding odes become.I'm imagining Pentangle and Sandy Denny as psychotic pagans bent on bloodletting of innocents.

One of many favorite terrifying horror film scenes would not have been as disturbing without the music. This is really powerful stuff.

Get it Here

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Riz Ortolani - Cannibal Holocaust (Lucertola Media, 1980)

This film is all shock and schlock. Often banned and berated internationally, Deodato's film is a disturbing gutmunching extravaganza.

What's bizarre about the soundtrack is that its misleading and doesn't really make any sense. The main theme is not indicative of the horrific bloodfeast to follow but a soft, warm and tinkly number designed to relax and not alarm. Following that are unusual pieces that range from jazz and funk to children's music and loungey electronics.

Extremely weird and awesome.

Get it Here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ennio Morricone - The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Italy, 1969)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was the great Dario Argento's directorial debut as well as one of his best plotted films. This was the first of his "Animal Trilogy" along with Cat o' Nine Tails and Four Flies on Grey Velvet shortly thereafter. All of these films were score by the man himself, Ennio Morricone. To put soundtrack in perspective I feel its important to point out the impact he made on the whole of film. When horror was bogged down with cliche, Morricone broke the mold, much the same as he did with the western genre on his DOLLAR scores.

Instead of the the overuse of strings, Morricone's approach was drug-addled experimental jazz. In the violent scenes he trademarked his placement of lullabyes and heavy breathing that became a oft-imitated standard in horror. As simple as these ideas sound, they are incredible unsettling and very creepy in the context of the film.

Get it Here

Popol Vuh - Nosferatu (Egg, 1978)

Florian Fricke was the mastermind behind Popol Vuh, one of the earliest ambient music projects and one of the lesser known "krautrock" acts.

Werner Herzog is...well... Werner Herzog. Obviously this is one of the strangest vampire films you'll ever see. Its not weird so much as that its very...well...Werner Herzog.

The pairing of visual and audio hear is simply stunning, one of the best ever. Popol Vuh's piano and acoustic guitar based pieces are absolutely gorgeous and as poignant as could possibly be. You don't even need the film aesthetic to enjoy it.

Get it Here

Monday, October 17, 2011

Les Baxter - The Dunwich Horror (1970)

1970 saw the release of a Roger Corman produced B movie adaptation of this H.P Lovecraft story starring Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee (naked Gidget) and Ed Begley in his last film role.

The king of equally campy music himself, Les Baxter, is perfect as composer here. His score, anchored by an contagious recurring main theme, transports the listener to a vivid and ridiculously colorful psychedelic 60's landscape that is part Monkees, part Acid Test, part art house porn and part I Dream of Jeannie.

Classic Bernard Hermann themes mixed with funky drums and strange electronics give way to more sleazy than creepy motifs. More Planet of the Apes than "The Old Ones". Not too scary but a helluva lotta fun.

Get it Here

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo - Forbidden Zone OST (Varese Sarabande, 1980)

Richard Elfman, wrote and directed and his brother Danny scored this dark, manic, paranoid, cabaret-ish, new wave, punk, theater on film epic.

This cult classic has something to do with minnie the moocher (the druggie made famous by Cab Calloway's call and response scat classic) infiltrating the perverted fears of the unknown, yet slightly expected but later nonchalantly forgotten, reasons of reality.

Many of the actors actually lip synch to old recordings of Cab Calloway and Josephine Baker while wearing black face and performing faux anti-Semitic themes. Apparently, people in 1982 couldn't appreciate the displeasure of bad art done well though the film eventually explains itself with the confusion that it mirrors.

The sixth dimension lies somewhere as close as the forbidden zone.

--Sean Dail

Get it Here

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wojceich Kilar - The Ninth Gate OST (Silva America, 1999)

We probably all agree this wasn't the best outing Polanski ever had but maybe its one of the best for composer Wojceich Kilar.

Well known for scoring Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and Polanski's "The Pianist", he has achieved a well-deserved esteem for his trademark grinding basses and cellos, deeply romantic themes and minimalist chord progressions. As a part of the post-war Polish school of minor key mournfulness, its no surprise you'll hear similarities to Gorecki.

This score is very creepy but I feel its important to remind all that it cannot be listened to unless its in its entirety. Out of context, some of the pieces and their inherent repetitious qualities will go unnoticed and may even sound unappealing. Its best just to sit back, close your eyes and let the devil take hold.

Get it Here

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Vampires of Dartmoore - Dracula's Music Cabinet (1969, Finders Keepers, 2009)

With this post I'd like to introduce a pre-Halloween horror score extravaganza. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, a whole month of spooky, scary and / or campy treats for you to prep your All Hallows shindig.

Vampires of Dartmoore were not an actual band, Dracula's Music Cabinet was not an actual film. And in stating this I'm proud to say that faux film scores are not the latest fad. They've been happening since 1969. So there, Ha!

Not just another Vampyros Lesbos-type score to add to the list of hip 60's catalog, this joint has a Psychsploitation theme(I stole that from somewhere). The opening track leaves us wondering if the moaning is from sexual pleasure or the pain of the blood-sucking nightbreed. Later we're offered anything from detective / mystery outings with Scooby Doo on the Mighty Wurlitzer to proto-hip hop beats by Casper the Friendly Ghost with an S&M habit and a sheet of acid.

Ultimately, this is a fine burlesque show funky jazz hip hop horror masterpiece just waiting to be sampled to death. Supposedly this recording was the creative outlet of a group of people that were employed to make sound effects records for a German library archive. Only a job that boring could spawn something this exciting.

Get it Here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Solomon Ilori and his Afro Drum Ensemble - African High Life (Blue Note, 1963)

Before ol' Fela Kuti was a household name there was Solomon Ilori. After Art Blakey embraced his heritage and began incorporating the afrocentric mentality into his own style of jazz he utilized the talents of Ilori. This is high life before the rest. The first recording to drop stateside, on Blue Note no less. Ilori's high life is a beautiful marriage of traditional African and Carribean styles. Really smooth, funky and amazing material here. Enjoy.

Get it Here

Monday, October 3, 2011

Manilla Road - Crystal Logic (Black Dragon, 1983)

Witchita, Kansas, 1977: Mark 'The Shark' Shelton and high school buddies Benny Munkirs, Rick Fisher and brothers Robert and Scott Park started playing some progressive hard rock in the local bars. After cutting a couple records and cutting the fat, 1983 saw a new and thrashier drummer in Randy Foxe. With this came a new heavy metal sound that carved a niche for them with this good time / bad time / mystical burner.

This record has every cliche in the book and then some. I love that Manilla Road's lyrics range from nuclear war and holocaust to Norse and Arthurian legend, a bit of Cthulu and maybe something about saving the manatees? Not really sure about the last part, may have misheard it...I want that to be what I heard though.

Get it Here