Showing posts with label Horror Soundtracks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Horror Soundtracks. Show all posts

Monday, 19 October 2015

On The Hi Fi - Recent Synth Soundtrax

Loving this. This is Steve Moore from Zombi, the synth-prog group who brought us the top faux electronic soundtrack albums Surface To Air and Spirit Animal in the 00s. If you know those records you'll know what you're getting here. This recording is an actual score to a film though. Cub is a retro-synth soundtrack that's so good it doesn't need to pretend it's anything new. This score is the sound of a man and his synthesiser creating fabulous minimal and spooky analogue sounds not unlike John Carpenter whereas Zombi were more like your full on horror prog rock group along the lines of Tangerine Dream or Goblin. Best soundtrack of 2015?

I missed this one when it came out so if you like your synth horror soundtracks, like the above, this is for you. I have come across two excellent Jeff Grace soundtracks previously 2011's The Innkeepers and The House Of The Devil from 2009. I knew this was more synthy than those aforementioned two scores which were a lot more symphonic but Cold In July while tipping its hat to John Carpenter moves beyond mere cloning of ones influences. Jeff Grace feels like a real contender for the electronic score crown. Cold In July is undeniably a post millennial classic synth soundtrack that makes the terrific and very enjoyable music of Umberto, Zombi, Salisbury & Barrow feel like mere fanboys playing at wanting to be their heroes Moroder, GoblinTangerine Dream etc. Grace was once an assistant to modern soundtrack legend Howard Shore, hinting at what you're getting here (Carpenter meets Shore meets some mysterious new ingredients) and that something more intellectual might be happening here. Grace has made a synthesiser soundtrack his own like no one has really done since the early 80s. Achieving that is no mean feat and should put into perspective his talent and potential. Somehow he puts new textures into the atmospheres of these tracks and adds a new level of sophistication to synth scoring. I hope Grace continues doing electronic soundtracks as I feel he is on the verge of something great within this field. Cold In July is up there with the best recent soundtracks and gives Mica Levi's brilliant Under The Skin from last year a run for its money. This is some serious synth biz and then some.

This slab of synth candy is from 2010 but wasn't released until 2014. Beyond The Black Rainbow is highly rated amongst synthesiser soundtrack aficionados and it doesn't disappoint. Caves is a member of the psych-prog rock group Black Mountain and apparently has another cosmic synth gem under his belt with 2002's The Enchanter Persuaded. Having quite enjoyed what I had heard of Black Mountain on the radio, many years ago, I didn't really know what to expect from this Caves soundtrack but geez it's a real delight. After Umberto released the fantastic Prophesy Of The Black Widow 5 years ago at the height of Not Not Fun's great run of releases, I thought there may not have been any life left in this kind of retro synth gear, how wrong I was. On Beyond The Black Rainbow Caves piles on the tension and cosmic grandiosity. VHS memoradelia and dread fuelled dark ambient are the order of the day here. Eerie intergalactic vistas are intertwined with sprawling cosmic prog workouts to great affect, rejuvenating the spooky sci-fi soundtrack genre. Another bewdy.

This one came out a few months back and passed me by so I'm glad to be catching up with it now. I'm not really sure who Maiovvi is but I know he released an album on Not Not Fun last year and recorded a soundtrack for the 2012 short film Yellow. I totally dig Umberto's four albums of faux horror/sci-fi soundtracks From The Grave, Prophesy Of The Black Widow, Night Has A Thousand Screams and Confrontations. It's been a couple of years since Confrontations so I've been wondering where the hell Umberto have been. Law Unit delves into much darker territory than Umberto's previous Goblin/Carpenter-esque synth confections. Some of it heads into industrial/EBM/dark ambient type zones making it a bit different from past Umberto releases. Still getting my head around this new, harsher direction for Umberto but I guess I have to start looking at it as a collaborative tangent rather than a wholly new look Umberto. Having said that, it's not bad though.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Friday The 13th Again

How often do you get two fFriday The 13ths in a row? Here's some tunes to soundtrack your day, hope you make it out alive. Creepy that little f above what's it doing there? The jauntiness of the opening credits to Tourist Trap really adds to the ominous vibe here.

Here's another tune from the Tourist Trap by Pino Donaggio. Never seen the film but it's a hell of a soundtrack which I think is being reissued soon or today or something.

Now this is Libra who had like 3 Goblin people (ex or otherwise) in the band and they made like the 3rd best Goblin soundtrack really, just behind Suspiria and Profondo Rosso. If you love your Italian horror soundtracks then this is for you. Here's 10 minutes of Italian horror prog rock soundtrack gold.

This one just popped up as I was typing so how could I resist? That synth sound is fantastic and the whole Euro cinematic vibe is so cool. Tres creepy. Pino also did the soundtrack to Don't Look Now which is fabulously uncanny. He was also a pop star in Italy throughout the 60s. Here's a bizarre fact he wrote You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, yes the one of Dusty Springfield and Elvis fame. His own version was a number 1 smash in Italy in 1965.

Stelvio Cipriani: man of hundreds of soundtracks has done a few Giallo/Horror/Thriller scores. Why is Italy so disturbing? Something about cheesy 70s music really adds an extra sinister vibe here. More Goblin connections here as Cipriani did the Solamente Nero with them as well as recording another OST with Goblin's Claudio Simonetti Un' Ombra Nell' Ombra. Both of those records are well worth tracking down as they are excellent.

Everyone seems to be hip to Fabio Frizzi these days but here he collaborates with Franco Bixio and Vincenzo Tempera which he did on a handful of occasions. Great scary stuff.

I could go on and on and on some more but this is my final entry for today. What no John Carpenter? It's an outrage! This time its Frizzi on his own for another Fulci movie. This is kind of funny and kind of spooky. It's most definitely strange. The drumming in particular here is very peculiar.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Horror Soundtracks Part 13

  Released for the first time soon. Can't wait.
They love a list over at FACT and here's another fabulous one. This time it's the 100 best horror soundtracks. Although having this posted at Halloween time kind of cheapens it a bit. So I've left it till now to talk about it. I'm not just into horror soundtracks at the end of October. I like them in December, May...... 25 of these I don't own, mainly the more recent ones. But that means I'm into 75% of the list. I didn't realise what a horror soundtrack buff I'd become. Although I have occasionally written about them here and there. For me it all started in the 90s with Morrricone, Spaghetti Westerns and Italian composers really. Discovering later that many of these Spaghetti Western guys also did scores for horror movies which were just as good if not better. Then also discovering that these Italians composers also did a lot of library music as well but that's another story. Having said that the quintessential Italian guy, with the best name in the biz, Allessandro Allessandroni comes in at number 9 with his classic score to The Devil's Nightmare. Everything this guy touches seems turns to gold, whether it's Spaghetti Westerns, Horror or library music. Next I got into Goblin and well it all spiralled out of control from there. So of course my top 100 would be top heavy with Italian composers and hey there's quite a few here including such favourites as all of the previously mentioned plus Fabio Frizzi, Libra, Bruno Nicolai, Giuliano Sorgini, Pino Donaggio, Stelvio Cipriani, Walter Rizzati, Francesco De Masi, Franco Micalizzi, Carlo Maria Cordio, Riz Ortoliani and probably a few I missed.

My only revelation here is Martin (both film and soundtrack) a 1977 film by George A Romero with a soundtrack from Donald Rubenstien. Watched the film on the t-box for $3.99 and enjoyed it. The soundtrack was excellent too. I've tracked down a copy and it hasn't been off the stereo since.

The list contains many recently reissued classics (tilting the list somewhat, but hey its 2014 nobody cares) like Creepshow, Surf Nazis Must Die, Witchfinder General, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Last House On The Left, Blood On Satan's Claw, Canibal Ferox, Re-Animator, House By The Cemetery, La Frission Des Vampires, Street Trash, Possession and many others of which I can vouch for. You can thank Trunk, Finders Keepers, Death Waltz, One Way Static, Waxwork et al. for reissuing these thus making them heard and in turn put on this list. There are a few obscurities though that haven't been re released or even released such as Carlo Maria Cordio's Rosso Sangue (Absurd), Klause Schulze's Next Of Kin, Burial Ground scored by Elsio Mancuso & Berto Pisano and Let's Scare Jessica To Death by Orville Stoeber. I'm not sure if the Lets Scare Jessica To Death OST has ever been released. I have a funny fan made mp3 of it which goes for like 17 minutes. I would have downloaded it from one of those old horror score blogs like Inferno Music Vault. I have this rubbish mp3 version of Absurd with like faulty tracks three quarters of the way through, the music's good though. I've never been able to find the Next Of Kin OST in any form and it's an Australian movie. Surely Burial Ground will be released by one of these Horror OST specialists, the bootleg and the fan made mp3 have eluded me so far.

The Hauntological Parish are represented on the list with the pagan, magikal, clunky and occult sounds of Basil Kirchin, Delia Derbyshire & Brian Hodgeson, Paul Giovanni, Mark Wilkinson and Paul Ferris

It's good to see OST gems in the hiding in plain sight category such as Nightmare On Elm Street by Charles Bernstein (How good is that one?), Rosemary's Baby from Krysztof Komeda (Tres creepy), Evil Dead, Harry Manfredini's Friday The 13th (love that), Amittyville Horror and I guess the one that started the modern era Berrard Herrmann's Psycho. Psycho would have to be the most influential and recognisable horror film score ever, still being referenced by composers today. All the cultiest post-Goblin/Tangerine Dream Carpenter-esque synth scores are here Chopping Mall, Slumber Party Massacre, The Boogey Man, Maniac, The Deadly Spawn, Inseminoid, X-Tro and The Entity.

Bruno Nicolai makes the cut with All The Colours Of The Dark but at least 3 others in his horror canon could have just as easily been here La Coda Dello Scorpione, The Case Of The Bloody Iris or Nightmares Come At Night. Pino Donaggio's Tourist Trap is a classic but many would think his uncanny score to Don't Look Now was even better. Stelvio Cipriani is in with Tentacles but he has many other horror greats like Incubo: Sulla Citta ContaminataBay Of Blood, Un Ombra Nell Ombra (the one he did with Goblin's Claudio Simonetti) and Solamante Nero with Goblin. Nico Fidenco's here with the cult soundtrack Zombie Holocaust but I reckon Porno Holocaust is just as good or even better. Donati and Maglione's Eaten Alive didn't make it but their equally brilliant Cannibal Ferox did. Riz Orloliani's Cannibal Holocaust is here but he has other classics that always get overlooked like Nella Stretta Morsa Del Ragno and Non Si Senzia Un Paperino. Morricone appears with Spasmo but could have surfaced with half a dozen classics including Four Flies On Grey Velvet, Cat O Nine Tails, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, A Lizard In A Woman's Skin, The Exorcist II etc. Franco Micalizzi is here with the score to The Visitor but it could well have been the superior Chi Sei?.

Never Seen Sorority House Massacre II but love the score
Some omissions that would have made my cut include Terminator composer Brad Fiedel's over the top and ghastly Fright Night, Masahiko Satoh's choice Belladonna Of Sadness, Angelo Badalamenti's Nightmare On Elm Street III, Joe Delia's Driller Killer, Giorgio Morrodor's disco horror Cat People and Chuck Cirino's delightfully doomed Sorority House Massacre II. I'm sure if I saw the actual movie it would ruin it for me. Killer Clowns From Outer Space is an alarming and strange soundtrack like someone tracing over hardcore math rock with a horror synth. If Susan Justin's Forbidden World is on the list I don't see why Tom Pierson's haunting Quintet OST to Robert Altman's dystopian nightmare flick couldn't be included. Madeline: Study Of A Nightmare by Maurizio Vandelli is a pearla featuring a 70s euro pop smorgasbord along with eerie synth and spooky ethereal lady vocals, sorta proto 4AD/This Mortal Coil at times. Nekromantik doesn't make it. No Messiah Of Evil! Gene Moore's sinister and evocative organ score to Carnival Of Souls is one of my all time favourite soundtracks. I think Carnival Of Souls would have been the first soundtrack I bought purely on the music having not seen the film. That trend would continue. I probably haven't seen half of these films. Perhaps the more recent Oculus (which I did see) OST from the Newton Brothers could have been included too.

The most seriously experimental and intellectual work included would have to be Howard Shore's Videodrome which sounds like it could have been made today. Not forgetting Mr Glass and his score to Candyman. Richard Einhorn, a graduate from Colombia Princeton who studied under the legendary Vladimir Ussachevsky, appears with the unheard (by me and most people) Shock Waves. I am eagerly awaiting that reissue which is apparently on its way. He also did the awesome 1979 sounds for the movie Don't Go In The House.

Phantasm is one of the all time great horror soundtracks, which I pointed out should have made that other excellent FACT list 100 LPs of the 70s. Good to see this spectacular yet underrated gem made the list. The collaboration between Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave was a one off I believe which is a real shame. I know Myrow worked with Alan Howarth (John Carpenter's right hand man) on the Phantasm sequel. Seagrave was apparently a professor and a serious composer (classical & Opera) as well as a rock producer. Anyone heard of Aviary? Well he produced them. Myrow composed the OST to Soylent Green amongst others. He was also a serious composer and conductor working with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and did some recordings for the prestigious Nonesuch label. He even worked with Jim Morrison on an abandoned film project.

Jerry Goldsmith is one composer I have never been able to get into. He's recorded hundreds of soundtracks. People rave about Planet Of The Apes and he's got two scores on this list Poltergeist and Alien. Well you can't be into everyone I guess. He's for other people to listen to. All this talk of all things haunting has just reminded me i bought IX-Tab's new album this week I must go and listen to that at once.

Monday, 21 April 2014

More Soundtrack Gold

Shogun Assassin OST (1980) - Mark Lindsay & W Michael Lewis
Came across this on the interweb and thought 'What's that something to do with Quentin Tarrantino...yeah Liquid Swords!' Of course Liquid Swords is the Genius/GZA hip hop masterpiece from 1995 that I've discussed before on this here blog. It's possibly the greatest hip hop LP of them all in my book. A big part of Liquid Swords appeal is the twisted music's strange one of a kind vibe as well as the brilliant lyrics, phrasing, beats etc. And a big part of Liquid Swords eerie vibe is the sampling of this Shogun Assassin soundtrack. I'm not usually a tracker of samples, you know a trainspotter, but sometimes sampled songs end up in your collection via different routes. Curtis Mayfield & Liquid Liquid turned up many years later (after being sampled by Ice-T and Grandmaster Flash respectively) when I discovered those artists records. I do have The Winstons version of Amen, Brother on a compilation from whence the Amen break was torn out and I often think 'Why these few seconds of drummage?' Anyway listening to Lindsay & Lewis's soundtrack it's impossible not to think of Liquid Swords. This is the sample stain right? Was that a derogatory term though? I can't remember. Whatever, this soundtrack will always be tied to Genius/GZA in my brain & eardrums. Having said that Shogun Assassin is excellent and I am fairly certain I would love it if I'd not heard or even disliked Liquid Swords. Who are Lindsay an Lewis?? They don't sound particularly Japanese do they? I believe they must be Western ring ins for the dubbed/re-soundtracked English speaking version of this film. They've created some synthy goodness on this record and some unique atmospheres not attained by anyone previously or since. This OST will appeal to 70s analogue synth fiends and the electronic soundtrack headz out there (aren't they one and the same?). One wonders whether the eastern motifs used on a couple of tracks would be considered cheesy, crass or even offensive by the Japanese. Who knows? Who cares? This is the biz.

Un'Ombra Nell'Ombra OST (1979) - Stelvio Cipriani
Still in the field of electronic soundtracks from the late 70s early 80s. I just can't seem to get enough of this stuff. Never seen the film but this is one hell of a soundtrack that I've recently tracked down in digital form. This is the 7th Cipriani soundtrack to cross my path. There's only something like another 200 to go, shit I better not get too obsessed with him. Some of Cipriani's classics include Whirlpool, Gli Orrori Del Castello Di Norimberga and his collaboration with Goblin that seems to be very underrated Solamente Nero but this tops all of those. This is a horror score and all I can find out about it is that it was composed by Cipriani and Goblin's Claudio Simonetti plays synthesiser on it. This isn't as funky, beat driven, easy or symphonic as other Cipriani OSTs. It's a minimal synth prog record with suspenseful bass along with some added clanks and textures. It turns out this was recorded in 1977 but the movie remained unreleased until 79. This places the recording around the same time as the Goblin classic soundtrack to Suspiria and I've gotta say it has a similar vibe but way more stripped back. Un'Ombra Nell'Ombra is one of the best records Claudio Simonetti has played on.  This is another Goblin missing link along with Solamente Nero that may have passed many of you by. Now I'm wondering if Cipriani did any other recordings with Goblin members because if they're anything like this we have to hear them.