Friday 29 March 2024

Incredible - Future

I really haven't given rap a crack or given a crap about rap since 2018 a year after Future's HNDRXX was issued. In 2018 albums by Migos, Young Thug and Future were in my year end list and then my love of Atlanta trap and whatever followed took a dive and waned to zero interest. After 5 or 6 years of being fully immersed in the innovative delirium of Atlanta trap and its orbiting scenes I just thought well if Thugger and Future ain't cutting it any longer what's the point? 

Future had such a great run from 2013's Monster followed by Beast Mode, 56 Nights, DS2, What A Time To Be Alive and ending with 2016's Purple Reign. He was on such a roll I thought it was never gonna end indeed this purple patch was a purple reign. However in 2016 he released the disappointing Evol then the totally bloated Project ET. Then in 2017 he dropped the double wammy of HNDRXX Future in the same week which was just way way too much and didn't really signal the full comeback we were all hoping for. Those two solo albums should have just been condensed into the one succinct banger-fied LP with all the dross chucked in the bin.  

Anyway for some reason in the middle of the night I had the urge to listen Future's 2017 albums HNDRXX and Future again. I can honestly say I was surprised. Many of the tunes from HNDRXX in particular were exceptional and not the ho-hum death of Atlanta trap I thought they had signalled. I mean four or five tunes less and it might have been an all-timer. The vibe unexpectedly isn't anywhere near as nihilistic as the drug addled death wish that was DS2, in fact it feels rather sparkly and upbeat in comparison. The slurred wobbly meat glitch vocal science seems to be more restrained than usual or perhaps it's just been expertly refined due to further mastering of his techniques of fusing his flesh and bone vocals with the tech gimmix of the time.  

Incredible is incredible, as are the two other tracks on the LP produced by Dre Moon. I listened to this straight after listening to a mixtape of 80s rock anthems and it totally stood up in anthemic anthem-ness next to those anthems. He's reaching the same ecstatic heights here that he achieved on the 2012 hands in the air classic Turn Out The Lights.  

Dre Moon's beats here are like a sunshine pop/psych-rock opus crossed with the usual seedy luxuriance and dilapidated RnB all complimenting the low-key euphoria of Future's slurred strangely emotional delivery. The funny thing is using an array voice altering fx usually alien-izes and trivialises an artist ultimately making them a novelty but Future's performances seem to gain gravitas and pathos. You have to think that he and his producers were so advanced in the sophistication of this human/tech merger that it placed them (along with Migos and Thugger) light years ahead of everyone else. 

That eerie ambient synth line here is straight out of early 90s British ambient house. It's a love song innit. Some spellbound space-y opulence on display here. 

Wednesday 27 March 2024

The Severed Arm/Messiah Of Evil - Phillan Bishop

This avant-garde composer has just three scores to his name and what glorious works they were in the pre-Tangerine Dream/John Carpenter era of electronic scores. Who even knows if these were existing pieces or specifically arranged for these three films? I'm sure he was probably an academic connected to a university that probably had an electronic/computer music research centre but I can't be sure because I can find zero primary sources of  information on the guy. Phillan Bishop is so mysterious I'm inclined to think he never even existed except as a pseudonym. Having said that he was one of the essential pioneers in the first half of the 70s with regard to the development of synth and electronic film scoring.

The only biographical info I can find is that Bishop was born 1948 and died 1991 at 43 years of age and was the nephew of Jazz pianist Hampton Hawes. That's it!

The Severed Arm's disconcerting reverberations, clanky bloops, unsettling rudimentary synthetical signals, eerie tones, clangorous drones and archaic unearthly textures are classic mid 20th century gestures from the electro-acoustic world.

It's unbelievable that Creel Pones have never done some kind of archival release of Bishop's delightfully deranged scores.

Youtube channel Fish Man on youtube manages to extract 4 minutes and 13 seconds of the unsettling Messiah of Evil score here in this clip. Bishop definitely achieved peak eeriness for this eerie of the eeriest movies as heard in the first three and a half eerie minutes here then in the last forty five seconds we get those absurdly heavy clanks, a masterpiece of horror sound design as is the apprehensive whirling synthetic delirium of the finale. It all perfectly matches the surreal horror of the antics in the sea-side town of Point Dune.  

A swirling vortex of ominous electronics, clanks, scrapes and buzzing bleeps put through an echo chamber, discordant gothic piano and harmonica reverb-ed to oblivion, sinister chirps, off kilter synthetic bursts of sound, echoing atmospheres of malignancy and ending with spooky toy-town music box shenanigans amongst an array of blustery gusts. 

Phillan Bishop was a sublime sorcerer of scary synthetic sound: A gift to these horror film makers.    

Monday 25 March 2024

Don't Go in the Woods Alone - H. Kingsley Thurber

More unreleased pioneering electronic soundtracking. It's all about the first minute here. Two awesome layers of synth. That thick dark threatening synth bass drone paired with the modulations of the meandering melancholic glimmering melody over the top. Intermingled between the synths there's also something that sounds like a treated stringed instrument, maybe a banjo, guitar or a Jew's harp, giving it a further menacing vibe. Later in this 14 minute snippet of soundtrack from 1980 we get all sorts of uncanny, atonal jump scare fx and drums of impending doom. This is golden ultra gloomy synthetic scoring... almost makes me wanna check out this terrible movie again...  

Monday 18 March 2024

Fiend ost - Paul Woznicki

Glorious improvised thick synth textures with dark apprehensive tones. Synthesizer as multi layered drone generator for vibe setting although there's an occasional melodic piano interlude. This is peak synthetic film scoring. Composed for low budget regional horror auteur Don Dohler of Night Beast notoriety. 

*Just noticed that this is no longer unreleased. An LP of the Fiend score was recently released by the ace cult soundtrack label Mystic Vault. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

Sanja Ilic & Slobodan Markovic - Dark Echoes

Fabulous score to a Yugoslavian horror movie set in Austria. Highly innovative synthetic film scoring from this duo from Belgrade. Put in synth score context it was recorded in the same year as Goblin's Suspiria, Tangerine Dream's movie debut Sorcerer and a year before John Carpenter's Halloween. This is the sound of synth and electronics in horror before it became formulaic. There's a real sense of pioneering freshness here as they utilise an array of textures, sounds and fx to capture all sorts of strange and dark flavours. A Dark Echoes soundtrack has never been released and this eight and a half minute snippet of the score's audio is all that can be found on youtube. 

Thursday 14 March 2024

Peter Bernstein & Mark Goldenberg - Silent Rage ost

The best 80s electronic movie theme tune. There's just something about it. An intangible essense of the groovy yet haunted variety. A meticulously crafted tenebrous synth score yet somehow also jaunty. An uncanny pop triumph. 

Haunty-ology fans (Do they still exist?) take note, this could be a blueprint for several Ghostbox artists. 

A Silent Rage soundtrack cd was finally released just last year by Dragon's Domain Records.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Drew King & Peter Jermyn - Siege OST

On this low budget Canuxploitation cult movie's score we get great thick synthetic textures of dystopian sound then The Closing Theme at 2.55 is delightfully dire dark death-disco. The real futuristic bad vibes. 

This is not a lost future. It's the sound of a future they didn't cancel, our current deranged state of affairs: The militarised police shooting protestors in Melbourne, going to prison for stickers, the UN proclaiming trans lesbians are lesbians, getting arrested for tweets, the national guard patrolling the NYC subway, politicised intelligence agencies, de-banking citizens for wrong-think, getting attacked/murdered by illegal aliens, endless war, mass surveillance, football clubs banning life-long members for incorrect views, robo-dogs, continuous emergency powers, obscene wealth tranfers during C****, the general criminalisation of the normal law abiding population (farmers, truckers, you, me) etc. etc. You will comply. You will submit. You will eat ze bugs!

Sunday 10 March 2024

Jonathan Newton - Unhinged OST

Surely the holy grail of never released horror synth scores. This 1982 score is post-Carpenter synthetic slasher-core with haunting wonky pitched radiophonic synths, ultra menacing pulsations, ominous drones, unhinged analogue cues and stings.

That melancholic glinting modulating analogue sound so beloved by The Radiophonic Workshop, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada as well as their haunty-logical offspring Belbury Poly, Advisory Circle etc. is used here to perfection.

Since the dawn of the sharing mp3 files via blogs thing in the 00s, fans have been putting together their own versions of the Unhinged soundtrack. It's a mystery that the cult Unhinged score has never been commercially released. 

Jonathan Newton aka Jon Newton only ever did a handful of scores... he went on to be a music professor teaching at Portland Uni. 

Saturday 9 March 2024

Just Before Dawn - Brad Fiedel

Getting a bit more esoteric here in the electronic horror film scoring. Fiedel would later become famous for his Terminator score a few years later. On this 1981 score for Just Before Dawn the synth action is just one aspect alongside industrial, new age, field recording, pre-hypnagogic sleazoid funky glam and whatever else.  

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Blood Rage - Richard Einhorn

More 80s synth horror soundtrack goodness. Richard Einhorn is an award winning symphonic record producer but is known around my house for composing legendary electronic horror scores to Don't Go In The House (1980) and Shock Waves (1977) amongst others. The 1983 Blood Rage score however has never been released.

[Added Entry 9/3/24]
A longer and better sounding selection of music from Blood Rage.