Let’s Score Todd To Death: October 2021


There are plenty of new arrivals and recent releases to check out in October, just as people start to switch from their “spooky summer” decorations to their more formal Halloween decors and clothes. Although I do not yet have a copy of John and Cody Carpenter’s sheet music for Halloween kills, one of my most anticipated of the year, there is an abundance of horror film music from the past and present for collectors to sort through.

Jim Williams is an emerging genre with credits that include Babylone Hotel, for which he received an Ivor Novello Award nomination, the Brandon Cronenberg Prize Possessor, and that of Ben Wheatley Kill list, a personal favorite that uses the music in a way that is both indelible and eerily invisible in the film’s dense and disturbing sound design. His latest work is for Julia Ducournau, winner of the Palme d’Or Titanium, with whom he reunites after composing the music for his 2016 film Raw. What it does merges a very contemporary sound full of percussion and jarring musical elements to destabilize viewers, and possibly listeners, making it ideal for the filmmaker’s transgressive portrayal of a young woman with a titanium plate. in the head.

In addition to the digital Milan release, Mondo has plans for an exclusive vinyl edition of the soundtrack, which will look great alongside David Cronenberg’s company edition. crash, with which this film shares superficial but intriguing similarities. But while there is little overlap between the long saw violin and the heavy guitar sound of Howard Shire’s score, there are nonetheless a few melodies that actually evoke other music from Cronenberg’s longtime collaborator. , while striking in an ultimately very different and exciting way. complex. Williams uses music with a sense of distance from the story, not just as an accompaniment; the various instruments seem to exist in a physical space to entice the listener to bend down and see if he really hears what is there, and manage to function brilliantly even without Ducournau’s cinematic production further complicating their absorption. The soundtrack also includes three additional tracks, one by Lisa Abbot and two by Séverin Favriau, which expand the film’s musical palette and, via Abbot, provide its only actual “song”.

Elsewhere, Paolo Vasile’s score for Cobra day is a funky affair, led by the title track starring Charlie Cannon, an American singer who sounds like a rougher Allen Toussaint, or maybe a black Dr. John. The way he sings “don’t give a shit I’m the cobra / nobody can tell me what to do” launches a record that certainly evokes the funk-rock scores of the decade before its release in 1980, and I would say that not count on familiarity with the film for which it was created to enjoy it. The trill keyboards that punctuate the chorus of the instrumental “Remember”, for example, elevate a dusty instrumental into a momentarily transcendent exercise of summer nostalgia, but Vasile later transforms the film’s leitmotifs into a series of funk workouts of varying tempos. , some haunting, others grainy, but quite listenable from one to the other.

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Cannon appears again on side 2 with a second version of the title’s theme, but his final performance is the original, even though the brass section works overtime on it. That said, the terrific reissue of Cinedelic features terrific sound and packaging, with a mini sheet of the movie poster. And with gems like “Astonishment” reflecting the urgency of the Meters or Memphis Horns chasing a terrified victim, the record really stands out among a steady stream of reissues that can sometimes offer more repetitions than discovery opportunities.

Meanwhile, four years after Death Waltz Records released the full score of The Living Dead at Manchester Mortuary, also known as Let the sleeping corpses lie, Four Flies Records features two of their signature tracks on a new 7 “, appropriately identified by the Italian label as Non Si Deve Profnanare Il Sonno Dei Morti. “John Dalton Street” is the A-side banger, in which composer Giuliano Sorgini brings the dead back to life with a track that looks like a vintage Cam library instrument, with urgent strings and possibly cacophonic bongos picking up beat the drummer and turn him into an unsettling dancefloor filler. “Manchester M2 6LD”, the B side, covers part of the same territory, but overall this is a must-see release, although perhaps more for DJs than casual collectors.

The burgeoning label Empire of Tombs, a brainchild of Rendezvous LA DJ Ethan Hull and Two Headed Dog online record store owner Ben Mares, first launched in March 2021 with a handful of releases. tapes from artists like Joel Grind, and the promise of some deep cuts. horror-related music in the future. After announcing the release of a cassette of Al Festa’s score at Zombie 4: After Death back in September, they continued this month with a double LP release with all new cover notes from Festa himself, as well as material from Hull’s DJ Rendezvous Alfonso Carillo on the outer band OBI. The beautiful cover reproduces the illustrations first produced for the Blu-ray release of the film by Severin, which also included a copy of the soundtrack on CD; but spread over two vinyl tiles, Festa’s music breathes like never before for a musical experience that encapsulates both the sound and feel of 1989, the film’s release year, and a wonderfully timeless electronic landscape that is very fun to listen to if you’ve seen Zombie 4 or not.

Only one track has a formal title – the theme song “Living After Death”, with the lead vocals by Maurizio Cerantola – but it launches the record with wonderful late ’80s bluster before Festa’s thrilling electronic score takes over. the top. There are unmistakably John Carpenter notes seeded in clues like “Sequence 1”, with synth basslines that could have come straight from the soundtrack for Big problem in little China, but as the score progresses Festa adds new elements that create a unique atmosphere, much less melodic complexity. “Sequence 4” simultaneously evokes Kraftwerk, the end credits of the music by Blade runner, and the thrilling Hi-NRG that preceded the progression from electronic music to house and techno. Part of the reason is that Festa undoubtedly used many of the same keyboards and synthesizers as artists and fellow film composers of the day; but what turns out most interesting about the score is the way it slowly seeps into your brain as you listen, with gently repeating percussion elements that lead the listener to a variety of cascading sounds with different emotional and musical tones. If even Severin’s packaging cited a review that called for Zombie 4: After Death a “great Z quality movie”, its score gets much higher marks and is worth adding to a collection which should already include the soundtracks at Dawn of the Dead and Zombie.

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If the most famous piece of music associated with Exorcist the movie series is Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’, then an easy second would be Morricone’s cue to Exorcist II: The Heretic, “Magic and Ecstasy”. It forms a centerpiece of Morricone’s full score as the first track in the formidable reissue of side 2 from Jackpot Records – its first on vinyl since the film’s original release in 1977 – and invites listeners to go wild. in a way that the half-baked sequel never quite gets to the screen. Morricone weaves her themes into most of the other pieces in different ways, using what looks like a children’s choir to explore the push-pull relationship between Linda Blair’s Regan and the demon Pazuzu; like so many of his scores from this era, the music manages to be both beautiful and menacing, while also engaging in structural parallels with the scores of italian rock band goblin for dario argento and others during this decade. .

What is honestly most fascinating about the score is the fact that Morricone did it; perhaps because his pedigree was already impeccable, Warner Bros. brought him in, director John Boorman (Issuance), cinematographer William A. Fraker (Rosemary baby), and a few other big hitters to try and classify a sequel that was basically pitched as a low budget cash grab. That Morricone’s music remains incredibly distinctive is no surprise, but the most incredible aspect of his contribution is all the work he does to create an atmosphere that even approximates the chilling intensity of the first film. Meanwhile, after Lalo Schifrin’s music for The Exorcist was dismissed for being too intense (!), Schifrin left the Warner Bros. ship, his usual home, to score Amityville Horror for distributor AIP, and subsequently received an Oscar nomination for his efforts.

All of these will be perfect for any spooky celebration you are planning this year, but most importantly, they speak to the exciting variety and legacy of great film music, from the genre’s breakthrough in the ’70s to its latest entries, this horror must offer.


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