Soundtrack Reviews 2.0

December 9, 2015 | By

FilmMusicReviews_square_picJust added is a quintet of soundtrack reviews recently published in Rue Morgue magazine (of which my others, going back a few more months, will follow).

Back in June I interviewed both Claudio Simonetti and Rustblade’s bigwig Stefano Rossello in separate pieces, as the Italian label had just released a fine remastered version of the composer’s classic Demons / Demoni (1985).

That release was soon followed by a suite of rerecorded main themes from Goblin’s Deep Red / Profondo Rosso (1975), a decent release, although I keep wishing for a longer concept album where every musician is given a long chunk of time for some improv and / or arresting solos. Simonetti’s band mates are superb, and there’s nothing better than hearing great musicians have fun with a theme.

Also covered were a mélange of retro scores that draw from the usual triumvirate of influential horror composers, John Carpenter, Goblin, and Tangerine Dream. Sometimes the music is written directly for a film – like Steve Moore’s Cub / Welp (2014) – or they’re imaginary soundtracks inspired by classic scores, emulating and integrating very iconic sounds.

Relapse Records released both Cub and Shape Shift (2015), a collaboration between Moore and A.E. Paterra as Zombi, while Anders Manga crafted Hexed (2015), available from Bandcamp.

The wealth (and arguably glut) of fantasy soundtracks does beg the question: How far can composers push the format, in terms of drawing from the influences of the classic trio, but pushing the boundaries to new ground?

Homages tend to run their courses before there’s an aberration, in which clichés and tropes and emulations are shredded and reconfigured, and the result is more abstract, much in the way Goblin’s own prog-rock works like Roller (1976) weren’t shackled to anything formal outside of inventive tracks, and where an amalgam of the musicians’ styles and idiomatic influences created something that’s still refreshing.

Moore and Paterra’s Shape Shift pushes the envelope a bit, but I’m waiting for a complete tear-down, and what’s reconfigured will have traces of classic sounds and small skeletal remains of thematic and motivic framework. A work that breaks from the homage and says more about artists seeking uncharted ground through their own idiosyncratic fixations.

In December’s RM issue I’ve got a review of the crazy Turkey Shoot / Escape 2000 (1982), and around January I’ll post an expanded review of this sleazy masterpiece of ozploitation by Brian Trenchard-Smith.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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