KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Tango Lesson, The [coll] – [Sony Classical]

aarbor   11/18/2020   CD, Soundtrack

This is the soundtrack to Sally Potter’s 1997 semi-autobiographical film The Tango Lesson. Sally, a filmmaker and screenwriter suffering from writer’s block, is dissatisfied with her film project, a murder mystery called Rage, which features the fashion industry. Taking a break, she travels to Paris, where she sees the dancer Pablo (Pablo Verón) performing tango. She becomes obsessed with the dance and offers Pablo a part in her film in exchange for dance lessons. The music is both traditional Argentinian tangos [tracks 5 and 17 are iconic] alongside tracks by Fred Frith which are stylistically very different. AArbor 

Abbott, Luke – “Music For a Flat Landscape: Original Soundtrack to The Goob” – [Buffalo Temple Music Recordings]

lexi glass   11/11/2020   12-inch, Soundtrack

Music for a Flat Landscape collects ten tracks that were originally scored for the 2014 film The Goob by electronic composer Luke Abbott. The film tells the story of a teenager growing up in Abbott’s hometown of Norfolk in rural England, and its soundtrack of softly shifting twilight tones and nighttime field recordings is meditative but in motion, flowing the way time passes when you’re young. Released on Abbott’s label Buffalo Temple.

Cafe De Los Maestros – [coll] – [Surco Recrods]

aarbor   9/16/2020   CD, Soundtrack

The soundtrack to a documentary movie directed by Miguel Kohan featuring interviews with  musicians and singers from Argentina’s Golden Age of Tango ( 1940’s and ‘50’s – before Astor Piazzolla). Uruguay’s Lagrima Rios appears here on the 2nd track on both CDs. Two CDs worth of lovely antique tango music, the grandmother musically speaking of what you hear from Gotan Project, Bajofondo and others these days.

AArbor

Blonksteiner, Alexander – “Cannibal Apocalypse” – [Death Waltz Recording Co]

whngr   5/4/2020   12-inch, Soundtrack

A horrible Italian flick provides the vehicle for an excellent soundtrack for its time, providing a groovy, funked out background for nibbling on necks or shaking your polyester clad ass at your next retro-themed spooky dance party (DM me for deets). Walking bass lines build tension, wistful flute takes it away. Piano, smokey saxophone, classical guitar, funk guitar, viola, synth, drums, all in line with other Italian scores of the period. But this isn’t a zombie movie or an art movie. It’s not scary, sexy, or understandable. It’s an absolute mess is what it is: A band of deranged flesh chompers and deviants lead by the sometimes hero and reluctant cannibal Norman Hopper (John Saxon) who contracts some sort of affliction while serving in the Vietnam War along with a few other members of his unit where upon returning stateside they are compelled fuck shit up and take a few bites of passerby along the way. So, this is far from cinema. More of a drive-in make-out movie for October 1980 and the sounds on this LP reflect that. Part horror/suspense and part European skin-flick score, the film isn’t sure what it is either. However it was one of the 39 films successfully prosecuted and banned in the UK during Britain’s Video Recording Act of 1984. Apparently the version I was able to track down was the American version which was heavily edited to receive an R rating down from an X which explains a lot for me. This is just a bad movie (bad to the bone). It is spitting in the face of convention just for the sake of doing it. Shaking the cages of the dominant paradigm, rebellious and misguided, it attempts to forge new ground by melding two naughty genres to create something that no one would be proud of… excepting one A. Blonksteiner (Alexander/Alessandro). It’s weird, it’s funky, and it is unacceptable to take bites out of your neighbor’s pervy under-age daughter but if you jus’ wanna shake yo’ thang to these killer grooves Honey, that is just fine.

Ifukube, Akira – “Atragon” – [Toshiba-EMI Limited]

whngr   4/20/2020   CD, Soundtrack

When you’re freezing kaiju you may want to employ a giant flying submarine/drill manned by a stoic crew of fearless Japanese men and when you want aural accompaniment to the saving of the world from a subterranean race of scantily clad aristocracy you may as well select a composer profoundly familiar with colossi of every imaginable breadth, heft, and height, Akira Ifukube (Ah-key-rah Ee-fhoo-coo-bay). The man behind the scores to Godzilla(1954), Rodan(1956), Mothra vs. Godzilla(1962), Daimajin(1964), and 175 other titles that he wrote before his death in 2006 along with myriad other compositions that were part of video games connected with the films and many other projects that would borrow his works posthumously.
You know the score, orchestral marches, tense viola, timid xylophone, over-blown trumpet, vintage spooky operatic wails, huge resonate cello, sultry oboe, querulous piano, thunderous timpani, worrying organ, shimmering cymbals, terror inducing tuba… all standard fare for the Japanese mega-monster flick by the man whose compositions would become synonymous with the genre.
A powerful and sometimes beautiful soundtrack to a less than amazing film. One worth watching despite it’s dismissable plot and mediocre performances, primarily for the laboriously complex period special effects and a glimpse into yesteryear’s swelling appetite for “blockbusting” science-fiction cinema.

Andersen, Kristian Eidnes / Von Trier, Lars – “Antichrist” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, Soundtrack

Two beautiful (and to my ear, cloying) tracks composed by George Frideric Handel and 6 brooding, malevolent horror-scapes by department head of the sound design department at the National Film School of Denmark in collaboration with film writer/director Lars Von Trier that could be just about anything, heavily modified cello, an empty room, bowed sheet metal, a tea kettle with reverb, singing bowls submerged in tears, human breath through a saxophone sans reed, a blue whale on ergot of rye dreaming of the crypts below Paris.
The dichotomic nature of this album is alarming, especially within the context of the film. The lush aural filigree of Handel juxtaposed with the dark, abstract, and otherworldly landscapes built by K.E.A.and L.V.T. adds to the tension. The profound contrast is as jarring as any of the film’s three major climaxes. A film I enjoyed but was also slightly alarmed by. When it first came out I watched it alone and was perplexed. I needed others to see it as well, though I had a hard time recommending it, which might be easily understood by anyone who has seen the film. Let’s just say that it isn’t entirely clear who the target audience is or the message there in. So that I could perhaps gain some perspective, especially a woman’s perspective I asked the girl that I was flirting with at the time to come over for dinner and a movie (which would turn out to be my first ever Netflix and chill) but with the caveat that this movie might not be the best date movie (much less a first date movie). I was pleased when she suggested we watch it after we finished dinner. I was also pleased, though I fell asleep about half way through my second viewing, that the beautiful and slightly touched object of my desire chose to invite me into her libidinous clutches for a passionate and satisfying tête-à-tête after the credits began to roll. However, I thought this could be a very serious red-flag as well. Happily that turned out not to be the case and even if our courtship was relatively short lasting, I have only fond memories of this quizzically complex and stunning belle, and as of this writing, we remain friends. I’m sorry that it ended but it was painless and simple, very unlike the film, Antichrist.

Jóhannsson, Jóhann – “Arrival (Original Soundtrack)” – [Deutsche Grammophon]

whngr   6/6/2019   12-inch, A Library, Soundtrack

The soundtrack to Dennis Villeneuve’s time-bending science-fiction suspense film is strange and otherworldly with unusual voicing and heavily modified instrumentation that is as mellifluous and soothing as it is abstract and unfamiliar. Deep drone, alien vocal arrangements, strings from The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and beautiful if bizarre vocalizations from the Theatre of Voices, sparse percussion and an overarching minimalism convey distance, introspection, and liminal phantasmic qualities. Arrival was composed by the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (Blade Runner 2049, Sicario, Mandy), and was scored during the apex of his relatively short but voluminous and perhaps influential cinematic career (the third of four films films with Villeneuve). He died like a rock star, at the peak of his game, his system flooded with alcohol and cocaine which, in my mind, makes him a legend and and also kind of an asshole. However, that is of little consequence, the sound(s) that he generated were brilliant, often employing near sub-sonic drones that would utilize the incredible range and volume of modern theater sound systems to mesmerizing and visceral effect. Rivaling both Motörhead and Holy Mountain era Sleep in obscenely over-the-top volume, I saw Blade Runner 2049 (another example of a [less than amazing] film that just happened to be an exceptional vehicle for Jóhannsson’s sound design) in a nearly empty theater and was thrilled at the way my rib-cage would shudder at the unearthly sound. It became tactile. I was immersed in a compressible fluid that was both turbulent and resonate. When the medium of air becomes that warped and disturbed we can be transported to a place that is foreign and dire. Not unlike outer space or the chambers that house the hyper-evolved “Heptapods”, the extraterrestrial demagogues in the film. Our atmosphere is as untenable to them as theirs is to ours so the linguistic protagonists must meet with these beings separated by a transparent barrier in an attempt to learn, with some great difficulty, to communicate with them and the consequences that come with first contact with a species that is technologically and militarily superior. This separation from the familiar is important to the sound and ultimately the feeling of the film. Jóhannsson was aware that “people are hungry for new sounds, and for the experience of listening to unfamiliar music…” and this awareness was what compelled him to make an extraordinary film score for a striking film, with one gnarly twist, about love, determination, and communion with our extrasolar squid overlords.

Twin Peaks-Fire Walk [coll] – [Warner Bros.]

mickeyslim   11/21/2018   CD, Soundtrack

Soundtrack to David Lynch’s film and accompaniment to the TV series, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Music composed by frequent Lynch collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti. Sexy, sultry, somber detective jazz. Smoky atmospheres, voices of Jimmy Scott, and damn fine cups of coffee…

 

Bye, Matti – “Phantom Carriage, The” – [Rotor]

Cousin Mary   4/11/2018   CD, Soundtrack

Matti Bye composes “soundtracks” for silent movies.  The Phantom Carriage is a Swedish film from 1921 that concerns a Salvation Army slum sister and is considered by many to be a masterpiece.  The music is playful, lyrical, and reminds me of the cabaret works of Kurt Weill and the piano works of Erik Satie.  Very nicely played on piano, strings, percussion, brass and harp.  Really lovely, recommended!!

Morricone, Ennio – “Il Mio Nome E Nessuno” – [AMS]

ophelia necro   1/10/2018   12-inch, Soundtrack

This is the original soundtrack to the 1973 italian western My Name is Nobody. Once the greatest gunslinger of the Old West, Jack Beauregard, only wants to move to Europe and retire in peace, but a young gunfighter, known as “Nobody,” idolizes him and wants to see him go out in a blaze of glory. He arranges for Jack to face the 150-man gang known as The Wild Bunch and earn his place in history.

This soundtrack starts off with a very heavy Room 222 seventies sitcom vibe with flute, etc. The next 2 tracks are more “westerney” with classic whistling and the regular tricks. Track 4, Side A is my fave, it starts off with a clock ticking and slowly the instrumentation and elements that create the perfect Morricone masterpiece. On side 2 the standout for me is the second track with a creepy sound (and that 70s bass!). Track 3 has a weird take on Ride of the Valkyries. The album closes with more 70s flutey sitcom stuff. Overall a nice addition to the library. Morricone is a true master. The liner notes are all in italian which was kinda lame unless you can read italian. This is a re-issue.

Rota, Nino – “Concerto Di Musiche Da Film” – [Cam]

Hemroid The Leader   12/19/2017   12-inch, Soundtrack

Nino Rota composed the music for all of Fellii’s great films as well as The Godfather. This record documents a concert that took place in Tokyo on March 22, 1976, featuring Rota conducting the New Japan Philharmonic. Side A features tunes from The Godfather, and B are from Fellini movies.

Delerue, Georges (soundtrack) – “Music From The Films of Francois Truffaut” – [Nonesuch Records]

Naysayer   12/9/2017   CD, Soundtrack

Like Bernard Herrmann was to Alfred Hitchcock and John Williams is to Steven Spielberg, Georges Delerue was the musical connection and interpreter to Francois Truffaut. Delerue scored music for over 200 films, composed operas, sound and light shows, ballets and chamber pieces, but his eleven collaborations with French New Wave film master Truffaut stand out in soundtrack history. Delerue was able to interpret Truffaut’s rich tales of romance and heartbreak, mystery and intrigue and the process of film making itself (Day For Night). From fully orchestrated pieces to the familiar solo upright piano solo, “Charlie” from Shoot the Piano Player, these performances by the London Sinfonietta showcase a rich understanding as to why Delerue is so important to film. Use as an auditory palette cleanser or entremets between your sonic onslaught.

Cremator, The [coll] – [Finders Keepers Records]

Naysayer   10/23/2017   12-inch, Soundtrack

Czech New Wave Cinema of the 1960’s had some pretty twisted, beautifully filmed and challenging films, many of which were not seen for decades due to the government banning them. Juraj Herz’s “The Cremator”, from 1969 is one of these. The tale of a cremator who is obsessed with the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the passing of the Dalai Lama, who is influenced by Nazi sympathizers (it takes place in the 1930’s) who talk to him about the importance of his partial German heritage, his half Jewish wife who is the mother of his two sons, his eventual spiral into madness as he realizes it is his purpose to send people back to the dust from which they came… let’s just say it won’t end well. It’s described as a horror comedy. Well, if anyone can make Nazi’s funny, the Czech’s can. A film with this overwhelming storyline needs a strong soundtrack and classic Czech experimental soundtrack composer Zdenek Liska does the trick. Moving away from his usual found sound and re- sampling type style, Liska goes orchestral for this endeavor. Rich, haunting orchestral pieces with soprano singer Vlasta Soumarova Mlejnkova chanting out vocalizations of sounds, not words, fill the spaces. Think echoes in large abandoned cathedrals where sounds bounce around, “celestial choral” sections accompanied by chimes and bells. Think giallo richness. Think old school haunted houses where strangeness lurks. Beautiful moody settings, perfect for a crematorium. Indulge. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Bricusse, Leslie and Newley, Anthony – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” – [Universal Music Enterprises]

Naysayer   7/31/2017   12-inch, Soundtrack

C’mon! It’s Willy Freakin’ Wonka. The 45th Anniversary edition. On GOLDEN VINYL!!!!!!!! Iconic. The songs of several generations. Even kids today say it’s better than the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version.
Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley hit a home run with this soundtrack about the poor boy who makes it big. Songs about spoiled brats, psychedelic boat rides on chocolate rivers, orange little people singing oompa loompa, songs about the near death of children by some of the most diabolical methods that out-Saw the “Saw” franchise. There’s the most unhappy song about cheering up, “Cheer Up, Charlie” and, of course, “The Candy Man”, made famous in a rocking funky version by Sammy Davis, Jr. Oh, and did I mention Gene Wilder. Gene Freakin’ Wilder!!!!! PLAY IT and all you dark heart naysayers can go jump in a chocolate river.

Stalling, Carl – “Carl Stalling Project (Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons, The” – [Warner Bros.]

Hemroid The Leader   7/5/2017   CD, Soundtrack

Carl Stalling composed the scores for Warner Brothers Cartoons from 1936 to 1958. He is one of three composers credited with the invention of the click track. He had the 50 piece Warner Brother Orchestra at his disposal and was encouraged to use the Warner Brothers back catalog in his compositions. He developed the surrealist “Looney Tunes” style of rapid-fire musical quotations, puns, and sound effects.

Ghost Dog [coll] – [Razor Sharp]

Arcanum   8/4/2016   12-inch, Soundtrack

This movie is worth at least one or two watches. Produced by Rza from Wu Tang. FCC on A9, B5, End of B7, B9

Songs in the film that don’t appear on either soundtrack album include From Then Till Now performed by Killah Priest, Armagideon Time performed by Willi Williams, Nuba One performed by Andrew Cyrille and Jimmy Lyons.

The film has been interpreted by critics as an homage to Le Samoura??, a 1967 crime-drama by Jean-Pierre Melville starring Alain Delon. That movie opens with a quote from an invented Book of Bushido and features a meditative, loner hero, Jef Costello. In the same manner that Ghost Dog has an electronic “key” to break into luxury cars, Costello has a huge ring of keys that enable him to steal any Citro??n DS. The endings share a key similarity. Moreover, the peculiar relationship between the heroes of both movies and birds, as companions and danger advisers, is another common theme.

The film contains a number of references to Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill, such as when a bird lands in front of Ghost Dog’s rifle scope, referencing the incident with a butterfly in Suzuki’s film. Ghost Dog shooting Sonny Valerio up the drain pipe is taken directly from Branded to Kill.

Cartoons are used as a motif that parallels plot developments. Handsome Frank watches a cartoon featuring Betty Boop corralling her pigeons moments before Ghost Dog, a fellow pigeon raiser, arrives to assassinate him. Ghost Dog is later seen handling his pigeons in the same manner as Betty. Boss Vargo watches a Felix the Cat cartoon wherein the Professor voices his frustration at capturing the elusive Felix and his magic bag, mirroring the mafia’s inability to find and eliminate Ghost Dog, who carries his weapons and equipment in a black briefcase. Vargo and his daughter, Louise, watch a Woody Woodpecker cartoon in the car, immediately after Ghost Dog has been distracted by a woodpecker while sniping in the woods. The cartoon features a staring contest between Woody and the Grim Reaper. Vargo’s daughter watches an episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show (in which Itchy and Scratchy threaten each other with increasingly bigger guns, before blowing up the earth) before the equally violent battle which concludes the film.

Days With Jacques, The [coll] – [Sony Music Distribution]

Cousin Mary   7/6/2016   CD, Soundtrack

Recording of Japanese origin, apparently of the soundtrack to a documentary about or made by Jacques Cousteau. Music by John Lurie include piano, reeds. guitar, drum and more – very lovely, watery, and wistful. Jacques’ speaking tracks are inspirational. The tracks of whale sounds will work on their own or with layering – if the cats sitting with me are any indication, the whales will have an eager audience among our non-human listeners. Tracks marked M-1 through M-16 are instrumental music tracks.

COVEN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [coll] – [Forever Midnight]

abacus   5/25/2016   12-inch, Soundtrack

rank-stink cheese-grade horror movie soundtrack for COVEN (pronounced like woven not like oven) the legendary failed 1997 short film by Mark Borchardt (see: American Movie). the worst kind of pre-packaged cheap keyboard library music with hilariously creepy bone-chilling interludes. reviewers try to lure you with words like “ominous”, “dilapidated”, and “stark” but don’t be fooled, this shining example of creativity gone wrong is the most satisfying disappointment you’ll ever force yourself (and your listeners) to suffer through. perfect on any playlist and essential for our bulging library of blow-hard overpriced horror movie soundtracks. suck it Death Waltz

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