Music Reviews

Dark Knight Rises, The (Hans Zimmer) – “Dark Knight Rises, The” – [WaterTower Music]

Belladonna   8/22/2012   CD, Soundtrack

As I am sure most of you know, the “Batman” franchise headed in a different direction with the last three releases. Its a darker and more sinister Gotham and so is this soundtrack. Interspersed between beautiful melodies are dark and menacing chants, inspiring both nostalgia and fear. Its a bit creepy but we like that dont we? For those seeking a less sinister track, “Mind if I cut in?” is a beautiful and romantic. The rest might inspire you to do battle. Also what???s on the CD is not even half the music, for the rest you will need to download the interactive app. Humpf!

Alejandro Jodorowsky – El Topo – [ABKCO Records]

Sir Cumference   6/20/2012   CD, Soundtrack

Alejandro Jodorowsky reads to be quite an interesting person. Born in Chile to Jewish Ukrainian parents, worked as a clown, moved to Paris and studied mime and created a comic strip before embarking on a career in film making. El Topo is Jodorowsky’s second film – described as an Acid Western – and was written, directed, starred and (important to note here) scored by Jodorowsky himself.

This soundtrack, which was part of the 2007 Anchor Bay DVD release of the films of Jodorowsky, is a reissue of the Apple records release from 1971 (apparently recorded at the request of John Lennon, who was a big fan of the film) and not to be confused with the Shades of Joy release.

It sounds like Jodorowsky does a great job of creating music that is needed for the scene. The music goes from standard film score sounds to spaghetti western horns to south of the border oompah march music to even some jazz. Basically, a little something instrumental for most people.

If you want to do a pairing, maybe Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Peter Gabriel has claimed the movie was an inspiration for the album…


Thing, The ( Morricone, Ennio ) – “Thing, The” – [MCA Records]

Belladonna   6/12/2012   12-inch, Soundtrack

From the amazingly brilliant and award winning Morricone comes the score from John Carpenter’s 1982 film “The Thing”. This was a rare instance of Carpenter not scoring his own film, which later led to some disgruntlement between the two. Luckily while the film has scared the beejeezus out of most of us, without the visual the score is not quite as terrifying. This release is timeless and beautiful. It is haunting and scary but the beauty of it far exceeds any fear you may feel.

Pateras, Anthony – “Errors of The Human Body” – [Editions Mego]

mickeyslim   5/9/2012   12-inch, Soundtrack

Anthony Pateras, alongside a small string and wind section, set out to create the soundtrack to Eron Sheean’s Errors of the Human Body, a still unreleased movie about what appears to be genetics gone wrong. The images from the movie look quite disturbing, and the online trailer is even creepier. Pateras won Best Soundtrack for Sheean’s Bing at the Dresden Film Festival. Pateras said he tried to bring out the cold musical themes to reflect to clinical atmosphere of the Institute in the film, which is very apparent in the music. This double LP has me wanting to see this movie bad.

Most tracks start will a bell or slowly building dreamy drone.??The beginning of the album has a sense of immediacy in the layered strings, and the songs get louder as they progress. A4 sounds like a scrappy junkyard becoming a lucid dream, A6 is doomy and slow with fast strings creates this fuckfest till it slows down to a sawlike drone leaving you wanting more.B1 is a slowly growing sleeper wave with squeaky chair noise. B4 starts with shaker and percussion and sounds like a party scene, then maybe some mutation or running. C2 is an escaping helicopter and the D-side is the intense ending and resolution.

Great soundtrack, cool weird sounds, and looks like a must see once the movie comes out!

John Williams – “Star Wars: a New Hope” – [Rca Victor/ Bmg]

Sir Cumference   2/6/2012   CD, Soundtrack

Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition CD

If, like me, you were around when Star Wars first came out you probably picked up the 2 LP soundtrack release. You may have even played it to death (or was that just me?) so a CD release was something of interest. In 1993 the first 3 films were released in a CD set with a bonus disc covering all three films – though that was essentially a rerelease of the original LP set.

What we have here is the 1997 release that coincided with the “Special Edition” release of the film. Say what you like about Lucas’ reengineering of the original films, he never messed with the music (something he apparently felt was perfect about the first film) and all the original cues are presented here as they were heard in and in the same order as in the film. Only 75 of the full 88 minutes of the score was released in 1977, here we get 93 minutes of material here (including some alternate takes, plus an extra 12 minutes of the main titles session as a secret bonus track at the end of disc 1 – so we really get 105 minutes).

All great stuff, and just in time to remind people about what a great series the originals were – as they get ready to see the inferior prequels in gimmicky 3-D.

Sally Smitt and Her Musicians – “Hangahar” – [Drag City]

humana   1/22/2012   12-inch, Soundtrack

Listening to this and trying to imagine the film to which it is supposedly the soundtrack is not easy. What did come to mind were comparisons with music that has arisen from KFJC musicians during various Night Pits over the past year or two. Released originally in 1980, this album contains two sidelongs featuring Sally Timms (Mekons) and Lindsay Lee crooning unintelligible, almost ritualistic vocals with a weird background of musical experimentation. Side B has a bit more percussion than Side A.

Vannier, Jean-claude – “Electro Rapide” – [Finder’s Keepers Records]

ArtCrimes   12/7/2011   CD, Soundtrack

A collection of mostly short instrumentals recorded during 1968-1973. As a composer, as well as an arranger for Serge Gainsbourg (notably on “Histoire De Melody Nelson”), Michel Legrand, and other Gallic titans, Vannier has remained a lesser-known figure but these selections bear witness to someone who can balance purely commercial work with his own more emotionally driven efforts. Most of these tracks were intended as background music for films, puppet theatre, ballets, and fashion shows and were later licensed as library music. Other selections are unreleased material from Vannier’s personal archives. Moments of great beauty and despair alternate with zany Euro orchestrations. For devotees of 60s Franco-pop, this just will be way too short (about a half hour of music is presented here). This certainly whets my appetite for more of the same. – crimes –

Johannsson, Johann – “Miners’ Hymns, The” – [Fat Cat]

Belladonna   7/20/2011   12-inch, Soundtrack

From Icelandic composer J??hann J??hannsson. This is a collaborative score for “The Miners’ Hymns” a film about the ill-fated mining community in North East England. This was originally presented as a live performance at Durham Cathedral over two nights in July 2010 and this recording is the result of a collaboration between J??hann and American experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison. This is a dark and brooding soundscape with wonderful moments of organ, trumpet, french horn and cornets. Part modern classical, part film score and part minimal icelandic darkness, this is really amazing.

Schifrin, Lalo – “THX 1138” – [Film Score Monthly] CD

Sir Cumference   6/1/2011   CD, Soundtrack

Lalo Schifrin’s score to George Lucas’ first feature film is not easy listening – though a few tracks were designed as such – but are keeping more in tune with the bleak Orwellian future presented in the film. The music feels like they mostly plays as background to the scenes, completely opposite from the later Lucas-Williams collaborations. Many of the pieces could even be incorporated – perhaps effortlessly – into a layered soundscape of your own design. Some of the tracks on this limited release were cut from the film – including the Zoetrope Studio fanfare, and the Be Happy Again jingle. I sure almost everyone can find something to play from this disc.

Zimmer, Hans – “Inception” – [Reprise / Water Tower Music]

Belladonna   3/9/2011   12-inch, Soundtrack

one of my favorite composers (Zimmer) collaborates with The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr for this very dramatic cinematic exploration. At times its dreamy and hopeful but the majority of the tracks are ominous and overpowering at times. Yes! Its a tad creepy and definitely dark and very mesmerizing. Pauses between songs are such that you can let this track if cueing up is too difficult. I love all of the tracks equally but many will appreciate the munchkin serenade and dark side of the moon moments on track 2/side 2 “Dream Within A Dream”. And the movie is good too! Enjoy!!

135 Grand Street New York 1979 [coll] – [Soul Jazz Records]

lombard   11/23/2010   CD, Soundtrack

This is the soundtrack to the recently released film “135 Grand Street New York 1979,” which documented the No Wave scene in New York City. The soundtrack includes raw, no wave performances by Theoretical Girls, UT, A Band (kind of surf-influenced, lo fi garage), Rhys Chatham, Youth in Asia, The Static, Chinese Puzzle, Morales, Steve Piccolo, and Jill Kroesen. A great document of the no wave scene and its experimental, art rock sounds, from minimal to intense.

Schmidt, Irmin – “Filmmusik Anthology – Volume 4 & 5” – [Spoon]

Thurston Hunger   6/16/2010   CD, Soundtrack

The Man from Can, with relatively recent soundtrack work that
often moves in that nighttime alley crime way akin to earlier
Bohren & Der Club of Gore. Danger in every footprint,
in every calculated syncopation. Lots of stealthy synthesizer
on here, but marrying it reverbed sax lying in a pool of blood,
a tight trumpet being framed for the crime, and an assasin’s
flute whispering from the shadows beneath the fire escape…
it all creates truly a record of ambience, if not technically
ambient, music. Schmidt studied under Stockhausen (senior)
and completes the loops bringing junior onboard. Often Schmidt
likes to create an environment and then put a live soloist
in and let’s him/her flutter against the walls. The second disk
features a lot of skating on thin synthesized ice until track
11 detonates a bee hive. “Zicke Zick” brings a mosquito
alive electonically…but overall the first disk kept beckoning
to me. A great combination of nebulous and nefarious…

-Thurston Hunger

Beausoleil, Bobby – “Lucifer Rising Suite, The” – [Ajna Records]

ophelia necro   6/1/2010   12-inch, Soundtrack

“The Lucifer Rising Suite” is Bobby Beausoleil’s saga of the making of the soundtrack to the Kenneth Anger film of the same name. The journey began for Bobby in the spring of 1967 in San Francisco when he was approached by Kenneth to play the part of Lucifer in his movie. Bobby agreed with the proposal in exchange for being able to compose the soundtrack. The deal was struck.
Bobby formed “The Magick Powerhouse of Oz” and recording sessions began in a former Haight-Ashbury movie theatre. The sole surviving recording of their initial work on the soundtrack is Side A, titled appropriately “Lucifer Rising I, 1967”. Around this time Bobby and Kenneth had a falling out. Kenneth went to New York. Bobby went to L.A. and in July of 1969 ended up involved in the notorious brutal slaying of Gary Hinman. Bobby’s association with the Manson Family contributed to him still being incarcerated over 40 years later.
In the late 70s Bobby and Kenneth resolved some of their issues and Bobby again went to work on the soundtrack. Behind bars, Bobby formed “The Freedom Orchestra” out of an ever changing cast of jailbird blues and rock musicians. The recording sessions at the California State Prison in Tracy happened from 1976-1979. The original soundtrack was to be 45 minutes long but the actual film which debuted in 1980 was about half of that length. This box set contains all the music which was composed for the project.
Side A- Recorded in the Haight-Ashbury movie theatre showcases Bobby’s pre-prison band The Magick Powerhouse of Oz running through a 24m:20s jam that is very cosmic and proggy, with atmosphere and foreboding. This track is the only surviving recording of the original sessions from the 1960s. Sides B-H contain the sessions with “The Freedom Orchestra” recorded behind bars 1976-79 with drums, electric guitars/bass, slide guitar, trumpet, sax and Fender- Rhodes piano and “prison-made” keyboards and guitar synthesizers. Zeppelin-esque riffs, blusier moments, and bizarre lounge interludes with jazzier fusion-inflected numbers. Of note, Side F, “Beacon” contains another epic 21m:40s track. Sides G&H contain the official “Motion Picture Soundtrack” presented in 6 parts. To top it off there is amazing artwork by Dennis Dread and Bobby as well as extensive liner notes chronicling the entire process. This set is a beautiful mind-blowing musical experience, check it out, man.

Schmidt, Irmin – “Kamasutra: Vollendung Der Liebe” – [Crippled Dick Hot Wax!]

lombard   3/9/2010   12-inch, Soundtrack

This is the never-released until 2009 soundtrack to the 1969 film “Kamasutra: Vollendung der Liebe,” which tells the tales of lovers in India and Europe in criss-crossing storylines (based on the ancient erotic tome Kamasutra). The music, by Irmin Schmidt and the Inner Space, is psychedelic, spacy and groovy. There’s a dash of female vocals, surprising bits of harmonica on a few tracks, Eastern flavors, flute, percussion, and more. Recorded in 1968 featuring Can’s initial members: Michael Karoli, Jaki Liebezeit and Malcolm Mooney. 2 slabs of retro vinyl fun.

Vril – “Fatal Duckpond, The” – [Rer Megacorp]

humana   10/4/2009   CD, Soundtrack

Soundtrack: Although this is a soundtrack to a film of a curious name (???The Fatal Duckpond???), what it really is is a truly awesome collection of surf instrumentals from a four-piece band called Vril, whose name refers to an energy-inducing fluid in a science fiction book called The Coming Race. Each and every one of these short tracks is indeed full of energy and a truly distinctive approach to surf. You gotta love the guitar, bass, and percussion skills demonstrated here. ???Drop the needle??? anywhere and you???ll be satisfied.

Frisell, Bill – “All Hat” [sdtk] – [Emarcy Records]

ArtCrimes   7/14/2009   CD, Soundtrack

Bill Frisell is no stranger to music scoring at this point, having created full-length scores for both period-piece silent films (Buster Keaton) and contemporary films. Having not seen “All Hat,” it would be inappropriate for me to consider whether this is in fact successful music in its original context, but as a collection of 31 (mostly short) instrumental tracks on an audio CD, I can report that the music doesn’t stray too far from the Americana-laced work Frisell has pursued at greater length on his own albums, especially those that feature him in the company of players that can actually play country convincingly. That’s the case here, with Viktor Krauss (bass) and Greg Leisz (steel, mandolin) playing it pretty straight while Frisell uses banjo and acoustics and electrics with varying degrees of signal processing (his use of looping is evident throughout and distortion is used for a change of moodat times). Jenny Scheinman (violin) and Scott Amendola (drums) add some non-traditional edges. He even does some fake “mainstream country” on #23, a resetting of the traditional “John Hardy” as might be heard on a bar jukebox (“John Hardy” gets a variety of treatments here: #1, #6, #17, #23, #31). Get yer music beds here… PGM: SOME TRACKS SEGUE! Preview as necessary. (((crimes)))

Zentner, Si – “Plays Music From “Warning Shot”” – [Liberty Records]

humana   6/23/2009   12-inch, Soundtrack

Soundtrack: Big band is the name of the game, and Si Zentner is the man and trombonist to lead the band executing Jerry Goldsmith???s compositions. Side 1 features music from ???Warning Shot,??? most of which is fast-paced and suspenseful, save for 4 and 5, which have a slower pace. It???s easy to get caught up in the big band exclamations. Side 2 is a sampling from Goldsmith???s other film/TV scores, with ???Von Ryan March??? and ???Mona Lisa??? standing out, and the ???Theme from ???The Man from U.N.C.L.E.?????? taking you down memory lane.

Sebastian – Original Soundtrack [coll] – [Harkit Records]

humana   6/19/2009   CD, Soundtrack

Soundtrack: This is a period piece for the sixties if there ever was one, full of suspense and intrigue appropriate to a movie about counter-espionage with a bevy of beauties in the wings. Be sure to read the liner notes. Tracks 12-23 are bonus tracks by father of electronic music Tristram Cary (and form component elements for Track 9). Enjoy.

2001: a Space Ody (soundtrack) – “2001: a Space Odyssey” – [Rhino Records]

Marlena Poliatevska   3/23/2009   CD, Soundtrack

2001: A space Odyssey, Directed by Stanley Kubrick

The soundtrack from a classic science fiction movie, released by MGM
in 1968, which is now part of the American psyche.
The story was originally written by Arthur C. Clarke.

The album consists of the music used in the movie, in scene-order on
tracks 1 through 9. “Thus Spake Zarathustra” has become the audio
symbol of “2001: A space Odyssey”, much as the sound of
helicopter blades, became the symbol of the Vietnam war in the movie
“Apocolypse Now”.

“Also Sprach Zarathustra” was composed by Richard Strauss in 1896, as a
musical representation of Nietzsche’s “Superman” who would transcend
human limitations. This musical piece includes in its composition a
‘World riddle Theme’ consisting of a particular sequence of
musical notes in the melody.

Most notable for play on KFJC is track #7, “Jupiter and Beyond” (15:13)
consisting of three parts:

a) “Requiem for Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs & Orchestra”
b) “Atmospheres”
c) “Adventures”

The album also includes four supplemental tracks, the most notable being a
collage of dialog with, and about HAL, the 9000-series computer aboard
the Discovery 1 craft headed on a half-billion mile journey to the planet
Jupiter. “HAL9000” is an interview with HAL, interspersed with dialog
between the crew and its computer which occur in several memorable
scenes in the movie.

The album also includes a 23-page booklet documenting the movie and
its production.

Two historical ICONS are presented in this movie, “The Bell System”
which was a national monopoly in the United States at that time, and also the international airline “Pan Am”

The shuttlecraft depicted in the movie is branded with the famous ‘Pan Am’
logo of Pan American Airways, which was founded in 1927 as the only
American airline company providing intercontinental air travel from the
United States to other countries.

Pan Am was barred from domestic flights within the Untied States, however
other airlines were permitted to compete with Pan Am internationally in 1978.
Pan Am declared bankruptcy in 1991, and its assets were purchased
by Delta Airlines.

Marlena Poliatevska

Topless Women Talk About Their Lives [coll] – [Flying Nun]

Max Level   2/2/2009   CD, Soundtrack

A solid collection of edgy New Zealand rock and pop songs. The tracks, all previously issued on various Flying Nun releases, were selected by the makers of the offbeat 1997 “Topless Women…” movie as their soundtrack. You know the bands: The Clean, The Bats, The Chills, Snapper, etc, giving us their variations on the rock dynamic, from straight ahead riff-rock to fuzzy shoegazing to peppy pop. We already have around 2/3 of these songs in the music library, but here they are knocking on your head and reminding you to play them again because it’s been a few years. And you should. Track 10 and 13 are on the quiet acoustic side and are awfully nice. Track 12 is a driving instrumental. This collection is fun and it rocks respectably. Guitars, guitars,and more guitars, NZ style!

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