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JESSABELLE.

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After a traumatic and horrific automobile accident, the films central character returns to her childhood home in Louisiana to try and recuperate however whilst there she comes across some VHS tapes that have been made by her dead Mother and soon comes face to face with a tormented and virulent spirit that is seeking vengeance, it has been seeking out Jessabelle and now that it has found her the entity has decided that Jessabelle will not leave again. Directed by Kevin Greutert who worked on all of the SAW franchise and actually directed two of the instalments delivers a slow smouldering movie which is effectively scary and jumpy, and is a classy deep south thriller which has affiliations with other movies such as ANGEL HEART. The musical score for JESSABELLE is suitably harrowing and tantalisingly effective in the fear and foreboding departments. It is the work of young composer Anton Sanko who worked on RABBIT HOLE and more recently has scored THE POSSESSION and OUIJA and although his name is not as prominent as other composers of film music Sanko has worked on approximately 50 assignments for the cinema and also TV. JESSABELLE is not a score that I would recommend you listen to in the dark or via headphones, the musical ideas, orchestrations and effects within the work are shall we say disturbing and unsettling to say the least, but they are also truly original, highly effective and affecting. I am a fan of the horror genre (at least some of it) and personally I am of the opinion that the Horror score at times is overlooked or even ignored, but when you stop and think about it, it is the music in a horror picture that creates 90 percent of the atmosphere and is responsible for setting the mood and alerting the watching audience to some unspeakable horror that is about to happen on screen. Sanko has created a tension filled work that touches on many senses, purveying horror, apprehension, sadness and also full on terror, his score contains more twists, turns and spine tingling moments than a fairground ghost train ride. It is a feverish and malevolent sounding work, that oozes a malicious and wicked persona. This is not a soundtrack that one could sit and listen to for pleasure I don’t think, I mean you would not put this on as background music at a dinner party, but it is enjoyable simply because it is so imaginative, inventive and surprising. The voice of featured vocalist Sussan Deyham brings much to the work and is superbly disconcerting when utilised as it at times seems to creep up on the listener from out of the darkness of the score to create a dissonant and intimidating aura, at times becoming guttural and manic. This is an accomplished work and one that for me ranks alongside THE CONJURING, EVIL DEAD and ANNABELLE. Worth a listen.

EXODUS-GODS AND KINGS.

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For his latest movie director Ridley Scott has turned to Spanish born composer Alberto Iglesias to write the score. EXODUS, GODS AND KINGS is the British filmmakers take on the story of Moses and the Ten commandments from the old testament, so epic material abound that is sure to thrill and enthral audiences. Iglesias has created a score that not only matches and supports the magnitude of the story unfolding on screen but it also has the ability to be intimate highly emotive and haunting. The composer bringing us a theme laden work that at times is grandiose and awe-inspiring and on other occasions becomes intricate, delicate and romantic. Iglesias utilises solo voice and also choir within the score which are able to purvey an atmosphere in the first instance of solitude and desperation and when he employs choir it conjures up a mood of greatness, fearfulness and foreboding. There is within the work a number of passages that are performed by ethnic sounding instrumentation, the composer at times combining certain ethnic instruments with a lamenting and heartfelt solo voice which more or less cries out in hopelessness or evokes a feeling of sadness that manages to invade ones inner soul and get right to your core. The work although epic and grand with sweeping themes and at times celestial sounding choral work has to it another side, the composer fuses a more contemporary sound to the established epic sound that he has fashioned with brass, strings, woodwind, percussion and choir, adding a darker and threatening sound that is underlined by minimalist use of synthetic sounds, I feel that Iglesias manages to get the balance correct and has written a soundtrack that will be appreciated by many aficionados of the art of film music. In short it is a score that posses the lushness and lavish opulence that is reminiscent of the vintage Hollywood movies such as QUO VADIS and BEN HUR but also has to it a freshness and vibrancy that maybe a composer such as the late Jerry Goldsmith would have experimented with, Iglesias has experimented with fusing these two styles and it has certainly been a success for him. EXODUS GODS AND KINGS will I think be one of the film score highlights of this year, it is a totally consuming and entertaining work, it is sorrowful, dramatic, adventurous and memorable,and contains shades of Rozsa, nuances that are akin to the style of Morricone and power and richness that could be Newman or Williams. Available as from December 2nd on Sony music. Recommended.

FRATELLO MARE.

FRATELLO MARE,(brother sea) is a documentary, filmed in Polynesia, and the score by Piero Piccioni is one of the latest releases from the BEAT stable in Rome. I have to admit that Piccioni is not one of the most listened composers in my household, at times I do find his style rather too jazz orientated, but of course there are the exceptions to the rule as in THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD( a reference to which is made within this work in track number 17) but saying this he is or was a composer that I would buy blind as it were in my early days of collecting with no knowledge of the movie or indeed of the music. FRATELLO MARE is I have to say one of the composers most pleasant sounding soundtracks, it is rather easy going and light in its overall style, and yes there are a number of jazz references within it but these are more of an easy listening nature rather than full blown statements from that genre of music and there are also a handful of cues that are percussive led and ethnically themed. The music here is however, gentle for the majority of the scores duration, with the composer utilizing piano, strings, woodwind and also a subtle and understated organ within certain sections of the work. This is probably Piccioni at his most laid back and also his most low key, the central theme being returned to a number of times and cropping up along the way in various guises and arrangements, the composer employing solo guitar on a number of occasions as the principal instrument which purveys the simple but haunting theme. So although I am probably not the most ardent fan of Piccioni I still think that this is a score well worth adding to your collection. Packaged well by BEAT with informative notes in Italian and also in English. Take a chance and have a dip in the tranquil and melodic waters that have been created by Piccioni on this one. This incidentally is the last in the BEAT series (which have numbered 8) of releases of Piccioni’s film music.

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Originally issued on a CAM long playing record in 1967, this Gianni Ferrio soundtrack is if nothing else an ENTERTAINING one. It is a simple theme laden score that combines slightly dramatic musical styles with that of comedic and romantic. It has within its running time a number of haunting and infectious themes, performed in the main by strings, brass underlined by percussion and little wisps of woodwind that are at times enhanced and punctuated by harpsichord flourishes which are themselves supported and augmented by subtle use of harp, both of which add a certain periodic authenticity to the proceedings. Ferrio was certainly an inventive and at times highly original composer, for this assignment the Maestro created a work that included, epic sounding cues, and also embellished these with little nuances that were either romantically laced or others that at times verged upon the MICKEY MOUSING style employed by various composers when scoring animated shorts or comedy features, add to this a luxurious string soaked arrangement of the central theme and we have here something that is a little bit special. The score also includes a number of pop orientated themes, which are upbeat and certainly grab the listeners attention. In the liner notes it states that maybe this latest BEAT release will not instigate a revolution in ones collection, however I have to disagree because it is a score that hit’s the entertainment spots adequately therefore is a worthwhile addition to any Italian film music enthusiasts collection. Upbeat themes, lilting melodious tone poems, a richly lush arrangement of the scores principal theme which re-emerges on a number of occasions and fast paced chase music all go to make up an enjoyable listening experience and with one of the themes baring a striking resemblance to Ron Goodwin’s MISS MARPLES theme it’s a score that one does not really have to think about just merely pop it into the disc player and listen. Presented well by BEAT with nice art work and informative notes in both Italian and English, check it out.

UOMO AVVISATO MEZZO AMMAZZATO-PAROLA DI SPIRITO SANTO

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Released in the early part of 1972, UOMO AVVISATO MEZZO AMMAZZATO-PAROLA DI SPIRITO SANTO aka- THEY CALL HIM HOLY GHOST, was an entertaining and at times gimmicky Italian western, directed by Giuliano Carmineo and starring Gianni Garko. The movie which was set in Mexico focused upon the revolution in that country, and involved the main protagonist of the movie giving revolutionaries assistance in return for gold against a tyrannical politician General Urbarte who has proclaimed him self El Presidente. Garko’s character SPIRITO SANTO owns a pet dove whom he christens HAWK, which at certain times during the movie makes an entrance prior to Garko’s character coming on screen striking fear into his enemies. The movie is an unlikely romp, with a few implausible scenarios thrown in along the way but at the same time it remains enjoyable, attention holding and amusing. In fact it is probably a movie that brings into the equation elements from the best of the Italian western, by this I mean it combines the drama and also the edge of the seat tension of the ZAPATA western sub genre with that of the comedy/drama western such as THEY STILL CALL ME TRINITY etc. The musical score is by the great film music Maestro Bruno Nicolai, who produced a magnificent soundtrack that is filled with excitement, drama and also comedic musical passages and overflows with infectious and haunting themes. In fact the score is built upon a trio of central themes, with the composer utilising many of the now well known stock sounds and instrumentation from the spaghetti western genre. The opening track is a robust and some what rousing vocal performed by IL CANTORI MODERNI which has lyrics credited on the release to Giulia de Mutiis which I am 99 percent sure is an alias that Allessandro Alessandroni used on many occasions. LIBERTAD is in many ways similar to Morricone and Nicolai’s PACO theme from A PROFFESSIONAL GUN or even Cipriani’s music for THEY CALL ME ALLELUJAH and Waldo De Los Rios music for SAVAGE PAMPAS, sung in Spanish and oozing patriotism and also having to it a rawness and vitality that carries the cue along at pace, altering sound and direction midway when the composer introduces male voices that more or less bark or grunt to accentuate the racing composition. The theme is heard four times on the compact disc each time the composer bringing something new to the piece via clever orchestration or arranging.

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The second cue on the disc, opens with a flute warble that has certain affiliations with the short flute trill that accompanies Clint Eastwood’s character in A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, this is followed by a short burst from a low key electric guitar that parodies Morricone’s familiar guitar death rift from FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, but after this the similarities between Morricone and Nicolai cease with the cue assuming a musical identity that is unmistakably Nicolai, organ, underlying strings and strumming guitar act as a background to the distinct whistle of Alessandroni, that is further enhanced and punctuated by little organ nuances. It is a somewhat laid back affair that has to it an underlying atmosphere of darkness and apprehension. I suppose comparisons can be drawn this time between this piece and the composers score for DEAD MEN RIDE another western which was released in the same period or near enough. The score for THEY CALL HIM HOLY GHOST is probably one of Nicolai’s best for a western, an accomplished work that should be savoured by Italian western fans old and new. The CD is presented very well, with colourful art work and numerous stills from the movie inside the CD booklet, which contains informative notes written in Italian and English by BEAT records Executive Daniele De Gemini. Well worth adding to your collection.

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