TALKING TO THE COLLECTOR.

SERGEJ KAROV.

Sergej , is a collector who has varied taste, he is a collector I have never met but talk to frequently on line, and via our conversations we have become friends, which is fortunate for me.

 

Why film music, and when did you first become aware of music in movies?
Somehow I think it is quite natural to end up in film music if you love movies. Much more difficult is to say exactly when I started noticing music as – because in those early days before I was even aware I would end up as a movie buff and film music collector – I was more focused on following the story and just noticing all additional stuff on second, third viewing…if the story granted that. In those early days film music for me was Lara’s theme, Mitch Miller’s River Kwai march, Ennio and his Dollars themes and such unavoidable starting points. But one day, quite by chance I stumbled into a movie (THE MOVIE for me) – called Too late the hero… the owner of the local video store told me just – „Take it, you’re gonna like it“. He couldn’t have known me that well because i was there only my second time, (having only recently acquired VCR), but having no better idea i accepted. Maybe i should not have…I would not now elaborate how the guy guessed just about everything there is to be guessed about me with this suggestion – because there was everything i loved with an angle even i did not expect. The movie had very long opening sequence and i had plenty of time to listen the music. Gerald Fried. The first time ever i watched movie 4 times in a row (it was weekend luckily) and then started to rewind the tape for music sequences, again, and again, and again…i was hooked, forever it seems. Living in Croatia, it could mean only a liftime of suffering – because there never was anything nice a music store with slightly decent film music selection…only the Internet and me getting the credit card solved this problem, or doomed me forever.

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What was your first record purchase, if it was not a soundtrack what was the first soundtrack that you purchased?
The First record i bought was from my saved allowances – David Bowie and „Let’s Dance“, and now, while writing this, I recall there was „CAT PEOPLE (Putting out the Fire)“. Symbolic? Probably! The first soundtrack I bought was not on Vinyl (never did buy one on Vinyl, will explain that in the later question) was I think Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, but because I was collecting all Bob Dylan albums, not specifically because of film music – but love that one as a soundtrack nevertheless (least because of „Knocking on the Heaven’s door“,“ Billy 4“ and „Turkey chase“ being favourites still).

Before the arrival of Compact Discs, how many soundtracks did you have in your collection on LP record or other recording formats?

I already answered in previous question, but here’s the explanation. Me and Vinyl. i am a backup freak and with LP you got what you got. And clumsy as I am, it was not a „beautiful friendship“, as Rick said back then in the last millenium. I had LP’s of my favourite authors (Cohen, Marley, Dylan…), but hated it when the LP get scratched and dusty, it was heart breaking – and taping them on audio cassette was not kind of backup i prefer. One other thing. For LP’s you need to have better, more expensive equipment. I got my first audio line when I was in high school, present from my parents for being successful, but aside from gramophone it had a CD player and I focused more on that.

 

 

 

What was your most expensive soundtrack purchase?

Perhaps year or two after the war in Croatia ended I went to visit my friend in Nuremburg and spent some days there. He took me to the World of Music shop – and i found there Bay Cities edition of THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING by Maurice Jarre….Son of God goes forth to war – oh how many times I just tried to emulate Sean Connery’s singing – it was 38 DM – nowdays with price of 19 EUR it would seem regular – but when standard CD was about 20 DM it was expensive. Needles to say I had to take it – it was one of MUST HAVE – because it ws at least decade later from the first question and now i had some list of MUST HAVE ITEMS. So it was Fried’s TOO LATE THE HERO (reasons explained already) when I found it on SAE. Price? 50+$ without S&H.

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Which do you prefer, LP, CD or download?
I’m buying CD wherever there is an option (affordable one, not like in previous question). Download is temporary option for something not available otherwise (in my case that means CD), or when you have some serious doubts to get it or not.

Is there anything that you have been searching for that you have been able to find?

The moment you stop looking for something, your about to die. So I am still looking for something, not just to prolong living. Among those things i would really like to have scores from VERA CRUZ by HUGO FRIEDHOFER, THE NIGHT MOVES, by MICHAEL SMALL, OTPISANI by MILIVOJE MIĆA MARKOVIĆ….I could list here many more but however many you list, you cannot list all, so any place is good to stop.

What composers would you say dominate your collection?

Ennio Morricone. He is so prolific, and constant in quality that he is simply unavoidable. I would say he was GODSENT for this job, and we are privileged to be given the opportunity to listen to his music and even see him conducting on concertos. That said, i must say his work is still mostly available and often repressed, so it could explain his percentage within collection, but there are some which a represented with lesser numbers in my collection but are of equal importance (or even more important) Jerry Fielding, Maurice Jarre, Basil Poledouris, Carlo Rustichelli, Rachel Portman, and there are always some more to be discovered or rediscovered.

 

 

 

What is your opinion of the state of film music in recent years, compared to the movie scores from the 1940,s through to the late 1970’s?

Unlike the movies who could not age well – i do not think it concerns the film music much. It is quite independent of the age or movies. It is good or not. That comes from a person who prefers older movies. Once I got a reply that doomsday is sure to come since I’ve recommended a new movie. But music is timeless. You like it or not, but if you like it, you’ll keep liking it till your last breath. Even more you might like film music even if you did not saw the movie.

 

My friend Godwin Borg and his label Kronos Records discovered to me a plethora of beautiful scores whom I might have easily overlooked not knowing about them , by not seeing them or wasn’t interested in them for reasons beyond music, but ending up enthralled by the beautiful sounds. However it might uplift the movie for which is written, the film music has a life of its own, quite self sufficient, worthy of notice beyond all other reasons. That’s what I learned throughout my journey amidst the film music. But it may be just my excuse, excuse for being a film music junkie? Try it and risk it yourselves…

Kronos

 

How do you store your soundtrack collection?
Perhaps the hardest of all questions. Why? Because collecting movies, books, comics, film music, sooner or later you end up craving for space (not lebensraum for heaven’s sake) in a measure that you need archaeological excavation to find a table in your room. Must be honest, I so envy to the many pictures i saw with cd”s on shelves, ordered by genre, author, label…not possible for me!!! Maybe I am chronically untidy but i use every free space to shelve something – that does not mean I’m careless – I  loved this stuff to much to afford myself to be so – but everything is mixed up according to the space available…Chaos?… It might be very easily…but it is mine….and I know how to thread within.

 

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TOUT LA-HAUT.

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The score for TOUT LA-HAUT is the work of French composer Laurent Perez Del Mar, who came to many peoples notice in 2016 for his beautiful and haunting musical score for THE RED TURTLE. The composer has a wonderful gift for creating highly melodic pieces which are almost immediately imprinted upon ones sub conscious where they linger forever. TOUT LA-HAUT is I am glad to say not any different, it is a score that in one word is DELIGHTFUL or maybe more than one word DELIGHTFUL, EMOTIVE and POIGNANT. It is one of the most melodious and delicate sounding scores that I have heard in a while, every note lovingly placed every cue mesmerizingly attractive and a sheer rush of emotions and moods. There are some dialogue highlights from the movie included but these are short and sweet as they say, but in fact they are also a welcome addition to the listening experience of the soundtrack recording, as are the songs that are also included. The score is a mix of both symphonic and electronic, with the composer utilising to much effect the string and woodwind sections of the orchestra, some of the tracks are upbeat and stirring, others fragile and subtle. But overall this is a score that one could just put into the player and listen to without any need to fast forward or skip a track here and there, the composer employs solo violin and poignant tantalising piano in certain areas of the score and creates romantically laced nuances and quiet intimate themes. The score has quite a mix of instrumentation, with the, woods, strings, solo violin and piano featuring large, but there are also appearances from guitar (both acoustic and electric), percussion, brass, keyboards, solo wordless voice and at times a more contemporary sound that is executed via drums, and other percussive elements that create a backing track on which the composer layers his instrumentation. Each cue is beautiful more upbeat sections of the score, also seem to purvey a tense and uncertain atmosphere with taught strings at times entering the equation.

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All in all, this is an entertaining score, and one that also displays the versatility of Laurent Perez Del Mar, one can only now look forward to what this year will bring us from this talented composer.