Tag Archives: ALL SCORE MEDIA

NEW RELEASE FROM ALL SCORE…

Official release date, Friday, November 26th 2021.

Winnetou und sein Freund Old Firehand.

Or Thunder at the Border as it was entitled in the USA and the UK, is a German/Yugoslavian co-produced western, that was released in 1966, when the Euro western was just beginning to become popular in countries such as the UK, Japan, and the USA. It was to be the last of the Winnetou/ Karl May stories to be committed to celluloid.

The brutal Siler gang are responsible for killing four young Apache braves. Old Firehand and his friend Winnetou are determined to bring the murderers to justice. So, they join forces to track down the gang of cutthroats responsible. Directed by Alfred Vohrer, the movie is probably the least popular of the movies in the Winnetou series and came in for much criticism at the time of its release, some referring to it as the lowest point of the entire series. However, in recent years the film has become more acceptable to audiences and even applauded by connoisseurs of the Euro western genre.

The musical score was also at the time of the movie being in theatres given less than positive reviews with composer Peter Thomas replacing the seasoned Winnetou composer Martin Bottcher on this occasion, it being the only Karl May penned western that Thomas would work on, which is not surprising as the composer was in great demand working on numerous TV shows and motion pictures and he also scored other westerns including The Last of the Mohicans.

PETER THOMAS.

Winnetou und sein Freund Old Firehand, certainly leaned more towards the violent persona of the Italian western rather than the already established format of the German western, which was looked upon as being tame compared to the Spaghetti western genre. And this is probably the reason there was so much negativity towards the film initially. The opening 10 minutes having a quite high body count for a German western as we see the gang attack a party of Apache led by Winnetou and then are themselves fired upon by Apache’s and Old Firehand and his companions who ambush them killing many and also having one of their own shot dead. Many thought that the German produced westerns which were the forerunners of the Sergio Leone directed films A Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More, were too cliched and basically clones of the Hollywood produced western. But, what ever one’s opinion of the German western, it is certain that the genre played a major role in the development of the Italian western and in turn would influence American westerns that were produced after the Spaghetti westerns appeal began to lose momentum, they also influenced filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino in later years. The German western may not have been as raw or even as quirky or inventive as later Italian examples, but it was entertaining and, in most cases, memorable.

It did seem to stick to the time-honoured tradition of heroes and villains, good and bad, with good mostly winning out, and that is why comparisons were drawn up between the American B westerns of the 1950’s and the German produced westerns of the 1960’s. What always struck me about German westerns was the clean-cut heroes even if these were native American characters. Which was completely removed from those American B features and a long way off from movies such as Soldier Blue and Little Big Man. The same can be said for the musical scores, the Martin Bottcher soundtracks having to them a rich and lush sounding melodic persona, the composer creating vibrant and quite lavish sounding compositions that were appealing and haunting, these scores also had sections and passages that contained a degree of dramatic music too, but often the scores were out of step with the action and if I can say this in untechnical terms and without actually criticizing, were often too melodic, the music at times seeming out of place or as if it had been tracked onto the soundtrack without taking into consideration what action was unfolding on screen, it has at times been compared to easy listening music by some and referred to as James Last meets the wild west by others.

The score for Thunder at the Border by Peter Thomas, contains a haunting central theme which was not unlike Bottcher’s themes for Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. Thomas cleverly arranged and adapted his core theme throughout the movie to suit various situations and scenarios, which worked well but comparing these with the direction and sound of the Italian western still seemed slightly out of touch or distant from the storyline on screen. The soundtrack for Thunder at the Border was released on compact disc back in the early 1990’s on the Tarantula label, but was soon deleted, it was then re-issued as part of the Bear Family records western box set, which is now a rare item itself. So, this latest re-issue on LP and CD by All Score in Germany is warmly welcomed, and the label has done such a grand job of presenting it. It not only contains more music but also improved sound quality and boasts some eye arresting artwork and comes in a de-luxe gatefold package for the vinyl releases, I say releases because there is a Turquoise LP and a Black LP being pressed. The vinyl editions containing forty-two tracks and the compact disc release having forty-six tracks. All the tracks have been remastered to a high quality, with the CD version boasting three previously unreleased music tracks that were discovered in the vaults of the Peter Thomas estate as well as a bonus track with the composer himself on piano where he is presenting his first themes and ideas to the film‘s producer (recorded 1966 at Bavaria Tonstudios in Munich).

This is for me and probably for fans of the genre a landmark release and one that will I know give hours of pleasure to fans of composer Peter Thomas and will also act as a reminder of the inventive and innovative talent that the composer possessed. It will also in my opinion attract new fans to the music of Thomas and the Euro western as produced in Germany during the 1960’s.

The style he employed on Winnetou is an entertaining fusion of the symphonic and expansive to which he added pop and upbeat influences and colours, this approach works so well as a score and as a listening experience away from the images. It has to it a blend of sounds that resemble Aaron Copeland’s sprawling and expansive style, Ennio Morricone’s inventiveness and a melodic appealing sound that can be likened to the style employed by Riz Ortolani within many of his film scores. The latter himself scoring a German/Yugoslavian produced western in 1964 entitled The Apache’s Last Battle. It’s a not to be missed release, and hopefully All Score will be releasing more of the scores that Thomas penned in the future. And also more westerns by other composers, Gert Wilden for example.

AN INTERVIEW WITH, MONDO SANGUE.

MONDO Sangue (Christian Bluthardt and Yvy Pop) dedicate a passionate tribute to the iconic soundtracks of 70s b-movies: for erotica, exotica, italo and carnivore genre lovers.

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What musical education did you have, and how did you begin to work together as MONDO SANGUE?
Yvy: Without any serious musical education (just a few guitar lessons in my childhood and 20 years of a punk-rock as a singer) I met Chris in Stuttgart’s best video rental Filmgalerie 451 about 10 years ago. We loved to talk about films, especially rare b- and c-movies, and thought about making scores for films we’d like to see (if only they’d been made) someday.

 

You have produced two film scores, which have no films, what led you into starting to do this kind of work?
Yvy: In 2014 we had the opportunity to jump in at the deep end of an independent film production (Nature Morte by Sophia Koegl) and did our first film score in 24 hours. That’s when we tasted blood. In the summer of 2015 we decided to dedicate our first release to the underappreciated music of cannibal movies in 1970,s Italian cinema.

 
Do you write or create the scenarios for the stories that you score musically?

 


Yvy: Indeed. That’s how we start. Chris and I develop a script of a so to speak, meta-film, filled with quotations and as predictable as charming characters. Then we divide the plot into atmospheric pictures and Chris gets started with the first musical moods and compositions while I’m working on the lyrics.

CANNIBAL

I suppose writing for a story rather than an actual movie is somewhat difficult as you have no images to relate to on a screen just in your head?
Yvy: Personally, I’m convinced that working with Chris on an imaginary script is much easier as our ideas are always incredibly congruent. The story of L’Isola die Dannati. took us just an afternoon and three shandy’s and before sunset the synopsis was already completed.

IVY
Chris: Yes, and ever since we both are rather musical persons, most of the times a simple musical theme or a fitting record are quiet enough to create the images in our heads.
CHRIS

 

 

You have covered two popular genres of Italian cinema this far, CANNIBALLS and THE WESTERN, what is next for you another genre made popular by Italian film makers?

 

Yvy: We already have a whole list of respective Italian film scores, we’d like to realize in the next years. We’ve not decided yet what will be next, but we already have two favourites.

 

no place

NO PLACE FOR A MAN, is wonderful, it really re-creates the sounds and the styles that were originally fashioned by composers such as Morricone, Nicolai, Cipriani, Fidenco, Ferrio and De Masi, to name but a handful, are you both big fans of these composers, and do you buy soundtrack albums?

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Chris: When I buy records, there are always soundtrack albums among them! I can’t visit a record store without checking out the soundtrack-corner as a very first reflex. Any composer’s name you have just mentioned means a lot to me and I guess collecting their records is a lifetime achievement, a never-ending journey.

What is your usual line up of instrumentation, both synthetic and conventional?
Chris: There’s a bunch of sample-libraries I use for creating orchestral sounds like strings and brasses, timpani & drums. Guitars, pianos and part of the percussions are recorded with live instruments, of course the vocals and choirs too. There is not any usual line up of any kind, it depends on the project. This time I included a 5-steel-string ukulele from Portugal to create a hopefully unique sound. There never were ukuleles in western-scores and I like the idea of putting in Easter-eggs like this in our contribution. And – very coincidentally – it fits to our storyline since our protagonist is simply called “The Portuguese”.

How long does it take to create a score, NO PLACE FOR A MAN for example?
Yvy: Well, the writing and production of L’Isola die Dannati was incredibly fast. No Place for a Man, took us much longer. On one hand, writing an Italo Western score is much more complex, and on the other hand, we tried not only to produce a good Spaghetti Western score, but to add our (hopefully recognizable) Mondo Sangue impact as well. Therefore, the plot of No Place for a Man is quite gory and expands the classic Italo Western on a sanguinary dimension.

 

I have to admit that I am not familiar with your backgrounds so please forgive me if I have missed anything that you have worked on, but have you scored any movies or worked on any TV assignments at all?


Chris: I never worked on TV assignments, but I scored some movies in the last few years, mostly documentary or short films and of course advertising films. On a regular basis I score audio books (produced by All Score) and recently I composed the music for a stage play. It’s kind of the second or third idea behind Mondo Sangue, at least for me – as long as there is just a negligible genre-film-market in Germany and nobody asks me to score for any one of them, I simply love the idea of producing and releasing my favorite genre-scores either way…

The Italian band GOBLIN go out and perform live to audiences, would this be something you do or would like to do?

 

Yvy: We’d love to perform our soundtracks live. We already thought about may be combining a radio play with audio-visual material. For the release events we’ll prepare a nice’n’small foretaste.


Chris: I would have said “no way” after our cannibal-score, but now I think there are a few ways and approaches to perform our music live. Naturally, we’ll need some additional musicians, but with some guitars, my ukulele and a few percussions we could manage.

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What is your opinion of film music in the 21st Century, compared with scores from the 1960’s through to the 1980’s?

star-trek-beyond-soundtrack

Chris: Well, it is quite different, but I still love it very much. The variety of so many different styles and fusions is just great. Lots of films mix the perks of modern music and the charm of classic or genre-music of the 60s and 70s, and I’m not talking about Tarantino-movies, there’s plenty more stuff out there, much more savvy and brilliant. The development of orchestral music kind of lost its way in my opinion, too many films sound exactly alike. But then there are orchestra-guys like Alexandre Desplat or Michael Giacchino, who keep surprising me or rather unusual composers like Clint Mansell, Cliff Martinez and (the recently passed) Johann Johannsson who blow me away almost every time I hear, or better feel them on the big screen.

 

http://mondosangue.com/

Many thanks to Chris and Ivy and also to Dietmar Bosch of All score, for his help and co-operation.

mondo

 

PERRAK AND OTHER FILM MUSIC BY ROLF KUHN.

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Another release from ALL SCORE MEDIA/CHRIS SOUNDTRACK CORNER in Germany, available on a ltd edition vinyl long playing album and also available on download. PERRAK and other film music by Rolf Kuhn, essentially a jazz artist Kuhn is also able to turn his hand to other genres of music and has made notable contributions within the easy listening arena plus has contributed many compositions that have been used by various so called music libraries and of course has written for both television and motion pictures. This lively and highly entertaining release contains the music from two movies which Kuhn scored in 1970, PERRAK or HARD WOMEN as it was entitled outside of Germany and DAS GELBE HAUS AM PINNASBERG aka- THE YELLOW HOUSE IN PINNASBURG were both directed by film maker Alfred Vohrer who put his faith in Kuhn as a composer to come up with the right musical solutions for his movies, the film makers trust paid off and the composer created two wonderfully up beat soundtracks that are filled with so many themes and leitmotifs it is hard to comprehend that so many lively and catchy groovy tracks hail from just two movies. The scores and films were both received well by public and critics alike and PERRAK in particular became something of a cult film and soundtrack and would very often be re-used within other movies. The style within both scores is as you can imagine predominantly jazz fuelled but at the same time Kuhn introduces dramatic interludes and also fuses these with a lighter more pop orientated style, strings, brass, guitar and percussion feature throughout the scores, with a number of solo piano compositions entering the proceedings. The long playing record contains 22 tracks, which is almost every piece of music from both of the movies, there are however a handful of extra cues (6) available on the download version of the soundtracks. Again I do recommend that you at least try the album as in vinyl version of this as it looks fantastic as well as sounding great. The style of Kuhn is in my opinion not dissimilar to that of Francis Lai or even Michel Magne it has that freshness to it and because it is a fusion of jazz, orchestral, dramatic and romantic with some sensual undertones it makes for a very varied, interesting and entertaining listen. Presented well by ALL SCORE/CHRIS SOUNDTRACK CORNER with 180gr premium LP packaged in a luxurious solid cardboard cover that has attractive art work both front and back. Another one for the collection, highly recommended.

L’ISOLA DEI DANNATI-ISLAND OF THE DAMNED.

Post_Isola

The world of Italian film music is a varied one and when one thinks about it is probably Italian composers more often than not that have been involved in creating innovative sounds and styles to accompany the moving image. It was after all the Italians who not only re-invented the western score but also ended up creating a whole new genre of music for what was an established type of movie. It was also the Italians who developed a sound and style that we still to this day associate with the GIALLO genre of films and when it came to Horror flicks well the Italians are as we know now past masters at underlining shocking and gory moments in celluloid. One particular type of horror film was the collection that dealt with cannibals, i.e. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST etc. Many of these movies had scores that seemed to subtle, gentle and melodic for the horrors that were unfolding on screen and were sometimes certainly too serene and sweet to accompany the gruesome and at times graphic bloodletting that was the norm for these movies. One such movie which maybe many have forgotten was I’ISOLA DEI DANNATI or ISLAND OF THE DAMNED. Hailed as an unfinished masterpiece the movie from 1978 was directed by Luchino Martello, the film told the story of a Doctor and his wife who along with a young intern become stranded on a remote and what they think is an uninhabited island. After a while the intern begins to have an affair with the Doctor’s wife Laura, shortly after this it soon becomes apparent that they are not alone, the other inhabitants of the island having a taste and desire for human flesh. But hang on let me start again, that’s what the plot would be if it were in fact a movie “WHAT”? I hear you say, but you just said, yes I know I did, ok l will come clean, L’ISOLA DEI DANNATI is a fictitious movie, Luchino Martello yes he is a fictitious character also but one with a great name don’t you agree, what we have here is a tribute or an homage to the wonderful music styles that came out of Italy during the 1970, s for films of the erotic and Carnivore variety which had music created by composers such as Morricone, Ortolani, Cipriani, Fidenco, Ferrio and their like. I have to say that this had me fooled for a while simply because the music by MONDO SANGUE (Cristiano Sangueduro and Cristina Casereccia) is simply superbly retro and filled with what one would think is the sounds of the 1970’s, the attention to detail with the style, orchestration and performance of the score (if that’s what it is) is faultless. Wordless female vocals, grunting and puffing chorale sections, happy sounding la LA’s, beautiful tone poems created on light woodwinds that are enhanced by the use of harpsichord that seem to float on tranquil winds that frequent the imaginary island and also there is that definite ITALIAN SOUND present, a sound that we have not heard since the late 1970, s that came from movies such as EMMANUELE, THE STORY OF O, and the aforementioned Cannibal horrors and others.

This album which is an actual vinyl release is a must have purchase from the excellent catalogue of ALL SCORE MEDIA and if you have not got a turntable, well go and buy one right now because to miss out on this exquisite release would be tragic ( it is also on Spotify) but I highly recommend the vinyl experience. Let’s put it this way if you like, FIDENCO, MORRICONE, FERRIO, NICOLAI, TROVAIOLI etc then you will love this. Fantastic cover art makes this unmissable in any record browser, listen to LA CACCIA DI COCCO, this is Italian film music from the 1970’s at its best (if you know what I mean), just think WHEN WOMEN HAD TAILS fused with THE INSATIABLES add a little light BLACK EMMANUELE and mix in some MONDO CANE or VAMPYROS LESBOS and that’s the vibe that is created here, there is also the sounds of lapping waves and screeching birds in a number of the cues that are underlined and enhanced by the utilisation of strings and organ which adds greatly to the ambience and the atmosphere of this work, even in the final cue LA FINE (KING OF THE CANNIBALS) there is a definite reference to one of Morricone’s early scores FOUR FLYS OF GREY VELVET, I love it, go buy it now.

PETER THOMAS, THE FEMALES, OH HAPPY DAY and ANGELS WITH BURNT WINGS.

ALL SCORE

If you have been collecting film music since the 1960’s it is probably true to say that you have heard the name of composer Peter Thomas mentioned or even listened to some of his infectious musical themes for TV and motion pictures. He is without a doubt one of Germany’s most prolific composers of music for film. Thomas has created numerous soundtracks for a wide and diverse variety of both movies and television projects. His scores being filled with drama and romantically laced properties but also containing a pop orientated background which acts as a foundation for his compositions. I am so pleased that ALLSCORE MEDIA the German premier soundtrack label has released a compilation which in effect pays homage to composer and his collaboration with Czech film maker Zbynek Brynch on three movies THE FEMALES, OH HAPPY DAY and ANGELS WITH BURNT WINGS all of which were released in 1970. All three movies were themselves as original and innovative as the music that the composer penned to enhance and support them but sadly all were flops at the box office. Although the scores are all fundamentally similar in style and overall sound and all carry the unmistakable musical fingerprint of Thomas they all contain something that is fresh and effectively original and unique which is a testament to the talent and creativeness of Thomas as a composer, arranger and orchestrator. The compilation which is a two disc set, boasts a total of 59 tracks of which fifty percent were previously unreleased. We are also treated to two bonus tracks which are adaptations of the composer’s original compositions and interpreted by the MUFUTI TWINS which were originally released in 2007. According the promotional material that came with the release Thomas was and still is referred to as the WIZARD OF FILM MUSIC, and after listening to the music contained on this compilation alone it is easy to understand why. I think my favourite score within the compilation is OH HAPPY DAY, the composer has created an upbeat and highly energized collection of themes for this rather controversial coming of age movie that are filled to overflowing with rhythmic and charismatic thematic material which oozes class and is alluring as well as infectious. The composer’s music is filled with smouldering and steamy grooves which range from pure erotica through to soulful sounding cues and upbeat march infused compositions which at times add a touch of comedic light relief to the proceedings. Many say that Zbynek Brynych was a filmmaker who lacked direction and any continuity within his projects but just as many observe that he was a director who was way ahead of his time and many of the audiences in the early 1970’s were not equipped or ready to take in his insightful and somewhat chaotic nightmarish interpretations. The music that Thomas composed for the movies was too a little offbeat but listening to it today it still remains fresh, inventive and contemporary.
This is a compilation that you should invest in, well presented with a twenty-four-page booklet that contains exhaustive and highly detailed liner notes by Christopher Klaese (in English and German) a filmography and a multitude of colour stills from movies, this one is for you. Highly recommended.