Any spaghetti western score is always welcome on compact disc as far as I am concerned. Anything from this genre of films invariably contains some outstanding cues and pleasant surprises. But when it’s a re-issue I do tend to be slightly dubious about whether or not it should be re-released etc, in this case however I am glad to report that Digit movies have served up an outstanding soundtrack with lots of extra cues and also rich and full blooded sound quality, is there nothing that these guys can do wrong, everything they seem to touch is gold. Maybe I am going over the top a little, but this is a really wonderful soundtrack, its got all the ingredients of a classic spaghetti western score, guitar solos, choir, trumpet, saloon piano tracks, whistling and a fantastic title song (YOU’D BETTER SMILE) what else could we ask for. The soundtrack originally got a release on RCA paired with Rustichelli,s A MINUTE TO LIVE A MINUTE TO DIE and up till now I was content with the handful of tracks that were included on that disc, but on hearing this version I don’t think I will ever play the RCA disc again. Apart from the actual quality of the music I am blown away by the re-mastering techniques and standards on this release, and we should all thank Digit-movies for restoring and saving this score for collectors to listen to over and over again. There are no less than 27 cues on this release, the first 11 are stereo tracks and the remaining 16 are in mono and among these are a number of alternate takes. The packaging is as always very colourful and stands out. So its hats off to Digit Movies once again, this is a must have compact disc, and a great addition to any soundtrack collection.
This interview took place a few years ago as the label were almost ready to release their 100th compact disc.
1. Was it your own interest in film music that persuaded you to establish Digit movies the recording label ?
It was a HUGE PASSION for CINEMA and FILM MUSIC, of course! We wanted “save” the film music masterpieces from Silver and Golden ages
presenting them with the best possible presentation, packaging and sound restoration.
Digit-movies was born like a kind of game, nothing serious in the beginning…and now we are close to our 100th CD!
2. Who decides what scores are going to be issued on your label ?
The titles are decided as a STAFF project, in our staff we have people that are specialized within different genres of films etc, . Many mixed ideas together can produce very good end products.
3. Are there any soundtracks that Digit movies have wanted to release but have not been able to, due to copyright difficulties etc ?
No, luckily this has never happened all of our projects have been given the green light.
4. You have released a number of CAM soundtracks, this was something of a breakthrough as many companies had tried without luck to work with CAM, will this be an ongoing collaboration, and do you envisage releasing any westerns scores that CAM have ?
Yes, our relationship with CAM is very good.
They are very good friends and we enjoy a co-operative association with them very
Western scores from the CAM archive will be among our future releases.
5. What have been your most popular releases to date ?
SODOM & GOMORRA, LO CHIAMAVANO TRINITA’ and OK CONNERY
6.Do you try and involve the composers with the release process, ?
Composers such as Stelvio Cipriani are very friendly and cooperative!
7. Have there been any scores that you have handled that have been in such poor condition that you have been unable to restore them ?
For examples the GENTLEMAN JOE master tape was in very poor conditions.
We tried our best to restore it, anyway it was a very important Western title, having it with a just so so sound condition was still good, at least we have rescued it!
8. Italian film music seems to be as fresh and vibrant as it was back in the 1960,s and 1970,s, what do you think is the appeal of Italian movie music ?
Film Music had big names in the past , today film music is still a predominant part of actual Italian Cinema with new names such as Guerra, Buonvino, Vivaldi, Abeni,Plivio and De Scalzi etc. and Ennio Morricone, at 78, is still hugely creative and prolific.
11. Do you think that in the future, Digit movies might release some non Italian soundtracks ? Ie; British, French, German etc.
Effectively we issued some score for American movies like PIRANHA II, CATACOMBS, and not forgetting SODOM AND GOMORRAH, possibly the most ambitious compact disc project of them all!
12. How long does it take approximately to work on a title. From start to finish ?
This varies according to the project in hand. Restoring the sound, assembling the CD master, making the graphic etc..
13. Your releases are always well packaged, wonderfully illustrated and contains notes and information on the film etc, do you think that notes and colourful illustrations and packaging is an important factor ?
Yes, Of course. The best presentation is something we wish always for making collectors around the world happy and satisfied.
14. When you look at a score that has already been issued on compact disc such as, PREPARTI LA BARA and THEY CALL ME TRINITY, what factors do you take into account before you decide to re-issue ?
The main factor to take into account is how much extra music was not included in the original release and it depends firstly on the master tapes conditions and how much indent music is available.
15. Have you a favourite film score at all ?
Claudio’s favourite score: LOGAN’S RUN by Jerry Goldsmith
Luca’s favourite score: CASPER by James Horner
Many thanks to both Luca and Claudio for their time and for answering the questions.
Composer Luciano Michelini, is really not that well represented when it comes to CD releases. I have always found his music very attractive and remember discovering him way back in the dim and distance past when I accidentally stumbled over his score to IL DECAMERONE NERO on the RCA label, ever since that delightful accident I have looked out for anything by this composer. The music for this crime/police thriller is in my humble opinion possible one of the composers best scores, and rates alongside soundtracks such as THE SICILIAN CLAN and 7 GOLDEN MEN. It contains a hard hitting main theme that is driven along by urgent sounding strings which are interspersed and punctuated by a just as aggressive sounding piano solo that is very reminiscent of the style and sound employed by Vladimir Cosma for THE AFFAIR OF THE CRAZY COP. It’s an infectious and powerful theme which re-occurs throughout the score in numerous guises and arrangements, but it is a piece that one never tires of as Michelini manages to keep it fresh vibrant and interesting on each outing. There is also a secondary theme which appears throughout the scores running time, this is a much lighter more easy going sounding affair that again utilises piano to a degree which is enhanced by the subtle support of the string section and a delicate touch of woodwind, the composition is a haunting one that is filled with romanticism which verges on the melancholy. Of course no score to a thriller or crime caper would be complete without the obligatory action or atonal cue and yes there are also a number of these included, the orchestration of these by Michelini is very interesting and even though they are at times not melodic there is something about them that is attractive, making the listener want to listen just to see if there is a smattering of a melody or maybe a reprise of one of the central themes, more often than not Michelini does not disappoint and one finds one self at one point immersed in an action cue or a tense atonal track to end up listening to something that is highly entertaining and melodic.
The score is performed in the main by the string section, although there are plenty of cues that take on a martial sounding with percussion. Snare drums etc taking the lead which are giving support to brass and woodwind sections. Track 10 is for me one of the scores highlights, urgent strings taking the lead with up-tempo percussion driving the track along whilst brass punctuate the piece with short bursts that are accompanied by dark sounding but hard nosed piano playing. Track 10 too is a delight, another variation of the secondary theme but this time more up beat, where Michelini brings the harpsichord into its own as a support for the string section. Things go even more up tempo in track number 24, as bongo lead percussion forms the background for a twangy sounding SHAFT-Like electric guitar which picks out an almost rock/disco theme. Indeed this is a wonderful example of the music of composer Luciano Michelini, and also a great example of Italian film scoring sounds and techniques. As always the CD is packaged and presented to the normal high standards that we have come to expect from Digit movies, it is a CD that you must have in your collection, because if you miss out on it you will certainly regret it.