Tag Archives: GODWIN BORG

LOCKDOWN CHAT. 6.

Godwin Borg, Owner KRONOS RECORDS, Film music lover. 

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Are you in Lockdown in Malta.

 

So far there is a partial lockdown that is not even compulsory, it is recommended though… especially for people over 65. Whoever can work from home has been urged to do so also. Rumour has it a full lockdown will be on soon since they are expecting the spike in around 2 weeks’ time. However, people cannot meet in groups bigger than 3 and all establishments that are not deemed offering necessary services (i.e. food stores) have been shut down already for a while.

 

Are you still planning future releases for Kronos.

 

Yes of course but at a more relaxed pace than normal. With the situation as is there is no point in scheduling release dates or rushing, since all mail and logistics has been rerouted through different channels (various airports closed and most airlines running on skeleton crew).

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Whats been the music that you have been turning to the most in the pandemic.

 

Since I do work with music most of the time I’m really taking this time to do other things that need to be done that are not related to work  per se and to relax also but not listening to much music actually and I am surviving quite well, surprisingly enough.

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Have you been watching what we call classic movies or are you checking out more recent releases?

 

Actually. I have been catching up on a few TV shows, just finished watching season 10 of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, as always, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. Still contemplating what to next catch up on.

 

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Has there been a mad rush at food stores, and are supplies ok?

 

Supermarkets and food stores are all open as per directive and all well stocked so far. No idea of how it will be in future since, living on an island we rely mostly on imported goods, especially these last couple of decades, so if supply from abroad keeps coming there should not be any mayor issues.

 

As well as audio and visual entertainment have you read anything new or returned to any old favourites.

Yes, actually finishing reading a book called “The Three Body Problem” book 1 of a brilliant trilogy by Cixin Liu and spending time in the garden. As I said I am taking this opportunity to wind down. I am making the best of what I can in those quasi-surreal times.

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Do you think this awful virus will maybe change the way we behave towards each other and to the animal kingdom when it is over?

 

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Sadly not, man has proven to be the most inconsiderate and disrespectful creature on the planet, towards both fellow humans, other animals and to the planet itself. The situation is getting back to “normal” already in China, or so we are led to believe and already they are gearing towards rebooting their industry…. The West will follow suit… I have no doubt of that. I hope I am wrong and that mankind will have learnt something from this pandemic, how damaging and destructive have the last 200 years of human history been and by being “locked in” he will have had time to reflect, but just like a relapsing criminal I’m sure he will go back to his evil ways. Maybe some people really need to remain in lockdown for the rest of their days… Some will learn, most will not, man is a creature of habits, mostly bad ones…. I’m not being negative, only realistic. And I do really hope I am wrong. one of those rare situations I genuinely hope I am wrong.

INTERVIEW WITH GODWIN BORG OF KRONOS RECORDS.

 

 

 

What does film music mean to you, tell us what your feelings, emotions and passions are when it comes to film music or indeed any kind of music?
Film music is very often the main element that keeps me sitting down and not fidgeting around when I m watching a film. If the score fails to please me I rarely am entertained by the film. Good film music has to work with the picture, and ideally also work out on its own as well on record. All music regardless of genre has to evoke feelings, if it fails to do so than it’s not good music.

 

I was once told that as collectors we are music addicts and we can’t stop listening and discovering film music old and new, would you say this pretty much describes a film music collector or at least some of us?
I think this a common trait to a good number of collectors, not sure how many but it is a common trait in many collectors of whatever they collect, from music to miniature scale models. I love discovering new stuff, be it old or new and it is always very exciting. I would not say I’m on a quest to discover new stuff, it just happens all the time though.

 

Are you in favour of all these so-called definitive releases of scores that have already received a release, sometimes the definitive editions containing seconds of extra music, or do you think that less is more when we are used to a certain release?
I’m usually the “only more is more” kind of guy however all these definitive editions, as you correctly put it that have nothing more than a cue or 2 than the 14thousand previous editions of that album, in that case I honestly believe that is taking advantage of the collectors’ compulsive need to own yet another version of X or Y. Sometimes there is editions that really are worth doing again but that is not the case most of the times.

 

What was your first soundtrack purchase?

 

Star Wars by John Williams.

 

 

KRONOS records has in the past few years grown its catalogue of soundtracks, adding a number of superb soundtracks that would ordinarily would not get a release, do you think it is important to release both popular and obscure titles?

 

 

I always was, still am and very likely will be the underdog and underdog fan till the day I croak so give me obscure titles anytime. Nothing wrong with popular titles don’t get me wrong, cause very often I pick an obscure title and end up giving it a sort of second life and a hint at “popularity” it never had but what I care for is not popularity but acknowledgment. There are so many outstanding recordings that never saw a release and for as long as I can I will keep working on releasing these obscure gems that deserve to be known and appreciated by more people who care for good music, not for popular music…

Are there any soundtracks that you have wanted to release and have not been able to for whatever reason?
Oh yes there have been a few, some because the sources were gone, others because the publisher could not be tracked, but yes like other labels I have my titles that never were.

 

 

The Italian soundtrack market never ceases to amaze me, there is always it seems a title coming out that has never been released, do you find that Italian film music creates more of an interest than movie scores from other countries?
I would not know that for sure, however I have released many Italian scores and there is really a gold mine that still yields a lot of musical wealth! Some Italian names are amongst the most known in the film music. Let us not forget that not every country had its Cinecitta, its Golden Age like Italy who has titles big enough to be known by both connoisseurs and the everyday chap.

 

What made you take the decision to establish KRONOS?

 

The fact that so many gems I cared for and no other label seemed interested to do, at least back then would be the main reason.

 

 

You have released a number of Italian scores, the Italian western is always popular, but I guess that that particular area of the market is pretty much exhausted as far as new titles or unreleased titles are concerned, titles such as GODS GUN, A MAN CALLED SLEDGE etc wont ever see a release will they?

 
Never and ever are not two words I often use so my friend never say never but for various reasons some titles are more likely to make it than others.

 

 

 

 

Is the process of re-mastering and re-storing a difficult one?
Depends on the state of the masters, if they are in good to fairly good condition it is yes time consuming but still standard procedure however is the state of the master was not a good one than it’s a completely different story!

 

How do select the titles that you release, is there a catalogue of titles available, or does it involve tracking down each one via film or music companies?
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I prefer to do previously unreleased scores, occasionally I also do reissues of long sold out scores, and when possible adding as much previously unreleased good music to them as possible. In most cases you have to track them down one by one but some publishers also have lists of what they have.

 

Do composers have a say in what tracks that you release, or is it a case of they have finished the project and the music is then the property of the film company?

 
It depends on the projects really. When I deal directly with the composers I give them a lot of say, we discuss and together decide what to put in the finished record. When dealing with the production or publisher it’s a different story however even there, there is often the chance to discuss what will work best.

 

The Peplum is a genre that must be popular as you have released several of these, what would you say is the most popular genre of film soundtrack?

 


I love doing Peplum because I grew up watching Peplum (along Spaghetti Westerns) and there are still lots of peplum scores I watched that don’t have a score release on CD so you already know I ll be doing more of that. Every title is a different beast, with a different target audience, there are fans of peplum, fans of drama, fans of horror, spaghetti westerns, erotic movies, animated, comedy…I have covered a lot of genres along peplum, they all sell well in their specific niche but perhaps drama is the most popular.

 

 

How long does it take to release a soundtrack from start to finish and is the art work owned by the film company or by the artist etc?

 
It takes more than many people would think and less than others would imagine but at least in my case it always takes a few weeks from the very early stages; from acquiring the rights and licenses, work on the master, the artwork. It’s not a short process really.
Artwork often is owned by the film company but there are also agencies who own various items of artwork, so again every title is a different beast.

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You normally do limited editions of 300, do these always sell out and have you ever ad to do a re-press?

 
Yes because the market is what it is nowadays. Sometimes they sell out, sometimes they don’t. So far I have repressed only 2 titles and only because there was a lot of demand. Once the run is out, it is out and I will not do a repress.
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Would you consider entering into the market to release scores from the new movies such as blockbusters like STAR WARS or are you happy to release music from older movies, and concentrate on these?

 
Definitely happier to work with the older more obscure titles, even though STAR WARS is no teenager anymore now, however it is not obscure enough, is it?

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Who is your own personal favourite composer or composers?

 
My all time favourite composer since 1982 and until the day I die is BASIL POLEDOURIS. Other composers I hold in the highest esteem MIKLOS ROZSA, BERNARD HERRMANN, ALRED NEWMAN, JOHN SCOTT, JAMES BERNARD, JERRY GOLDSMITH, BRUCO BROUGHTON, JOHN DEBNEY, TORU TAKEMITSU, AKIRA IFUKUBE, MASARU SATO, FRANCESCO De MASI, BRUNO NICOLAI, A.F.LAVAGNINO, ENNIO MORRICONE, CARLO SAVINA, CARLO RUSTICHELLI, RIZ ORTOLANI, GEORGES DELERUE, PHILPPE SARDE, MAURICE JARRE and more classics, more contemporary ones like CHRISTOPHER YOUNG, ROQUE BANOS, CARLES CASES, RACHEL PORTMAN, THOMAS NEWMAN, MICHAEL GIACCHINO and a “few” more.

 

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When you look at a score to release what do you take into account?
I have to like it, if it gives nothing to me than it’s a no go. Than if Ideally I can manage to sell it to other fellow film music lovers even better so Ideally I can break even and make some profit to fund future releases, it’s that simple for me.

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British movie music from the 1960’s I think is not represented that well, music from the films of AMICUS and TYBURN for example should be released, as it is just so good, do you think this is something that KRONOS might consider for future projects?
As you know I m always in to do some good music but it is never easy to get things going, from personal experience I know that certain titles are sadly bound to keep piling up dust until they turn to dust themselves, either thanks to someone forgetting about them or to someone who asks an unrealistic amount to license it. However Kronos has done already a good couple of titles many deemed impossible and as I said before, never and ever are not words I use often or even like!

 

 

The Gold series is a popular one, can you tell us if there is anything being added to this in the near future?
Yes a good bunch of titles are in the pipeline and all will be revealed in due time, but I can say there is something for everyone, or almost so hang on in there and keep your ears on the ground and await the tremors.

 
Godwin

webpage: http://www.kronosrecords.com

DARK WAVES. (liner notes for the Kronos records release)

Released on KRONOS RECORDS July 2016.

DARK WAVES SOUNDTRACK RELEASE ART WORK.
DARK WAVES SOUNDTRACK RELEASE ART WORK.

DARK WAVES (BELLEROFONTE), is an Italian produced fantasy/horror movie which was released in 2015, directed by Domiziano Christopharo who’s more recent contributions include FLESH MANNEQUINS-TOTALLY UNCUT, VIRUS EXTREME CONTAMINATION and the absorbing Giallo like horror THE TRANSPARENT WOMAN. Christopharo is not just a director in fact one could probably refer to him as an all round filmmaker because he is a writer, cinematographer, producer and also worked on special effects, he has turned his hand to editing and acting as well as being able to compose music. His other credits include DOLL SYNDROME, RED KROKODIL, HYDES SECRET NIGHTMARE and BLOODY SIN alongside many others. Composer Alexander Cimini, has provided DARK WAVES with a highly atmospheric score, there are many moods and colours to the music and the soundtrack elevates and supports the story being acted out on screen wonderfully, the music being unobtrusive but at the same time creating deliciously dark yet romantically laced passages which seamlessly weave themselves throughout the storyline adding a greater impact to it. The composer has collaborated with Christopharo before on SHOCK;MY ABSTRACTION OF DEATH in 2013 but most notably on RED KROKODIL in 2012. Cimini too is an individual that is multi talented within the film industry and although he predominantly works as a composer he also regularly works from behind the camera as a director and assistant director, plus he has also worked as an editor and a producer and as a composer has written the theme music for films such as REGALO A SORPRESA and HYDES SECRET NIGHTMARE. Alexander Cimini was born and raised in Germany, his parents owned a restaurant and he resided in Germany until the age of six. The composer recalled that it was the music of Ennio Morricone that inspired him and he would hear soundtracks such as DUCK YOU SUCKER, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST on the families radio in the car. It was also the piano playing of Richard Clayderman that influenced him and drew him to playing the piano himself. The composers Grandfather was also a composer but sadly he never met him as he died before he was born. The music for DARK WAVES is a score that although being new or contemporary also has to it a sound and style that can be likened to the scores written during the 1970,s by composers such as Morricone, Donaggio and Cipriani. The composers use of a wordless Female vocal (Soprano Monica Boschetti) within the score is affecting and haunting and creates a ghost like mystical musical persona that at times is chilling but also can be mesmerising and beautiful.

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This exceptional performance is fused with outstanding violin and cello solo performances by Roberto Noferini and Sebastiano Severi respectively and together these make this score one that should be in every discerning film music aficionados collection. Composer Marco Werba also contributed to the soundtrack by writing a lilting and melodic piece entitled LOVE SONG which is the opening credit theme for the movie, this appears at the end of the compact disc (track 17). This is a score that is delicate, powerful and undeniably romantic with an underlying mood that is fearsome, apprehensive but never overwhelming.

John Mansell 2016. (IFMCA/MMI).

TRANSIT.

Released on KRONOS RECORDS. 2014.

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Composer Christoph Zirngibl began his musical career by learning how to play the drums. From the age of just five the composer was attracted to music and it was not long before he began to have piano lessons at the age of twelve. At this stage in his musical development the composer admitted he was not really aware of film music. He was more interested in improvising music when he sat at the piano rather than following the notes that were written on the manuscript in front of him. This was something that was not exactly encouraged at first by the composer’s tutors, but as he progressed, the experimentation and improvisation was looked upon more positively. Christoph began to take notice of music in film and it was fellow German composer Peter Thomas who caught his attention with the score for the Sci-Fi, television series SPACE PATROL. But it was the music of John Williams that made up the thirteen year old’s mind that he would write music for film when he heard the vibrant and powerful score for JURRASSIC PARK. Christoph continued to study piano and also carried on playing drums and along the way also began to write songs and small scale compositions. In 2000 he joined the army and began to play drums in the army band, after which he decided to study music formally. Until today Christoph has composed the music for more than 40 TV movies and feature films.

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What musical studies did you undertake and who was your tutor?

I started to study ‘Scoring for Film and TV’ at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich in 2003 under the German film composer Enjott Schneider (Stalingrad, Stauffenberg, Brother of Sleep, 23). During the first two terms composer Andreas Weidinger filled in for him. One day, after a few weeks in the 1st term it was that Andreas needed someone to support him for a current project with a demanding schedule. So I became his assistant starting with making coffee, doing music preparation and creating sounds until after some time I was involved in doing some minor co-composition and orchestration stuff. So I very early had the chance to get to know the real life of a film composer with all its different facets, which was every bit as important as the courses at university.

What composers or artists would you say have influenced you in the way you write or score a film?

Going back a bit in film history two guys that have become more and more important to me are Bernard Hermann and Alfred Hitchcock. The way especially Hitchcock used to think about movies, stories and dramatic aspects is really interesting. His thoughts on what a good story should be about, what the audience expects from a good story and seeing how he used to apply this knowledge when making a film can be really inspiring for a film composer also in a modern context, I think.

In the big film music world there are many interesting characters whose work I admire a lot, such as Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, Lalo Schiffrin, Alexandre Desplat or Henry Mancini and of course John Williams. In terms of sound and also modern film dramaturgy Hans Zimmer is an absolute must. More and more important to me are also Michael Giacchino and Christophe Beck, who are really great in terms of stylistic flexibility and handling their catchy themes.
But I’m primarily influenced by non-film-related music, songs, classical music, electronic music etc. and by experiencing concerts – that’s where most of my initial ideas come from.

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TRANSIT contains a quite varied score, did you have specific instructions from the director about the music or was there a temp track installed to guide you?

For TRANSIT we didn’t use temp music. The director and I listened to some music during our talks about the script or we exchanged MP3s without syncing them to picture just to specify emotional aspects. These tracks mostly were no film music but songs or classical music. As to me, this was a very inspiring workflow which especially is suited for movies with bigger dramaturgical arcs.

How did you become involved on TRANSIT and what size orchestra/ensemble did you use for the soundtrack and what percentage was performed by electronic or synthesized elements?

I had composed the music for Philipp’s very first short movie “Julian”. In that project we had already developed a great working relationship. So I was very happy to be able to take this relationship to the next level with his follow-up project “TRANSIT”.

There are kind of two sound worlds in the score: an emotional string orchestra world as well as a more ambient/atmospheric world. The latter consists of treated bits and excerpts from the first one and the two worlds are connected to each other by the use of solo instruments (acoustic guitar, kantele, piano) that represent the movie’s diverse characters. Most of the electronic sounding stuff as well as the percussions are also created out of recordings I did especially for this project.

There are some lovely guitar solos within the fabric of the score, when you are writing a score and you decide that there will be a solo instrument do you write the music with a particular soloist in mind and do you perform regularly on your scores?

Well, thanks a lot! It depends on the sound and style of the music I have in mind. As TRANSIT was a low budget project I did not dare to think about a specific soloist beforehand but I was very lucky that Markus Wienstroer, one of Germany’s prolific studio and live guitarists, agreed to perform on this score. This was also the case with Giacomo Castellano whom I have been working with very regularly since TRANSIT. To answer your question more precisely: Most of the time I have a really specific sound in mind and then I have to find an artist who understands my ideas musically and sound-wise.
As for myself I do perform on most of my scores whether it is as a piano-/keyboard-player, a percussionist or on other instruments. I think this is an important part of my, if not of any film composer’s, musical and stylistic personality: Film music is all about emotional authenticity and to achieve it, most of the time you don’t really need the world’s best guitar-player, singer and so on but you have to find a personality that can add that unique emotional flavor that makes music special.

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SETTE BASCHI ROSSI/SEVEN RED BERETS.

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Originally released on a CAM long playing record in the latter part of 1969, Gianni Marchetti’s SEVEN RED BERETS was released as a double soundtrack package which was something that CAM did back in those days, SEVEN RED BERETS took up the B side of the album with Marchetti,s classic Spaghetti western score COWARDS DON’T PRAY occupying the A side. Of course neither of the editions included on the LP were anywhere near complete versions of the soundtracks and were merely representations of the scores. The soundtrack to SEVEN RED BERETS had a running time of less than 20 minutes and consisted of 8 tracks on the LP, this new edition on Kronos records contains a stunning 31 tracks which have a combined running time of nearly 51 minutes, and the sound quality is staggeringly clear and crisp. The original album was issued in Mono with a few stereo versions being made available. The movie was released in 1969 and was to be fair a moderate success in Italy and also in certain parts of Europe. It took most of its inspiration from DARK OF THE SUN which also saw a group of mercenaries given a task to recover something valuable from bloodthirsty Simba revolutionaries in the middle of the Belgium Congo. DARK OF THE SUN was certainly the better film with SEVEN RED BERETS borrowing heavily from its higher budgeted and bigger star cast predecessor. Marchetti,s vibrant and pulsating music was in my opinion one of the films highlights, it is a mix of African sounding music and also has touches of jazz with a martial undercurrent, in short it is an inventive and original sounding work, that away from the movie remains entertaining and also fulfilling for the listener. I am very pleased with Godwin Borg of Kronos who took this project on with much enthusiasm and also affection, which I think has made it such a resounding success, who would have thought all those years ago when listening to the short soundtrack on CAM that one day fans of Marchetti would be able to buy the complete score. In fact thanks to all the new cues that are now available it is like discovering the soundtrack for the very first time, the opening cue alone is dramatic and infectious, AFRICAN DRUMS is a great opening for the compact disc and it sets the scene perfectly for much of what that follows, up tempo throbbing African sounding drums are supported by choir and punctuated by piano and strumming guitar, the drums stop suddenly and then re-start with a more pronounced an forceful persona, underlined by organ and African sounding voices, Marchetti seems then to go up a gear again and increases the tempo and whilst doing so adds more voices and the odd brass flourish. It is a driving and exciting piece which is relentless in its percussive and powerful three minute running time.

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ORIGINAL CAM LP COVER ART.

Track number 2, VERSO IL DESERTO, again relies upon the deployment of percussive elements and indeed the composition is built upon a foundation of African shakers that are further embellished by pounding drums, over which the composer places a harmonica solo, which performs a seven note motif that will feature throughout the score. Marchetti creates an ethnic and almost easy listening sound by combining the percussion and harmonica. Track number 3, DUNE MAGICHE opens with pulsating drums very much akin to the opening percussion flourishes from Jarre’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, these are interspersed and punctuated by use of shrill sounding flute, and a quirky almost comical guitar, and harpsichord. Drums then take the lead and are underlined by a feint choral support which is short lived but effective. Track number 4, is for me one of the highlights of the score, it begins with a pleasant slightly up-tempo sounding piano solo which takes on the seven note motif that the composer introduced in track number 2, he adds to this a low sounding harmonica that purrs in unison with the piano, and then introduces slightly urgent sounding strings with martial sounding timpani and as these fade he stirs a soulful choral sound that is punctuated by short but sweet sounding, harpsichord and continues to purvey an urgent atmosphere by employing the strings as a background to the proceedings. The seven note theme is heard throughout the score but pops up in various manifestations, Marchetti adding a freshness and vibrancy to it via his arrangement of the piece. Track number 6, SOLO NELLA GIUNGLE, could be from a spaghetti western, a fuzzy sounding guitar rift being the foundation of the composition, choir and also tense sounding percussion adding an atmosphere that is filled with a nervous sense of apprehension. Track number 7, AFRICAN SOUND, is again a variation of the scores central thematic material, again Marchetti adding vitality and originality to this because of his imaginative arranging skills. Track number 9, which is listed as SERENO, is a pleasantly calming guitar solo, in fact I have to point out that it is very similar to Marchetti,s COWARDS DON’T PRAY theme, if one was not aware it could easily be mistaken for a western theme or minor cue from the aforementioned Marchetti western score, it is an easy going and very simple piece, but affecting and pleasing. I love the way in which Marchetti also uses harmonica within the score, at times it is reminiscent to the style of Jerry goldsmith in scores such as STAGECOACH and Marchetti also makes effective use of a whistler later on within the score, that again is effective. This for me is a landmark release, and definitely a Golden Italian soundtrack. Highly Recommended.