There are so many good releases around at the moment one of these being music for an imagined movie, yes that’s right an imagined storyline, imagined screenplay and imagined characters. No, I have not been at the egg-nog early, cast your mind back a few months to the German label All Score release Vega 5 Avventure Nel Cosmo, by Mondo Sangue, and prior to that No Place for a Man also by Mondo Sangue, well they are back, and this time with a vengeance and a homage to the Italian Giallo, with the release Rosso Come La Notte, I say it’s a homage to the Italian Giallo, but it is in effect a mix of the sounds and styles of that genre with some of those groovy and funky sounds that we heard within the scores of the late Peter Thomas also. It’s a score and I will call it that because for all intent and purposes it is a movie soundtrack, but one that is imagined and whilst listening to it I think that you too will be able to conjure up scenarios, it even includes some pretty authentic sounding vocals, as in To Hell, which has a stylistic persona that is not that different from some of the vocals on Italian westerns and also crime thrillers from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Lets put it this way I think if you were told that this was a score from a movie that had been lost and re-discovered in some dusty vault in Rome it would sound convincing. The opening cue, Somethings Wrong with Barbara, sets the scene perfectly and it could easily be the work of Bruno Nicolai or other composers such as Stelvio Cipriani and Nico Fidenco, it has that vintage sound to it and the ambience created is suitably retro, with a kind of off kilter music box effect fashioning an uneasy but at the same time alluring piece which too could be Goblin, Claudio Simonetti or Fabio Frizzi.
There are a number of cues that contain like a voice over which occasionally breaks into the music, but they add to the effect and also create a more atmospheric and affecting mood. The third track on the album Woman on a Night Train, is a homage to the vocal talent of Edda Dell Orso, with the female solo voice performance dominating proceedings the composers adding a mid-tempo backing track, which comprises of percussion and strings, again this could be Luchiano Michelini or Nora Orlandi. We then go to track number four, which contains elements of the core theme for the score, but is given a Morricone treatment, with jangling harpsichord, guitar, piano and female solo voice. As it develops the theme becomes steadily more driving and urgent, the composers adding more instrumentation, until it finally subsides but never actually relents, the entire release is impressive, the songs included are more like conversations between the vocalists, all sung in Italian which makes them even more attractive. If you are a fan of Italian movie scores this is an album that you should own, it will be issued on vinyl and on a digital download on November 26th, there is effective use of voices here, and combine these with an array of inventive orchestration such as strings, harpsichord, harmonica, and percussive elements and we have an entertaining release which is a tribute to the sounds of the Italian Giallo. Recommended.
Released back in 1966, Winnetou and Old Firehand aka. Thunder at the Border put an end to the Karl May film adaptions by Horst Wendlandt’s Rialto Film company. Alfred Vohrer (Perrak…), a “genius” according to legendary director Quentin Tarantino, brought the film away from comfy German Western towards a more violent form of Spaghetti Western. Critics and fans alike shared a rather ambivalent opinion at the time, with verdicts ranging from “explosive” to “the lowest point of the series”.
The soundtrack went down an altogether different path, too: Peter Thomas replaced Martin Böttcher in his role as “Winnetou composer” although it should remain the only Karl May movie with music by Peter Thomas. And no wonder: He was in high demand at the time, scoring Edgar Wallace thrillers as well as Jerry Cotton action flicks. It was not until 1980 that he returned to the franchise with his music to the TV series Mein Freund Winnetou.
The result was a soundtrack that can be seen as a missing link between Böttcher’s typical Karl May strings and the decidedly more experimental music of Italo Western from the likes of Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai, Stelvio Cipriani and others.
This soundtrack has never before been released on vinyl. All the 42 (!) tracks, of course, were remastered. The CD version even boasts three previously unreleased tracks that have been found 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).
After Peter Thomas Sound Orchester – Bruce Lee: The Big Boss (CD/LP ASM 048, Allscore 2020), this release marks the second Vinyl/CD instalment in a new Allscore series exclusively dedicated to legendary composer Peter Thomas who died on May 17th, 2020 in Lugano.
Illustrations on the Gatefold cover as well as the CD digipack are once again courtesy of ingenious Adrian Keindorf. The 180g vinyl is pressed in black and, limited to 300, in transparent turquoise.
This is a landmark release and a recording that every film music fan should own, the stunning art-work is alluring and fitting for such an interesting and innovative soundtrack, this is a classic score from a bygone age of film music, where films had themes that were memorable. Available soon on vinyl and CD digipack.
ALSO ARRIVING ON NOVEMBER 26TH 2021, FROM ALL SCORE GERMANY.
Rosso come la notte
Barbara, a taxidermist from Milan, travels to a tranquil village in the Black Forest area on a devoted museum assignment. Soon after her arrival she vanishes without a trace. Her sister sets out to find her and discovers not only a mysterious series of ill-defined murders, but also a dark secret revolving around her own persona…
Hell is closer that you think. With ROSSO COME LA NOTTE, MONDO SANGUE dare to approach the epitome of all Italian genres: GIALLO. With intense colouring, paranoid imagery and a phantasmagoric undertow, it not only started a whole new chapter of cinema history in the mid-sixties; but especially with its musical idiosyncrasies, GIALLO became the very essence of European cinema, making Italy the birthplace of the contemporary Horror genre. From track one, MONDO SANGUE enthral with a nightmarish, psychedelic aura, slowly building up a fascinating yet uncanny psycho drama at the gruesome end of which the protagonist is not the only one losing her mind…
Brimming with references to the Italian genre film, the band evokes a disturbing balance between cinematic instrumentals and catchy songs. And while ROSSO COME LA NOTTE will most certainly thrill and delight genre pros and cineastes, it’s also working as both an imaginary soundtrack and an intense sonic journey akin to legendary concept albums of the past.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
What is your opinion of film music in the 21st Century, compared with scores from the 1960’s through to the 1980’s?
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.
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.
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