Friday, 21 October 2016

Giallo fever: part 1

Title: Profondo rosso (Deep red)
Year: 1975
Composer: Goblin & Giorgio Gaslini

The last score for a Dario Argento film I’m reviewing for now is Goblin’s Profondo rosso. The director started to work first with jazz pianist and composer Giorgio Gaslini but didn’t like his output and decided to look for a different approach to the film’s score. Unable to get Pink Floyd to score the film, he ultimately found the Italian progressive rock band Goblin to finish the score that still had remnants of Gaslini’s original score left as well.

The original album starts with three Goblin tracks. The title track Profondo rosso is the most memorable piece of music from the film and it surely deserves all the praise it can get. It introduces the brilliant rhythmic base that has a missing beat every now and then which creates the feeling of uncertainty. Then a crystal clear synth melody is added on top of the irregular rhythm which leads the way for the church organ. After the introduction everything quiets down to bare guitars and then more and more instruments are added to the mix before the conclusion of biblical proportions in a form of a rigorous organ cadenza.

After the powerful opening, the album doesn’t take its time to slow down, but rather speeds things up with Death Dies. The track is as zany as the title suggests. It involves a piano setting the pace for a piece of chase music. At the end we’ll get some jazzy improvisation from the band members. Mad Puppet sets the stage with crazy synth voices before establishing a groovy beat that drives the rest of the track. However as with the previous track, the emphasis is again more on rhythm and mood rather than melody.

Next we get the two tracks created in collaboration between Gaslini and the band players. Wild Session begins with wind, waterdrop and musicbox sound effects and a wailing voice before a clear piano line is introduced along with absolutely crazy synths and saxophone solo. It is followed by even wilder track Deep Shadows that mixes surf guitar with the most progressive writing on the whole album before transforming into a trio rendition fit for a jazz club. This track in particular blurs the line between a conceptual proge album and a film score which, I think, is just fabulous.

The last two tracks on the original album were written and orchestrated by Gaslini. School at Night begins with standard horror setting before introducing the lullaby theme in a childlike orchestral setting that variates into a more ominous melody as the track progresses. Gianna on the other hand shows best Gaslini’s past in jazz melodies providing a cheerful tune that is rather distant from the overall mood of the album.

The album concludes with over 40 minutes of film versions and completely new tracks. The film versions of Death Dies for instance feature all brilliant instrumental additions that elevate them above the original version. The new material upgrades the listening experience even more. School at Night receives several renditions frequently featuring a singing child that makes the track sound both innocent and creepy when you take the subject matter into account. The versions without the lullaby subtitle on the other hand provide an insight to what the score might have sounded if Gaslini would have scored the whole film. The first one (track 15) is an orchestral horror track while the second one (track 17) has a jazzy horror march feel. The elements of fear are expressed in the tracks called Paura which feel improvised and often involve only a small number of instruments and players. The most surprising aspect are the several genuine jazz tracks that transform Goblin into a jazz group. Those tracks provide such joy to an otherwise dark atmosphere that for instance Jazz Source 2, which feels like a rehearsal take, is still like honey to my ears.

Profondo rosso was Goblin’s first major film score and though it is a bit rough around the edges, it helped to launch the band’s film music career. It also allowed the band to experiment and write wild and zany music simultaneously creating the band’s most varied film score to date with a good balance provided by the tracks composed by Gaslini.

Rating: ****1/2

1. Profondo Rosso (03:45) *****
2. Death Dies (04:05) ****
3. Mad Puppet (06:25) ****
4. Wild Session (05:00) *****
5. Deep Shadows (05:48) *****
6. School at Night (02:09) *****
7. Gianna (01:52) ****

Bonus tracks:
8. Mad Puppet's Laughs (Opening Intro) (00:24) **
9. School at Night (Lullaby - Music Box Version) (02:19) ****
10. Profondo Rosso (Jazz Source 1) (01:16) *****
11. Profondo Rosso (Paura) (01:51) ***
12. Profondo Rosso (Paura 2) (01:03) ****
13. School at Night (Lullaby - Instrumental Version) (02:19) ****
14. Profondo Rosso (Paura 3) (01:29) ****
15. School at Night (02:32) *****
16. Profondo Rosso (Paura 4) (01:07) ***
17. School at Night 2 (00:56) *****
18. School at Night (Lullaby - Celesta Version) (02:32) ***
19. Profondo Rosso (Paura 5) (00:43) *****
20. Gianna 2 (02:16) ****
21. Death Dies (Film Version) (02:46) *****
22. Profondo Rosso (Jazz Flute) (00:48) *****
23. Profondo Rosso (Jazz Source 2) (05:17) *****
24. Deep Shadows (Film Version) (01:57) *****
25. Profondo Rosso (Paura 6) (02:24) ****
26. Death Dies (Film Version 2) (02:46) *****
27. Profondo Rosso (Jazz Source 3) (00:39) ****
28. Deep Shadows See (Film Version 2) (01:50) *****
29. School At Night (Lullaby - Child Version) (02:49) ****
30. Profondo Rosso (Jazz Source 4) (00:31) ***
31. Deep Shadows (Film Version 3) (00:36) **
32. Death Dies (Film Version 3) (02:21) *****
33. Profondo Rosso (Jazz Flute 2) (00:39) *****
34. School at Night (Lullaby - Echo Version) (02:28) ****

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