Tuesday, December 27, 2005

La Decima Vittima

In honor of sci-fi writer Robert Sheckley who passed away earlier this month please turn your attention to Piero Piccioni's soundtrack for the most famous film made from one of his stories, The Tenth Victim (La Decima Vittima). Elio Petri's 1965 Italian/French production starred Marcello Mastroiani, Ursula Andress and Elsa Martinelli in a 21st century homicidal battle of the sexes and feature a memorable (and still fresh) 'futuristic jazz' score. I was lucky enough to see THIS FUTURE as a young teenager sequestered in the nuturing darkness of the Scotia Art Theater (where other fine foreign films were screened for the benefit of Schenectadians, young and old alike) and to this day hearing the main theme or Mina's scat vocals in the Spiral Waltz just sends me - across time, to somewhere between THIS YOUTH and a future that still beckons.

Elsa MartinelliI don't know that much about Piero Piccioni (1921-2004) but he was a profilic film composer and I want to know more, much more (his organ playing is captivating). To those in the know he's considered second only to Ennio Morricone and his Smoke Over London (Alberto Sordi's 1966 Fumo Di Londra) is especially recommended.

Another intoxicating theme (The Rendezvous) is introduced in The Trap. It received a fine revival by the incredibly talented Tipsy (Zenith on Trip Tease, The Seductive Sounds of Tipsy - Asphodel, 1996). Ursula and Marcello relax on the setTipsy are David Garner & Tim Digulla and they crafted another dark cinephonic gem in Evil Guitar, a reworking of bits and pieces of German composer Peter Thomas' soundtrack recordings for the European cult sci-fi TV series Space Patrol (aka Raumpatrouille, 1965-66). The Peter Thomas Sound Orchester (Neo Astronautic Sound) tribute project yielded Warp Back to Earth - 66/99 (1998 Bungalow Records), a two-CD set of compositions by 17 modern artists with an affinity for retro-futurist sounds together with the 29 archival sound scraps that were the seeds for the reworked tracks.

Tazio Secchiaroli shot of Marcello Mastroiani on the setQuiet Interlude (Take 2) is a sentimental organ-led track whose melody reminded me of some of the memorable Hong Kong films I saw (and listened to) on screen at the Pagoda Palace, World, and Great Star Theatres in the early in '90's while still living in San Francisco. Maybe it's that big Wurlizter sound that wraps it up that suggests movie palaces from the past.

Spiral Waltz - Piero Picconi with Mina

The Trap - Piero Picconi

Quiet Interlude - Piero Picconi

La Decima Vittima - Piero Picconi

Zenith - Tipsy

Evil Guitar - Tipsy

Files are available for 7 days.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Deep Down - Deep, Deep Down

How to kickoff ERRguitar? Go with a neglected classic of course. Ennio Morricone's film score to the 1968 Mario Bava cult classic Danger: Diabolik clearly fits the bill. If you're not familar with this Italian/French pop gem starring John Phillip Law as the criminal mastermind/hero from the popular Italian fumetti (comic book) series, get busy. After years of enduring inferior VHS copies it can a great relief to finally enjoy in a proper presentation in DVD.

Here's the haunting psychedelic theme song Deep Down sung in Italian (the opening title renders it in English).

Deep Down - Ennio Morricone (Parade 5052)

And the theme two more times as Emerald Bikini and The Pyrite Wink.

And finally a swinging number (very Morricone too) Under Wah-Wah (the "wah-wah" referring to a scheme to extract Au from H2O).

UPDATE 10/21/2007: Here are the (expired) tracks from above shared via a Box widget.