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Monday, January 4, 2016

ETC Soundtrack Round Up #2 by Rob Talbot

It may have taken me far longer than I anticipated to darken Craig's inbox with this latest round-up (hey, last year was a tough one), but the various purveyors of Italo-score goodness have certainly been no slouches; the amazing proliferation of new releases continues unabated. And no sooner had I hit 'send' on the last column than I received a mailout announcing the emergence of some new kids on the block in the form of Rome-based Four Flies Records.

The outfit's two tasty inaugural releases in September were Gianni Ferrio's work for Steno opus La poliziotta and Franco Micalizzi's for Emmanuelle's 'spiritual sequel' Laure, both originally released by RCA in 1975. Although both have been long available on CD from DigitMovies, the return of these two gorgeous scores to vinyl is welcome indeed and it's great to see someone giving lesser known gems like these the treatment they deserve. November and December saw the outfit keeping up the good work with releases of Sandro Brugnolini's Fantabulous and Lallo Gori's never-before-released score for Franchi & Ingrassia / Lucio Fulci caper How we Robbed the Bank of Italy, making these guys definitely, as they say, ones to watch.

The UK's estimable Death Waltz Recording Company have also kept the flag flying with a string of characteristically great releases. Seemingly moments after I submitted the last column they dropped Nico Fidenco's electro soundtrack for that grungy old chestnut Zombi Holocaust on two different multicoloured double vinyl editions with some great new Corlen Kruger cover art – wherein it must be said that those zombies look a hell of a lot better than they did in the actual movie! October saw another 80s love-it-or-hate-it affair – The New Barbarians (AKA Warriors of the Wasteland) – get similar loving treatment, with Claudio Simonetti's abrasive score adorned with supercool new art from American heavy metal artist Wes Benscoter.

However, beating both of these hands down as an object of desire is Death Waltz's recent vinyl reissue of maestro Morricone's Black Belly of the Tarantula score as a gatefold double disc edition with a beautiful photo montage sleeve by Eric Adrian Lee. Obviously a must-have for any Morricone or Euro soundtrack devotee, the only possible downside being that it's even more on the pricey side than usual. And that's saying something.

As you may have heard, the Death Waltz imprint was bought by US company Mondo Tees at the back end of 2014, although thankfully DW head honcho Spencer Hickman remains at the helm. However, Mondo have been up to some pretty damn sexy business of their own with an eye-poppingly gorgeous double vinyl re-issue of  Morricone's The Big Gundown. You don't need me to tell you what a sublime score this is – here it's lavished with new art by comics legend Geoff Darrow.

Speaking of Morricone – and what the hell kind of Euroscore round-up would this be if we didn't? - Milan's AMS Records have been busy trying to fill some gaps in your vinyl collection with new editions of Metti, una Sera a Cena (AKA Love Circle), Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and Duck, You Sucker! The resurgent Dagored also continue to come up with the goods, with handsome re-issues of The Humanoid, Violent City, Revolver and Fists in the Pocket. The double LP of the spellbinding Veruschka that they released in 2014 has also had another repress, becoming available again this month. The Florentine outfit has also recently put out Peppino DeLuca's ultra-cool score for La Ragazza con la pistola (Girl with a Gun), along with an edition of Bruno Nicolai's Eyeball that has to be eyeballed to be believed!

Returning to il maestro, Australia's Omni Recording Corporation have reissued his rare  experimental library music LP Controfase on vinyl, its first in any format (as far I can ascertain) since its original release on Gemelli records in1973. Old hands GDM have also released his score for 1966 German spy malarkey Agent 505: Death Trap Beirut (under its Italian moniker of La trappola scatta a Beirut) in October on CD and 10” vinyl editions. Meanwhile, their friends at Beat Records have put out CDs of Claudio Simonetti's Nightmare Beach and, much more interestingly, Armando Trovajoli's 1962 sci-fi stylings for I pianeti contro di noi (AKA The Man with the Yellow Eyes).

September saw the release of a trio of vinyl gothic horror slabs from Italy's Contempo
Records; namely Riz Ortolani's La danza macabra (Castle of Blood), Aldo Piga's Le strage dei vampiri (Slaughter of the Vampires) and Armando Trovajoli's Seddok l'erede di Satana. This marks the vinyl debut of all three, although La danza and Seddok have long been available on CD from DigitMovies. The same month also saw Milan's Schema label reissue Piero Umiliani's fabulous musical journey around the world of witchcraft that is Angeli Bianchi.... Angeli Neri (Witchcraft '70) on LP, bearing its original Omicron cover and label art from 1969. Just as well, too, as those old Easy Tempo CD and LP editions are pretty damn scarce these days. 

Meanwhile, DigitMovies continue to serve up even rarer gems on CD, as they have for the past 14 years. Recent additions to their vast catalogue include Bruno Canfora's Il vostro super agent Flit, Romolo Grano's Arcana, Gianni Ferrio's Milano... difendersi o morire (AKA Blazing Flowers) and Adios California, and Nico Fidenco's La Ragazinna (AKA Monika). With all the flashy vinyl releases on offer at present it can be easy to overlook the fine work these guys are doing - don't make that mistake, as the service they provide to the Euroscore aficionado is absolutely invaluable. Show them some love today and tell them ETC sent ya.  

Plenty to get your teeth into there, and who knows what 2016 will bring? To find out the answer to that, simply watch this space - I promise that the next round-up won't take as long to surface as this one did!

by Rob Talbot
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