Episode 033

London, United Kingdom

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Padded Celluloid
by Neil Higgins (Padded Cell)

1. John Carpenter - Romero and the President (Escape from New York)
A scene-setter from the amazing Escape from New York soundtrack. John Carpenter directed and scored the 1981 film, which is set in the very futuristic year of 1997. The whole soundtrack is a masterpiece of edgy synthesizer atmosphere and grooves. Sounds heavy and totally fresh almost 30 years later.

2. Ennio Morricone - Sterilization (The Thing)
Another John Carpenter movie, The Thing, but this time the music is by the soundtrack legend Ennio Morricone. Morricone created an electronic score which sounds quite like Carpenter’s own music but with an extra layer of minimal, avant garde orchestration. Perfectly summons up fear and paranoia in a sub-zero wasteland

3. Riz Ortolani - Massacre of the Troupe (Cannibal Holocaust)
Considered a `snuff movie’ when it first came out in 1980, the film is much more intelligent and interesting than the name suggests. The whole soundtrack is worth listening to, combining raw, sinister synth grooves with beautiful, melodic string orchestration.

4. John Carpenter - The Windows (Assault on Precinct 13)
Another fantastic John Carpenter soundtrack, Assault on Precinct 13 was released in 1976 and still sounds like the future. Raw, experimental and emotional, you can hear the germs of electro and techno in this music. Voices at the beginning come from one of my all-time favourite films, Jacques Tourner’s Night of the Beast.

5. Tangerine Dream - Impressions of Sorceror (Sorceror)
I haven’t seen this 1977 film by director of The Exorcist, William Friedkin, but I love the whole Tangerine Dream soundtrack – you can regularly find the vinyl in charity shops for 50p. Proto-techno electronic arpeggios mixed with proggy guitar solos. Apparently, the band wrote the whole thing without seeing the film – all they had was an outline of the plot.

6. Goblin - Suspiria (Suspiria)
The ultimate soundtrack band. Goblin combined prog rock, funk, jazz funk, punk and electronic experimentation and working on soundtracks seemed to set them free to make amazing, diverse music without being tied down by a band identity. The 1977 Dario Argento film Suspiria is at times nonsensical and ridiculous, but is visually stunning and hypnotic. Check out the scene with the blind man and his guide dog in the deserted square at night, with this theme cranking up the drama and madness.

7. Popol Vuh - Zwiesprache Der Rohrflöte (Nosferatu the Vampyre)Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake of Nosferatu is sad and spooky, totally unlike the usual vampire flick. To me there is something really mysterious about Popol Vuh. They’re usually described as Krautrock but to me they sound otherworldly and spiritual.

8.Libra - Shock (Shock)
Libra were another 1970s Italian prog rock band who got into soundtracks. Some of the band went on to work with Goblin. This heavy, haunted prog-funk is from Mario Bava’s 1977 movie Shock

9. Herbie Hancock - Death Wish Re-edit 1’ (Death Wish)
A short taste of Herbie Hancock’s awesome Death Wish soundtrack. The whole soundtrack is genius and stands up well without the movie. In fact, its way better as an album, forget the movie.

10. Fabio Frizzi - Violenza (La Pelle)
Don’t know too much about the film, except it’s an Italian war movie, but I love this demented soul anthem by Fabio Frizzi. The groove and instrumentation don’t seem to belong together, but that’s what gives it a bit of weird magic.

11. Stelvio Cipriani - Hot Chase (L’Ispettore Anticrimine)
Wicked Italian car chase groove. Romantic string sections over a lofi Italo groove. It shouldn’t really work, but…

12. John Carpenter - Chase Across the 69th Street Bridge (Escape from New York)
Another cut from Escape from New York. Incredible, deep and nasty. If you put a 909 groove under it you would have a techno classic. But as it is its even more atmospheric and menacing. Guest appearance from the Prince of Camp Darkness, Vincent Price.

13. Goblin ‘Death Dies- (Profondo Rosso)
Another Goblin piece from another mad Dario Argento movie. This is one where they let their muso hair down and freak out. This would be too overpowering for most films but it fits perfectly with Argento’s hyperreal aesthetic.

14. Harry Manfredini & Michael Zager - Theme from Friday the 13th pt 3
Fantastic spooky disco theme from Friday 13th pt 3. Produced by Michael Zager who also did the corny disco hit `Let’s all Chant’. We did a cover version of this (as Planets Against Us), we didn’t have to change much, just had a lot of fun copying it.

15. Lalo Schifrin - Jaws
Speaking of cover versions – Lalo Schifrin jazz-funks up the Jaws theme. Would have been awesome to see Robert Shaw sliding down the shark’s gullet to this stomper.

16. Ennio Morricone - Un Uomo da Rispettare Titoli
Not too sure about the film but I took this astonishing masterpiece from the great Morricone compilation `Crime and Dissonance’. This is like a whole movie in one track: emotional, soul-searching, mysterious and with a groove that in places would suit Nas or Mobb Deep. Genius. The voices you hear come from another Jacques Tourner film `I Walked with a Zombie’ and from Orson Welles and Dario Argento.