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SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 9 (of 15)

70.) Vortex (1982) - Beth B & Scott B

Composers Beth B & Scott B also direct this 16-mm film-noir starring subculture mainstay Lydia Lunch as a detective investigating the murder of a corrupt politician. Like the films of George and Mike Kuchar from the early and mid-70’s, it’s probably more ambitious than its budget, and filled with eccentric characters – like a midget bartender who doubles as a hit man. The soundtrack is typical for a movie camped in the independent, anti-commercial New York No Wave scene, which like the film revels in its punk DIY sensibilities. Here’s track 2, “Tony and Powers”:

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and track 3, “Once in a Lifetime”:

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and track 9, “Black Box Disco”:

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69.) Mitte Ende August (2009) – Vic Chesnutt

Sebastian Schipper loosely based this film on Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s novel, Elective Affinities, published in 1809. The tale of two men and two women who form a love quadrangle in an isolated house in the countryside is a meditation on love, life, trust and depression. Atmospheric by the sound of it, with the soundtrack emotionally resonant by itself. Here’s track 1, the amazing “Come into my World”:

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and track 3, “Working on House”:

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68.) Kill! [Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!] (1971) – Berto Pisano & Jacques Chaumont

Writer-Director Romain Gary shot himself exactly one year after the suicide of his wife, Breathless star Jean Seberg. But a decade earlier they made this movie together, which stars James Mason as an ex-Interpol agent turned assassin who tries to wipe out porn merchants and drug dealers in Pakistan. The soundtrack by Berto Pisano is excellent. Here’s track 1, “Kill Them All”:

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and track 5, “Inchiesta”:

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and track 6, “Khanpur”:

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67.) Holy Lola (2004)Henri Texier

Bertrand Tavernier directs this emotionally wrenching hand-held-heavy feature about a French couple trying to adopt an orphaned Cambodian baby who find themselves having to bribe officials, fill out endless paperwork, and deal with unimaginable corruption in their quest to provide love to a needy child. Henri Texier is an incredible bassist (check out his album, target=”_blank”>Varech) and he fills this film’s soundtrack with poignant and soulful music. Here’s track 7, “Voyage a Kep”:

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and track 16, “Pagode”:

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and track 19, “Clinique Sim Duong”:

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66.) Stone Killer (1973) – Roy Budd

Superstar Charles Bronson and Director Michael Winner also collaborated on The Mechanic and Death Wish, so you know what to expect from this tale of a detective who uncovers a plot by a Sicilian mafioso to use Vietnam veterans to murder his enemies. What’s unexpected is the soundtrack, by the man who gave us the incredible Get Carter score, which is full of funky hip-hop DJ samples. Here’s the main title:

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and track 9, “Black is Beautiful”:

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65.) Oscar and Lucinda (1997) – Thomas Newman

Gillian Armstrong directs this adaptation of Australian author Peter Carey’s novel about two 1800-era misfits: Oscar, a young Anglican priest and Lucinda, a teenage Australian heiress. Both are avid gamblers, and when Lucinda bets Oscar her entire inheritance that he cannot transport a glass church to the Australian Outback, we have ourselves a story that is part Fitzcarraldo and part Don Quixote, and set to the dreamlike music of Thomas Newman, who also composed the American Beauty soundtrack, and is brother of Heathers composer David Newman, son of The Robe composer Alfred Newman, and cousin of James and the Giant Peach composer Randy Newman. Here is track 14, “Cards and Dogs”:

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and track 28, the end title:

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64.) A Walk with Love and Death (1969) - Georges Delerue

John Huston directs his 18 yr. old daughter Anjelica opposite Assaf Dyan in this fable set in France of the middle-ages, where Religion rules, the Hundred Years’ War rages, and a walk to Paris is an almost Sisyphean journey. Georges Delerue’s baroque soundtrack, filled with harpsichords, provides the beautiful backdrop. Here’s track 3, “Heron’s Journey – Theme And Variations 3″:

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and track 10, “Asleep under the Stars”:

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63.) Hero (2002) – Tan Dun

Zhang Yimou directs this glossy wire-fu martial arts epic starring superstars Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi and Donnie Yen in a tale of assassination attempts and swordsmen which borrows the trope at the heart of Rashomon in this wuxia that attempts to cash in on the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon formula concocted by Ang Lee. The good news is that this means the return of composer Tan Dun, who outdoes himself, providing a beautiful score full of the wonderful sounds of Pipa. Here is track 1, “The Hero Overture”:

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and track 2, “For the World”:

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62.) The Ninth Gate (1999) – Wojciech Kilar

You thought Archaeologists were the nerdiest heroes to get involved in derring-do? Well Roman Polanski takes it one step nerdier, directing Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer appointed to investigate the authenticity of a book which may have been penned by Satan himself! Emmanuelle Seigner, Lena Olin, and Frank Langella co-star in this film based upon the novel The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, with the man who gave us the score to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula providing the quirky, creepy music. Here’s track 3, “Corso”:

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and track 9, “Blood on his Face”:

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61.) O Lucky Man! (1973) – Alan Price

Lindsay Anderson directs Malcolm McDowell in this sprawling surrealist masterpiece which skewers capitalism as it recounts the adventures of a naive and good-natured coffee salesman in 1970’s Britain, who comes across scoundrels, con-artists, crooked authority figures, victims and sages, all products of the corrupt times. This pitch-black, must-see cult classic is set to Alan Price’s must-hear soundtrack. Here’s the title song:

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and track 2, “Poor People”:

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and track 3, “Sell Sell”:

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Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 9 (61-70), part 10 (51-60), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10).

October 18, 2010   No Comments

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 2 (of 15)

OST = Original Soundtrack.

We continue our countdown with numbers 131-140…

For the first installment, including my self-imposed guidelines, check part 1.

140.) Omega Man (1971) - Ron Grainer

Boris Sagal’s take on Richard Matheson’s classic I am Legend stars Moses himself – Charlton Heston – and reeks of 70’s sensibilities. The soundtrack is a fun affair, alternating between Ron Grainer’s quirky atmospheric score and jazz-tinged muzak, reminding us that an unpopulated Earth is much like an empty department store. Here’s track 2, “The Omega Man”:

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139.) Yol (1982) - Sebastian Argol

Directors Serif Gören & Yilmaz Güney wrote and directed this award-winning Turkish film about prisoners on furlough which starred James Bond himself – Sean Connery – in a movie I’ve often confused for the sword and sorcery epic Yor, The Hunter From The Future, released a year later, and the old Atari 2600 title Yars’ Revenge, released a year earlier. Regardless, it’s a powerful soundtrack for a movie I’ve never seen, combining middle eastern elements with ambient electronics. Here’s track 6, “Horsemen in the Wind”:

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138.) Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010) – Eric Serra

Since 1983’s Le Dernier Combat Luc Besson has been employing Eric Serra as his composer of choice, and this soundtrack, their most recent collaboration, is their best – with a kooky, kitchen-sink approach that features cacophonous car horns, discordant electronics, a dramatic chanteuse and sweeping themes that capture the spirit of high adventure. Check out this target=”_blank”>trailer and tell me you don’t want to see the movie. You liar. Here’s track 2, “Hiéroglyphes”:

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137.) Naked Angels (1969) – Jeff Simmons

Don’t know much about this Bruce D. Clark biker flick, except that that cover is absolutely sick and the composer, Jeff Simmons, would later become a Frank Zappa collaborator. And that the music is rocking, with fuzz guitars and a steady rock beat.

Here’s track 1, “Naked Angels Theme”:

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and track 5, “Cop Out”:

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136.) Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows) (1958) – Miles Davis

Louis Malle’s suspense noir might be a tad dated, but this Miles Davis soundtrack sure isn’t – it’s his best score for a film, though Kind of Blue is still the greatest soundtrack he ever wrote to a movie never made. Here’s track 5, “Florence sur les Champs-Elysées”:

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135.) High Noon (1952) – Dimitri Tiomkin

Fred Zinnemann’s classic western gets a fantastic old-era-Hollywood score courtesy of Tiomkin, who also scored The Alamo, Guns of Navarone, Giant and countless other classics, and who later wrote the TV theme song for Rawhide. Here’s track 1, the main title, sung by Tex Ritter (John Ritter’s dad), which won the 1953 Academy Award for best song:

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134.) Avalon (2001) - Kenji Kawai

Anime director (Ghost in the Shell) Mamoru Oshii directed this live action sci-fi movie about a destitute future where virtual gaming determines financial reward-or death by catatonia. The film’s unique flavor stems from its Japanese-Polish production, heavy referencing of Arthurian mythology, and muted sepia-tone cinematography, and is carried over into the soundtrack, where Kawai’s haunting score features Polish language chanting and tons of murky futuristic melancholy. Here’s track 2, “Log Off”:

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133.) Heathers (1989) – David Newman

Michael Lehmann defined a generation with his smart, satirical high school revenge flick, which took John Hughes’ high school comedies and ramped ‘em up to high black-comedy heaven. The cold, electronic soundtrack enhances the feeling of detachment which Winona Ryder and Christian Slater feel in their popularity-obsessed high school. Composition runs in the family – Newman is the cousin of Randy, the brother of Thomas and the son of Alfred. Are any other Newmans gonna make this list? Are all of them? Do me a favor – Wait and find out. That way I can stop asking rhetorical questions. Here’s track 3, “JD Blows Up”:

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132.) Institute Benjamenta (1995) – Lech Jankowski

The Brothers Quay deliver a vivid black and white dream of a movie, based on Kafka-predecessor Robert Walser’s Jakob von Gunten, a surrealistic 1909 novel about a mysterious institute where men learn to become servants. Lech’s sparse, haunting soundtrack, complete with strained strings, lonely trumpets, rumbling bass, haunting voices and intermittent silences makes it a perfect accompaniment, which also stands on its own as an eerie listening experience for fans of challenging music.

Here’s track 6, “Introdukja Liliowa”:

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and track 8, “Kolysanka wg Erika S”:

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131.) Didn’t You Hear? (1970) – Mort Garson

Not many people have seen Skip Sherwood’s college film about a daydreaming teen, which not only features a young Gary Busey, but also a score by the legendary Mort Garson. Here is a review of the movie. A friend once bequeathed unto me an entire DVD full of Garson’s albums, including this one, and I’ve been a fan ever since (both of Garson and my friend).

Here’s track 5, “Kevin’s Theme”:

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and track 9, “Walk to Grange Hall”:

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20 OST’s down, 130 to go! What’s your favorite soundtrack? Will it make the cut? Check back next week, and be sure to leave feedback… it’ll make us stronger here at the isle!

Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 9 (61-70), part 10 (51-60), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10).

September 2, 2010   No Comments

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