PrintE-mail Written by Nick Spacek

As we put on Robert Tomaro's Slime City score for the dozenth time since it came in the mail a week ago, we began to think that the more you listen to it, the more excellent the melding of washed-out surf guitar and cheap synths becomes. The funny thing is, the reverb-heavy guitar and humming analog synths aren't actually as prevalent as we constantly think they are.

The surf parts are really a minor part of the score – the main title, closing titles, and Slime Time being the most notable – but are so catchy and memorable, they overwhelm one's impression of the LP. Also, given that they open and close the record, that sound is your first and last experience with Tomaro's score, making the impression that much more memorable.

The Slime City score actually bounces between two things: the hopped-up surf workouts that are pure new wave action, and the floating, open space exercises in free jazz-like operations of emotional expression. The former have more traditional song structures, while the latter have more of an atmospheric vibe. Slime Time is one of those pieces where the guitar and synthetic horns go at it hammer and tongs, battling it out to create pure disconcerting dissonance.

Listening to the record, you find yourself flipping it repeatedly, wondering why you've been listening to it nonstop for the better part of a week. Part of the reason is that Tomaro created a sonic aesthetic that makes for one holistic sound. Despite the fact that some of these pieces are long enough to be proper songs, while others are cues that barely clock in at 45 seconds, this is one grand piece. As Tomaro says in the liner notes, he tried to “weave them all together as the film moved forward in all its arcane beauty.”

That success is due in no small part to the fact that, throughout the entirety of Tomaro's score, there's a spacey, dreamy echo effect that creates a hallucinatory feel. It's present in every piece, but becomes more prevalent in the pieces like Seduction, where the open space between the notes makes the abundance of effects transparently obvious.

The liner notes by composer Tomaro are rather sparse – more of a note than anything, really, as if the current music director and conductor of the Rock River Philharmonic Orchestra in Wisconsin doesn't want to draw too much attention to the score he did for a low-budget splatter picture 25 years ago. On the flip side of that coin, director Greg Lamberson contributes an epic essay that barely allows room for one small film still. It's a tribute to his love and appreciation for the film he made, as well as the score Tomaro made for him.

The release sounds great. Strangedisc might be slow to release things, but each one is crafted with so much care, it's worth the wait. The Slime Splat color vinyl – opaque slime green on clear vinyl – looks and sounds amazing, and the jacket is a heavier-duty cardstock than most standard releases, giving it a bit of solidity. Another success for this tiny label.



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