STRIKER (1987)

PrintE-mail Written by Nick Spacek

Listening to the opening track of Detto Mariano’s score to the 1987 Rambo knock-off, Striker, one can’t help but wonder what would have happened had the composer had the budget to create what this score so obviously wants to be. Mariano’s score to the Enzo Castellari-directed, Umberto Lenzi-scripted action film was obviously written for a full orchestra and band, but presented via synthesiser.

Frankly, this is a case of doing the absolute most with the absolute least. It almost seems as if Mariano pushed his synthesisers to their limits. On the “M_03” cue, he’s obviously not only worked in a faux mariachi horn section, but modified what must be a harpsichord setting to produce something akin to a flamenco guitar. The rock ‘n’ roll electric guitar chords are impressive, but that’s some next-level dedication.

The addition of various sound effects and dialogue snippets could’ve been irritating, but given the rather repetitive nature of Mariano’s cues, dropping in something like helicopter sounds on “M_05” and other tracks breaks up the monotony of Striker’s score. The people at Private Records refer to the concept as a “film sonoro,” which is essentially an audio movie, “capturing the audio sequences of the movie in the right order underlayed with decent sound effects of the movie.”

Quite a few cues just end, abruptly, seemingly cut off in the midst of a note, which makes for a disconcerting experience here and there. It’s grand that this score is presented chronologically, as it does allow for an experience which has a really cinematic arc to it. Upon your first listen, it seems rather simplistic, but once you start listening to it based on what it’s aiming for, rather than what it’s limited by, it’s so much more grandly impressive.

Also impressive is the fact that the score comes packaged with a full-on survival knife. That’s right: the survival knife one saw advertised in the back of comic books, complete with sharpening stone and compass on the bottom of the handle. It’s ridiculous, even coming from a company that frequently packages their adult film score reissues with coloured sex toys. It led to a slightly bowed LP when it arrived in the post, but by no means warped.

For the most part, this is a pretty tinny release, but that’s due more to the synths being used than any production issues. Mariano’s score exists mainly in the upper register, although there are some low-end contrasts which come through nicely --- think of it as being mostly brass, but with an occasional cello part to deepen things.

Definitely track down the Detto Mariano score for Striker if you’re a fan of Italian knock-offs, or if you’re looking for instruction on how to make the most with what you have. Never has a synthesiser score aimed so high and succeeded so well.



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