In terms of electronic albums, this is an absolute gem. Dellamorte Dellamore has long been regarded as an overlooked gem of Italian horror cinema, but the Manuel De Sica score is as equally in need of re-evaluation as the film. Combining, as it does, experimental electronics with traditional mood pieces - sometimes, as in "Ognis Fatuus," within the same track - the score to this film works equally as well as mood music in general, as it does setting the tone for the film.
The repetition of the vaguely violin-ish, slightly dense macabre in many of the tracks, such as the insistently sinister "On Augusto's Grave," lends a through line to the music. Even as the music moves far afield from the more traditional elements, Dellamorte Dellamore will creep into a selection, and then bring the listener back to the titular character.
However, it's not all chilled out ethereal wisps: "Will I See Her Again" channels They Live-era John Carpenter perfectly. Percussive electronics are complimented by slashing guitar chords, lending an insistent air to the music. The eerie, swirly pieces that surround it only emphasize its high energy. On the other hand, "The Run of the Death Motorbyke" is very much of the mid-'90s, and comes off like a bit of an uncomfortable reminder that mixing electronics and guitars can be done poorly. If you've seen any bad '90s sci-fi, this will be only too familiar. Your reviewer now finds himself lifting the needle whenever it comes up and switching over to the second LP a little early.
“Shoot the Living” dances on the edge of that uncomfortably dated aspect, but as De Sica keeps the music to a rather simple rhythm, on top of some really dark and uncomfortable Frizzi-style synth work, it's probably the most able mix of action and horror that appears on the score. It continues when one flips the record, in the form of the increased intensity of “Stolen Murders,” an even longer cut that loses a bit of the horror in exchange for further action vibes, but it works.
The vinyl sounds great; obviously, being rather richer and lusher than one would expect from mid-'90s electronic music. In particular, “The Rest of the World (Doesn't Exist)” fills your speakers or headphones with a massive bank of sound, which feels like you could climb it like a mountain, it's that huge. There's real warmth here, although the Ossuary-colored vinyl (bone/beige with black streaks) looks rather gross. It's not pleasant to look at, but it likely is better than the Gnaghi Vomit variant.
As amazing as Devon Whitehead's cover and rear art are, the gatefold image is poster-worthy. It really makes one wish there was a way to frame it. Also worth noting is the fact that the liner notes are in English and Italian. The entirety of this package is a wonderful way to homage this piece of Italian cinema, while simultaneously doing as much as it can to really tie it to the classics which preceded it. Said liner notes by Fabio Capuzzo, do an excellent job of explaining both the long, rough road of bringing Dellamorte Bellamore to the screen, as well as giving a biography of composer De Sica. For those unfamiliar with the film or the music, this is a fantastic gateway into what one should expect.
DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (1994) / COMPOSER: MANUEL DE SICA / LABEL: LUNARIS RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW