With their latest release, Private Records has created yet another imprint under which to put out records. Along with Vagienna for adult film scores and Stella Edizioni Musicali for grindhouse flicks, they've now created Director's Cut in order to put out this exhaustively complete triple LP of the Gerhard Heinz Score for the 1981 slasher Bloody Moon. The label's been releasing quite a lot of Gerhard Heinz's music as of late, but this might be the deepest dig they've yet made.
At over two hours of music, this set of records outlasts the movie itself by more than half an hour. Your reviewer listened to all three LPs in one go for his first listen, and that was a mistake. All three records, one after the other, is not the way to go. Should you choose to pick up this collection, limit yourself to one LP a day at most. It will allow you to digest what you're hearing much more readily.
As one listens, they'll discover certain facts, such as the fact that Side 2 features a better selection of full cuts and Side 6 is a collection of odds and sods you'll only revisit occasionally. The positive aspect is that these three LPs feature just about every moment of tape recorded for the score to Bloody Moon, meaning there are multiple versions of just about every track from the soundtrack. The negative aspect is that the compilation of these LPs mean that you can't just put these records on and let them go.
The score isn't organized, as so many other have been, as one or two discs of actual score, then all the bonus material as a stand-alone. Rather, the bonus cuts not included in the film sit right up next to album tracks. This causes Bloody Moon to flow rather uncomfortably. Pride Rock 'n' Roll is bouncy, early R&B-styled rock 'n' roll, smashed in between the creepy Ambient of Death and Samba Tropical, a Latin-influenced bit of disco. It certainly keeps the listener's attention, but smooth it is not.
One will need to dig and curate their own experience with the selections available to them, but the sheer mass of sound on wax here means that even if there's more than you really need, you'll definitely find plenty that you want. The low end to this record is astounding. Private's releases always pay particular attention to the necessary thump for these records to be effective as not just soundtrack or film score music, but legitimately purposeful dance records.
Once the listener starts really digging into these records, there's a cornucopia of variety which rewards the patience to absorb the massive amount of auditory information. Cheater's Theme is a bit opposite: the same '80s horror synths, but married with dance floor energy. It's not so much love as lust. The giallo-like Suspense Opera, with its vocal acrobatics, certainly stands out as unique.
The second track of Side 2, Go Get a Kick, is frighteningly upbeat disco, which Heinz is absolutely a master of. However, on this score he demonstrates an ability to work readily within the horror mileau, as another Side 2 cut, Gloomy, is a tonal drone for nearly two minutes, only occasionally shot through with a flute.
Disco Nights actually contains the words “Saturday night's a fever, all right,” which yet again demonstrates the fact that while Heinz can write a solid disco song that will give listeners the need to boogie, his lyrics really could use some work. Other than the fact that they stay on meter and rhyme, they're fairly universally atrocious.
The various iterations of the Love in the Shadow theme are the most-impressive aspects of this record. They're the only pieces not composed by Heinz, instead done by Frank Duval. Duval does a superb job of marrying the '80s horror score with his rather lush musicality, and at times, it even dips into Japanese tonalities. That theme manages to accomplish a rare thing, which is to convey romanticism, while still maintaining a level of unease. It's pure stalker music, essentially.
Finally, the absolute peak of the thoroughness with which these LPs were pressed is a selection of tracks all clustered under the aegis of Hangout with the Studio Crew, which are all essentially multiple takes of short pieces, like a flute flourish or similar. The jumps between the various pieces of Hangout with the Studio Crew are jarring pops which are very, very unpleasant. We recommend picking up the needle and moving on before you come to them, as they're all located at the end of their respective sides. Ending with one of those leaves the record feeling a little like it fizzles out, but after 3 LPs of content, we can't imagine the madness that would be trying to sequence this.
The Director's Cut edition of the Bloody Moon score is perhaps the most thorough and exhaustive film score re-release to come out in the wake of the vinyl revival, and it's a massive undertaking for both label and listener. It's presented rather as-is, without any context, but honestly, any attempt to put all this music into a context other than musically might be more than one could handle. The sheer volume of music defies ready organization, but for those willing to tackle it, they'll be richly rewarded.
BLOODY MOON (1981) / COMPOSER: GERHARD HEINZ, FRANK DUVAL / LABEL: PRIVATE RECORDS (DIRECTOR'S CUT) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW