Music on Vinyl has really stepped up their game with the latest batch of releases for their At the Movies soundtrack imprint, and there's no better example than this reissue of Hnery Mancini's score to the 1962 thriller, Experiment in Terror. While past reissue sleeves have seemed as if they were scanned from the original and slightly tweaked, with pixelation and blurring, the art and text on this reissue is crisp and clean, looking like vintage stock which has only now just seen the light of day.
The 180-gram blood-red vinyl complements the cover art's sole hue quite well, and is as near as to sonic perfection as can be found. It's big, brassy, and to listen to it is to know auditory pleasure. The rich, hearty aspect of the several “twist” takes on some of the score are the real delight, here, showcasing that really mod part of Mancini's that's his absolute best aspect.
The title track is the only cut that really mixes that cool, swinging part of Mancini's toolkit with the brassy aspects of everything, and it's absolutely ominous, while still managing to seem like something which you might give a listen while pouring cocktails for friends. Following it with the minimalist piano chords of Nancy is an absolute brilliant concept, as it takes the rather more spare approach to making the listener nervous.
The guitar work on Experiment in Terror (Twist) is certainly reminiscent of Mancini's work for Peter Gunn, but far more swinging and cool than even that bit of action jazz. The bass work makes this the sort of thing you just absolutely have to throw on at a party, just to see who the hip cats in the room are. Anyone who's not up for a little dancing to this gem needs to take a hike.
The other portions of the score are a swinging delight, like Kelly's Tune, but the score's not without its occasional misstep. The aptly-titled The Good Old Days is a remarkable approximation of Tin Pan Alley hokum, but its ragtime piano just destroys any sense of pacing the score might've had. It works wonderfully within the context of the film Experiment in Terror, but kills the album of the same name. A smilar thing happens on side two, with Down by the Wharf, only with the ragtime “enhanced” with addition of a banjo.
All in all, despite the slight ragtime-y missteps, the essential cool of this Mancini score makes Experiment in Terror a must-own for fans of cocktail lounge or '60s jazzy scores. Music on Vinyl's At the Movies imprint is fast becoming a necessary go-to for fans of movie music.
EXPERIMENT IN TERROR (1962) / COMPOSER: HENRY MANCINI / LABEL: MUSIC ON VINYL/AT THE MOVIES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW