Records' release is one of the most fun things we can think of. Whether it's
releasing homages to composers in the form of music inspired by genre soundtracks,
or – in the case of their Omaggio a
series – out and out covers of music from classic scores, the music from the
label is always a delight.
The latest in their vinyl-only Exploit series is a series of pieces taken from the film scores done by one Riz Ortolani. Ortolani is obviously best known for being a genre musician, with his More from the film Mondo Cane a familiar piece of beautiful easy listening to those who would never even consider seeing a film wherein dogs are ritually beheaded, to say nothing of other oddities.
Alain Leonard and Alex Wank have here a perfect summation of everything Ortolani did. Be it the haunting beauty of Cannibal Holocaust, the pounding intensity of Zeder or The New Gladiators, Leonard and Wank really recreate the music faithfully. At first, that's a bit of an issue: why buy a cover song EP featuring the music of Cannibal Holocaust when the score is now, finally, readily available?
However, when one starts listening closely, the little details begin to make themselves known – hidden bits of dialogue in Massacre of the Troupe/Adulteress Punishment take an already disturbing piece of music and severely increases the uneasy tension present when the track swings back into the Cannibal Holocaust main theme.
Additionally, Leonard and Wank keep things rather dirty. The warbly tenor of Massacre of the Troupe/Adulteress Punishment sets the piece even further off-kilter, and the same goes for Zeder. The synthesizers, here, are the main element to appreciate. Because, while that was but one element of the scores from which these pieces were taken, it's the entirety of Omaggio a Riz Ortolani.
The most interesting track on this record is the final one, I Giorni dell ' Ira, taken from the score of the very excellent Western, Day of Anger. Ortolani works in a vein that is decidedly de rigueur for these films, but again works in his sense of beauty and thematic cohesion. Leonard and Wank take the track and strip it of everything but a booming drum kit and a wandering accordion. The kick drum is highly prevalent, and recorded in such a way that makes it seem very present and live. As the “accordion” is actually a synthesizer, it contrasts with the reality of the drums in a very provocatively synthetic manner.
Should you be a fan of Riz Ortolani's music, Alain Leonard and Alex present a fantastic way to re-experience it, but in a whole new way. For people looking to get into the composer's vast catalog, Cineploit has the best summary of his abilities, in one handy little package. One only wishes that it were longer.
OMAGGIO A RIZ
ORTOLANI / COMPOSER: ALAIN LEONARD, ALEX WANK / LABEL: CINEPLOIT RECORDS
/ RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW