AUDIO REVIEW: STREET TRASH (1987) / COMPOSER: RICK ULFICK / LABEL: LUNARIS RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: AVAILABLE NOW
Rick Ulfik's score for the mondo-trasho 1987 movie Street Trash is a strange beast. There are pieces that work as minimalist compositions – “Viper Theme,” “Mournful Theme” – but this is a really mixed bag, in terms of what one gets. It's less a soundtrack in the traditional sense – a collection of songs that tell the story of the film – than a collection of cues and audio that creates the film's overall atmosphere.
The various “melt” tracks are interesting, especially in terms of how Ulfik works the sounds into the actual characters disintegrating and deteriorating onscreen. They're more sound exercises than proper music, especially as presented here, complete with the sound effects and audio track from the film. “JR Melt” and “Wizzy Melt” work especially well, in terms of demonstrating the absolutely bananas sounds Ulfik could wrestle from his Synclavier.
Unfortunately, for every element that absolutely rivets the listener's attention, there's another that really takes away from their enjoyment. The worst culprit is the tracks on the Street Trash recording which are rather muddy. It's difficult to tell as to whether it's the recording process, the instrumentation used, or other. However, pieces like “The Decock Rock” have the audio fidelity of a third generation audio cassette that's been cleaned up. It's not fuzzy, hissy, or anything such as that – just very murky, lacking the sort of crisp fidelity one's come to expect on these soundtrack reissues.
As near as can be made out – especially given the heavy percentage of actual film audio elements – this was pulled from Street Trash itself, as opposed to any sort of master tapes. In addition to the aforementioned “melt” tracks, “Flashback” and “Bronson Fight” contain so much of the scenes which they score, it's impossible to think of any other source for the audio.
It's made abundantly clear by the alternate take of “Junkyard Hop,” included as a bonus track on the compact disc. The sound quality stands head and shoulders above the 23 tracks which preceded it. One might as well have listened to the rest of the soundtrack with earplugs in, so striking is the difference.
If you're a fan of the movie Street Trash, Lunaris' release will fill a hole in your needs you didn't know existed – being able to add Tony Darrow's “We Do Things My Way” to a collection of terrible in-film songs will make movie parties so much fun, for certain. Haunt Love's artwork is absolutely on-point, and really captures the grainy aesthetic of both film and score, as well. For those wanting to complement their selection of '80s film scores, it may fall short of anything other than a completist's necessity.