13 June 2008

My Dear Giallo

I was startled to find myself listening to film soundtracks. It was something that had always perplexed me when others did it. For instance, about 6 years ago, I was hitching a ride from some hipster friends of mine to a class assignment for an art history class and they were listening to this really dramatic orchestral music. I asked them what in the Hell they were listening to and I was informed that it was the Gladiator soundtrack. It caused me to start giggling so much that I’m probably lucky that they didn’t just drop me off at the next corner. It struck me so funny because I just assumed that only complete nerds listened to film scores.

So yeah, I never expected this much nerdiness to have manifested itself inside me. But after I started Doomed Moviethon, my horror movie review site, I think it was pretty obvious that there was no turning back. A Giallo is a bloody Italian mystery-thriller from the 1970s and a sub-genre which quickly became my favorite of all the films I had begun collecting. These intensely dated though endearing films feature equal amounts of blood-spilling, black-gloved killers, and boobs. It wasn’t long before the soundtracks began tugging at my dang ear.

The score for a typical Giallo is pretty outrageous. They usually have terrifying and discordant pieces that perfectly accentuate a scene in which a fashion model is being chased through a garishly lit room full of mannequins by a deranged killer. But that isn’t all that a Giallo soundtrack is about. In fact, most of them feature these “hip” tracks with breathy female vocals set to ludicrously cool lounge music. And the last and most important ingredient: at least one painfully schmaltzy “love theme” to top things off.

The most recognizable name in the long list of Giallo soundtrack composers is Ennio Morricone. With nearly 500 film scores to his credit, Morricone is also prolific in his contribution to the infamous genre by lending his talents to dozens of films. Other fantastic composers to watch out for are Stelvio Cipriani, Bruno Nicolai, and Riz Ortolani.

So yes, soundtrack enthusiasts, get your nerd on! I am totally one of you or at the very least, I’m becoming so obsessed with a subgenre that I consider myself geeky beyond reproach. When night falls, you’ll find me out on my patio, smoking a cigar with a couple of hours’ worth of Giallo soundtracks on my iPod. The best is when I start to dreamily look around at my darkened apartment complex and begin to imagine some razor-wielding maniac in high heeled boots lurking around in the shadows.

My Dear Giallo 2 is the third Giallo soundtrack mix I’ve put together and I’m pretty proud of it. I searched for as many selections from soundtracks to films I hadn’t seen before. There are around 8 tracks that come from films that I haven’t managed to see just yet. Hopefully, if my research has paid off, there isn’t any music from a film that strays too far from the restrictions of the genre. If so, I apologize. At the very least, I made sure that all of the music fits together thematically and should put you in a very, very odd mood. The title of each track is a film title so start searching for the films, y’all.

The mixes:

My Dear Giallo 2

My Dear Giallo 1

Giallo Meltdown

Other stuff:

G Is For Giallo (a Giallo article I wrote)

Giallo Meltdown (a Giallo movie marathon I documented)

Giallo Fever (great blog)

Bloody Italiana (another great blog)

Euro Fever (yet another great blog)

Morricone Lover (awesome Ennio Morricone soundtrack blog)

Giallo trailers (warning: include nudity and violence):

05 June 2008


All right, let's discuss the music-gasm. It is a cousin of the food-gasm, the honest and visceral reaction to something that is not sexual, and yet the only thing it really compares to is sex. The music-gasm happens when something you listen to excites you to the extent that you hold your breath, and your head tingles, and your hands shake. Or at least, that's what happens to me, and did while I gorged myself on Miyavi (wiki) videos for the last half hour. That's just how much I loved it--Miyavi's music, that is.

I don't know if it's possible to write something that does justice to the way Miyavi plays guitar. I have never seen anything quite like it. At least, not with quite as much variation and speed. It does remind me of skilled and traditional flamenco guitar, but put on speed. His unique rhythmic playing and accomplished mastering of the guitar have earned him a reputation as one of the top guitar players in Japan.

And then, there is the ridiculous variation among songs, the theatricality, and that, to me, Miyavi appears almost unbearably cool.


'Murmaider'/'Go Into The Water'

Foresight, that's the key.

So I was roped in to seeing the new Sex And The City film for V's birthday. She wanted to see a girly film and I had a free pass to something so at least I know I didn't pay for my ticket. To be fair, I do watch the show sometimes and find it amusing but I am by no means what you would call a fan. However, I'm in a very small minority of those people going in willingly to see the film because:

a) I have a penis.
b) I'm straight.

Sitting in the film I realize that it's much easier to look at Charlotte (the cute one) at home where you don't have to listen to her. In a theater there's no escaping the dialog. Surprisingly, there was a fairly inescapable poop joke. And Kim Catrall just creeps me out--I wouldn't touch her with Rosie O'Donnell's dick. I was trying my best to sit through the entire film (which was unbelievably long, like almost 2-and-a-half hours), but an hour into it I knew I something had to give. Sleep was no option because the seats were too uncomfortable and, unlike what was presented at the MTV Movie Awards two nights prior, Jennifer Hudson's prominently displayed breasts were no where to be seen.

This is where foresight came in to play.

You see, before we left I loaded my MP3 player up with some new music I had been meaning to listen to and one familiar album--Dëthkløk's Dethalbum. Foresight. *SPOILER ALERT* At the scene where Big gets cold feet and leaves the wedding only to decide to come back and then Carrie flips out (oy vey), I had decided I'd had enough. I quietly slipped on my earbuds and hit play.

While Carrie and Miranda and Charlotte and...erm...who's the forth?...Mrs. Garrett were blabbering away, their words were lost to the strains of Murmaider (listen to the repeating third and forth lines of the chorus and tell me that isn't the greatest thing you've ever heard in music!) and Go Into The Water. Foresight is salvation and this 20 minute respite (which also included Awaken, Go Forth And Die, Face Fisted, and Hatredcopter) was exactly what I needed to remain seated and carry on through the rest of the film. Removing the audio from the film and replacing it with Dëthkløk gave me a whole new perspective and dare I say appreciation for the movie. In fact, I can't wait to watch it on TBS tonight...while listening to Castratikron and Bloodrocuted of course.

All hail Dëthkløk!


Dëthkløk - Murmaider
Dëthkløk - Go Into The Water

03 June 2008


In the Autumn of 2006, Kamijo (from Lareine) and Hizaki (from Sulfuric Acid) decided to create a band based on the “The absolute Youshikibi (beauty of form) sound and extremes of aestheticism." Six months later Versailles was formed. The combinations of their musicianship, costuming, and make up with their on-stage energy makes Versailles seem truly other-worldly. Part of the Japanese Visual Kei movement among musicians, Versailles message is more than music.

Versailles Myspace
Visual Kei on the Bean