Getting electronica producers to remix film scores seems as good an idea as asking them to airbrush abstract paintings. It's hard enough to get context from listening to music without watching its corresponding scene, much less if it's distilled through digital dance music's conventions. And when you mess with a guy like Italian composer Ennio Morricone -- whose many achievements include inventing the spaghetti Western soundtrack style -- you're almost bound to come up with nothing really good, much bad, and some ugly.
Almost. Gutsy German compiler Stefan Rambow's first volume of Ennio Morricone Remixes -- featuring fourteen European beatheads interpreting pieces from the maestro's late-'60s and early-'70s oeuvre of thrillers and Westerns -- comes off surprisingly well overall, with only a couple of eye-rolling moments.
Sure, twiddling trio Needs traps the ominous piano piece "Amore Come Dolore" in lounge-hell, and Hakan Lidbo gratuitously technofies the originally edgy bossa of "Alla Serenità." But such missteps are righted by Kid Sundance's dubby glitch treatment of ''Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion'' and Butti 49's charming broken-beat mix of ''Rivoluzione,'' from the comedic spag Western What Am I Doing in the Middle of the Revolution. Free of electronica's trappings, the album's bookend tunes speak best to Morricone's innovative legacy. Opening the album in proudly uncool mode, International Pony strums acoustic guitars, toots muted horns, and croons dorkily adoring lyrics on its sunshine-psychedelic "We Love Ennio" mix of the formerly instrumental "La Moda," from 1971's The Invisible Woman. And Temporary Soundmuseum's ambient refix of the strings and desolate whistling in the title track to the Italo-cowboy flick Duck! You Sucker closes this volume on the plus side by reflecting Morricone's sonic style on its own terms.
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