Here’s the fifth installment of the “Shadows of the Unseen” series of cinematic mixtapes. This one includes some obscure film soundtracks by the likes of Bebe and Louis Barron, Philippe Arthuys and Ivo Malec, Barre Phillips and John Surman, Martin Cooper and David Hughes, and many more.
While Bebe and Louis Barron are rightly celebrated for their electronic score for the MGM movie Forbidden Planet (1956), their other work remains obscure, not in the least their collaborations with Anaïs Nin, including their recordings of her prose poem House of Incest and four stories from Under a Glass Bell (released on the Barrons’ Contemporary Classics record label under the Sound Portraits series), as well as the scores for three films by her partner Ian Hugo, of which Bells of Atlantis (1952) is included here. They also scored one version of Shirley Clarke’s Bridges-Go-Round (1958) – a second version, included here, was made by Teo Macero.
The mix also features other early avant-garde work, notably Włodzimierz Kotoński’s score for Jan Lenica & Walerian Borowczyk’s Dom (1959) – although I could as well have chosen his score for Lenica’s 1963 film Labyrinthe. The experimental tradition cultivated by the Polish Radio Experimental Studio is furthermore represented here by Krzysztof Penderecki, whose contributions to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining (to the detriment of Wendy Carlos’ score, which went largely unused) and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (another history of rejected soundtracks, particularly involving a commission from Lalo Schifrin) have largely overshadowed other films in the production of which the composer was more actively involved, notably in Wojciech Has’ The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) – which will undoubtedly pop up in future mixtapes, what a score it is! – and Szyfry (1966). Here I chose for the haunting vocal piece ‘I Musici Cantanti Di Varsavia’, written for Alain Resnais’ Je t’aime, je t’aime.
At least three other illustrious sound studios cultivating adventure and experiment are represented here: GRM (Groupe de recherches musicales), Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Related to the latter, you’ll find a short piece that workshop members Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson made for the cult movie The Legend of Hell House (John Hough, 1973) – one of their collaborative projects in the aftermath of the first legendary White Noise LP (a group project with another pioneer of electronic music in Britain, David Vorhaus, whose work can be heard, for example, in the soundtrack of Phase IV – featured in other Shadows of the Unseen mixes).
Two composers who were at one time associated with The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, which was for several decades the most important electronic music studio in the US after its founding in 1959 by Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky, are featured here: Bülent Arel (with student Daria Semegen) and Wendy Carlos, whose work is now slowly but surely getting the recognition it deserves (check out the excellent mix at MUBI). I’m sure other one-time members of the Music Center – like İlhan Mimaroğlu, Halim El-Dabh, Pril Smiley, or Alice Shields – will find a place in future editions of this series.
Quite a few members of the GRM Group are featured in previous mixes, amongst whom Bernard Parmegiani, Beatriz Ferreyra, Yannis Xenakis, and Luc Ferrari (Another adept of GRM, Jean Schwarz, who made some great work for Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville, needs rediscovery). Here you’ll find pieces by Robert Cohen-Solal (mostly well known for his invigorating soundtrack for the animated TV series Les Shadoks (1968-1974), which was recently brought to light by WRWTFWW Records) and Philippe Arthuys in collaboration with Ivo Malec. The latter – a riveting soundtrack for Jacques Rivette’s Paris nous appartient (1961) – is just one of the many Rivette scores which sadly remains unreleased. Others include The Nun (1966) and L’amour fou (1969) (both OSTs by Jean-Claude Eloy), Out 1 (1971, OST Jean-Pierre Drouet), Duelle and Noirôt (both 1976, with contributions by Jean Cohen-Solal, Robert Cohen-Solal and Daniel Ponsard), and Merry-Go-Round (1980), whose playful score by Barre Phillips and John Surman is featured here (note: Phillips also played with Ornette Coleman on the Naked Lunch OST, presented elsewhere in the series).
More unreleased music here that deserves to be brought to notice: Gottfried Hüngsberg fantastic electronic score for Fassbinder’s World on a Wire (lauded by Lucrecia Dalt), the pre-Oval atomic cut-ups that one-time Kraftwerk member Klaus Röder (whose work partly resurfaced on PLANAM records) made for Andreas Strach’s series of Stop-Trick films (1980), or the pieces composed by Max Roach and Gideon Nxumalo for Dilemma, filmed clandestinely in apartheid South Africa by Henning Carlsen (1962).
A few of my favorite masters of collage are included here: Arthur Lipsett (find his films on Youtube and his soundtracks on Global A Records), Étienne O’Leary (find his films on Re:Voir and his soundtracks on TenzierRecords), Jeff Keen (his films are released by British Film Institute, some of his compositions by Trunk records. The piece here has whispered abstract vocals by Bob Cobbing and Annea Lockwood) and Henry Hills, whose marriage of language poetry and the NY downtown music scene (John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, Christian Marclay, and many others make their appearance in this film), as Ken Jacobs has noted, “places audiovisual particle energies in combustive arrangements… taking synesthesia further.”
The mix finishes with a bang with one all my all-time favorite Morricone compositions and a radical reworking of sorts that is equally brilliant.
1. Madame Sin (David Greene, 1972) – Featuring sounds by Hugh Davies
2. Louis & Bebe Barron, Anaïs Nin – Bells of Atlantis (Ian Hugo, 1952)
3. Robert Cohen-Solal – Délicieuse catastrophe (Piotr Kamler, 1970)
4. Jeff Keen, Annea Lockwood, Bob Cobbing – Marvo Movie (Jeff Keen, 1967)
5. Joan LaBarbara – Dance Frame (Doris Chase, 1978)
6. Le gai savoir (Jean-Luc Godard, 1969)
7. Włodzimierz Kotoński – Dom [House] (Jan Lenica & Walerian Borowczyk, 1959)
8. Philippe Arthuys, Ivo Malec – Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1961)
9. Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett, 1961)
10. Day Tripper (Étienne O’Leary, 1966)
11. Money (Henry Hills, 1985)
12. Bülent Arel, Daria Semegen – Out of Into (Irving Kriesberg, 1972)
13. Klaus Röder – Unendlichkeit Nr. 1 (Andreas Strach, 1977)
14. Terminals (Sandra Lahire, 1985)
15. Howard Shore – Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)
16. Wendy Carlos – The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
17. Krzysztof Komeda, Mia Farrow – Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
18. Toru Takemitsu, Beverly Maeda – Tanin no kao [The Face of Another] (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1966)
19. François de Roubaix – Le samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)
20. Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)
21. Brian Hodgson, Delia Derbyshire – The Legend of Hell House (John Hough, 1973)
22. Gottfried Hüngsberg – Welt am Draht (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973)
23. Gil Mellé – The Andromeda Strain (Robert Wise, 1971)
24. The Last Man on Earth (Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow, 1964)
25. Krzysztof Penderecki – Je t’aime, je t’aime (Alain Resnais, 1968)
26. Stephan Wittwer – Der rechte Weg (Peter Fischli & David Weiss, 1983)
27. C-Schulz – Flicker (Christina von Greve & Carsten Schulz, 2006)
28. Fabio Frizzi, Giorgio Cascio – Zombi 2 (Lucio Fulci, 1979)
29. Daniel Lentz – Luminare (John Sanborn & Dean Winkler, 1985)
30. Philip Glass – Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992)
31. Tim Krog, Jan Bartlett – The Boogey Man (Ulli Lommel, 1980)
32. Vince Tempera, Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi (Magnetic System) – Godzilla (Luigi Cozzi, 1977)
33. Martin Cooper, David Hughes – C.H.U.D. (Douglas Cheek, 1984)
34. Audre Lorde – Die Berliner Jahre 1984-1992 (Dagmar Schultz, 2012)
35. George Lewis – A Visual Diary (Shirley Clarke, 1980)
36. Teo Macero – Bridges-Go-Round (Shirley Clarke, 1958)
37. Barre Phillips, John Surman – Merry-Go-Round (Jacques Rivette, 1980)
38. Max Roach, Gideon Nxumalo – Dilemma (Henning Carlsen, 1962)
39. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (Melvin van Peebles, 1971)
40. Child of Resistance (Haile Gerima, 1973)
41. Ennio Morricone - Maddalena (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1971) + rework by Peter Rehberg aka Pita (1999)