Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Dario Argento: A Musical and Visual Tribute to the Cinema of Argento

This is another one of those book and CD combos which have been coming out of Italy of late. The bulk of the 150-page hardback book presents a chronological pictorial overview of Argento’s career through on-set and still photographs, album covers and posters and is a delight to leaf through.

These are bookended by an introductory overview of the director and his work and two concluding interviews. The first, with Argento, is very brief and dates back a number of years, having previously made an appearance on the Ennio Morricone / Dario Argento Trilogy CD released by DRG in 1995. The second, with Claudio Simonetti, is a bit more substantial and up-to-date. Each piece also suffers from some awkward turns of phrase in the translation from Italian to English, though never so bad as to be unreadable babelfish-ism.

The 16-track CD, which also proceeds in chronological fashion, is more problematic. The first six tracks, representing Morricone’s Animal Trilogy scores and Goblin’s work on Deep Red (Giorgio Gaslini’s contribution there and to the Door into Darkness TV series and Le cinque giornate unsurprisingly absent) are fine.

Suspiria, however, sounds like it is represented not by an original Goblin version but by a later Simonetti re-recordings, with the same also pertaining in the case of Tenebre.

Whilst perhaps adding value to the collector who is likely to already have various other versions of the soundtracks and Simonetti re-recordings, tracks like these really don’t fit with the back-cover claim to “the best tracks from the original film scores”.

One also questions the wisdom of including Steel Grave’s speed metal from Opera and the closing “tribute bonus track,” by Signor Wolf in this regard, especially when these selections seem to come at the expense of anything from Two Evil Eyes, The Phantom of the Opera or, most criminally, The Stendhal Syndrome.

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