Wednesday, April 25, 2007

About Ennio Morricone

From when the first re-pressings started in mid 90's , thanks to a few Italian labels such as Dagored and Cinevox, there has been a rebirth of passion for the cinematic soundtracks from the 60’s! Of all the composers the most imitated, cited, compiled and remixed is, without a doubt, the Maestro Ennio Morricone. It was way back in 1976 when my mother listened to the soundtrack to Anonimo Veneziano (Stelvio Cipriani) and Metti Una Sera A Cena (Ennio Morricone) on the re-pressing of the 70’s ‘targeted’ Cinevox (a white label) whilst the original went back to 1969. Maybe it was then that inside me was born, without knowing, my passion for the ‘melancholic affectionate tense beat’ (is how I define it) of Morricone, even if it has only been the past few years that I have been hunting down his original albums, amongst other things very rare and very expensive (for a change). I came across a 45 sung in Italian by Astrud Gilberto a very famous Brazilian singer; the song was called “Argomenti” and it was the vocal version (as I mentioned) that wasn’t present on the album, of the principal theme to “Le Casse”… with that piece my passion was ignited! Those who know Morricone (I am now talking about, as always, the 60’s and 70’s period) will agree with me that his style is unmistakable… of course, it is his style! I find that in his soundtracks there are some very common timings, rather ‘bossa like’, with some simple basslines and strings that very often are repeated, almost like ‘proto loops’. One thing that, in my opinion, makes him the most compiled and sampled, is the fact that his musical score is never very complex, no, they are very linear where the principal theme, just like it should be, shines through and it is never excessively constructed, if you can say that, and that is what makes it sample worthy! Mine is not an ‘academic’ musical culture, even so I believe that I can understand, more or less, the construction and articulation of a piece, I therefore feel that I can state that his style is evident through his genial and great simplicity! I hope that I haven’t run down the Maestro, I don’t think so seeing as he is one of my idols… I will open up a section to say that, just like nearly all composers, Morricone also created many post scorings for Cam, especially those where he could allow himself to include more hazardous material without being tied down by the commercial side of things or even by the directors (even if this is something that happened very rarely). There are many soundtracks by Morricone and some of them contain also some dance pieces that are still nowadays objects of desire by many DJ/Producers. Some of these songs can be found on “Le Foto Proibite Di Una Signora Per Bene”, “Gli Intoccabili”, “La Donna Dalla Pelle Di Lucertola”, “Metti Una Sera A Cena”, “Revolver” and “Menage All’Italiana”… naturally dance pieces in my kind of way, those of the SoulBeat! There are also many faces, as you might say, of “Ennio”: from jazz, beat, bossanova to music of orchestral tension, to pop rock, even pure camera music (which is one of his passions). There is also a lot of instrumentation used for the so called Groovy: from the Hammond organ, electric Harpsichord, Indian Sitar played by another Maestro, Alessandro Alessandrini, already a component of I Cantori Moderni that, thanks to their unmistakable scat, even today their musical executions are characteristic and actual! Morricone even today is helped out by some fantastic singers, ‘tenors’ and non, but the names of the past like Edda Dell’Orso or Nora Orlandi are nowadays musts, on par with Astrud Gilberto, Joan Baez or Florinda Bolkan who sang for him on a version of “Metti Una Sera A Cena” that can be found on a very rare 45. Getting back to today and the theme for this months column I would also like to talk to you about a label called Compost (one of my favourites in the electronic music ambient) that has taken to heart many pieces of Morricone and has had them remixed creating some great quality compilations. The result is a mixture of electronic, scat, groove and electronic effects that, for those who don’t know the original pieces, could pass easily as nu jazz records or something similar but in reality these CD’s represent an intelligent way of re-visiting a ‘genial orchestral’ sound from thirty years ago, maintaining fresh and creative like in its origins! To note, and appreciate, the hard work that many DJ’s do when trying to make 4/4 pieces that were born 3/4 or even 7/8… incredible! Raw Deal, Needs, Butti 49, Alex Attias and International Pony are just some of the names on the new ‘Morricone remix’ panorama of Compost! “Psycho Morricone”, “Erotico Morricone”, “Mood Morricone”, “Mondo Morricone”, “Assoluto Morricone” etc… are just some of the compilations, with original songs, that can now be found in circulation whilst “Metti Una Sera A Cena”, “Oceano”, “L’assoluto Naturale”, “Verushka”, “Menage All’Italiana”, “Le Foto Proibite Di Una Signora Per Bene”, “Le Casse”, “Il Poliziotto Della Brigata Criminale”, “La Donna Dalla Pelle Di Lucertola” and “Indagine Su Un Cittadino Al Di Sopra Di Ogni Sospetto” are just some of the must haves recommended by me! Peace pretty soon all over the land!

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