I guess yesterday didn’t end up being that bad, and with the help of Ennio Morricone, today has been quite pleasant.
Compilation - Ennio Morricone: 'More Mondo Morricone' (CD; Colisseum; 1966-1977)
This is a great follow-up to the original Mondo Morricone. I was also happy to note recently that there's a third volume coming out. It seems that they are also reissuing the first two volumes with extra tracks.
The mood of the compilation is quietly menacing. Even the most beautiful tracks, such as 'Alla Serenita', sound rather sad and delicate.
Almost every one of the 16 tracks here is a highlight; of particular note is the 9 minute 'Come Maddelena' suite, which is utterly stunning, mixing spare, jazzy drumming with church organs and wordless vocal choirs. Interestingly, I recently came across a disco version of this (with overlaid bass and drums) on the B-side of the early 80s UK 7" single of 'Chi Mai'.
'Amore come Dolore' (aka Ridebi) is another long (6 minutes plus) moody piece, and is quite exquisite, with classic Morricone instrumentation. 'Sospiri Da Una Radio Lontana' is notable for it's stereo wordless vocals and sex noises.
There are also more disturbing, discordant tracks, like 'Svegliati E Uccidi' and 'Citta Violenta', and pretty straight-up beat tracks like 'Svota Definitiva'.
However, it's beautiful pop/atmospheric material like 'L'Ultimo' and 'Um Bacio' that really slays me.
Compilation - Ennio Morricone: 'Belmondo Morricone Verneuil' (CD; Play-Time; 1971-1975)
This a compilation of the soundtracks to Le Casse and Peur sur la ville. Le Casse will be immediately familiar to anyone who has the Canto Morricone Volume 3 compilation. Its superb themes were sung by both Astrud Gilberto and Mireille Mathieu on that compilation.
To me, much of Le Casse is classic Morricone - sweeping strings, simple, stabbing themes, and spooky sound effects. Other highlights of the score are Astrud Gilberto's bizarre Italian singing on 'Argomenti' and 'Una Donna Che Ti Ama'. 'Ma non troppo erotico' is slow and spooky with a sexy wordless vocal. It sounds like strip-club music, but cooler. 'Rodeo' is also great, starting out slow, bare and atmospheric, and then kicking in with some drums after about a minute.
Peur sur la ville is a very different sounding score - far more jerky and dissonant, and far less pop-oriented. While effective, most of it doesn't stand up so well outside the cinema. One notable exception is 'Défense De Stationner' (aka 'Sosta Vietata'), which is an incredibly beautiful instrumental - classic Morricone with strings, harpsichord and brass. 'Letellier Et Hélène' is similarly beautiful, and recalls some of the great work compiled on Mondo Morricone.
As a bonus, this disc includes 2 Mireille Mathieu versions of songs from Le Casse.