4 out of 5
Label: Waxwork Records
Produced by: Thomas Dimuzio / George Horn (vinyl mastering)
I haven’t really dived into the Goblin / Argento fanbase’s opinions to know whether or not my take on this is unusual, but the group’s score for Profondo Rosso / Deep Red (alongside Giorgio Gaslini, composing / performing a good chunk of it) is my favorite of this particular musician / director’s teamups. Argento, after working with Gaslini on his previous film, The Five Days – and Ennio Morricone on his films before that – brought him back for Profondo Rosso, only to reject his score and go searching for something proggy, finding Goblin to fit the bill. Goblin did, indeed, prog it the hell up, but they also reworked some of Gaslini’s material, and then several of his tracks ended up on the original score anyway. This combination – Gaslini’s more delicate, jazzy touches; Goblin’s instantly grabbing tonal juxtapositions and funked up aggressiveness – create an incredibly unique sound, and though I’m sure it could be said that, as the group developed their relationship with Argento, so did their syncing of sound and image evolve, listening to the scores separately from the visuals allows for appreciating how well Profondo works completely on its own. It probably also helps having, essentially, three visions here: Goblin alone, Goblin plus Gaslini, and Gaslini alone; it gives the music an inbuilt sense of ebb and flow that’s furthered in emotional reach by the various scenes which would’ve inspired the tunes.
And now: the extras.
Various versions of Profondo’s release have included some form of additional material, whether it’s the film version of the tracks versus the originals, or various cues and effects, and Waxwork went the exhaustive route: two whole additional LPs of extras, the “complete” score. I’m always split on how to rate such things: a completionist or collector would certainly be wowed, but for someone just wanting to listen to some music – do they add anything? And often, unfortunately, I don’t think the answer to that latter question is ‘yes,’ except for “more.” Some of these additions are drastically different – “lullaby” versions with haunting, childlike chants; jazz versions that alter the vibe of Goblin’s guitar / drum-centric takes – but an equal amount are fairly similar, or are just cues. The original cost of the LP wasn’t too outlandish compared to Waxwork’s regular prices ($40), but you’re still paying beyond what you would for a 1 LP set – which is all the original score takes up. And that first LP is perfect, and would’ve unhesitantly netted a matching perfect rating. So I’ll take my usual route here and dock a star, reflecting the questionable necessity of the bonuses beyond a point of interest. For the (no pun intended) record, I do think a way to add value to such things – as I understand that, by their nature, alternates / demos aren’t going to be the wholly original things I want them to be – is to include some notes about the differences. What are these cues? What’s the reason for the different takes? Even a short paragraph can add enough context to make listening to them more interesting and appreciable.