Keith Emerson ‎– Dario Argento’s Inferno (Original Soundtrack)

4 out of 5

Label: Waxwork Records

Produced by: Thomas Dimuzio (vinyl master)

I suspect if I was more familiar with Keith Emerson’s work in general, I might have a different take on this – it seems to have gotten an iffy reaction from critics – but I thoroughly enjoyed the artist’s score for Dario Argento’s Inferno, as orchestrated by Godfrey Salmon.  The prog-ness is certainly in line with Argento’s Goblin pairings, but this doesn’t feel like a copy of that in any way: the guitar fiddlings, when they launch, have a particularly American feel to them, grounded more in rock elements than psychedelia, and elsewhere, Emerson offers up interesting, lullaby-esque themes around piano, and short, etheric choral bits.  The runtimes are well compressed – 2 to 3 minute cues – and flow well one from one to the other, even when jumping in pace and tone between something more intense and something more backgrounded.  I can understand these not syncing well to a film, but as a separate listen, it’s compelling stuff, with the atmospherics giving the score a modern edge.

The “Outakes suite,” comprising the entire D-side of the 2 LP set, is, like most of these scores with alternate / demo takes, kind of a waste.  It’s appreciated, but it’s not really a ‘suite,’ as the cuts aren’t especially blended together, and besides one slightly slowed down, raw take of Kazanian’s Tarantella – which stands out because that track is badass in the first place – I can’t say there’s much value, except that this track has been on prior release so it needs to be on the rerelease as well.

Waxwork’s packaging is, as usual, pretty stunning, and the score, in general, sounds mostly great, although the A-side mastering seemed a little low to me.  And, perhaps damningly, the color swirl on the D-side produced bubbles in the wax which cause legitimate skips, but I didn’t see other reviews mentioning this, so perhaps it was a one-off issue – i.e. not affecting the rating.