2016 October 10 • Monday

Halloween is coming. Let's watch horror movies! Vince Tempera's music for Paganini Horror is the 434th Soundtrack of the Week.

Many of these cues are synth-generated atmospheres of tension and suspense. They're actually kind of pleasant to listen to, when you're in the right mood.

There are also some more aggressive pieces, similar to some of the cues in the soundtrack for The Terminator.

The movie itself is about a rock band so of course we get a couple of songs from them. "Stay the Night" is a pretty blatant rip off of "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi.

"The Winds of Time" is probably equally derivative of something, or many things. One part of it reminded me of ABBA's "Waterloo". But I kind of like it.
2016 October 05 • Wednesday

Winsor McCay was the undisputed genius of surreality during the golden age of newspaper comics. But dream-like narratives and images, as well as consciousness-expanding uses of the medium's form were common enough. The artists and writers of the day had to produce a large quantity of material and it had to be good. Really good and eye-catching and worth the ink and the paper.

It's a different story today. But there are always glimmers, always artists who carry the torch.

In the late 1970s and early '80s, for example, there was Paul Kirchner.

Kirchner continues to work as a professional illustrator, freelance and mostly in advertising. But during the time period mentioned above, he created a comic strip called The Bus, which ran in Heavy Metal magazine.

I wasn't aware of him until my last visit to Desert Island, where I came across these two reprints of his work.

The covers are great but they only hint at the brilliance and imagination inside.

You can see a lot more by searching Google Images but what you should really do is buy these books.

2016 October 03 • Monday

The 433rd Soundtrack of the Week is Stu Phillips's music for Follow Me.

First is "Thru Spray Colored Glasses", a sunny pop song of a style that's very much of the late 1960s. This plays for the prologue and is reprised at the end for a Hawaii segment. "Thru spray colored glasses / The world seems so beautiful and I know / that you will just free your mind / and soon you'll be on your way with us / won't you stay with us?"

Then we're off to Portugal. In "Qual E O Caminho Da Praia" the "Thru Spray Colored Glasses" is played in a different, instrumental arrangement with a couple of new sections added. Then something more dramatic and suspenseful sounds like it's happening in "Guincho", which also uses the "Glasses" melody and changes meters and feels.

"Nazarae" alternates between 3/4 and 6/8 and features some great guitar and harpsichord playing as well as some excellent writing for strings and wordless vocals. Things get dreamy and sprightly with the 7/4 piece "Cascais", another one with great acoustic guitar soloing.

From there we go to Morocco for "Camel Farm", which combines traditional sounding Middle Eastern modes and instruments with a more acid rock backbeat and mild freak out, as well as a restatement of the "Glasses" theme.

Next up is "Goyapana" for the Ceylon segment. It begins with percussion and an elephant cry. That ethereal wordless chorus is back and creates an otherworldly atmosphere with subtle use of thumb piano and other percussion. There's a cross fade into another sunshiney sort of trippy jazz waltz pop number.

"Interlude: Like the Wind and Sea" is that song again, this time with lyrics, cool electric piano solo and a surf guitar riff. "When you're flying high / When you're flying high / See the world go by / See the world go by / When you're flying high."

Then we're off to India on the "Ranee Express", which begins with train sounds and brings in the expected instruments, tabla, tambura, sitar etc., accompanied by string section. This is followed by "Mahahbalipuram" which starts with an Indian-sounding section with interesting rhythms and phrasing before relaxing into a funky back beat with percolating pizzicato strings.

For "Big Wave Bay" Hong Kong comes blasting in with a rocking 4/4 arrangement of "Like the Wind and Sea" with a couple obvious "Chinese" touches and really nice electric piano solo (sounds like Fender Rhodes to me). There's a surprising touch of intentional dissonance in the vocals at one point.

And we end with Hawaii. The first cue, "Incinerator", has layers of percussion and repeated figures on top, creating an intricate platform for Phillips's lyrical writing to float over.

Then we get another sunny groovy pop song, "Just Lookin' for Someone". "Any day is a day for me / Any way is a way to be / Checkin' out all the good locations / I'm pickin' up on the love vibrations."

"Waimea" ends the Hawaii section and is mostly eerily droning organ and some spacy echoing percussion. It builds until it shifts into more conventional underscore.