Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2010 November 08 • Monday

The 138th Soundtrack of the Week is Nico Fidenco's Black Emanuelle Goes East, also known as Emanuelle in Bangkok. It's apparently not a continuation of the Black Emanuelle series but a continuation, perhaps not official, of the Emmanuelle series.

It starts with "Like a Sailing Ship", a song with the absurd bounciness of pop "novelty" songs. It opens with whistling and a wordless male vocalist . Eventually female vocalists come in with lyrics and are joined by distorted electric guitar. It's a strange tune and I'm not exactly crazy about it.

The second track is "Of Your Body", also known as "Emanuelle's Theme", a very cool piece that we heard about a dozen times on Fidenco's Black Emanuelle soundtrack. This time, though, there's an extra bar of 2/4 in the chorus of this otherwise 4/4 song. It's a neat addition. The instrumentation this time has something that sounds vaguely like what you hear in gamelan music.

And why not? The next track is called "Thailand Sweet Sound" and is typical of the music for this series of films. Prominent electric bass, multiple percussionists, flute and unusual electronic keyboard sounds.

"Unavoidable" sounds a lot like Muzak, which is, of course, unavoidable. "Sweet Feeling (Part Two)" is a sensitive romance cue for fingerstyle guitar, flute and bass. It sounds a bit like "Memories" from Cats and Henry Mancini's "Moon River". "Thailand Market Theme" uses that cliché of movies set in "the Orient", choppy strings running through the pentatonic scale.

"Thoughtless" is another cue previously heard in Black Emanuelle. I'm not sure if it's a different take or a different mix or what. They're very similar, in any case. "Sweet Bossa" sounds like its name. It's a bit too sweet for my taste, actually.

The intriguingly named "Ping Pong Dance" is like a slow Hully Gully with a very simple melody. "Red Hot Wax" is a groovy but wistful number and "Sweet Living Thing" is the vocal version of "Sweet Feeling" ("A tree can count its leaves / and you can count my dreams" etc.).

"Sweet Feeling (Part One)" should be self-explanatory at this point. "Sudden Ride" is another reprise of a Black Emanuelle cue. "Sweet's Variations" is that "Sweet Feeling"/"Sweet Living Thing" song again, this time with banjo.

The next track, number 15, is "Emanuelle's Theme" again. Then "Bellies Orient Dance", presumably music for a belly-dance scene. It's mostly just flute and percussion, with an Algerian feel, but strings come in near the end.

Then another run through of "Like a Sailing Ship", which hasn't grown on me yet. "Arabian Evasion Theme" is mellower than its title might lead you to expect. "Orient Riders" suggests people hurrying through the desert. "Body to Body" is another "Eastern" groove with the odd keyboard sounds typical of this record.

The last track is "Sweet Feeling" again, a very slow version. Nico Fidenco's versatility is impressive. These Emanuelle scores have their own identities and spin out several interesting variations on just a few themes.