Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 March 26 • Monday

Was there really a recent remake of Straw Dogs? Let's not talk about it. Jerry Fielding's score for the original Straw Dogs is the 210th Soundtrack of the Week.

It begins with a "Prologue" for a small brass section that, in its one minute and eleven seconds, manages to be serene, eerie, dissonant and triumphant.

"Amy's Noise" is about a minute of pop funk that could easily have been the music for the opening credits of a TV crimefighter show. It's pretty awesome. Great sax solo. I guess this is source music coming out of a radio or something in the movie. It doesn't have a proper ending but just dies.

"Math Trick; Playing with the Help; Dinner Time" is for strings and reeds and has kind of a modern chamber music sound. Then it goes into a playful and folksy mood driven by violins.

"Peeping Toms" is quiet and pensive at first, then becomes spiky and urgent as subtle percussion joins the strings. The use of the harp is particularly nice. There's more sprightly violin playing and an startling note of tension at the end.

"Don't Play Games; Window Display" takes the music in a more somber direction, suggesting the isolation of the main characters and the increasing tension and danger around them.

"Dead Cat" is a reprise of the familiar violin figure but is heard sadly as well as happily here. There's also a musical accompaniment for the shock of finding the dead cat.

"The Man Trap" begins with a long sustained note played by the strings. Harp comes in after about twenty seconds and the strings move their note around a bit while the harp plays a sparse and spooky line. The reeds come in with a line that echoes what the harp played. It's a brilliant creation of an uneasy atmosphere.

"Did I Catch You Off Guard?" is a short piece that's similarly atmopsheric but denser and more propulsive. "The Hunting Party" returns to the ideas in "Prologue" but expands them and adds more instruments. The violin motif also returns.

"The Infamous Appassionata" is about eight minutes long. It starts with frightened string section soon followed by a loud and lush run on the piano. Unsettling percussion and horns join in as the orchestra plays a Herrmannesque repeating figure in the background. There's an uncanny weeping sound created by several of the instruments. The "Prologue" theme is heard again.

"Suffering Amy" is a short, tender piece that ends with a suggestion of trauma. "Trencher's Farm" starts with an abrupt burst from the ensemble, then brings back the violin theme. Probably this music is somehow like Copland or Ives. I wouldn't know.

"The Wakely Arms; Janice Hedden's Death" begins with a toe-tapping funky pop tune that has some great flute and organ playing. The last half a minute or so is music to kill by.

The inside of the piano gets played in the beginning of "Death of the Major; Shotgun; David vs. Charley". Then strings and snare take over, then harp, then strings and snare again.

"I Got 'Em All; David vs. Riddaway" begins with an expansion of the "Prologue" but shifts abruptly into urgent action music about halfway through. There's a great staccato piano and drums section.

Finally, "Epilogue" is a recapitulation of the "Prologue" but fleshed out with strings.