Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2013 April 08 • Monday

The 261st Soundtrack of the Week is this CD with two Ennio Morricone scores, Agent 505—Todesfalle Beirut and Il Successo.

Agent 505—Todesfalle Beirut is form 1966 and presumably one of the many spy films hoping to bask in some glory reflected from the James Bond industry.

The title music, "La Trappola Scarra a Beirut" is a weird mixture of blaring brass, frantic drum fills and slinky electric guitar. This is followed by "Inseguimento", driven by electric guitar and featuring the flute until the brass section comes crashing in again. It then inexplicably relaxes into a section that's similar to part of the score for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Both of these cues feature occasional appearances of ethereal wordles vocals. There are also "Inseguimento Secondo" and "Inseguimento "Terzo".

"Relax Per Un Agent Segreto" expands upon the part of "Inseguimento" that's similar to part of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, while "La Trappola" is like a slowed-down variation on the title music. "Baci Dopo Le Palottole" is a Mancini-esque lounge ballad "Languidamente" is also a lounge ballad, but more Morricone than Mancini.

The main title music is reprised for "Agente 505 in Azione" Somewhere in between that theme and the "La Trappola" theme, or perhaps a combination of the two, is "Missione Pericolosa" and "Agente 505: Missione Compiuta". These cues sound a bit like John Barry's Bond music, but with a reverb electric guitar sound that could only be from Italy in the 1960s. The same musical idea, combined with the "Inseguimento" figure, shows up in "Attesa e Fuga".

"Tramonto Su Beirut" repeats some of these figures but adds whistle and organ. Again, a very nice electric guitar sound and echoes of the call-and-response horns from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly score.

1963's Il Successo has a trumpet-driven jazzy main title, alternating between combo and big-band sounds. "Per Vittoria" is a gentle but sprightly bossa, followed by the Mancini-esque background party music of "Con Eleganza".

A more serious mood is suggested by "Malinconico" while "Il Successo Twist" is (surprise!) a twist version of the main title music. "Malinconico" has some nice, almost subliminal organ playing and "Il Successo Twist" features the clarinet.

"Sarabande Triste" is a beautiful and sad piece for solo classical guitar. I wish I could play like that.

"Allegra Sambina" is, as the title suggests, an upbeat samba, almost annoyingly cheerful. This is followed by a melancholy, non-bossa version of"Per Vittorio" and, finally, a reprise of the main title music.