Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2013 December 09 • Monday

The 296th Soundtrack of the Week is Peter Thomas's score for The Big Boss (a.k.a. Fists of Fury), a rather important movie for one Bruce Lee.

As I understand it, German composer Peter Thomas was hired to write a new soundtrack for The Big Boss in the hopes of increasing the potential for whatever profits would come from the film's international distribution.

He hit it out of the park. The "Big Boss Theme" has very Thomas-like use of cheeky brass lines over pounding and pulsating rhythms. Fans of his Raumpatrouille (Space Patrol) music will be on familiar ground here.

Menacing and slinky electric guitars combine with some freaked out synth sounds to create "Mukuri". And then we've got to get sappy with "Girl Loves Cheng Li", which has reverb-drenched flutes and various romantic touches.

"Hard Drugs" is fuzzed-out acid rock, while "The Amulet" is a re-arrangement of the main theme for a more subdued acid rock combo with horns.

The tempo picks up for the driving "Finding the Drugs" which has some startling guitar parts, notes you probably wouldn't expect. Then the "Girl Loves Cheng Li" returns as "China Love" in which trombone takes the melody.

"Malaparte Sinus" is a curious name for a piece. I'm guessing that this and the next track, "Communication in Hyperspace", are among several that Thomas had written for some other use. (There wasn't a lot of time to put together a full score, so Thomas requisitioned some library cues he's composed.) The former is like prog sci-fi with a surprisingly lyrical flute line amongst the synth freak outs and driving drums. "Communication in Hyperspace" is a weird electronic cue which matches its name rather well.

"Cheng Li and His Friends" is another arrangement of the main theme, similar to "The Amulet". That theme also shows up in "Big Boss and His Gang" and the weird and spacy "The Fist of Fury".

An atmosphere of dread is created by "EKG" while "Blood and Dead Friends" is explores territory very similar to "Hard Drugs".

"Moontown" is a different-sounding kind of cue, with classic Peter Thomas horns blaring away and a psychedelic acid prog concept holding forth.

There are about four seconds of sweet music starting off "Revenge and Corruption" before an insistently pounding piano and other instrument crash the party and bring us onto dangerous ground. Then there's the bizarre, outer-space lounge music of "Dream for Two" and the thumpy and swinging "Bruce Lee Forever".