Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2018 August 06 • Monday

The 529th Soundtrack of the Week is Claude Bolling's score for Le Magnifique.

The movie is presumably a whimsical, post-Bond action/adventure outing with Jean-Paul Belmondo as a macho hero breezing through the world's glamor spots and casually excelling at sex and violence.

Going by the titles of the cues, he spends time in Mexico, specifically Acapulc: "Arrivée à Acapulco", the main title and "La Mort de Rodriguez" are all exercises in Mexican folk music idioms.

There's also a standard "middle eastern" cue for "Bob Saint-Clar à Bagdad".

Despite the familiarity of these pieces, satisfying conventions of the genre as much as I expect the writing, costumes, sets and everything else did, they're all very well done.

Speaking of expected conventional elements, there's even the extremely familiar Paris musette piece played by accordion. It's called "Paris Musette".

But things do get interesting, though. The combination of fuzz guitar and percussion in "Dans Les Griffes De Karpoff", for example; the slinky and syncopated jazziness of "Informateur à l'aéroport" (which bursts into percussion ensemble unexpectedly at the end); the lounge anthem "Paradise".

"Bain de Sang" is a short but powerful fusion of rock, jazz, non-European percussion and orchestral music.

"Balade en Hélicoptèr" is also a terrific love theme.

There's also a great, extremely laidback shake number, "Charron Dance". The first part sounds a bit like "Tequila" but the B section turns into a minor key. It's pretty awesome. It would be great for a scene in which tranquilized mermaids go-go dance underwater.

Less enervated without being fully awake is "Pop Mod", an electric piano-driven slab of grooviness.

This release has the original soundtrack on one CD and the album presentation on another, which is a lot of music, but that's a good thing!