Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2018 December 03 • Monday

Sonia Rutstein's music for Igor and the Lunatics is the 546th Soundtrack of the Week. And it's on groovy lunatic vinyl!

You can see this whole movie on YouTube. It's extremely low budget and was apparently a production fraught with conflict and difficulty. It was also filmed in "Dementovision"!

In addition to composing the music, Sonia Rutstein also contributed rhythm guitar, synthesizers, keyboards and vocals, and was aided by Bill Monroe on electric lead guitar, Donna Bowman on electric bass and Janet Guerra on drums and percussion.

The first track is a country song called "All Across the Cornfields of My Heart". It's a nice tune with relaxed vocals from Rutstein and catchy melody and lyrics.

Synth arpeggios are a foundation for other soaring and stinging electronic sounds in the sci-fi sounding "Bedroom Scene".

Electric bass guitar belts out a rhythmically inviting but menacing line for "Sucker Punch". Guitar, synth and drums come in gradually, building up the song from its foundation. Sounds like there could be some Gobin influence here.

“More Murder and Mayhem” returns to the same idea as "Bedroom Scene" but with a different keyboard sound and a more active electric guitar part.

And it's only after all this that we get to the "(Opening) Theme for Igor and the Lunatics". It's a prettier number than you might expect, kind of ethereal and poppy at the same time, even though it's just a simple repeated keboard phrase.

Things get more intense with "Paul's Theme", a driving rock instrumental with a snarlingly primitive bass part and some exhilarating wailing from other instruments on top.

"Murder Theme" uses musical blocks and lines to create a strange atmosphere, somewhat reminiscent of Doctor Who scores from the 1970s and also deranged calliope music.

Then comes "Heroic Feat", which does sound heroic, with a martial snare drum pushing everything forward and bright synth horns playing various motives that suggest strength and energy.

“Marianne Finds Hawk" begins with lush keyboard pads creating a rich sonic atmosphere. It could lend itself to a few different moods but the occasional minor chord does suggest danger or at least unease.

Feelings of suspense and peril are, unsurprisingly, immediately up front in "Running in the Night Woods — Paul's Been Shot" There are some startlingly low rumbling keyboard sounds and some plaintive and vulnerable higher frequency voicings also. It's a short cue but covers a lot of ground.

The B side opens with "Cops Beat Up Scene", a groovy number that owes a lot of its success to the drummer in this combo. The music is well written but the drums give it a great feel.

“Just When You Think It's Safe — Marianne's Back Home” is somewhat similar to "Bedroom Scene" and "More Murder and Mayhem". There's wailing electric guitar soloing here, as there was in the previous cue and several others.

One keyboard plays a stabbing motif in "Barn Scare Massacre — Marianne Fights Back", while another keyboard part jumps all over the place doing different things.

"Old Friends Gone Astray" is a really nice song form, a nice set of chords played by the cool band on this session.

Moody synth swells are the setting for "Hank Saves Marianne".

Another nice set of chords, similar to "Old Friends Gone Astray", make up "Hope for the Innocent".

Then things get creepy and unsettling, with some low, solo synth voicings for "Worse Than Your Imagination". The low synth is soon joined by rough and jagged synth parts in a higher register.

"Derangement" doesn't sound particularly deranged. It's a short cue, actually sounds kind of hopeful.

Then we get to what might be the best track on the record, "Leave Me Alone", a straight-up rock song with vocals by Rutstein and echoes of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". It's just too short, though!

It segues into another great rock/pop number, again with Rutstein singing, "Now Is the Time". Both of these last two songs are great and if they had been a little longer and the movie had been a lot better, they could have been a nice single to release as a tie-in to the picture.