2019 April 01 • Monday
The music from Ganja & Hess,
by Nina Simone's brother, Sam Waymon, is the
Soundtrack of the Week.
It's on brown vinyl!
The A side starts
out with an "Intro", a voice counting numbers and being run through an echo,
and then a plaintive solo piano playing a melancholy piece.
Then are parts one and two of "The Blood of the Thing",a
male voice singing a spiritual-influenced song about blood and
slavery. “Thousands of strangers bled today.” The second part is
subtitled "Shadow of the Cross".
"Bongili Work Song" is a field recording of people
singing and dancing but at a distance and run through an
echo. The liner notes explain that it's “a recording from
the 1950 Smithsonian Folkways collection Music of Equatorial
Africa" and the original version is included as a bonus track.
Sounds of thunder, drones and alarming musical stings form
the background for "Hess Is Stabbed".
And then there's the Mabel King "March Blues",
what you’d expect, classic old timey intensity,
just piano, trumpet and voice. It's accompanied by
sound effects and some other music that must
belong to the action on screen. The song
eventually gets run through an echo device.
"You've Got To Learn To Let It Go (instrumental)"
is a pleasantly groovy song with a friendly beat and a
cheery melody played on flute and vibes with support from horns,
a nice instrumental pop soul number that also has sound effects
from the movie.
"Survival/Drive" is an interesting electronic cue with
synth and delay, getting a lot out of a few notes.
The last piece on the first side is "The Seduction
(Analgam)", in which zithers or instruments much like
them set the tone, with a low throbbing note above
which strings are plucked and strummed, creating a
dreamy and richly textured atmosphere in which other
instruments appear and disappear. Eventually the zithers
fade out, electronic instruments and various shrieking and
yelling come in and it builds in intensity.
The B Side begins with a reprise of the "Intro" and
what sounds like dialogue from
the movie: “I had a strange dream last night. I dreamed you murdered me.”
Then solo piano comes in with the song and we hear more
dialogue. “I will not be tortured, I will not be punished,
I will not be guilty.”
This sort of fades out and into the vocal version of
"You've Got To Learn To Let It Go".
The Evangel Revival Church piano and choir
sing the religious number "Just As I Am", followed by a reprise
of "The Blood of the Thing".
"Resurrection" is a short percussion cue that sounds
like mostly hands clapping.
Then a children’s choir sings "There Is a Fountain
Filled with Blood".
This is followed by the studio version of
"You've Got To Learn To Let It Go" and it's awesome,
with a deep groove and impassioned singing.
The record concludes with a couple of bonus tracks:
The previously mentioned Folkways recording and something called
"Theme from Blood Couple".
I'm not sure what that is other than a
solo synth piece “reassembled by Fima Noveck”. It’s cool and spacious,