Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2021 July 05 • Monday

For our 681st Soundtrack of the Week it's Riz Ortolani's avant funk psychedelic rock masterpiece, the score for L'invasione.

It starts especially strong, with "Main Titles" that begin with what sounds like free improv before kicking into an intense breakbeat prog acid rock freak out with organ, a sick electric guitar line and occasional screaming.

You get a bit of a break after that with "Love Theme #1 (Beat)", a loungey number with a lot more electric guitar than these pieces usually have, and a slightly overdriven one at that. It's reprised four times but without the guitar, using violin, harpsichord, string section etc instead.

"Urban Violence Mood" reprises the main title theme, arguably even more effectively by just diving right into it. The second half is really a feature for just the bass and drums as the other instruments drop out for the most part. (There are some organ touches here and there.)

This is followed by another devastating groove, the Morricone-esque "Dark Shake #1", just for bass and drums. "Dark Shake #2" is much the same except for a percussive coda.

At first "Psychedelic Shake" doesn't seem that psychedelic. It's more like a sunshine pop number, maybe something Bobbie Lee Gentry could have done something with. But then it takes a sharp turn into strange territory, sounding like something possibly freely improvised, before concluding where it began.

Things get really weird and strange-sounding with "Drugs", which combines human wailing with various perussion instruments (including the thunder effect) and splashes of organ, bass and guitar.

An organ-dominated and gloomier version of the main title theme comes next, as "City Shadows".

Then there's some straight-up church music for "Religious Moment", cathedral organ, chanting etc.

You'll want to hear a kicking beat after that and it comes with "Discoteque Shake", which starts out with another powerful bass and drums track before shifting gears to a slow jazz blues version of the main title.

"Hippies Revolution" is the organ freak-out version of the main title and it's fantastic.

Another unexpected turn comes with "Whisky in the Night", a raunchy, swinging New Orleans-ish cue that sounds like it might be for a strip club scene.

Then it's back to the main title again, but this time with harpsichord and saxophone, for "Pursued".

You might be thinking that it's time for something weird again and you'd be right. The first half of "Fear" is some very strange sonic territory, hard to describe, before it runs through the main title theme again.

It's a good thing the main title is so incredibly good because you hear it a lot. The last two tracks on the CD are "Sensual Mood", which is the main title done slow and slinky, and then a straight reprise for the "End Titles".

There are a lot of great Italian soundtracks from the 1960s and 1970s but this is one of the all-time best.