Continuing the tunequest within a tunequest today, I listened to a handful of tracks by Argentine composer Luis Bacalov during the morning’s rainy commute to the office. Bacalov rose to prominence writing film music for 60s and 70s era spaghetti westerns and hard boiled Italian dramas. Prolific, he’s got more than 140 composer credits to his name and even won an Academy Award in 1996 for Il Postino. More recently, he has gained some notoriety from several of his songs being included on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill soundtracks.
The track below, titled Nago, is from the 1973 Italian film La Seduzione, about a man who reunites with a former lover and then is seduced into an affair with her 15 year old daughter.
This thing is a swaggering waltz of funk. It gently lures you in with its sinister wah, sensuous horns and smooth smooth rhythm. But just when you think you know what it’s all about, it morphs, ever so briefly, into a deep driving piano groove. Then, as if to say that as easily as things change, they can easily change back, it returns to it former self.
I knew this day would eventually come, since the tunequest made it into the "i"s many months ago.
Back in 2001, I ran across a posting on the usenets called Italian Cinema Lounge. It was 225 songs taking up 700 MB and spanning eleven and a half hours of music culled from various Italian film composers from the 60s and 70s ranging from Alberto Baldan Bembo to Walter Rizzati. Fascinated by the concept, I snagged it, naturally. And let me tell you it is some very smooth music, the kind of stuff that’s been an inspiration to modern downtempo artists and urban hipsters, but more raw, orchestral and just plain jazzy.
(think Lalo Schifrin’s Enter the Dragon score)
Despite the well-earned reverence, however, listening to all of it proved to be a daunting task, and I could never quite bring myself to dive in and tackle it. About half the selection remains unheard to this day. (the flip-side is that the songs that have been played received 4 and 5 star ratings and, thus have been played numerous repeats).
Thus a new tunequest is born: to listen to all these Italian cinema masterpieces. off i go!