You’d be forgiven for thinking that the score for The Man with the Iron Fists doesn’t differ greatly from the soundtrack, opening as it does with an extended, reworked sample from Wu-Tang Clan’s “Shame on a Nigga.” With that one chopped-and-screwed moment, though, what we’re really seeing is a hip-hop sensibility being applied to a score that well compliments its accompanying soundtrack.
V/A: The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack (Soul Temple, 10/23/12)
Assembled by rapper/director RZA, the soundtrack for The Man with the Iron Fists aurally delivers on the eyeball-punching promises of his over-the top grindhouse martial-arts movie.
From blues-driven opener “The Baddest Man Alive,” which sees RZA reunite with collaborators The Black Keys, this collection of largely new tracks works as a cohesive album while being eclectic enough to function as accompaniment for a film.
“Take Me Back Home”
For more than two decades, Depeche Mode front-man Dave Gahan was content being the impassioned voice behind the songs of bandmate Martin Gore, whose edgy, genre-stretching synth pop dominated the ’80s club scene and landed unapologetically on ’90s alternative-rock radio. But since 2003, the singer’s distinctive baritone also has served a more personal purpose, fueling the release of his first two solo albums and, in May, his first collaboration with English production duo Soulsavers.
For Gahan, the evolution may have been inevitable.
With the intercontinental mix of Italian trio Guano Padano, one could take the easy way out, calling it the bastard child of Ennio Morricone, Dick Dale, and Calexico. The truth is something more muddied, something broader yet less mashed up.
Led by guitarist Alessandro Stefana, 2 steeps in the traditions of Italian-western cinema — specifically, the Italian sonic interpretation of Americana — and applies surf rock and 1950s and ’60s rock ’n’ roll to the music of America’s south and southwest. Bits of gypsy, jazz, and oriental styles also dot the landscape, as each song is a journey to a new land.
“Uh Ah Brr”
Film scores have seeped into the collective consciousness of musicians since they were first introduced to cinema. Their influence is widespread and unmistakable, but few artists have derived so much of their aesthetic from this sub-genre as Calibro 35, an Italian instrumental five-piece that works to pay homage to the Golden Age of Italian cinema.
This story first appeared in Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music. Order your copy today.
Qua: “Circles”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Qua_Circles.mp3|titles=Qua: “Circles”]
Given the proliferation of programmable equipment and digital production techniques, kids all over the world are growing up and playing music without ever touching a physical instrument. Who can blame them? Nearly every imaginable texture, pitch, effect, and beat is just a few clicks away. This sea change from analog to digital musicianship hasn’t just changed the way that we create music; it has changed the way that we see music too. Distinctly electronic timbres are coupled with the colorful swirls of an iTunes visualizer, the bright strobe lights of a dance club, and the neon aesthetics of genre giants like Daft Punk and MIA.
Though he grew up playing guitar in rock bands, Cornel Wilczek, better known as Australian electronic artist Qua, set aside his guitar and took the solo electronic road early in his career. His decision was made possible by a discovery of electronic music, a genre wherein Wilczek realized that he could become, as he says, a “one-stop shop.” He could handle production and technical duties without having to rely on anyone but himself.
At 17, Wilczek won a Yamaha guitar competition and moved to the USA to do session work and guitar demonstrations. “It was really quite amazing at the time,” Wilczek says, “but it was also the end of an era for me, because I had met so many of my guitar and music idols who were complete assholes. I actually came back [to Australia] and stopped playing guitar for about five years, and that’s when I found electronic music.”
Spindrift: “Theme From Confusion Range”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/04-Theme-from-Confusion-Range.mp3|titles=Spindrift: “Theme from Confusion Range”]
Mixing influences from Italian-western composers like Ennio Morricone with elements of psychedelic rock, Spindrift has pioneered its own brand of western music. Its style is manifested through a diversity of sounds, including guitar, organ, pedal steel, flute, autoharp, sitar, tabla, and bass, but its musical résumé is more than merely instruments.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Spindrift recently recorded an album of unreleased movie themes and new material. That album, Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1, captures the band’s eclectic nature and cinematic tendencies. Here, founder Kirpatrick Thomas elaborates on the forthcoming album, the impact of the desert environment on the band’s music, and the similarities between western scores and psychedelic rock.
What inspired you to use Kickstarter for Classic Soundtracks‘ fundraising as opposed to other, more traditional means of establishing a budget?
For us, Kickstarter was a great way to raise a recording budget and get friends, fans, and family directly involved in the making of our next album. We realized that we needed $5,000 and had a seven-week US tour ahead of us, so, along with touring and promotion, we created awareness about our upcoming project. At every show, we performed the new songs, then, after seven weeks, we had our goal and jumped into the studio to record. We had the time of our lives recording this record, and we wanted it to translate.
Classic Soundtracks was recorded in Hicksville Trailer Palace, and Spindrift was the first band to record a full-length album there. Can you explain why you chose this particular setting for recording?
Many of the songs that we’ve written for Classic Soundtracks were birthed in the desert. Thus we wanted to lay them to rest (as in the final recorded track) in the desert as well. We actually would write and rehearse for a bit in the Gram Parsons death room at the Joshua Tree Inn. Keeping true to faith, Hicksville is a stupendous facility for being relaxed, isolated, productive, and creative. It’s a beautiful place, and recording in Joshua Tree was a dream come true. Highly recommended!