Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Original Soundtrack(#268)

Chitty Chitty Bang BangChitty Chitty Bang Bang – Original Soundtrack

As the family film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was out several years before I was born by the time I was old enough to really appreciate it it was being shown on the telly regularly.  Just thinking about the film counjures up evocative memories of laying in front of the telly on Bank Holiday Mondays and Easter afternoons, the precious extra spare time before being back at school again.
Like any musical of the time it has a big impressive sound, written to be experienced on the silver screen, and from the style it feels like it could actually have been made any time between about 1930 and 1975.
Despite not having seen the film for about 30 years I found that when I listened to it I could cheerfully sing along with 90%+ accuracy to the entire album, which is just how it should be for a kiddy film.  The songs took me straight back to the feelings it created, fear for the characters – would Truly get found out as she pretended she was a music box figure? Or the rousing chorus of the onomatopoeic title track Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the thrill of seeing this characterful old car fly or float.
It is impossible to separate the film from the soundtrack, so I apologise if this seems to have had too much film and not enough music,  but I challenge you not to do the same in my shoes.  
I’ve put the track listing below, why not have a nostalgic little hum along to yourself?
  1. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” – Caractacus Potts, Jemima, Jeremy and Truly
  2. Truly Scrumptious” – Jemima, Jeremy and Truly
  3. Hushabye Mountain” – Mr. Potts and Truly
  4. Me Ol’ Bamboo” – Mr. Potts and chorus
  5. Toot Sweets” – Mr. Potts and Truly
  6. The Roses of Success” – Grandpa Potts and Inventors
  7. Lovely Lonely Man” – Truly
  8. You Two” – Potts, Jemima and Jeremy
  9. Chu-Chi Face” – Baron and Baroness Bomburst
  10. Posh!” – Grandpa Potts
  11. Doll on a Music Box” – Truly
  12. Doll on a Music Box / Truly Scrumptious” – Truly and Mr. Potts
  13. Come to the Funfair

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Danny Elfman [#261]

CHANGES+IN+MINDCharlie and the Chocolate Factory – Danny Elfman

Hello again, it’s me Steelrattus, with my third guest post. Stegzy is obviously far too polite to give me the boot.

Of the three albums I’ve “reviewed” so far this is the most difficult, because there’s not a lot of substance to review. I made the mistake twice previously of choosing “best of” albums, and now we have an (original) film soundtrack!

Why I feel vaguely qualified to comment on this album requires a short bit of background. I have young children, and being someone who loves… adores films I was keen to introduce my eldest daughter to what I feel are some of the best films around. One of those was the 1971 version (Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory). I was keen she watched this version first, because I feel it’s the more charming of the two film incarnations of Roald Dahl’s book. We have subsequently watched the 2005 version, which does have some charm, but is arguably spoiled by trying to be too moral. I have tried to read the book to my eldest daughter, but it’s too complicated for her at the moment. Anyway, I have the soundtracks to both films, and we have regularly sung along to them both in the car, so this particular soundtrack is fairly well ingrained in my brain.

Anyway, the soundtrack… for a Tim Burton film you won’t be surprised to find that it’s composed by Danny Elfman. The album is essentially divided into two parts. The first five tracks are all songs with lyrics, and the remaining fifteen tracks are all instrumentals that essentially act as the film’s score. One of the reasons I’d like to read the book again is that apparently the four songs about the various nasty children are taken from Dahl’s book, unlike the 1971 version which has both less and different songs (as far as the children are concerned). Elfman of course had to arrange them to music, and apparently sings them all as well using a variety of synthesised voices to reflect the Oompa-Loompas. The songs are quite fun and as mentioned I regularly sing along to them, with my eldest, in the car. The remaining tracks are a bit more forgettable and fairly standard film score fair.

Here we have the first of the songs about the children, in this case Augustus Gloop. As you can see, all the Oompa-Loompas are performed, with a bit of CGI magic, by Deep Roy. Although as mentioned above, it’s all sung by Danny Elfman.

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Celestine Prophecy – Christopher Franke [#255]

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 13.45.24Celestine Prophecy – Christopher Franke

Utter shite.

A musical “accompaniment” for the best selling book by James Redfern which sparked off a new age revolution in the 90s. Plenty of floaty tofu weaving vaginary in this album as well as new age world m-yewsick wankery. And pan pipes. Lots of pan pipes.

In collection for interest only.

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Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club (#231)

Buena Vista Social ClubBuena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club

This is one of those albums that everyone seems to have.

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Bourne Identity & Bourne Supremacy Soundtracks – John Powell (#213 & #214)

Bourne Identity & Bourne Supremacy Soundtracks by John Powell

Bourne Identity & Bourne Supremacy SoundtracksGripping drama needs a gripping soundtrack. From what was a promising start to a trilogy (that now seems to be developing into a larger multifilm series) comes John Powell’s tense soundtrack.

I think the composer did very well to capture the various nuances of the film with these soundtracks and it often drowns out the dialogue in the film. However, this is forgivable for without the soundtrack the excitement wouldn’t build as well as it did. Take track 3 of the first album, Treadstone Assassins; it definitely builds the tension, adds a little bit of “here comes a film that can even have it’s own spin-off TV series” and tickles the auditory senses with “wow, bet you didn’t expect that”.

Furthermore, the cold wet European locations used in the film are also depicted aurally in these soundtracks. Powell is definitely a composer to look out for.  Maybe not akin to John Williams or Danny Elfman, but certainly on the same bus….

Here I’d usually include a youtube video relating to the albums but it appears that the Youtube Copyright Nazis have been blocking access to most of the best ones. I really don’t know why copyright holders (like SONY) are such blanket fascists when it comes to digital media. I guess you’ll just have to watch the film….


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Black Hole – Original Soundtrack (#194)

Black Hole - SoundtrackBlack Hole – Original Soundtrack

The soundtrack to my  favourite childhood film as composed and performed by John Barry.

This is a strange piece of work. It’s very militaristic in many respects. All trumpets and snare drums. But it works well alone or with the film in its original setting.

The first track, the overture, is a bit cringe making but once that’s out of the way you’ve got the music from the film in its orchestral splendour.

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Big Terror Movie Themes – Geoff Love & his Orchestra (#188)

Big Terror Movie Themes – Geoff Love Big Terror Movie Themes - Geoff Love

There was a time when movies were exciting. Not like today where everything is predictable and only watchable once. In the 1970s big movie stars were thrown together in situations that could affect any of us, air crash, earthquake or building on fire. Indeed, terror was much better handled in those days. These days, I think because we’re all subjected to terror 24/365 through our news channels, terror movies don’t have the same impact. Furthermore, I think most movie studios are living in a perpetual state of terror worried that somebody might sue their disaster film for causing offence to victims of real disasters.

Anyway, here is good old Geoff again. This time with theme tunes from disaster and terror movies. Films given the Geoff Love treatment include: Jaws, Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, Psycho and the Exorcist.

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Big Lebowski (Original Soundtrack) – Various Artists [#187]

Big Lebowski (Original Soundtrack) - Various ArtistsBig Lebowski (Original Soundtrack) – Various Artists

The Big Lebowski is a film dear to me. If you’ve never seen it, it tells the story of a relaxed gentleman who has a problem with a rug that really sets off his room.

The stunning visuals and gripping script is only enhanced by the magic of the carefully put together soundtrack. Standing alone, the soundtrack is powerful in itself but you really need to see the film to feel how it is all significant.

The soundtrack features artists like Bob Dylan (meh), Captain Beefheart, Kenny Rogers and Gipsy Kings. If you’ve not seen the film, see it.

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Big Big Movie Themes – Geoff Love & His Orchestra (#184)

Big Big Movie Themes - Geoff Love & His OrchestraBig Big Movie Themes – Geoff Love & His Orchestra

Geoff Love was the king of easy listening. Forget Mantovani. Forget James Last. Love was Royalty.

Over several years under the MFP (Music for Pleasure) label, Geoff Love released several LPs featuring orchestrated theme tunes from film and television. Some good. Some bloody awful. Big Big Movie Themes is a kind of “Best of” but actually features some reworkings of some of Love’s best arrangements. Still good stuff though.

It now appears that these golden greats from the 1970s have been rereleased as CDs and are also available on iTunes so hopefully a whole new generation can experience Easy Listening to the full.

This album features:

The James Bond Theme
The Big Country
Somewhere My Love (Dr Zhivago)
The Way We Were
A Man and a Woman
Lawrence of Arabia
The Magnificent Seven
What’ll I do (The Great Gatsby)
A Summer Place
Colonel Bogey
Love Story
Warsaw Concerto (Dangerous Moonlight)

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#130 – The Beach (OST) – Various Artists

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 11.22.16 The Beach (Soundtrack) – Various Artists

After surviving a fate worse than marrying a soggy Kate Winslet and the sinking of a cruise liner, Leonardo Dicaprio swims all the way to Thailand and begins a life of backpacking across Asia.

During his adventures, some drunken sop tells him, in whispered tones, about a beach so beautiful it will melt your brain.

So begins the story of 90’s hedonism and awareness that secrets are best kept to yourself as nobody can be trusted. The film rings true to me especially as how every year people go to my favourite holiday spot, enjoy themselves and tell others to go too. Over the years the area has gone from nice quiet relaxing holiday spot to approaching awful Guardian reading family friendly frightfest.

Only without the drug smuggling, violence and Lord of the Flies inspired committees.

The soundtrack isn’t too bad either. It’s a nice snapshot of the 90’s hedonistic holiday nightclub crap that seemed to flood the radio waves, peoples cars and CD racks of the time. Bands such as Blur, Moby and All Saints feature with summer holiday inspiring tunes to whisk you off to your favourite sandy hot spot with a stylus fall.

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Music Project – Album #50 – Absolute Beginners (Soundtrack)

Absolute Beginners (Soundtrack)

Absolute Beginners is one of those films you’ve either seen or not. But nearly everyone knows the title tune as performed by David Bowie.

I saw the film many years ago, some time in the mid-nineties when it was already old. The young plastic surgery free Patsy Kensit looking very tasty, the fresh faced Eddie O’Connell acting his socks off and even a bit part for good old Lionel “Give us a Clue” Blair. All mixed together by jazz and soul with a light dressing of British humour. It was no wonder it was a flop.

With artists such as Sade, The Style Council and even British stalwald Ray Davies popping up, the soundtrack is a rather good old toe tapper.

Whenever I listen to it I’m immediately transported back to my vane efforts to restylise myself as an independent batchelor in my crumby bedsit in the Wavertree suburbs of Liverpool.

I didn’t grow a soul patch. Nor did I start poncing around in berets and lounge about looking moody. So I guess I got off lightly.

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Music Project – Album #19 – 2001: A Space Odyssey – Original Soundtrack

2001: A Space Odyssey – Various Artists (Original Soundtrack)

As a child I thought 2001 was boring. Too much talk. Not enough lasers or explosions. And what was that thing about the huge slabs of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in space about? And why was Rigsby talking with a Russian accent? But hey! Look at all that cool stuff we’ll have in 2001! Holidays in space, floaty pens and Commodore 64s will have huge red lights and be able to kill you. Wow.

As a twenty something, 2001 became the wall paper for mind experiments. Mostly to do with the weird bits at the end. A chap I knew edited the weird trippy hyperspace sequence at the end into a 3 hour stoner flick complete with far out music. Suffice to say, his place was popular with hippies and tourists of the ether on a Friday night after the pubs had closed.

The soundtrack for 2001 is a mix of familiar classical Strauss waltzes interspersed with more unusual Modernist works by Gyorgy Ligeti. Ligeti, you might recall, is a progenitor of the atmospheric style of music. Eerie chanting choirs (they chant “Eeee” and nothing more) are part of the course with Ligeti and sections of his Requiem provide further feelings of unease and suspense. It’s amazing what music can do isn’t it? Some might think of six minutes of people going “eeeeee” discordantly would be torture, while others listen through the surface and deep below feeling the pulses and rhythms on an almost synesthesic level.

On reflection I seem to recall one of my brothers having the 2001 soundtrack when I was a child. I’m certain my mum insisted that he did not play the album when I was around as it might be too scary. It probably was, but I’m sure the continuous playing during my early years, altered my mind on some level, meaning I can appreciate atmospheric, true industrial, noise and rhythmic genres on a significantly different level.

Or perhaps has given me the ability to spout shite.

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