I've been an Ennio Morricone fan for awhile now, at first a fan of his incredible and influential spaghetti western soundtracks but also the more hard to find Italian thrillers (aka giallos) soundtracks which are Morricone's best kept secret. When I first heard the Morricone RMX project, I was nervous to hear anyone mess around with his work, but soon found that his soundtracks fit modern music like a glove. It seemed fitting that another remix project would come along. The folks at Compost Records have taken on the challenge in a two volume series, and while I didn't feel Volume One of the Ennio Morricone Remixes was quite as consistent as Morricone RMX, I did find a bunch of tracks to love. This collection, more than most I've come across, sounded like a collection of various 12 inch singles, all grouped around the same theme.
The Ennio Morricone Remixes starts out strong with the most surprising and fun track - International Pony's La Moda (from the The Invisible Woman soundtrack from 1969) - We Love Ennio Mix. This is a vocal tribute to Morricone, a playful acoustic rock number with electronically modified vocals and trumpet melody. It's not what you think of when you think of Morricone, so it's a nice surprise.
The next two tracks are pumped up rhythmic workouts - Alex Attias' Le Foto Proibite Di Una Signora Per Bene (from the Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion soundtrack from 1970) - Mustang Mix 1 is much better than the next track thanks to its pumping mix, wordless female vocals and piano leading and descending to the dreamy synth escapes. Swell Session's Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly from 1966) is much more generic in its whistling flamenco mix but it pumps along (like the b-side to the better half).
Things go electro disco with the next two songs. Hakan Lidbo's Alla Serenita (also from The Invisible Woman) combines Morricone's female wordless goodness into Hakan's electro disco spin to a fine end. Leroy Hanghofer's Beat N.3 (from the Teorema soundtrack from 1968) - the Toy Destroy Mix is another electro whack, this time with distorted synths that doesn't work quite as well.
Morricone's soundtrack for The Cat O'Nine Tails from 1971 is one of my all time favorite soundtracks. And even though Raw Deal chose one of the mellow ballads to remix (instead of the mind blowing avante-garde jazz that makes up most of the soundtrack) Ninna Nanna In Blu stays true to Ennio's vision, and the end result is not far removed from modern groups like Air or Mellow.
This is where the Morricone Remixes cd loses me: songs by Needs, Hird, Kabuki, Butti 49, Kid Sundance and Majbour all did nothing for me. Compost artists can tend to veer into cheesey synth jazz at times, and that happens here. It makes for nice coffee shop listening, but didn't have any profound impact on me. It's not until The Amalgamation Of Soundz' La Cugina (from The Cousin soundtrack from 1974) and Temporary Soundmuseum's take on Giu La Testa - Sucker's Finale (from A Fistful Of Dynamite - aka Duck You Sucker soundtrack from 1971) - the Lullaby for James Coburn that things get back onto track and a mellow enticing groove mixing soundtrack sabotage of the senses and a mellow whistle tune.
Ennio Morricone remixes Volume 2
label:: Compost Records
Compost Records have really outdone themselves with the second volume of Ennio Morricone remixes. Following up the single disc of Volume 1, Volume 2 is a whopping 2 cd set filled with 27 remixes which run a gamut of sound and influence.
As the Morricone influence runs deeper, the remix compilations keep getting better and better - what saves Volume 2 in this series where Volume 1 lost me is how the artists never veer into cheesey territory. Volume 2 combines Morricone's unique off kilter rhythms, his moody elegant tension and the best of each artist involved to create a great remix project.