Childhood of a Leader

Scott Walker’s score for Childhood of a Leader was bold, strident and frightening. It’s stranglehold was oftentimes the star of the show, and for a whole 115 mins I had that terrible dread you get on a roller coaster when it’s hauled up the first big hill and a world of shit is waiting when you get to the top.

Scott uses some of those hauntingly beautiful Cello sounds you get in Mica Levi’s score for Under the Skin (brilliant performance by Oliver Coates here).

The Duke of Burgundy Soundtrack by Cat’s Eyes

Sunday 15th March.

We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Sexual Fetishes. Peter Strickland, as he is commonly known, has just released his third(?) film and it’s about a horny foreign maid and her domineering employer. Who is also female. Yes, that makes them lesbians. If that doesn’t get you down to your nearest cinema before it’s even opened I don’t know what will. The film unfolds in quite an unexpected and funny way and I’m giving it a score of 8.99 out of 10.00

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I’m a sucker for super slow motion shots of flying beasties and delicious fades from one perfect shot to another. The combination of rich visuals, rich red wine and richly enriched audio erotica was enough to transport me to a place I’ve never been before but is probably a bit like Devon for Cockers. I’d say the closest I’ve been to this feeling is drinking shots in a very hot bath tub whilst listening to Pink Floyd backwards. The sound track deserves special mention, but I’ll get to that later…

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We were expecting a high turn-out for the lesbian community, but instead we had to share the Electric cinema with solo bearded men in those black fisherman coats and knitted hats like in The Life Aquatic. They all seemed to know each other. One of them let out a deep and longing sigh during a slow zoom between the legs of the dominatrix – a stunning bit of erotica cinematography.

Sitting in the Electric cinema in the middle of Birmingham is like sitting in a bomb shelter during the apocalypse. There’s no place I’d rather be. Especially since the streets are throbbing with hordes of weirdos that shout at bins, then there’s the breed of brummy that communicate with signs written in biro that say ‘I HATE TONY BLAIR’. Half of the pedestrians are riding mobility scooters! and one fag-chuffing couple were getting around town on a bicycle and buggy contraption. Both looked like they were suffering a very private and lonely hell, but at least they had each other. And Johnny Player Special.

Much like Strickland’s last film (Berberian Sound Studio) the audio aspects of the film are brought to the fore; the cat purring contentedly at the end of the bed, the snoring of a tired old dominatrix, the flight of a dusty moth, the clunk of a high heel…and it’s all underscored by a beautiful soundtrack from duo Cat’s Eyes. Half Horrors frontman Faris Badwan and half Canadian Soprano Rachel Zeffira. I first heard this pair when they released an album in 2011 – I liked it because it sounded different to the rest of the 60’s influenced pop copies, their focus was more on blackly choral tunes. Sweet and salty like I like my popcorn.

There is no way to adequately describe the Duke of Burgundy soundtrack so I’ll leave you with a couple of highlights.

20 Scores That Spring to Mind

Anton Karas ‘The Third Man’ – 1949

Bernard Herrmann ‘Psycho’ – 1960

Bernard Herrmann  ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ – 1963
Bernie scores twice in a row

John Barry ‘Zulu’ – 1964


Mikis Theodorakis ‘Zorba the Greek’ – 1964


Ennio Morricone ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ – 1968


Krzysztof Komeda ‘Rosemary’s baby’ – 1968


Roy Budd ‘Get Carter’ – 1971

Paul Giovanni ‘The Wicker Man’ – 1973

Gheorghe Zamfir ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ – 1975

John Williams ‘Jaws’ – 1975 

Bernard Herrmann ‘Taxi Driver’ – 1976
Bernie back for more

Giorgio Moroder ‘Midnight Express’ – 1978


Jerry Goldsmith ‘Alien’ – 1979
John Hurt crossover here with Midnight Express.


Ennio Morricone ‘The Thing’ – 1982
Deux points for Ennio for the original score to The Thing. All this time I thought John Carpenter did all the music.

Vangelis ‘Blade Runner’ – 1982
Ridley Scott scores again

Basil Poledouris ‘Conan’ – 1982
Basil also did Robocop and Starship Troopers


Roger Waters ‘Pink Floyd The Wall’ – 1982

Toto ‘Dune’ – 1984
Paul L. Smith (1936-2012) crossover with Midnight Express


Damon Albarn, Michael Nyman ‘Ravenous’ – 1999

The Dark Side of Classical Music

Not only is this the only side of classical music to pledge your allegiance to – it defies the trend of ugly, boring sexually repressed artwork of pretty much every classical album I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Danse macabre, Op.40 sets the mood with notes of Jonathon Creek and Modern Toss. Night on Bald Mountain engulfs the brain like a chip pan fire (features in Aliens when the face huggers get loose, when the xenomorphs use the air vents to ambush the marines, and when the Queen alien shows its bitch face). Toccato and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 – after the funeral violins it gets even more death march in Hades. Music for Strings – percussion and Celesta by Bela Bartok – THE SHINING – quite sure this was the main influence for Mica Levi’s soundtrack to Under the Skin too. Adagio for Strings (Platoon) perfection. There are lots more that I haven’t mentioned, and this is by no means a thorough examination, but I just wanted to get it out there and show off the brilliant artwork.

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