Darren Allison / Cinema Retro (UK) – Luigi Porto’s Scimmie – anything but monkey business…
Since I first joined forces with Cineploit, an Austrian record label that has been committed to the Italian Giallo films of the 70s and 80s; they have never failed to surprise. Their latest release Luigi Porto’s Scimmie (due September 8th) marks something of a departure for the label. In essence, it’s a modern score. L’Apocalisse Delle Scimmie is a 2012 film from Italian director Romano Scavolini – a director / cinematographer who has been around since the late 50s. However, Scavolini is perhaps best known for his 1981 slasher movie Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (aka Nightmare). The film gained certain notoriety among horror fans when it was banned in the UK as a video nasty which saw its distributor serving 18 months in prison for refusing to edit out one second of a violent scene.
For the purposes of Luigi Porto’s CD soundtrack, the title has been simplified to just Scimmie. Porto’s score is incredibly avant-garde in its delivery, almost experimental at stages. But there are some particularly haunting, atmospheric and dare I say familiar moments. Its opening track for instance, contains some eerie lone piano notes, a motif which instantly transported me to the glorious Stanley Myers score, Sitting Target (1971). Porto layers the track with delicate wordless vocals, a curious mix of static, monkey cries and an addictive percussion back beat – all of which transpires into an eclectic and yet quite beautiful introduction. There are of course darker moments which hint of Porto’s love of classic Giallo and its influences. The music is clearly (and unashamedly) unsettling, so don’t expect any form of flowing continuity. On their initial meeting, director Scavolini explained to Porto, ‘I don’t want film music […] create a sort of “pain symphony” something that continues even if the film stops, a music that doesn’t care’. A symphony is arguably the most apt description of Porto’s composition, there is something quite irresistible about it, and certainly never fails to hold the listeners attention. To use a somewhat redundant term, it is a fine example of ‘Musique concrete’, and Porto resurrects it extraordinarily well. On my initial listening, it left me a little bewildered, even puzzled by its irrational changing styles and directions. Yet, by the second and third play, the journey started to become smoother – almost as if a pattern or form was taking shape. If you are open minded enough and prepared to be embraced by the experience, Scimmie is something of a psychedelic ride. Initially, it may appear to be somewhat unwelcoming, but if you’re prepared to go the distance and perhaps take it around the track a few additional times, you may just find yourself in a very comfortable seat that you won’t want to give up easily…
George Pacheco / Boston Examiner USA
Austria’s Cineploit Records have carved out a positive reputation in recent years for their dedication to the music and culture of Italian genre cinema, specifically from the 1970s and 80s. The label’s most recent release represents a bit of a shift, however, a modern soundtrack release for the 2012 film L’Apocalisse Delle Scimmie from Fiume native director Romano Scavolini, most known for his 1981 horror opus Nightmares in a Damaged Brain. Luigi Porto composed the score-shortened here simply to Scimmie for its CD release-for Scavolini’s film, and brings with him an avant-garde sensibility which takes influence from the tense and suspenseful giallo scores of old, while adapting that classic Italian soundtrack style with a most of darker, modern extremes. There’s a bit of influence from the musique concrete movement of recorded sound, as well as a host of atmospheric and, at times, startling vocal performances from man, woman and monkey, a host of which adorn the album’s striking red cover art. There’s even a track featuring hip hop artist Mr. Death, who raps over the track “Distaste II” to a subtle strings and a down-tempo beat. Elsewhere, the use of those strings close out the score in a suitably dark fashion, while wordless female vocals strike the perfect, balanced chord to set up Luigi Porto’s ScimmIe as a great, uniting force between Italian score sounds of old with a smart, focused vision of the new.
Marcus Stiglegger / Deadline Magazin Deutschland
Aus Wien beehrte uns das Cineploit-Label mit der Veröffentlichung seines ersten Originalfilmsoundtracks (nach einer Reihe von Filmhommagen): Luigi Portos »Scimmie« ist die Filmmusik zu Romano Scavolinis neuem Film L’A P O C A L I S S E D E L L E S C I M M I E. Dieser Film des italienischen Kultregisseurs (Spirits oft he Dead, Nghtmare of a damgaed brain) präsentiert John Philip Law in seiner letzten Filmrolle. Porto, der Komponist, ist ein ausgebildeter Sounddesigner mit einem Portfolio von über 15 interna-tionalen Filmmusiken. Die Musik zu SC I M M I E war offenbar ein schmerzhafter kreativer Prozess, der sich über Jahre und in stetiger Auseinandersetzung mit dem Regisseur hinzog. Das Ergebnis trägt diesem Prozess deutlich Rechnung: Die Komposition ist komplex, herausfordernd, packend und hochgra-dig emotional. Ein stilistisches wie atmosphärisches Wechselbad, basierend auf orchestralen Einspielungen, die in einem langen Prozess durch Sampling und Dubbing weiterentwickelt wurden. Scavolini forderte von Porto eine »Schmerz-Sinfonie« – und das bekam er. Portos Kunst bewegt sich auf den Spuren des frühen, experimentellen Ennio Morricone und bewahrt doch sorgsam eine Modernität und Eigenständigkeit, die man etwa bei seinem italienischen Kollegen Teho Teardo findet. Die schwere Vinylscheibe glänzt u.a. durch die Covergestaltung des Malers Vittorio Bruni. Ein Gesamtwerk von großer Schönheit und Morbidität.