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Monday, June 12, 2006

CD REVIEW - Abominable

Music by Lalo Schifrin
Aleph Records 036 (U.S.)
21 Tracks 61:28 mins

When you're a first-time feature director, it must be a wonderful thing to be able to call upon your father to score your film for you - particularly when your father happens to be a renowned composer of film and TV scores over many decades, working in just about every genre one can think of. Such was the case with Ryan Schifrin, who, over the years sat in on his father's scoring sessions - his father of course being the great Lalo Schifrin.
Ryan's film breaks with traditions, in that most films featuring legendary creature Bigfoot have depicted it as a friendly sort, but for Abominable we have a creature of a very different nature, terrorising a man trapped in a remote mountain cabin.
For the score, father Lalo could call upon the services of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, and came up with a good old fashioned symphonic score, albeit enhanced somewhat by Ruy Folguera's electronics. The result, I'm glad to say, preserved on this latest release from Schifrin's label Aleph, is a truly terrifying score, far removed from some of the composer's more recent assignments. There are no memorable themes here - just solidly eerie, suspenseful and frightening music, with much building threat and powerful action, and particularly fine writing for strings at their most dissonant. The odd tender moments are very few and far between, with just a couple of tracks adding real lightness - the first, and concluding track of the score proper, being the '50s styled ballad "One Blade of Grass," written by Roy Bennet and Sid Trepper, and sung by Pat Windsor Mitchell; the second, the first of three bonus tracks at the end of the disc. "Girls Next Door" trips lightly along on piano and is in refreshing contrast to all that's gone before.
The accompanying foldout sleeve incorporates an introduction from the director, notes on the film and score by Nick Redman, storyboard artwork and a still from the recording sessions.
If you're a long-time fan of the horror genre, I would suggest you snap this one up. Not that there aren't new symphonic horror scores being composed these days, but there are few that can match the extra polish and class that a true Hollywood great can bring to such a project.


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