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 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 1:26 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Let's discuss the onslaught of Les Baxter releases that has occurred over the past couple of years. I never thought I'd see so many of these get released, especially in such a short period of time.

So what are your thoughts? My four favorites would have to be, in no order:

House of Usher, Marco Polo, Sadismo, and Panic in Year Zero.

I choose these especially because they have never been previously available. (Master of the World is of course a true gem, but I've had it on LP for ages, so I was more excited to get stuff I didn't have).

But honestly, I love all of these and have spent serious time with all of them (except Beach Blanket Bingo, the one I didn't buy).

I wonder what's left in the warehouse?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 1:37 PM   
 By:   Robert0320   (Member)

My favorites: HOUSE OF USHER
BLACK SUNDAY
THE BEAST WITHIN
CRY OF THE BANSHEE

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 1:40 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

My favorites: HOUSE OF USHER
BLACK SUNDAY
THE BEAST WITHIN
CRY OF THE BANSHEE



Cry of the Banshee had a re-release/expansion? We can talk about it either way (I love that one too), but I wanted to specifically address the reissues from the specialty labels.

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 5:46 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Nervous Angular Longhair Jazz:

Panic in Year Zero

**************

So what are your thoughts?


What do you mean when you use the phrase "Longhair"?

I've sometimes heard a string quartet being described as 'longhair' at formal dinners/employer parties by someone implying 'intellectual' music, but Les Baxter's big band ensemble doesn't seem like a "serious" or "heavy-going" score to me.

I rather feel his jazzy music was not the most satisfacory way to approach the story, and it really makes the film seem older than it actually is. [well, you asked for our thoughts. smile ]

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 5:51 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Nervous Angular Longhair Jazz:

Panic in Year Zero

**************

So what are your thoughts?


What do you mean when you use the phrase "Longhair"?

I've sometimes heard a string quartet being described as 'longhair' at formal dinners/employer parties by someone implying 'intellectual' music, but Les Baxter's big band ensemble doesn't seem like a "serious" or "heavy-going" score to me.

I rather feel his jazzy music was not the most satisfacory way to approach the story, and it really makes the film seem older than it actually is. [well, you asked for our thoughts. smile ]


Maybe you are lucky and haven't heard any square big band music, so you may have had no idea that lots of mid-century film/TV jazz has a 20th-Century Stravinsky-esque longhair approach.

Here is more information. I stand by my description:

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=39461&forumID=1&archive=1

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 5:59 PM   
 By:   Josh   (Member)

Nervous Angular Longhair Jazz:

Panic in Year Zero

**************

So what are your thoughts?

What do you mean when you use the phrase "Longhair"?



I took it to mean something like "progressive, rebellious, anti-establishment, etc."

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 6:15 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Yes, I see what you mean now.

The impressions I get when I listen to "Panic In Year Zero" was that it could accompany "The Wild One" or a "Baby Doll".
Baxter's score seems more mid-'50s straight drama to me than a 1962 "disaster"-type movie about a nuclear accident aftermath. But it's still in the pre-Beatles neighborhood! smile

As for square big band, I think I've only heard Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey.
I figure you mean "square" in the sense that the music is meant for dancing and singing, whereas "longhair" refelcts various emotional states not typically expressed in popular music (more "downers" than "uppers").

On another tangent, I'd seen the 1970 film "No Blade Of Grass" one day and was struck by its similarities to "Panic In Year Zero". Yet, "No Blade Of Grass" credits a novel by John Christopher as its source, while "Panic" does not indicate any novel as its source, only Jay Simms as screenplay writer.
Wonder if "Panic" was based upon a novel?

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 6:24 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Maybe you are lucky and haven't heard any square big band music, so you may have had no idea that lots of mid-century film/TV jazz has a 20th-Century Stravinsky-esque longhair approach.


Yeah, I agree that Elmer Bernstein's jazzy scores can be very much Stravinsky-esque.

Perhaps I'm more accustomed to 'apocalyptic' scores being like "Lady In A Cage" by Paul Glass and Meyer Kupferman's "Blast Of Silence" that Baxter's "Panic" just seems more "square" to me by way of comparison...

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 7:38 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I will certainly concede that the nervous/angular/longhair stuff falls at different places on the spectrum. What "Panic" shares in common with that genre has less to do with its overtly jazzy cues than it does with some of the moodier, ambiguous underscore. Not every track has that sound, but enough have that sound to earn it a place in my nervous/angular/longhair section.

But we digress.

I really wanted to talk about the scores rather than my idiosyncratic filing system. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 10:29 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Wonder if "Panic" was based upon a novel?

As far as I can tell, "Panic In Year Zero!" was an original screenplay by Jay Simms and John Morton, from a story by Jay Simms.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 3, 2013 - 7:15 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Updating the list:

Exotica:

Master of the World/Barbarian
Cervantes
Sadismo
Marco Polo

Groovy/Now Sound:

Hell's Belles
The Dunwich Horror (This could be classified as "horror" but 70s decadence trumps horror content)
Bora Bora (This could be classified as "exotica" but 70s decadence trumps exotic content)

Horror/Gothic/Macabre:

The Beast Within (This could be classified as 80s synth cheese)
House of Usher
Black Sunday (expanded)
X/Morella
Black Sabbath (One of the scores has nervous angular longhair qualities)
The Raven/An Evening with Poe

Nervous Angular Longhair Jazz:

Panic in Year Zero

Other:

Beach Blanket Bingo
Comedy of Terrors

(I didn't buy these last two.)

Every October, in preparation for Halloween, I pull out the horror/gothic scores. "House of Usher" and "Black Sunday" are both so amazing. I love range and shifting of the colors and textures.

 
 Posted:   Oct 3, 2013 - 8:46 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

I have all of those except for The Beast Within which I don't like at all.
My most played Baxter, by far, is Kritzerland's Black Sunday.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2013 - 4:48 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I have all of those except for The Beast Within which I don't like at all.
My most played Baxter, by far, is Kritzerland's Black Sunday.


Black Sunday is a favorite. It's only flaw is that in two instances they indexed some godawful oompah music in the same tracks as underscore. I really need to burn a revised CD. The pizzacato string music directly after the oompah dreck is absolutely brilliant.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2013 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

These are some of my favorites of his, sadly some are not available on cd's---------Macabre-58-Master of the world-61-The pit and the pendulum-61-Tales of terror-62-X the man with the x ray eyes-63-Bora Bora--68-The Dunwich horror-70-

 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2013 - 5:12 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Black Sunday is a favorite. It's only flaw is that in two instances they indexed some godawful oompah music in the same tracks as underscore. I really need to burn a revised CD. The pizzacato string music directly after the oompah dreck is absolutely brilliant.


Yes, I spent a bit of time doing some editing of my own on that.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 4, 2013 - 5:34 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I hate it when source cues are indexed with underscore.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 6, 2013 - 4:45 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Les Baxter can be very hit or miss for me. I love so many PARTS of most of his scores, but there's quite often some excrutiating silliness popping up when least wanted. And I never really warmed to either SADISMO or THE DUNWICH HORROR, to name but two lack-lustre efforts with great moments.

Having said that, (FALL OF THE) HOUSE OF USHER was a dream come true. A holy grail long-thought lost, suddenly released by Intrada. It's one of the few occasions where a score I'd wanted for nearly forty years turned out to be as good as I'd hoped all the way through. A magnificent piece of work.

PIT AND THE PENDULUM is the other Baxter score which I would deem "masterpiece". Could a miracle happen with that as it did with USHER?

I've got this daft rating system going around in my head all the time. Keeps me from sleeping. On a scale of 1 to 10, Les Baxter has two 10s (USHER and PIT). About another five or six scores range between a 6 and an 8. But there are an awful lot of 5s and 4s too.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 6, 2013 - 7:47 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



I've got this daft rating system going around in my head all the time. Keeps me from sleeping. On a scale of 1 to 10, Les Baxter has two 10s (USHER and PIT). About another five or six scores range between a 6 and an 8. But there are an awful lot of 5s and 4s too.


Well, he was cranking out a lot of low budget films on very short notice, so you've got to take that into account.

I think Dunwich and Sadismo are brilliant, but that's just me.

Graham, are you familiar with his exotica albums? I think those are the artistic highlight of his career, along with select scores like "Usher."

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 6, 2013 - 10:33 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Onya, I'm "familiar" with Baxter's exotica albums in the sense that I've heard them in imperfect conditions (Grooveshark, YouTube, my brother's house - he's a fan and has a number of them), but I was never so bowled over by them that I actually spent any money on them!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2013 - 7:18 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Just thinking about the Baxter exotica albums I've heard (but don't own)... I seem to recall that one of the themes from BLACK SABBATH appeared on a non-film score album of the composer's. Anyone care to enlighten me as to the name of the Baxter album and the track title? And which came first, the film or the exotica track? I might have just been dreaming it all of course, so you could maybe confirm that too if it's the case.

 
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