Re: Planet of the Vampires

From Nicholas D. Kent
Sent Wed, Dec 17th 1997, 08:39

I> In the 50s and 60s, sci-fi and electronics was limited to primitive
> oscillators, test equipment, occasional synthesis, and theremins. The
> most famous of the all-electronic scores is definitely Forbidden Planet.
> Mostly, however, the electronics was restricted to special effects. Some
> films like Marooned didn't have a regular score, relying on eerie
> electronic sounds. But the first really musical electronic score I can
> think of is Carlos's "A Clockwork Orange".

Of a major feature, I'd agree.

 Though there are many examples of shorts and experimental films. Oskar
Sala's early 60s scores are very impressive. He mixed processed tape
sounds with Mixtur Trautonium. IMHO they have a much wider range of tone
colors than is classical oriented work. (I have a bunch on a Wergo LP)
He also worked with Bernard Herrmann on Hitchcock's "The Birds", but
it's not a score in the normal sense. 

Another unusual bit of early "synthesis" was Norman McLaren's 1950s
scores produced by photographing drawings of waves onto the optical
track. I think the concept was originated by some Russians in the 30s.

> does this date compare with Raymond Scott? His largely 
> electromechanical 10x30 foot synth was sequencing for Warner Bros 
> cartoons before this I think.

popular misconception. Carl Stalling did the Warner Cartoons. He loved
to quote melodies and working he was able to license material that
struck his fancy. He licensed much of Scott's 1930s song catalog.

Trivia: Stalling came to L.A. with Disney from Kansas City back in the
20s. Also along from Kansas City came Harman, Ising and young Friz
Freleng, who made up the creative core of early 30s Warner (which wasn't
even owned by the Warner Bros. the WB animation studio was a subcontract
deal until the 1940s)

I think we'd all have spotted it if Warner cartoons had sequenced

Scott did do some TV commercials in the 50s. The only commercially
released sequenced material by Scott are the 3 volumes of Soothing
Sounds for Baby, now on CD on the Dutch label Basta. (and the Keyboard
Mag Flexi at the wrong speed)

> .......was the Carlos score actually released on the movie? I thought there
> was a lot of grief about actually using an orchestra in the end.

Yes, pick up the not so good Warner CD. (The Columbia LP which is just
Carlos is perfered).

My understanding the story goes:

Carlos already had Beethoven's 9th "Ode to Joy" recorded for a new

Kubrick, who needed something like that was put in touch with Carlos.

Carlos did some more tracks specifically for the film (the arranged
Purcell for the openning and thw William Tell sex scene, both of which
were used)

It seems Carlos kept on doing more tracks. I don't believe Kubrick
requested any of the others. They weren't used. 

Kubrick is known for using material from his huge record collection in
place of original scores --if the composed score doesn't better whatever
album he has in mind. Take for example the half finished Elemer
Bernstein score for 2001 and the approx 7 hours of rejected Carlos
material for The Shining (like 5 minutes were used, most of what was
rejected was an orchestra, while what was used was Moog and vocoder).

BTW "Full Metal Jacket" was his daughter composing on a Synclavier. The
Drill Sargent in the openning was edited on the Synclavier too.

> Back to horror movies: Any idea what synths John Carpenter used in scoring
> his movies?  "Halloween" makes use of some sort of polyphonic - what would
> it be? Oberheim?  Also, "The Thing" sounds like it could be using a Prophet
> 5.  Anyone have any info?

Definitely Prophet 5. I knew this when I first touched a Prophet, maybe
'83. Imediately felt that Carpenter/Howarth vibe.


I have my doubts on hearing much E-Music in 60s porn movies unless you
count organs.


> Movement was used by the Human League I think. This had analogue and
> digital sounds, each with separate trigger ins, audio outs, tune, decay. It
> was big and wooden with a grey computer keyboard. It could be hooked upto a
> green screen monitor for sequencing.

You can see one on the table next to the cows in the Eurythmics "Sweet
Dreams" video.

talking about old videos, there's a music video to "Chariots of Fire"--
it seems Vangelis is using a Arp 2500 modular as a prop (since he wasn't
supposed to own one and isn't seen playing it). You do catch him playing
a PS3300, though I don't hear much of it on the theme. At least he plays
piano and tympani.

Vangelis did a sex movie score, "Sex Power", circa 1970. Before he had
synths. The one and only electronic lead instrument I can hear in it I
suspect is a Clavioline. Can anyone confirm?  He apparently didn't own a
synth until 1974 when he bought a MiniKorg.

This leads me to a good question. What is the lead synth (horn type
sound) he's playing on the main part of "Heaven & Hell" (Cosmos theme)
and "So Long Ago, So Clear" (Jon Anderson) ?

MiniKorg? It seems real articulate, he had piles of keyboards but only a
couple synths back then. Doubt it's an SH-2000. By the next year ('76)
he had a Pro-Soloist.