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Soundtrack Review

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Golem 202020
Music Inspired by the Film of Paul Wegener


Composer: Stearica
Label: Monotreme Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 19 March 2021

Monotreme Records releases Golem 202020, a 10-track ‘recording synthesis’ created by Italian Avant/Post/Progressive Rock band Stearica for the classic silent horror film Der Golem: wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem: How He Came into the World). Stearica consists of Francesco Carlucci on guitars, synths, milltone drums, and additional sounds; Davide Compagnoni on drums, wood and metal percussions, and loops; Luca Paiardi on bass, synth and kalimba; plus special guest Nazzarena Galassi on vocals. The soundtrack was commissioned by The Italian National Museum of Cinema and the Traffic Free Festival, and performed in the museum’s cinema as a live score to the film – as part of the MiTo Settembre Musica in September 2011. The tracks were recorded live in 2014 during a studio session to preserve the work, and further embellishments added in 2019. The album is available for download and on limited edition vinyl...

'The Stars Reveal (an impending calamity)' is up first, which has an atmospheric keyboard introduction and light, flickering guitar effects. There is a rumbling of anticipation. 'How He Came Into The World (shaping his soul like clay)' is the best of the bunch. A thundering bass and percussion is played over by a nice trebly guitar and simple drum beat. The sound builds and widens. You connect with this immediately. The basic theme holds court, but everything else evolves around it, so that the seven minutes-plus passes in no time. It’s rather hypnotic and spellbinding… Talking of which, 'The Great Spell (the invocation of Astaroth)' is a full band sound which is both in your face and at times distant and reverb-enveloped. I love the bits of original percussion and guitar sound effects which come and go around the psychedelic tune itself.

'The Shem (Golem comes to life)' has percussion and low keyboard sounds resonate. Clicking drumsticks herald a sudden great Rock riff whilst never straying from the soundtrack format. A great heavy rhythm which floats off into the ether. 'A Strange Servant (Golem’s first errand)' begins as a repeated ringing. Accompanying sound effects makes-up the tentative atmospheric keys. Rumbling and light touches signifies as tentative or curious emotion. 'The Rose Festival - Part 1 (the sad scent of a different flower)' employs a heartbeat bass played with by a ringing guitar. Drums gradually built into a nice beat which takes prominence over the guitar and keyboard atmospherics. But it just as quickly dies. The track then turns into a Prog Rock and Jazz psychedelic combination. 'The Rose Festival - Part 2 (save me and I will pardon your people)' has a tentative intro which evolves into an all-out repeated theme with constant changes to the format.

'Rejoice Ye, Ye (the sound of the Shofar)' starts off as a Pagan clattering beat that soon gets dragged into a 21st Century produced sound. Bass guitar has various other sounds jump out at it. Wah-wah guitar comes and goes, as do keyboards, a wave synthesiser and other surprises. There is more going on here than you first realise. 'In Flames (the fire spell)' is a somewhat ritualistic gathering of ringing guitar and drums. I can envisage people dancing to this at an all-night club in Camden. The whole rushes away, as if blown by a hurricane, leaving only bell noises. We conclude with 'Der Golem (the Angels theme)'. An insect buzzing and otherworldly soundscapes invite in a distant echoed voice which abruptly comes to the fore, with touches of acoustic guitar to counter the tinkling keys.

As a lover of horror films you won’t find it surprising when I say I’ve seen the 1920 silent classic Der Golem a number of times over the years – the most recent occasion being when I reviewed a new 4K restoration Blu-ray copy in 2019. On that edition there was three choices of soundtrack, but this one as a standalone music score cannot be faulted for its originality. It proves – as it has before with groups like Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream – that bands can often produce some of the best and innovative scores. I Am Vengeance, by Greenhaus is another good example. Golem 202020 is a pleasant and exciting listening experience.


Ty Power

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