Leave it to the volks at Crippled Dick Hot Wax, who are known to traffic in the works of such horrifyingly impressive artists as Oxbow, to revive the sultry and sanguine recordings of Dutch composer Jerry Van Rooyen. The 18 cuts on At 250 Miles Per Hour were originally written and recorded by Van Rooyen for director Pier A. Caminneci's slinky, supernatural horrotica film, Necronomicon/Succubus, and follow-up race car adventure, How Short Is the Time for Love. Compositions that Van Rooyen recorded for director Ramon Comas' sexy spy thriller, Death on a Rainy Day, and director Freddie Francis' comedic The Vampire Happening are also included on this CD. All of the cuts are instrumental in nature, though of some melodic lines are sung on a tune or two. Van Rooyen's music has a strong jazz orchestral edge to it that often gives way to funk and late '60s pop flavors. The CD's second track, "The Great Bank Robbery" theme, from How Short Is the Time for Love, is an upbeat tune that bristles with suspenseful horn lines, a syncopated organ solo, lively bass, and nice drum work. It begins with a shake-your-booty funk feel and then concludes with some swing. "Death Walks in Heels," the album's sixth cut and one that was recorded for the film Necronomicon/Succubus, is a straight-ahead bebop number while track 17, "Lullaby in Bed," is a lush bossa nova full of strings and a subtle triangle line. Van Rooyen paid particular attention to including lots of interesting percussion timbres and parts in his songs. The somewhat X-rated CD booklet features a number of stills from some of the above-mentioned films and provides insightful biographical information about both Van Rooyen and those film directors with whom he collaborated. Van Rooyen was, before graduating into the realm of composing music for arty, X-rated flicks, an accomplished jazz and classical trumpeter who played with the Netherlands Symphonic Orchestra and such notable Dutch musicians as Ernst Van t'Hoff, Boyd Bachman, Bengt Hallberg, Ake Persson, and Lars Gullin. This dual sensibility, of both composer and musician, comes through is his music. His compositions are beautifully layered and well structured, though the musicians are often given room to improvise and really shine. A great CD, At 250 Miles Per Hour is as exhilarating as it is comically horrifying and steamy.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by John Vallier