Yochk'o Seffer

Funky Soundtracks, Vol. 1

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The soundtrack music created for various types of action films or television shows has proven to be like some kind of artifact of archaeology: not considered all that valuable when it was originally buried, but creating much interest once unearthed. Between the rapidly growing fandoms of soundtrack music and vintage funk, this series should be able to keep winding out volumes well into the future. Running out of good material is even doubtful, since there's almost as much of this music as there is action entertainment produced each year. Not every soundtrack is going to be genius; in fact, the actual water level seems more along the lines of functionally groovy. This is music created efficiently to fill a demand. Some of the soloists sound like they have their eyes shut when they are blowing; the producer surely had his wide open, staring at the time clock. Professional players are invariably called in to make sure the finished job is both quick and beefy, with the resulting musical efforts often contrasting sharply depending on what city's film scene produced them: New York, Los Angeles, Rome, London, and Paris are among the many options. The introductory set in this series spans the decade beginning in the mid-'60s, the music bearing the inescapable stamp of that era's creative tumult. Psychedelia, raw funk, and out jazz are just a few of the ingredients in the salad, but prepare for it to be mixed as if it was a bag of groceries that Detective Bullit ran over in a high-speed chase. Lalo Schifrin was the fellow responsible for that soundtrack, one of several Hollywood composers who was adept at utilizing both intense jazz and weird rock elements. Other creators of action music featured here include Quincy Jones, Les Baxter, and J.J. Johnson. Although not as big a name, Johnny Harris gets a bigger chunk of time, with more than five minutes building up a perfect background for a twisted, corrupt, fuzz box solo, a soundtrack excerpt from the forgotten film Fragments of Fear. With this type of music the compilation concept is preferable to investing in full soundtracks, even if one was able to find them. The superb, inventive sequencing and editing make these collections real winners. Speaking of which, this "funky" thing combines two previously released mini-LPs that were known as Funky Soundtracks and Funky Soundtracks 2, plus a couple of extra tracks.

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