August 27, 2013
Sometimes you can’t tell a book from its cover and this is certainly the case with this new release Killer Crocodile from Kronos records. Riz Ortolani, composer of over 200 films and best known for his Oscar nominated Mondo Cane (1962), composes some downright creepy tracks. Killer Crocodile (1989) has a cast that features Van Johnson and Anthony Crenna (son of Richard Crenna) and tells the story of toxic waste gone awry in our environment creating the monster beast. I won’t go into the story as we’re interested in the soundtrack. A word of urgency!!! This is a limited edition of only 500 units and with sales going well act soon or you’ll miss out. I’ll be identifying by track number only as descriptions were not provided as well as press release note information.
The opening track is long lower register string notes that set an ominous scene, simple but effective. The second track begins as the first one did but part way through a variation of the Dies Irae theme is introduced in a pounding pulsating fashion with staccato chords and growling from the orchestra before it returns to the opening chords of the first track. Without having seen the film I’m assuming that this is some sort of a motif for the crocodile. The third track is slow tempo and dirge like with minor chords from the lower register giving way to depressing upper register strings and becoming harmony in the background. This orchestration is repeated in other tracks and gives this feeling of impending doom. Track six is a jazz one upbeat featuring synthesizer with steady beat. Midway through a muted trumpet is featured reminding me of something Miles Davis could have played. Track 8 is similar to six except the tempo leans more to a soft rock theme. Track 9 and 10 are a return to track 3 with the Dies Irae variation in the background played against strings offering a melody against harmony from the lower string sections. Track 10 offers some urgency from the strings before it returns to the theme. Track 11 is acoustic guitar offering a simple melody with nice harmony, a complete 180 from the other music that has been heard so far. Tracks 15 and 16 are from the romantic side of Ortolani giving that feeling of amour. Both are the same theme but there are variations of the melody. There is a nice flute as well as bassoon solo.
This release got my attention because of the title Killer Crocodiles composed by Ortolani. Repeated listens and some track shuffling made for an interesting listen. Look for more Ortolani releases in the future. This release is available through your usual outlets.