Melbourne Town Hall concert & ACMI live score to Suspiria
published in The Wire No.349, London, 2013
(Excerpt only currently online)
Having seen Dario Argento’s Deep Red in Melbourne upon its initial cinema release, I would never have imagined I’d be seeing that film’s composers – the Italian Prog Rock band Goblin – playing live in the same city 36 years later. Deep Red was originally screened here with an augmented PA system to boost volume levels and add bass (an idea cribbed from Ken Russell’s Tommy a few years earlier). Argento was turned on to the phenomenal spectacle of loud live rock in the mid-70s, leading him to switch his score allegiance from Morricone to Goblin.
With the two films Goblin scored for Argento shortly thereafter – Deep Red (1975) and Suspiria (1977) – the band fortuitously left Italianate chisel marks in the history of film music. This was widely ignored by rock culture at the time (they weren’t a ‘real band’ – plus they were presumed Italian copyists), and proportionately derided by contemporaneous film culture (who deplored Argento sexing-up Hitchcock’s masterful thrillers). Yet those early scores evidence a magnificent Roman footprint which solidified how rock and film could be forced together to generate a violently unfitting audiovision. In the process they re-aligned the classicism of film scoring with the cultural changes that impacted recorded music since the post-war period.