ESR MONTHLY A music capsule delivered by ESR
A music capsule delivered by ESR
Hope everyone is doing good and enjoying the long due return to dancefloors.
Speaking of returns, here's ESR Monthly getting to your inbox again after a 2-month hiatus mostly caused by constantly getting busy with too much stuff — sometimes way more than 4 hands can handle.
We couldn't be happier with the edition you're reading today, written by a good friend: José Santiago.
We hope you enjoy it just as much.
About the Editor
José Santiago is an unconditional movie and music buff and loves to share his passions with the rest of us. He's a serious movie collector and spreads the love by curating “movie experiences” regularly. We was also a radio host at RUC for little over a decade, dabbling on hip-hop and adjacent electronics.
What follows is a perfect intro to some of the passions of José Santiago in the form of three stories about music, movies, people and everything in between.
That shit's giving me the creeps
I’ve never been much of an Halloween kind of guy. In fact, I hate wearing costumes and talking to everyone wearing one. So, imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I find myself anxiously waiting for the season and calling it the most wonderful time of the year. I imagine it might have something to do with sharing.
To make a long story short, Halloween gives me an excuse to talk about the horror movies I love with people who, at the very least, pretend to also enjoy them just to zeitgeist their way through October. It also gives me the chance to try and blow some of your minds by introducing the composer that scared me shitless - Fabio Frizzi.
The 1970s and 1980s were the golden age of European exploitation, trying to stand on the shoulders of Hollywood giants by ripping them off in concept, but always, always, elevating the shock level up to 11. Frizzi made a career out of spaghetti westerns and horror movies, excelling in the latter genre. His surgical simplicity is efficiently impeccable and as a result the hairs on your neck will be left in a standing ovation.
Of course, I might be exaggerating, but you won’t know it unless you try it. Bassy synths mixed with haunting lyrical vocals are his trademark, sometimes a carefully spaced beat is all he needs to pull off the sinister tapestry that will intensify nearly every on-screen madness he’s usually associated with. Give Morricone a break and trick John Carpenter out of his pedestal. Give Fabio Frizzi a try.
Should I dance or run for my life?
The year was 2011 and I was at the height of my college radio days, probably searching for something to include into one of my shows. Suddenly, and serendipitously, an article came up on some movie blog, telling of this weird new guy, calling himself Umberto, making music for films which did not exist. What fresh new hell is this?
From his name alone I knew he had the right references. Umberto comes from Umberto Lenzi, one of the shock masters of exploitation cinema, known for cannibal movies and psycho-sexual thrillers. But what about his music? Well, his music is just as advertised, an electronic soundtrack-inspired extravaganza, which was as evocative as club bound. As luck would have it, Matt (I later found out his real name is Matt Hill) was going on an european tour and I had to snag him for a show in Coimbra, Portugal. At the time he shared the stage with Portuguese “witch house” (whatever that was) band Veils and Porto’s own Ghuna X.
His act was so remarkable, I repeated the offence and booked him again a couple of years later, this time with no supporting artists - he didn’t need those. It’s hard to explain when a sound leaves you guessing: do you just groove to it or go full method actor to the film you’re not a part of. Fast forward to 2021 and Matt has gained quite a reputation, being asked to score live screenings and sometimes releasing those as full blown albums. He most recently composed the soundtrack for “Archenemy”, a neon-fueled, fast-paced version of Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable”, produced by Elijah Wood (a horror god) and photographed by Halyna Hutchins, who recently passed on set after a shooting accident. Rest in peace, Halyna.
Nostalgia is something to fuck with
Adrian Younge is a scholar, a cool scholar, but one nonetheless. To know his work is to take a time machine and ride through the fabric of music history, but to see him in action is a spectacle in itself. As a producer, his sample game comes to me as a breath of fresh air, not from the sources, as these abound, but from the choices he then stitches into joyous pieces of new nostalgia.
One of his most curious creations comes under the form of a concept album, made in partnership with none other than Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah - Twelve Reasons to Die. The record’s story takes place in 1960s Italy, where Tony Starks (our main character) gets murdered by his crime lord boss, Mr. DeLuca, after finding out he is having an affair with his daughter. He is then cremated and his ashes pressed into twelve LPs that, when played, resurrect him as The Ghostface Killah, a vengeful force ready to whoop ass.
You see? This is what happens when you put together 2 nerds with a knack for music, a brilliantly executed album inspired by Marvel Comics, Dario Argento movies and Ennio Morricone’s take on soundtracks. Did I say 2 nerds? Excuse me, 3. Yes, the RZA serves as the narrator to the whole event and MCs the revenge tale as an omniscient being who might have had a finger in the supernatural carnage. The visual companions to the record are also masterfully crafted, mimicking a Mario Bava aesthetic through music videos and a comic book companion piece. If you’re into high concept albums and some damn fine hip-hop, then this one’s for you.
They should make a musical out of this one.
Hope you enjoyed this return of ESR Monthly.
At East Side Radio we're currently on momentary radio silence, while we take the time to finish building our studio. We're very excited about this move as it's due for a long time and will allow us to grow and do a lot more than we did in the first 3 years of ESR.
Now go back to the dancefloor.
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