Soundtrack fatigue hit me a few years ago. The classic scores I listened to were growing far too familiar and the new stuff that was accompanying contemporary films was a bit of a bore (with a few exceptions, of course). So, I took a break from listening to scores when I worked, or cleaned the house, or when I was entertaining guests – more or less the time when I do listen to soundtracks.
Then something happened. For my birthday one year, I was given a copy of Mondo‘s record for Jay Chattaway’s Maniac soundtrack. Mondo made a big deal of it, pressing the score on clear vinyl dyed in blood red. The only problem: I didn’t have a record player. Maniac became a cool collectible. Something to place on a shelf and for people to talk about because the sleeve art by Ken Taylor captured the eye (a whole other reason to own the record, too!). Then a record player entered my home and that soundtrack fatigue started to shift.
A bit of history about myself should be said here before I go on: I don’t collect that much anymore. That doesn’t make me any less of a “fan” of horror. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of “wanting” when I hit the show floor of Comic-Con and see a cool statue or toy. I just can’t let it consume me like it once did – and perhaps that’s an entirely different editorial I should get off of my chest.
But this record thing? Whoa, baby. I haven’t quite become a monster about it just yet, but I’m enjoying where my love affair with vinyl is going.
Maniac kicked it off, that’s for sure. And then I was introduced to Death Waltz Records aka “the enemy” aka “the destroyer of my wallet” (I say this lovingly and Spencer at Death Waltz knows this). I’m still discovering the scores Death Waltz has released out of the UK. (Most recently, I picked up Escape from New York only to find it’s a version of the soundtrack I’ve never heard before.) They’re output has been amazing. Their presentation increasingly impeccable. Just check out what they did with The Fog and Rob’s score to the Maniac remake and tell me I’m wrong.
Mondo’s presentations have been killer as well, but harder to get a hold of. I didn’t remember the score for Deadly Spawn, so I avoided it (although I might get it based on sleeve art alone and for curiosity’s-sake), and Poltergeist and Drive slipped out of my grasp, but I’ll track them down some day.
And now there’s a new kid on the vinyl block called Waxwork Records. They just released Re-Animator, a score played out to death in my household, but I bought it anyway and fell in love. Pressed on green vinyl with sleeve art by genre fave Gary Pullin, it’s a must-have, and I’m looking forward to what they do with the Day of the Dead soundtrack, too.
But why the renewed fascination in scores? What’s making these presentations “pop” to me? I’m still getting a grasp on it, but I’m an art fiend and I love the sleeve art accompanying these presentations. I love the way the records are pressed. Accessibility and commitment plays a part. I like the process that comes with playing a record. You’re locked in to listening to this whole thing as opposed to exploring what your iPod will offer on “shuffle.” Yes, I know I can commit to a score via iPod, still, the sound vinyl offers is appealing as well. It’s likely a nostalgia thing, because I did own a record player as a kid. I like the warmth that comes with the sound of vinyl, if that makes a lick of sense. Listening to scores I’ve obsessed over in my upbringing on vinyl is a new experience and it’s driving me out to find more.
It’s become an adventure. A trip to Amoeba in Hollywood or any small record shop becomes a reward. Well, sometimes. The aforementioned companies re-releasing soundtracks are phenomenal, but there’s a exhilaration that comes to me now when I find a vintage vinyl for a score. And if it’s cheap, that’s a win in my book. Just the other day I was at a shop on Franklin near the UCB theater and found Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack to Damien: Omen II. I love this score. More than the first Omen‘s score, probably. And for seven bucks? Are you kidding me? Other “finds”? Psycho II, The Witches of Eastwick, The Black Hole…
This is what I’m currently going through. Not just a renewed sense of excitement over soundtracks, but the “collector” in me is struggling to come to the surface. At some point, I’m going to need a shelf for these records and that scares me. Until then, I’ll going to ride this wave of aural horrors and keep fetishizing the experience via my Instagram videos and photos.