NUIT AMERICHÈN – Angelo Talocci

Original Review by Alan RogersNuit Americhen

An independent film-maker is hired to shoot a promotional video in an abandoned mansion. But what he actually wants to do is to use the eerie location in a key scene for his no-budget, English language slasher-horror movie. To get the best performances from his actors he puts them in realistic situations but the line between fact and fiction begins to blur for everyone when we realise that there’s a serial killer loose within the house. This is the story to Italian director Federico Greco’s horror-comedy short film, Nuit Americhèn. Veteran Italian composer Angelo Talocci (whose music for thriller Report 51 featured in a release from MovieScore Media earlier this year) provides appropriately eclectic music for a score that turn out to be quite a little gem. Just as Greco’s film contains a number of typical horror movie elements – an abandoned house, a secret cellar, serial killers, vulnerable screaming women, etc. – Talocci’s score is full of devices and motifs commonly heard in horror scores: odd rhythms, sudden stingers, string and brass glissandi, wordless solo and massed voices, blaring brass and music-box lullabies, etc.. And what the composer manages to do expertly is meld all these fragmented elements into one cohesive whole that’s quite spellbinding.

The score begins with an urgent strings-based title theme, “Nuit Americhèn“, which is punctuated by regular brass calls and a creepy choral fragment. It’s an attention-grabbing start to a score that, for the most part, doesn’t retain such a melodic episode again. Next up is “Nuit Cantina Interno”, the longest cue on the album, which showcases most of the various elements heard throughout the entire score; the familiar horror score devices. Fragments of a number of these musical devices are heard in quick succession: low guttural woodwinds, Hermannesque string chords, brass and string glissandi, and pizzicato strings all take their turn in the spotlight. As well as these brief musical fragments, hints of more thematic material surface for a moment only to disappear as quickly as they appear: a faintly comedic Vic Mizzy-like hammered dulcimer motif, a lovely bassoon solo passage, etc. On paper all these various parts could make for a disjointed listen but it all comes across as a coherent piece and the collection of all the various elements lead to an overall sense of unease to the music. This melding of fragments and motifs is something that is repeated several times in the score, most notably in tracks such as “Nuit Cantina Scena” and “Nuit Duello” where we hear blaring brass, savage strings and pounding piano chords that sit comfortably alongside a lovely music-box melody then a contemporary drum kit rhythm (“Nuit Cantina Scena”) or the returning music box motif mixes with a Scream-like female solo voice, guttural brass chords, string ostinato and drum kit rhythms (“Nuit Duello”). In contrast, “Nuit Entrata Cantina” features a beautiful pastoral melody for solo woodwind that sounds a bit at odds with the rest of the score because of its simple melodic line. This soft melody is then replaced with some playful brass phrases before a sickening descending brass glissandi concludes the track and reminds us that all is not well in Greco and Talocci’s world. And so the score continues, mixing various musical ideal together in interesting ways that always seem appropriate. The final cue, “Nuit Finale”, emphasises again the eclectic nature of the score with accordion, martial snare drums and female chorus coming together before bold brass brings the score to a formal conclusion.

It’s difficult to get across on the written page how well this collection of musical ideas works. Each of the elements are in themselves interesting to hear and the composer is able to weave them all together so that the whole is very much more than the sum of the individual parts. It a fascinating listen. And the excellent quality and clarity of the recording also plays a role in the success of this album. All the various elements of the ensemble are clearly heard and it all sounds as though the orchestral could be playing right in your own room. Talocci’s Nuit Americhèn is excellent, full of great ideas that are executed with style. It’s a score I wholeheartedly recommend. Nuit Americhèn is available as a digital download from the usual online stores and audio clips can be heard HERE.

Rating: ****

  1. Nuit Americhèn (1:44)
  2. Nuit Cantina Interno (4:14)
  3. Nuit Entrata Cantina (1:29)
  4. Nuit Cantina Scena (2:51)
  5. Nuit La Fuga (2:35)
  6. Nuit Lotta (1:04)
  7. Nuit Duello (3:35)
  8. Nuit Finale (0:40)

Running Time: 18:18 (2014)



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