elcome to the Digital Meltd0wn Music Blog. The aim of this blog is to introduce the readers to music that is out of print, commercially unavailable, released under a creative commons license, or with approval by the featured artist. The majority of the music posted here would be considered underground. Don't let that fool you into thinking that the music featured here might be any less enjoyable than that of the mainstream artists you hear on the radio, as this couldn't be further from the truth.
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We are about halfway through October, so there is still plenty of time for me to post material for "Halloween Countdown 2010". I recently posted a selection of soundtracks from some of my favorite Italian horror films. Now its time to focus on horror from a few other areas of the world. First up is Germany...
In 1987 one of the most revolting displays of horror since the Holocaust appeared in Germany in the form of the film Nekromantik. Yes, I'm exageratting a bit, but there is some truth to the statement. During the period when the Nazi party was in power, all artistic work that wasn't approved by the regime was labeled as "degenerate art", and subsequently banned, confiscated or destroyed. In the years following WWII Germany was under a massive amount of pressure to avoid repeating any of the mistakes that the Nazi regime made while in power. In an attempt to improve their image, and convince the world that their nation wasn't entirely comprised of sadistic maniacs, they were quick to ban films that were considered extremely violent, racist or offensive; however, they stopped short of physically confiscating the banned material in question to avoid reviving memories of the Nazi's harsh methods for dealing with controversial art. When Nekromantik was released, it was banned almost immediately, and physical copies of the film were confiscated nationwide shortly afterwards, making it the first time such a thing occurred in Germany since the Nazi era. The film was subsequently banned in a number of other countries also. When Nekromantik 2 was released the outcome was virtually identical, the film was confiscated and banned nationwide in Germany, followed by widespread bans by other nations.
The films managed to gain a cult following despite the mass bans placed on it. For years the original film remained one of the most widely circulated bootlegs in existence. It is easy to see how the film managed to create so much controversy given its nature and subject matter. The film tells the story of Rob Shmadtke, who cleans up accident victims for a living. His job places him in the perfect position to satisfy his warped sexual fetish, necrophilia. Rob's girlfriend Betty also shares his love for all things decomposing, both in spirit and in the bedroom. Rob's decision to bring home a rotting corpse for Betty and himself to enjoy serves as the catalyst for the film, and all sorts of sick chaos ensues afterwards.
In 2002 Barrel Entertainment released a 2-Disc DVD of the film, Nekromantik 2. The second disc in the set contained the complete scores for both Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2, as well as six bonus tracks that weren't included on either original soundtrack. Most of the music is credited to German composer Hermann Kopp, although there are several other tracks credited to characters from Nekromantik 2, and I'm honestly not sure why this was done. Perhaps someone reading this will have some insight into the reason behind this.
Now, on to what you came here for, the music.. Kopp's score displays his dynamic ability and range. He is one of those composers who is so talented that his music almost seems to contradict itself, yet manages to strike a perfect balance of beauty, horror, joy and dissonance. The score is both minimalistic and hauntingly atmospheric at the core, and yet remarkably complex at the same time. A wide variety of instruments and sound effects are utilized throughout the score. Kopp wastes no time displaying his mastery of the violin, which takes center stage, captivating the listener with his powerful, rhythmic, and beautiful solos. He also uses the violin to create some of the strangest tracks on the album, significantly slowing down the rhythm, creating an ominous, off-key droning sound. Kopp is no slouch on the piano either, with a number of beautiful piano interludes that appear throughout the score. In sharp contrast are the tracks which sound as if they are from an old school industrial album. Harsh noise, clanging metal, pounding drums, synthesizers, and various sound effects come together to create a truly dark and desolate picture. One of my favorite instruments, the moog synthesizer, also makes a few appearances. I'm a sucker for anything moog, as I know a few of you reading this are too.
It's a shame that Hermann Kopp hasn't released more music during his career, having only released 8 complete albums to date. This is an amazing collection of music, which I believe will appeal to a wide variety of people. I honestly wish that I had more time on my hands to write about this, because it truly is deserving of a longer review. It's just that damn good. Unfortunately, I have a big test tomorrow though, so I need to study for a while and then go to bed. Until next time...
Year of Rlease: Original: 1987 & 1990 Barrel Entertainment Release: 2003 Label: Barrel Entertainment (DVD Extra) Genres: Soundtrack/Score, Horror Bitrate: 320kbps (m4a format)
Tracklist: 1. Nekromantik 2. At Home 3. Surprise 4. Menaga A Trois 5. Pas De Deux 6. Supper 7. Katzi 8. Drunk 9. Gardner 10. Nekrointro 11. Pure 12. Scelette Instrumental 13. Work 14. Home/Domestic Version 15. Betty's Return 16. The Wheel of Love 17. The Missing Genital 18. Supersonic Tonic 19. Scelette Delicieux 20. Nekrowaltz 21. Magnum/Bar/Mix2000 Plus) 22. Nekromantik 1991 23. Franzosisch In E/Moll 24. Sex With A Saw 25. End Title/Wheel of Love (Reprise) 26. In The Bar/Dream Sequence 27. Monika By The Sea 28. Ave Maria 29. Home (Domina Version) 30. Menage A Trois (Film Version) 31. Captain Berlin