Absurd is an Italian horror film from 1981, originally released as Rosso Sangue (the literal translation being Red Blood) and directed by Joe D’Amato. It has also been released under the titles Anthropophagus 2, Zombie 6: Monster Hunter, Horrible and The Grim Reaper 2, so take your pick really and call it whatever you want.
I have to admit, it’s one of the very few soundtracks in my collection I bought before seeing the film. There’s just something about an LP sleeve featuring a madman holding his intestines – AND HIS INTESTINES ARE EMBOSSED ON THE COVER, SPELLING OUT THE NAME OF THE FILM – that I just had to have.
I finally got around to watching the film last week. As with the majority of films on the UK’s video nasty list, it’s unbelievably awful. The acting is sub-standard, the dialogue is laughable, the English-language dub is handled terribly, and the whole thing just left me wanting less.
The film’s only saving grace – aside from Wes Benscoter’s awesome artwork – is the music score by Carlo Maria Cordio. Sounding almost like it could have been recorded by Goblin, or a Meddle / Obscured By Clouds-era Pink Floyd, it’s a lovely slice of prog-rock. The soundtrack does sound very repetitive though. I’m pretty sure some very similar sounding cues are repeated, in Death Waltz Records’ attempts to ensure that all of the film’s music is captured; I would have been happy with a single disc rather than a double LP.
Of the Floyd’s run of albums primarily driven by Roger Waters’ songwriting (Atom Heart Mother all the way up to The Wall), this was the one I discovered last. It’s one of my favourites though, alongside Meddle and Obscured By Clouds. I struggle with anything prior to this. I have Ummagumma, but I seldom listen to it, and the Syd Barrett albums don’t really float my boat either.
Everything about Atom Heart Mother is awesome, from the cover to the wicked Atom Heart MotherSuite that takes up the whole of the first slide, to the collection of random hippy-inflected songs on side two.
That first side is where it’s at though. It’s killer. It’s ominous. It sounds so wrong yet so right at the same time. The orchestra must have wondered what on earth this long haired hippy was telling them to play. I once heard the band play it live on the radio – presumably from one of the only times it was played live. My father-in-law turned it off in disgust, saying “This isn’t Pink Floyd!”
What is Pink Floyd though? For the vast majority of casual listeners, Pink Floyd equals Dark Side Of The Moon. But as we all know, that isn’t true at all.
My favourite Pink Floyd album changes all the time. When I first started listening to them, Meddle was easily my favourite as it didn’t come prepackaged with a load of hype and expectancy like their later albums. I’d say the same for the Obscured By Clouds soundtrack too – another hidden gem in their back-catalogue.
You can hear the beginnings of Dark Side Of The Moon on Meddle too, in the close-knit harmonies of David Gilmour and Rick Wright’s vocals. If they hadn’t recorded Dark Side, and instead gone on to record umpteen albums like Meddle, I’d be a very happy man; but I’d also be very sad at losing Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall from that parallel universe.
Right now, and for maybe the past year or so, Wish You Were Here has been my favourite Floyd album. That doesn’t mean I still don’t enjoy Meddle though. I love its laid-back attitude, and the low-key approach to the song choices – as though they just recorded what seemed to fall out of them at the time. I also like the fact that they decided to fill one side of the record up with just one song – albeit a 23-minute song.
In terms of album covers, it might be one of their most overlooked, but I love it. On the outside cover, a super close-up photograph of a human ear, overlaid with a lighting effect projected onto ripples of water; on the inner gatefold, a warts and all black and white shot of the band – essentially just a photograph, but one of my favourites.