I love soundtracks. It started out with classic horror movies, which naturally expanded to include Italian horror and more contemporary fare, and now I’ll listen to just about any soundtrack to anything at least once, whether it’s orchestral or a song compilation. They are the best music in the world to paint to: you can bop along to “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” , warble with “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, swoon to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” or snap your fingers with “Crime Jazz: Music in the First Degree.” (Actually it’s pretty tough to snap your fingers and paint at the same time, you have to be a seasoned soundtrack painter to pull this off — don’t try this at home, kids.)
My friend Joe does album design for Film Score Silver Age Classics among others (I know they’re CDs but I’m still calling ’em albums dammit, and I for one really miss the larger format for album art). He’s laid some really fine discs on me over the years including the aforementioned “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” volumes 1 *and* 2 thank-you-very-much, “Planet of the Apes,” Born Free,” “Fantastic Voyage,” “Batman,” “I Spy,” and a bunch of others.
But one of my all time faves is “The Ghost & Mr. Chicken,” a Don Knotts movie that I don’t remember quite as well as “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” (which led to a brief period of drawing sexy cartoon fish when I was kid).
The terrific score was composed by Vic Mizzy, who’s probably best known for the themes to “Green Acres” and “The Addams Family.” How can you not love an album when the first track is called “Gaseous Globe”? It’s got a great creepy organ solo in it that really sticks in your head. That seems to be a Mizzy specialty — head-sticky music, stuff you can’t shake out of your cranium for several days no matter how many times you listen to the new M.I.A. album.
My other fave funny/goofy soundtrack is “Mad Monster Party”, a Rankin-Bass stop-motion animated movie from the late 60’s. If you don’t know this movie, it’s worth a peep — Mad Magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman wrote it, and Jack Davis (also Mad Magazine as well as EC monster comics) designed the characters. This is one of those movies I saw as a kid and then spent twenty years trying to remember the name of (yeah I know, what is wrong with my brain?). When I found it again (originally on homemade VHS from eBay) I was insanely giddy. There’s an awesome skeleton band, a sexy redhead, and Phyllis Diller and Boris Karloff both *sing* in the movie (and on the soundtrack) — what more do you need to know? Run, don’t walk, to the video store (or your Netflix queue).
And speaking of soundtracks and monsters, my friend Steven was inspired by the paintings in the Monster Ballads show to come up with a “soundtrack” of beautiful ambient music/collaged sound/original compositions to listen to while you look at the paintings. He said I could share a bit of it with you here. I’ll post more if he lets me. <g>
Update 1/16/08: Another piece of Steven’s music for Monster Ballads is here.
And if you’re curious just who this Steven guy is, you can check out his MySpace page.