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  • Composed by Lee Holdridge
  • BSX Records BSCD 8850 / 2009 / 42:05

Lee Holdridge is one of those composers where a glance at his filmography can only result in puzzlement at how the list of generally awful endeavours could possibly contrast so drastically with his talent.  I am not familiar with the film Transylvania 6-5000 but a glance at this album’s front cover tells you almost all you need to know about it; and a read of Randall D. Larson’s liner notes fills in the rest (“a distinctly unfunny horror spoof,” he says). The quality of the film is of little consequence here though – where it’s the music that matters!  Holdridge took a delightful approach to the film, writing music in the style of those old Universal monster movie classics and playing totally straight against the intended comedy.  There’s a big orchestra here – the 1985 score was recorded in Zagreb, then in Yugoslavia – and Holdridge uses it with as much skill as would be expected.  Much of the music is the kind of larger-than-life symphonic high-jinks that often winds up in this kind of film, with tips of the hat to various Russian masters, and most of it is delightful.

It is the kind of music that wouldn’t be to everyone’s tastes, though, owing to its generally madcap nature.  Parody music is often thus – and while it’s easy to marvel at Holdridge’s skill in creating it, I’m not sure it will offer anything like the kind of repeated listening pleasure his finest works can.  The short score (about half an hour) is supplemented on this album by an even shorter one, the composer’s music for the 2006 animated slasher pilot Korgoth of Barbaria, which as far as I can tell wasn’t picked up as a series.  This score is very different – almost all synthesised (with an electric guitar to accompany), featuring numerous MIDI layers.  It’s very creative – using the opportunities provided by electronics rather than using them simply as a cheap orchestra replacement – but very eclectic, with numerous ideas cropping up seemingly every few bars.  The album’s recommended for Holdridge fans (offering as it does two very different sides to him – different not just from each other, but from a lot of his other work); those less familiar with the composer might be better-served by one of his more famous works.   ***

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