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Goblin - The Awakening CD (album) cover

THE AWAKENING

Goblin

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.05 | 2 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The legendary Italian prog band GOBLIN was born in 1973 (according to the liner notes of this 6 CD box, not in 1972 as the band bio says) when keyboardist Claudio Simonetti and guitarist Massimo Morante recorded some demos at Simonetti's studio. Some time later a quartet named CHERRY FIVE recorded their eponymous album (1975), and at this point they were suggested to film maker Dario Argento "who was looking for a rock group to augment the soundtrack of his new movie, Profondo Rosso (Deep Red); the original plan being that they would merely arrange and perform the music of Italian jazz legend Giorgio Gaslini, who had already begun working on the film with an orchestral score." After Gaslini had quarrelled with Argento and left the project, the director turned to the band who, with changes in the line-up, was now renamed as GOBLIN.

The liner notes I am citing are not very long, just two pages of the 12-page booklet, but they summarize quite well the represented era of Goblin (1975 -- 1982). At the end of his notes, Claudio Fuiano only points out that the full story is "labyrinthical and more than fascinating", and mentions several books written on the band.

Each of the six discs in this regular-size cardboard box set contain one album plus a varying amount of bonus tracks. Four of the albums are, not surprisingly, soundtracks for horror films. The remaining two are the group's highest regarded album Roller (1976) and "a concept album on the burning issue of drugs", Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark (1978). Although I wasn't in advance familiar with Goblin's output outside of Roller and a few separate movie themes, I think the set is well chosen. Judged by the PA album ratings, the weaker works of the timeline (such as 1979 soundtracks Amo Non Amo and Patrick, or the poor album Volo, 1982) are left out. Goblin continued recording soundtracks also after Tenebre (1982), but they seem to be weaker as well. True, there are plenty of spare room on these discs, and another kind of compiling strategy might have been interesting, but at least this is a clear approach, concentrating on one album per disc.

Profondo Rosso (1975), originally just half an hour long, is perhaps the best of these soundtrack albums. One track ('Mad Puppet', I guess) interestingly reminds me of a section in Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, and another track is deliciously jazzy. On this disc the amount of bonuses is vast (27 tracks!), all from the film or at least recorded for it, ie. mostly variations on the album's themes, over and over again. For a non-completist it all gets a bit frustrating really. The most interesting ones are subtitled as Jazz Sources. If you've seen the film (I haven't), you'll probably remember the Lullaby theme. Here you can choose from several versions: with a child's voice, with a celesta, etc.

The 2nd (Roller) disc's two bonus track are both sides of a single made for RAI's TV programme titled Chi? The 3rd disc is devoted to Goblin's second Dario Argento sountrack, Suspiria (1977) which has a cult film status. I haven't seen it. The music has an essential role in creating the horror atmosphere. Only five bonuses this time: an alternate take on the title theme and four other very brief tracks. Since these O.S.T. albums were so short originally, one wonders how come so much material was left out (whether they were actually heard on the films or not).

The non-movie concept album Il Fantastico... (1978) was actually a positive surprise for me. It features vocals to make it interestingly different from both Roller and the soundtracks, but musically it is pretty solid and eclectic in style. Disc Five is devoted to the soundtrack for George A. Romero's Zombi -- Dawn of the Dead (1978). Not as good as an album as the previous soundtracks. The last one is again a collaboration with Dario Argent, Tenebre (1982), and the music contains some interesting showcases of the flexible, jazz-sensitive style of Goblin.

A dedicated fan probably already has the majority of the music, and I'm rather skeptical of the appeal of the very repetitive bonuses. Nevertheless, this box set gathers together Goblin's finest music. 3 stars actually.

Matti | 3/5 |

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