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Herbie Hancock - Death Wish CD (album) cover

DEATH WISH

Herbie Hancock

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 14 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Well, if Herbie collaborated on some obscure Blaxpoitation flick (Spook That Sat?) in the early 70's, he was also in demand in "higher" Hollywood circles and was commissioned the Deathwish film soundtrack, the first of three Charles Bronson-led movies. Well Hancock did put all of his classical music science to good effects to compose a vastly different soundscape than his previous Spook effort, but then again, he wasn't exactly new to this realm, since he'd already done that throughout the 60's.

Actually the music is probably some of the "proggiest" Hancock ever penned, mixing his torrid JR/F with some symphonic moments, with some ever-present orchestral arrangements nearing the cheesy and kitschy, but never overflowing the bucket of tastelessness. Indeed the Main Theme and its successor Joanna's Theme are rather impressive fusion of funk-jazz with some lush string section's delirium. While interesting enough, some tracks obviously lack the visuals for which they were composed for, like Do A Thing and Paint Her Mouth (this one being often dissonant, thus indicating a gory moment in the flick. Some others are almost laughably bucolic, like the ultra-symphonic (and tacky) Rich Country and is really hindering the soundtrack, outside the visual context.

The flipside opens on the 5-movements Suite Revenge, which again dips in the classical genre, beit symphonic or dissonantly modern (it's obviously not improvised, since purposely written for the images), but again, to really get the music's genius, it's better to view the actual movie. But it remains quite a small tour de force anyway. Indeed the music is expressive enough to guess the actual events and action of the movie. At times, the music is grandiose and the Fill Your Hand finale is simply astounding composition mastery.

I was never a fan of original soundtracks of movies, because there is always the missing visual accompaniment lacking, and often it renders parts of the music almost obtusely impenetrable. It's not that much the case here, as Hancock's full savoir-faire is often flawless, but still, you'd better own the movie than the soundtrack alone.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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