1971 cult British horror movie Blood on Satan’s Claw was produced by the Tigon team which made the remarkable Witchfinder General three years earlier. British horror of this vintage typically mixes historical drama, light gore, nastiness, a predictable plot, weird ritual, and female flesh. While the results can be mixed depending on the quality of the actors, certainly the atmospheres of suspense, lust, confusion, mystery and fear rely upon the music. Marc Wilkinson’s score is designed to be beautiful, disconcerting, off-kilter and addictive.
Wilkinson creates eerie swooping sounds with the Ondes Martinet, a keyboard he calls “without doubt the first really successful electronic instrument.” He also used the cimbalom, a kind of piano played with mallets that in Eastern Europe has associations with the Devil. The resulting music, even at its most beautiful, is full of deep unease. Probably with good reason. As Wilkinson reveals: “The descending chromatic scale which features throughout the music omits the perfect fifth (the only true consonant in the chromatic scale) and therefore highlights the diminished fifth, which ever since the Middle Ages in Europe has been known as the Devil’s Interval!” While that may sound rather academic, fear not, for this set is lush, spooky, and beautifully packaged with plenty of nudity. The Trunk label continues to unearth and celebrate sonic gems which transcend kitsch and nostalgia.
// Notes from the Road
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