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A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Horrorscores: Klaus Morlock – Dead Maids Assembly

Enigmatic soundtrack composer Klaus Morlock returns with another unearthed lost soundtrack of pure proggy psychedelia from the archive with Dead Maids Assembly

In 1979, following the disappointing performance of Tony Folder’s Dead Maids, Klaus Morlock‘s proto-electronic film score was thought to be lost. Luckily, a group of sonic archivalists and archaelogists, The Archivists, discovered the master tapes of Morlock’s performances. They proceeded to cut, tape, and splice the takes into something cohesive, editing short snippets of cues, film dialogue, and full-on film score into a compelling album of vintage late-70s electronica, like Teo Macero mixing Goblin or Fabio Frizzi

Listening  back to Dead Maids Assembly, the work belongs alongside such legendary ’70s horror soundtracks as Goblin‘s soundtrack for Deep Red/Profondo Rosso or Fabio Frizzi‘s gothy prog score for The Beyond. You’ll hear a similar blend of burning psych organs and rootsy acoustic guitars mixed with early synthesizers and sequencers a la Tangerine Dream and The Berlin School. As with all of the best film soundtracks, tracks need to stand up on their own as well as supporting the image on-screen. That’s part of what makes Dead Maid Assembly such a delight. There’re actual songs here, like the lovely pastoralism of “Dialogue Assembly,” “Attic Assembly,” or the flute-driven romance of “Mary At Dawn,” with its dreamy, soft-focus Fender Rhodes. 

soft focus romance movie

There’re actual songs here, like the lovely pastoralism of “Dialogue Assembly,” “Attic Assembly,” or the flute-driven romance of “Mary At Dawn,” with its dreamy, soft-focus Fender Rhodes. Movie: Bilitis (1977)

Even better still, many of these songs are laced with incidental FX and snippets of random dialogue, which are pure honey for the obscure horror soundtrack lover. It’s delightful to imagine what’s going on, on-screen. It sounds like some kind of heist, like maybe unsavory characters posing as servants to commit some sort of robbery, while some glamorous socialites exist in blissful unawareness?

 

It’s also a riot of late-’70s electronics. You’ll hear Moogs and Arps aplenty, even seemingly some sort of proto-digital synthesis that bring to mind the early works of saccharine New Age composers like Kitaro. The thing with archaic electronics is that composers and producers had to know how to actually write and play. Unlike the digital perfectionism possible with digital recording, analog electronics are more similar to playing an organ, just with a lot more stops and footpedals. You tend to hear much more masterful performances on 70s horror soundtracks than even 5 of 10 years later, with the onset of commercial home recording technology and consumer synths. 

No trace can be found of Dead Maids, no trace of director Tony Folder, the names Barry Ravenson and Zi Pirani lost to the ravages of time, like newspaper clippings crumbled to dust. We’re left to assemble the scenes in our minds, much as The Archivists have done here. Let this serve as a reminder to not take the obscure media that surrounds you for granted. Dive deep into yr obscure 70s horror collections! Obsess over those rare and lost soundtracks! Scour and deep dive for your favourite actors and directors. There is a whole wide wonderful world of psychoactive trash cinema and soundtracks just worthy of yr obsession! 

31 Days of Horror is picking up, as we get into this spooky in earnest! Stay tuned for lots of spooky and horror aesthetics! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter as well to follow along with our spooky explorations!

And what’re you watching, listening to, or reading this October thus far? Let us know in a comment or on social media!

 

 

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