Monday, March 9, 2015

"Snip Snap" by Goblin

Italian progressive rock band Goblin released this superb fusion-funk instrumental back in 1976. The track has incredible syncopation and boasts a killer bass line. Other cool things about this cut include its terrific synth work, wicked guitar, funky clavinet and ace drumming. The song was co-written by all of the Goblin members and was featured on their 1976 album Roller. This track immediately grabs your attention with its singular sound and edgy funk flavor. And it showcases the band's strong musical chops.

Goblin was formed in 1972, and the original members were Claudio Simonetti (keyboardist and bandleader); Walter Martino (drums); Massimo Morante (guitar and occasional vocals); and Fabio Pignatelli (bass). The four musicians were previously members of Italian prog rock bands. Simonetti and Martino played with Ritratto Di Dorian Gray; Pignatelli laid down the bottom for Rivelazioni; and Morante was a member of the band Era di Acquario.

The band started out with the name Oliver but were soon calling themselves the Cherry Five at the behest of their record label Cinevox Records; English vocalist Clive Haynes was briefly the lead singer for the band and was replaced by Italian singer Tony Tartarini. The band’s sound mimicked popular British progressive rock bands of the day, such as Yes, King Crimson and Genesis.
In 1975, the Cherry Five released their self-titled debut album on Cinevox.

The album didn’t make much noise, but it did catch the attention of Italian film director Dario Agento. He recruited the band to finish the soundtrack for his 1975 horror film Profondo Rosso (aka Deep Red). Italian jazz pianist and composer Gassini was originally hired to do the soundtrack but Argento became dissatisfied with Gassini's work, feeling that his jazzy score didn’t capture the right mood for the horror film.

The Cherry Five brought a harder, rock-edged feel to the score. And in keeping with the horror-film theme, the band renamed itself Goblin. The band composed and performed all the songs for the soundtrack save for three tracks that were left over from Gassini's score. The film became a big hit, and the band’s soundtrack topped the Italian album charts, selling more than a million copies.

Goblin’s stellar soundtrack played a significant part in the film’s success. Profondo Rosso is now considered a horror film classic. The band embarked on a tour in support of the highly successful Profondo Rosso soundtrack. However, Martino and Tartarini departed from band right before the launch of the tour. Martini left to start his own band Libra and was replaced by drummer Agostino Marangolo, who had previously played with the bands Flea and Etna.

Argento was so impressed with Goblin’s work on the Profondo Rosso soundtrack that he brought in the band to score several of his other horror films, including Suspiria (1977), which is lauded as Goblin’s most critically acclaimed work. And as in Dario and Goblin’s previous collaboration, both the film and soundtrack performed extremely well commercially.

Goblin’s oeuvre mainly consists of horror film soundtracks, which was their forte and what they're best known for. Roller (1976) is one of the Goblin’s few non-soundtrack albums. During the recording of Roller, the band added another member, keyboardist Maurizio Guarini.

Worldwide, the band is probably most recognized for their soundtrack for George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), which was the sequel to the horror-meister’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. The film was co-produced by Romero and Argento. Both the film and the soundtrack enjoyed great commercial success internationally. The soundtrack has two different versions, one is the complete Italian version that Argento used; and the other is the American/Romero version, which cut out much of Goblin’s rock-tinged score and replaced it with stock orchestral music.

Goblin recorded several albums—mostly horror film soundtracks—over the years and went through several personnel changes and incarnations. In the last two decades or so, the band’s musical output has been sporadic at best.

However, over the last few years, Goblin has enjoyed a rebirth of sorts. The band has been pretty active of late, touring off and on since 2009. According to Goblin’s website, the current lineup of the band is the following: Massimo Morante (guitar), Fabio Pignatelli (bass), Maurizio Guarini (keyboards), Agostino Marangolo (drums) and Aidan Zammit (keyboards).

In October of last year, Goblin announced plans to release an album of new material, entitled Four of a Kind. The band launched a crowd-funding campaign via the website  to assist in the album’s completion.

For more info about Goblin and tour dates, check out their website.

Snip Snap at Amazon

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