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Lost Sounds and Soundtracks. Dario Argento’s “Phenomena”

A chilling, melancholy piece of music to Dario Argento’s oft-overlooked grim fairy tale, Phenomena (1985), by Bill Wyman and Terry Taylor.

Dario Argento is no stranger to vivid soundtracks (an old co-worker had to turn off Suspiria because it was, in his words, "too loud!"), but former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and his long-time musical collaborator Terry Taylor delivered one of the most effective cues for any Argento film with their track "Valley", composed for 1985's oft-overlooked grim fairy tale, Phenomena (a.k.a. Creepers).  That's a pretty high honor when you're in the company of a soundtrack catalog that includes compositions by progressive rock fiends Goblin and the maestro of Italian film music himself, Ennio Morricone...even more impressive for a subdued cue that leads off a soundtrack dominated by heavy metal tracks.

During the film's opening scene, "Valley" wastes no time establishing the mood and the doom of Phenomena's introductory victim as its cascading lead synth "horn" evokes a chilling alpine loneliness amidst great spaces and a melancholy, hunted vulnerability.  Bill Wyman seems committed to match the piece's level of creepiness with his performance in an accompanying though unlikely music video/making-of-doc crafted by Phenomena's first assistant director, Michele Soavi:

Wyman and Taylor reprise the theme later in the movie with a more driven though less haunting  jam never released on the official soundtrack:

Phenomena phans, you're also definitely going to want to check this out:

Phenomena plays at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City tonight at 7pm as part of their ongoing series Argento: Il Cinema Nel Sangue, and is also playing on MUBI in Australia and New Zealand.

We’ll see if DARIO ARGENTO DRACULA, at Cannes, can hold a candle to this brilliance!
One soundtrack I really really like was the one Tangerine Dream made for William Friedkin’s underrated Sorcerer. Amazing synth score as well.
Francisco, yes! SORCERER is phenomenal and Tangerine Dream’s scoring from this time period is uniformally excellent. I really like the material from THIEF, THE KEEP, and even their much maligned LEGEND score for the U.S. release of Scott’s movie. Thanks for the suggestion.
Coincidentally Francisco, Tangerine Dream scoring retrospective at Brooklyn Academy of Music first week of June…expect a Lost Sounds for it.
Woah!, will be expecting that one. Thanks Ben.

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