Morricone Youth, Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Country Club Records)
Started in 1999, Morricone Youth is a collective with the intention to make music for pre-existing movies, usually performed in front of an audience as the movie plays behind them. They’ve created original music for so many films that film and music geeks would just swoon. Nosferatu, Mad Max, Night of the Living Dead, Enter The Dragon, Fantastic Planet, Foxy Brown, The Battleship Potemkin. And now the group has set their sights on F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, a largely silent film yet also the first to have a dedicated music score synced to the film and played in the theater over speakers. According to Wikipedia: “Murnau chose to use the then new Fox Movietone sound-on-film system, making Sunrise one of the first feature films with a synchronized musical score and sound effects soundtrack.” Check Youtube to watch the movie. I don’t believe Morricone Youth’s music runs exactly with the movie, so if you can see the band perform to the movie you’ll get the full experience.
What you will experience is a collection of many styles, none of them contemporary, very little of it recognizable or even accessible if all you’ve heard is modern music from the past 40 years. Morricone Youth have a deep understanding of Old World styles, acoustic instruments, horns, strings, and other now-esoteric seeming items like the glockenspiel and melodica yet there’s enough swinging guitar and drums and keyboards and singing to bring you back to the idea that maybe this story could be happening at least in the 1960’s and not in the late 1920’s.
The movie follows a young farmer couple with a baby, as the farmer is seduced by a city vamp, she plans on killing the wife to have the man to herself. The subject matter of the movie is quite dark, yet Morricone Youth keep the music upbeat, including many enticing motifs that are presented and then echoed by many different instruments such as surf guitar, glockenspiel, spooky strings and springy keyboards, as heard on Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Main Title) drawing you into the story. Barber Twist is an anachronistic surfer song with spacey theremin and flatulent baritone saxophone that will have you gyrating and twisting in the sand by the bonfire with the beach babes and hunks. Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Samba) is just that: a samba with sweetly sang lyrics that describe the movie story while you dip and swoon to the copious flutes and percussive instruments and wily piano runs.
Trolley Song is a mood piece with dense guitar lines, a snare drum that sounds like a train on tracks, heavenly wordless vocals, starting out anxious then building to an uplifting anything-can-happen feel. Sounding like something out of a horror film, Bundle of Reeds follows, heavy on suspenseful keyboard wriggles and moaning, creaking, raining atmosphere with a bassy guitar that sounds like Death approaching. Peasant Dance is playful, building on a guitar/keyboard/string melody, rising up into a whirling dervish until wordless vocals and cello bring it all down to a pleasant ending. At this point the wife has forgiven the man for trying to kill her and they’re going back to the simple life in the country.
Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Bossa) is a denoument to the movie, a return to the previously heard melodies with horns, clarinet, soothing guitars and bass. The organ sounds exactly like you’d expect from a silent movie, also the sound of the organ played at baseball games.
Bye Bye (End Credits) returns to the ideas heard before in Bye Bye (Chase) and Bye Bye (Take Five), with vocals, jangly guitars, a spry beat and jazzy horns, easing you out of your seats and back into the real world.
Morricone Youth’s music invites you to actually listen to what they’re playing, there’s so many ideas and excellent performance within their compositions. Even if you don’t make it to one of their screening/concerts, there’s much to enjoy in Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans that you’ll be transported to another time and place wherever you are.
(Review by Bret Miller)
Morricone Youth on tour with Goblin:
10/25 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
10/26 Toronto, ON – The Opera House
10/28 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground Ballroom
10/29 Montreal, QC – Theatre Corona
10/30 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
10/31 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
11/09 Nashville, TN – Exit/In
11/10 Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
11/11 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
11/12 New York, NY – Irving Plaza
Solo and More:
10/15 Jersey City, NJ – WFMU Montgomery Hall
Performing to Night of the Living Dead
10/16 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
Performing to Night of the Living Dead
Purchase the album HERE
Watch the movie HERE