Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Euro Sexy Grooves of Piero Umiliani

The following is an excerpt from Film and Television Scores, 1950-1979 (McFarland Publishing, 2008) by Kristopher Spencer.

After making a few shockumentaries together
(see yesterday's post) filmmaker Luigi Scattini and composer Piero Umiliani made several sexploitation films, including three that feature the stunning exotic beauty of model-turned-actress Zeudi Araya. La Ragazza Fuori Strada (The Girl from the Street, ’71), La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna (The Sinner, ’72) and Il Corpo (The Body, ’74) all offer a satisfying mélange of funky grooves, sensual ballads, jazz-rock abstractions and fun-in-the-sun calypso ditties. The instrumentation is usually spare, making prominent use of the Hammond organ, choppy rhythm guitar, delicate acoustic guitar, repetitive bass figures and an assortment of drums and percussion. Some tracks are little more than solo piano or solo organ. Other tracks add fuller orchestration with strings, brass and woodwinds, but Umiliani — whose roots are in jazz — rarely resorts to a bloated orchestral sound. Taken as a set, this trilogy is a must for fans of the composer and will appeal to fans of Euro-skin cinema in general. All three titles have been reissued on CD by Easy Tempo.

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