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Tim Ferrante's Scoring Session
Scent of Mystery (1960)
SCENT OF MYSTERY (1960) Music composed by Mario Nascimbene and Jordan Ramin. Lyrics by Harold Adamson. 14 tracks, 36 mins. Kritzerland KR-20011-7. Limited to 1000 pressings, Stereo, $19.95.
Michael Todd, Jr.'s Scent of Mystery was released early in 1960 with failed fanfare for its giddily perilous Smell-O-Vision experience. It was a piping system where 30 aromatics were released into the theater to coincide with such lingering screen images as fresh bread, coffee, pipe tobacco and "the rare and exotic Scent of Mystery perfume." Smell-O-Vision was so problematic that Todd's movie repped the only instance the process was used. Even then it was in very limited markets and, thanks to scathing reviews for both movie and process, the ambitious Todd AO-lensed merry mystery quickly faded from screens and nostrils. It was unsuccessfully reissued as a Cinerama presentation entitled Holiday in Spain sans its weird whiffs and shorn of 35 minutes. Briefly available was a soundtrack album on the Ramrod Records label with a small percentage pressed in stereo. The folks at Kritzerland, a label headed by actor-writer-director Bruce (The First Nudie Musical) Kimmel, utilized one of the rare stereo LPs to remaster Mario Nascimbene's cheery score. The composer was in ridiculously high favor with Hollywood and European producers during this period, scoring 63 movies in just seven years. Scent of Mystery is a perfect example as to why. Nascimbene was especially gifted at handling productions with grand themes, such as The Vikings, Barabbas and Alexander the Great. Sometimes experimental in nature, his deft baton never poked its tip beyond the musical requirements. Here, the composer offers an infectiously breezy overture that incorporates honking car horns. It's just the beginning of the aural menu that unfolds. From xylophone and gritty trumpet stripper blues to airy clarinet lilts, Scent of Mystery's score is as sensuous and curiously lulling as its title suggests. Nascimbene's nimble notes have seldom proved themselves better. Aided by two very smooth Eddie Fisher vocals, it is a flawless soundtrack CD that captivates with its coolly uplifting compositions.
More Musical Mayhem: Mondo Feo Y Loco
After a period of semi-inactivity, those ever-irreverent Texas mock-rockers Feo Y Loco, led by founding fathers Dave Franklin, Tom Beard and Jim Frye, are back in the mix with not one but two fresh CDs. Early Feo: Songs from 1992 reps a remix of some of the band's seminal numbers, like "Fat Girls," the Dr. Demento rotation regular "Livin' in America" and the Trekker anthem "Beam Me Up, Scotty," along with previously unreleased tunes (e.g., the battle-of-the-sexes lament "What Do They Want?") and even a couple composed by our normally sedentary sofa spud colleague Joe Kane, including the perennial fave "Coma Baby." CD 2, Overnight Success, contains all new material, 13 songs ranging from the J.K.-penned, honeymoon-themed "Out Like a Light" to the anti-cellphone protest tune "Hang Up and Drive," the painfully funny "World's Oldest Teenage Punk" and the accappella "The Booger Song" (always a fun icebreaker at parties and sing-alongs). And let's not forget that the group's earlier CD, Politically Incorrect, featuring "Killer Transvestite," "Nuclear Tan" and yet another Kane composition, "Sex Object," remains available at: www.feloyloco.com. The CDs can also be purchased via CD Baby (cdbaby.com) and individual ditties downloaded from iTunes (itunes.com), Napster and other online sources. Consume early and often!
~ Tim Ferrante