Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Kraut Sound of Master of the Flying Guillotine

Second post about the same movie!?! Not to be redundant or anything of that nature, but i felt that it was to late to add an edit to my original post. Besides, this focuses on the OST (original soundtrack) more than the movie itself.

Typically when watching a kung-fu movie, the soundtrack utilizes the sounds of traditional chinese instruments. Simple woodwinds, one-stringed guitar-like things, and other strange looking things I see old asian guys play on the subway platform. Never before have I seen a kung-fu movie from the 70's utilize the sounds of krautrock. The first question that popped into my head when I heard the opening credits was,"Why the fuck is a punk song in the opening credits!" I was completely baffled. The further I got into the movie, the more headfucked I became over the soundtrack. Synthesizer work, avant electronics, rock guitar....what kind of fucking band was rocking like this in Hong Kong during the 70's, and why had I not heard of them? Why are these sounds familiar to me?

Upon further investigation i got my answer. They were indeed songs I had heard performed by bands I knew. Neu!, Tangerine Dream, and Kraftwerk. Anybody who knows something of underground music knows the names, and probably has an album or two. I know i have multiple discs of Neu! and Tangerine Dream. I wasn't that surpised at Tangerine Dream scoring a movie, since it's something that has been done several. But a cheap-ass wuxia from Hong Kong....How the fuck did they get that gig? It didn't take much more investigating to realize that they didn't get the gig. In fact, none of the bands mentioned realized they scored the movie until many years down the road. When they did finally find out, they wanted some muthafuckin' cashflow. I would too.

Although the original production company is no longer in existence, the rights to the film are still held by several different production international distributors. These distributors were the ones responsible for paying the bands for the use of there intellectual property. Some companies chose just to just re-track the movie themselves. Others, like the American distributor, chose to comply and give credit where credit is due.

Although there has never been an official release of the soundtrack. With a little digging it shouldn't be hard to custom compile it yourself. The music is not exactly rare. In fact, one of the Neu! songs was used in Kill Bill. I'm not surprised, I believe Tarantino has mentioned Master of the Flying Guillotine as an influence. But he's been influenced by lots of shit I like.

1 comment:

  1. That music certainly gives MFG a unique sound that enhances the evil at work from the mad monk and his pals. But poaching like this isn't that uncommon. I was just looking at a little of Image of Bruce Lee, and they were playing music from TAXI DRIVER during a suicide scene. I always thought that was music to die by.