Motion Picture Soundtrack

Emperor Norton

There’s always a certain type of magic that comes with falling in love with a soundtrack before you see the corresponding film. Sometimes the films don’t really exist — like Vampyros Lesbos, but we’ll get to that later. In this case, CQ appears to be a period piece set in 1969 Paris, dealing with a struggling sci-fi film production and the frictions and sparks that are thrown from cast and crew. I’ve heard the movie should appeal to anyone who worships Barbarella, and that would be enough for me even if it didn’t have a critic’s list type of soundtrack.

Generated mostly by French pop masters Mellow, the music on here is a time-slice of what the musical imagination thinks swingin’ Europe sounded like in the ’60s. Splashy drums, horns, strings, synths, everything mixed in reckless abandon of style, resulting in a spacey stew of rock, pop, jazz, funk, African, Brazilian, whatever. In this regard, CQ often sounds like the dead-on sequel to Vampyros Lesbos, especially on tracks like “Love on the Moon,” where the scintillating guitar fuzz, backwards tracking, and grandiose horn sections make it sound like the part of the spy-film where the purple pheromone phog comes out of the hidden nozzles. At other times, Mellow strikes out with their own type of pop nostalgia, recalling The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Kinks and many lost hours of AM radio. Their immersive sound is rich and hypnotic, and works well from both cinematic and musical standpoints.

In addition to Mellow’s significant contribution, there are four tracks of genuine French pop. I’m not familiar with Claude Francois, Paul Piot, Jacques Dutronc and Antonello Paliotti, but their music dovetails seamlessly with Mellow’s easy fizz. Try this for an evening of charm and sophistication.

Emperor Norton: http://www.emperornorton.com/ • CQ: http://experiencecq.com

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