*2022 stock* The soundtrack to Dario Argento’s 1982 giallo was written and performed by Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli, and Massimo Morante – three musicians from Goblin’s initial lineup who were responsible for some of that band’s most memorable work. But by this point, only one of the three was still in the band; Fabio Pignatelli. In the years before Tenebrae, Goblin had changed hands and the band of old was no more.
At the request of Argento, these three musicians got back together to give it one more go. Things were different though. The late 1970s saw Claudio Simonetti move away from the prog-rock he was known for in favor of a more Italo disco type of music. His updated style was closer to Giorgio Moroder or Mauro Malavasi than it was to Tangerine Dream. Returning to his former bandmates allowed him to bring these new sounds to an old environment, creating a fusion of of the two.
Tenebrae starts strong. After a brief drum roll, a vocoder opens the track. A wordless melody punches in an infectious hook. Keyboards fill in gaps, a bassline adds funk. A guitar brings in an edge. Movements and changes abound as every measure seems to bring something new. After this, the album moves on with a number of points of interest. “Gemini” exemplifies why these three musicians work so well together. Simonetti’s keyboards and beat programming cinch onto Pignatelli’s tight bass snaps while Morante widens the sound with his guitar. The childlike instrumentation of “Slow Circus” bends and quivers throughout the song, making it as uncomfortable as the film scene it was written for. “Flashing” plays off the cold yet dancy mechanics of early industrial music. Built on a classic 808 beat, accompanied by sequencers and keyboards, “Flashing” could easily mix into a Wax Trax! set at a club, sounding right at home among artists like Doubting Thomas, A Split Second, or even Front 242. “Waiting Death” reprises pieces of the original theme but darkens the overall color palette, pulling some of the beats and replacing them with cold slabs of synth.