Saturday, August 28, 2010
A landmark release from Finders Keepers Records, the 27-track Le Frisson Des Vampires Soundtrack is the first complete release of the legendary 1971 score from one of Jean Rollin’s most powerful films. Armed with a stunning near 20 page booklet, with beautiful stills and unbelievably informative notes by Andy Votel, this release of the tremendous Acanthus score is, simply put, one of the most essential Jean Rollin related products ever assembled.
I have dreamed of having the complete score to Le Frisson des Vampires since I first saw it shortly after discovering Rollin in the mid nineties. Even with the faded and quite scratchy print of the film that first came into my possession my mind was thoroughly blown by the hypnotic and exciting music of Acanthus. The several tracks that appeared on the quite rare Films of Jean Rollin CD wetted my appetite even more, but they were just a mere teaser to this new release by Finders Keepers.
From the explosive title-track to the frenetic "Runaway Train", the soundtrack to Le Frisson des Vampires is an absolute joyous listen. Switching gears easily from free-form hysteria to grooves of an extremely laid back nature, Acanthus’ score really comes into its own here as one of the key works of seventies French Rock. After years of hearing it as only an accompaniment to Rollin’s unforgettable imagry, it is such a pleasure to be able to sit back now and take this striking music on its own terms as its own powerful entity.
Of course a lot of the appeal of the Le Frisson des Vampires score has always been the mystery surrounding Acanthus. Up to this point not much had been known about the “inexperienced high school students” (The Films of Jean Rollin) that were said to have made up the group but Votel’s exhaustively researched booklet ends much of the mystery, but manages to add to the allure. Votel manages to uncover the history of the band and what happened to the key-players in his liner notes. He even reveals a rare 45 with an A-Side entitled "Rollin Five Years" from the band that formed out of Acanthus (Unity), that was no doubt a dedication to the director that had believed so much in them. I absolutely don’t want to give away too many of the book’s surprises here though, as there are many. I can say that upon reading, Votel’s notes immediately became one of my favorite pieces written on Rollin and they alone would make the CD worth buying.
Audio-quality wise it is hard to imagine these tracks sounding much better considering how rare they are. A great improvement over both the Films of Rollin CD, as well as the bonus samples found on Encore’s DVD box-set, Finders Keepers release seems taken from both the original tapes as well as directly from the film (as small bits of dialogue (English dubbed) and effects are heard throughout). Don’t expect Beatles remasters quality but Finders Keepers have obviously put a lot of care into this release and have gotten it to sound better than any of us probably could have imagined years ago.
This kick-off Rollin release from Finders Keepers is a really special one, and I have to admit I teared up a bit when I saw my name and this site mentioned in the credits. To say it serves as a great introduction to what will be a watershed series for Rollin fans is putting it mildly. Up next, according to the booklet, are the scores for Fascination and Requiem for a Dream, and fans that head over to Finders Keepers fairly quickly to order a copy will also see the company offering a poster reproduction of Fascination, in a limited number of just 100! I hope everyone here reading will order a copy of this very special release to support Finders Keepers and the legacy of Jean Rollin, it's a knockout.