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Nitehawk’s Live+Sound+Cinema presents…
Dario Argento’s FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET
Featuring an incredible live score by Yello Magi (compositions by Daniel Collás).

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Daniel Collás talks to Hatched about the inspiration behind his composition for this weekend’s Live Sound Cinema presentation of Four Flies on Grey Velvet…

As a big fan of the early works of Dario Argento, I was intrigued to find out about Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971), a movie of his that I had never seen or even heard of before, in which the protagonist is a drummer in a rock and roll band who is followed by a mysterious figure and then framed for murder. Being a longtime musician and motion picture enthusiast, specifically one who is amused by the peculiar portrayals of musicians in cinema, I couldn’t believe that such a movie existed, especially considering that given the time period, there was a good chance that Goblin had scored the film. I became an instant fan of this Italian prog rock band after seeing Deep Red (1975) several years ago, mesmerized by how their spooky compositions and agile musicianship accompanied Argento’s masterpiece thriller so perfectly that they became an inextricable part of it, easily playing as big a role as David Hemmings or Daria Nicolodi, the main characters.

When I finally tracked down Four Flies On Grey Velvet, however, it turned out it was not Goblin, but Ennio Morricone, Argento’s then go-to composer, who had provided the score. While I’m also an admirer of Morricone’s work, I couldn’t help but feel like the soundtrack sounded more than a little phoned-in, like it was done by someone who had either too much on his plate, or a genuine disdain for the burgeoning psychedelic rock movement, or both.  

I realize it may seem presumptuous and perhaps disrespectful to criticize a master such as Morricone, but I can’t shake the idea that had Goblin provided the soundtrack to Four Flies, it would have been a totally different movie, mainly because they seemed to fully understand not only Argento’s vision, but also the emerging musical styles of the day. I would later discover –and feel somewhat vindicated by the fact– that Argento disliked Morricone’s score so much that the two men had a huge falling out about it and wouldn’t work together again for more than 20 years. It was shortly afterward that the director met and began the symbiotic relationship with Goblin, who used their trademark sound to contribute substantially to the films Deep Red, Suspiria (1977), and Tenebre (1982), considered by many to be Dario Argento’s finest work.

The Live + Sound + Cinema screenings of Four Flies On Grey Velvet will be an exciting experiment in reforging the work of two cinematic masters, Dario Argento and Ennio Morricone.

With my new group, Yello Magi, I hope to emulate the spirit of both Argento’s spectacle and Goblin‘s musical aesthetic, and merge them with my love of old horror soundtracks, baroque soul music,  and spooky psychedelic rock to properly relate the story of a troubled drummer in an up-and-coming rock and roll band during the heady days of the early 1970s.