The guy behind Cosmic Analog Ensemble is a soundtrack and library music lover. Charif Megarbane revealed 5 soundtracks to Qwest TV that influenced him in one way or another.
Piero Piccioni, Camille 2000 (1969)
I could have included countless Piccioni soundtracks, many of which are better than the actual movies they feature in, which you’ll very rarely find nowadays. I hesitated with the more jazzy soundtrack to Colpo Rovente, released the following year in 1970 but always go back to the main theme of Camille 2000. The melody starts with orchestra and faint echoes of harpsichord, as if reflected in water, with a lush but never cheesy production. An elegant and subtle metaphor for the Woman, that is until the Man comes – remember this is an erotic film – and the same melody is carried by a breakbeat and fuzz guitar. Again and again. A sonic study in gender and a masterclass of melody and groove.
Vladimir Cosma, La Gloire de mon Pere (1990),
The soundtrack is sublime from beginning to end but the use of a sample of grasshoppers singing – omnipresent in Provence and in many parts of Lebanon – with a touch of delay ensures that the rhythmic foundation on “Habanera” takes the cake. The sound is natural, not forced at all, which is impressive since this was done in the early 90’s. Those melodies capture innocence, melancholy and sadness in equal parts and are up there in Ennio Morricone’s league. Superb movie too, with Jean-Pierre Narras’ narration and accent subtly complementing the soundtrack (or vice versa).
Curtis Mayfield, Super Fly (1972)
A successful classic, like “Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff or “The Mac” by Willie Hutch could have also made this list. Curtis describes a grim tale but the language is never vulgar, with that falsetto and wah holding the tension throughout. Fantastic use of congas on a soundtrack, Lalo Schifrin must have blushed.
Philippe Sarde, Un Mauvais Fils (1980)
A stellar film with a haunting theme (there is an indirect link between this and the previous one since it stars its director Yves Robert playing the mercurial Patrick Dewaere’s father).
Ray Parker Jr., Tintin (1991)
The soundtrack to the animated series from the nineties hit the nail on the head. It is not easy to find a musical framework for the silent art of Hergé. The use of music throughout the series is really spot on, with a musical, sometimes minimalistic sentence here and there to suggest a mood without ever imposing it or replacing the viewer’s sense of imagination. The music perpetually flirts with a sense of mystery which reflects the sense of adventure and travel so central to the stories. The introductory theme where Tintin and Snowy run in the spotlight is imprinted in many minds from that generation.
Cosmic Analog Ensemble, Une vie cent détours (My Bags)