Galvanising our ongoing commitment to the lost music of the Czech New Wave cinema move- ment from the late 1960s and 1970s, Finders Keepers Records follow up our series of previ- ously unreleased music to Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders, Daisies, Saxana and The Little Mermaid
with a short series of soundtracks for films by the country s master of the macabre and the nation s first point of call for freakish fairytales and hallucinogenic horror, Mr. Juraj Herz.
Regarded as the final ever film of the Czech New Wave, Juraj Herz's Morgiana (alongside Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders) was made after the Prague Spring during Czech cine- ma s most scrutinised censorship era deep in the throes of communism. Spearheading a micro-cosmic sub-genre of horror fantasy or scary/fairytales alongside Karel Kachy a's Malá Mo ská Víla The Little Mermaid
, these directors built a handful of subversive, flamboyant and experimental new films based around classical communist approved surrealist literature; sidestepping creative compromise and uniting some of the leading lights of the FAMU found- ed film movement for the last time. Both of Lubo Fi er's inimatable musical scores that unite the films Morgiana and Valerie share doppelgänger production and compositional ideas hav- ing been recorded just 18 months apart in 1970 and 1972. Forty years later these musical twin-sisters have been now presented for the first time ever outside of their original cinemat- ic contexts. Revealing tiny shards of identical melodic phrasing, the Morgiana score visits darker hallucinogenic corners for this tale of two sisters seen through the perspective of gial- lo-esque cat s eye camera work (filmed by Jaroslav Ku era (Daisies) revealing poison induced hysteria fuelled by sibling rivalry and desperately twisted jealousy. Adopting his mys- teriously macabre musical persona, the versatile Fi er interweaves chimes, harps and harp- sichord with echoing flutes, lutes and piano, applying his signature orchestral tension and experimental percussion traits in the form of treated pianos, vibra-slaps, tape samples of strik- ing matches and spring reverbs to this oblique heady selection.
Drawing similarities with other stark monochrome thrillers such as Roman Polanski's Repulsion, Herz s comparatively untravelled classic, 1969 feature film The Cremator also used the apolitical subjects of fantasy and surrealist horror to evade the communist censors overzealous cutting and burning process which poetically echoed the films own macabre and fantastical screenplay. Unifying a cast and crew of some of the Czech New Wave's leading lights, Herz s macabre depiction of Ladislav Fuks' fictional account of a local crematorium boss whose hallucinogenic burning obsession with the afterlife is ignited by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead (and intensifying manipulative Nazi propaganda) is undeniably one of the great- est underexposed European horror films of all time.
Boasting a beguiling score and theme tune that remains one of the most memorable and spine-chilling, by the country s finest experimental soundtrack composer Zden k Li ka (Malá Mo ská Víla), The Cremator provides the movement with one of its best loved signature scores. Featuring an ongoing partnership with studio conductor Franti ek Belfín (Daisies) and soprano singer Vlasta Soumarová Mlejnková (Marketa Lazarová), Li ka puts his radical concrčte and resampling techniques to one side in favour of celestial choral and orchestral arrangements; menacing giallo-esque tension and recurring rhythmical motifs of Eastern bells and chimes illustrating Rudolf Hru ínský's Kopfrkingl character s demise into murderous infat- uation and the momentary cameo shots of the hallucinogenic death figure played by Helena Anýzová (Valerie/Daisies).