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 Posted:   Feb 23, 2011 - 8:52 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

HOUSE OF USHER - I've waited about 35 years for this release. If I do get this, plus a (very) hypothetical PIT AND THE PENDULUM,

there is a music+FX version of PIT floating around, but I dunno if anyone would release it in that state. Maybe Taylor White had access to PIT when he got the USHER music from MGM, and could elucidate.

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2011 - 3:53 PM   
 By:   BasilFSM   (Member)

Screen Archives is selling House of Usher for $20 again; limit one per customer.

Ten copies left, so hurry!


http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/14930/HOUSE-OF-USHER-1200-EDITION-LIMIT-ONE-PER-CUSTOMER/

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 25, 2011 - 6:49 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

Screen Archives is selling House of Usher for $20 again; limit one per customer.
Ten copies left, so hurry!
http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/14930/HOUSE-OF-USHER-1200-EDITION-LIMIT-ONE-PER-CUSTOMER/


so I guess it was a 1210 limited release (now sold out again). Thanks for posting - got one just in the nick of thyme, Basil.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 14, 2011 - 11:05 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Phew - it was touch and go for a minute but I got a copy. Arrived this very morning, and I've just spent the last hour listening on the big speakers and pacing the floor like a tragic, white-haired Vincent Price in a big dressing gown.

Absolutely magnificent release! I've been critical in the past of some Baxter scores, but this is him at the peak of his considerable talents, and it all works a dream. I just love how all the ideas are stirred into the heady brew, and how it twists and turns - how the swooning romance is suddenly turned into a nightmare of gloom, like a heavy curtain being drawn across a ray of sunshine.

In this case I think a passing acquaintance with the wonderful film is a great help - I watched it again on DVD as I awaited the arrival of the score, and it just confirmed what a great movie it is - thanks to all the talents involved, and Baxter's score is absolutely right up there as one of the key factors in the movie's effectiveness. So I really re-lived the film as I paced the floor, music on the big speakers, and making tragic faces into the mirror. It may be too much of a helter-skelter ride for some people though.

I will scrutinize this through the headphones tonight (no doubt tragically lying on the bed in a big dressing gown), but on first listen I had no problem at all with supposedly dodgy sound. I'll get back to you. Meanwhile, it would be nice to hear some more people chime in with their reactions to the music, especially those who HAVEN'T seen the movie. I've wanted this score since I saw the film on the telly as a kid, but I don't know if, without a connection to the film itself, the score may seem too "bitty". Maybe not actually - I can imagine reading Poe to it... Forgive me, I ramble once more.

My release of the year so far anyway.

 
 Posted:   Mar 14, 2011 - 11:17 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Meanwhile, it would be nice to hear some more people chime in with their reactions to the music, especially those who HAVEN'T seen the movie.

I like all the Baxter CDs I've heard or bought, apart from The Beast Within and this one. I was disappointed with Usher, which sounds rather ugly to me. Sorry.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 14, 2011 - 11:17 AM   
 By:   Robert0320   (Member)

This is by far, Baxter's best score. Usually, Les is more, more or less but this time I would have loved more les.

 
 Posted:   Mar 14, 2011 - 1:16 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

I'm listening to House of Usher again right now and I can see why some people might suggest it has sound quality issues. The first thing I hear is that the orchestra sounds somewhat hollow the way it was recorded (especially listening to it right after Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines). Still, I am satisfied with the sound because I enjoy the main melody as well as the sorts of crazy horror music that comes out later with the moaning choir.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 14, 2011 - 1:30 PM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

This is by far, Baxter's best score. Usually, Les is more, more or less but this time I would have loved more les.

Les is always more. This and PIT, at least.

 
 Posted:   Mar 14, 2011 - 1:39 PM   
 By:   Jonathan   (Member)

Shoot. I missed out on this again... frown

 
 Posted:   Mar 14, 2011 - 5:56 PM   
 By:   BasilFSM   (Member)

Shoot. I missed out on this again... frown

Jonathan, send me an e-mail. I might be able to help you out. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2011 - 11:05 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Righty-ho, did you all get your copies or has anyone missed out? I got mine from Rosebud in Valencia, but it was probably the last one. Any stores still got it in stock?

Just a little observation - I think that HOUSE OF USHER shares quite a bit with Gary McFarland's score for EYE OF THE DEVIL. There are moments of blaringly unsubtle horror chords just on the edge of jazz, there's the quietly reverential vocal combinations which create a pseudo-religious atmosphere, and the use of the choir against full orchestra in EYE OF THE DEVIL's End Titles climaxes in its final moments in a way which is extremely Baxterish. If you like EYE OF THE DEVIL you might like USHER. Might...

Okay, so HOUSE OF USHER... I've played it to death (or at least catalepsy). It really does demand more than one playing because on first listen there seems to be too much chaos, and when it's not chaotic it's frustratingly meandering.

Only on repeated listens does it all come together. This is one that I think should be scrutinized track by track because there's so much of interest going on which may at first pass you by in a seeming cacophony of dissonance and creeping-about doodlings. I can imagine it might be quite difficult to get through for some people - Razzle Bathbone says it's an "ugly" score - and although it's true it has more than its fair share of blaring horror stingers and some very jagged and fragmented writing, it's really like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle which only really shows its full magnificence once you've put all the pieces together and stood back to contemplate it.

The overall hectic nature of much of the score actually helps the more tonal moments to really shine, from the quietly liturgical choir in the "mourning" scene through the various guises of the main theme (by turns swooningly romantic, gloriously bold or resignedly tragic) to the final, spine-tingling End Titles which burst forth in magnificent splendour. And it takes a lot to get my spine tingling these days.

I think this might be Les Baxter's most sophisticated score. It's not party music - I had to persevere with it - but it's supremely rewarding, or at least it is for me. With some scores I hear them once and think "nothing of interest here, move on", but with HOUSE OF USHER, I was constantly drawn back to it, like it was a conundrum I just had to decipher. It won't work for some people, but I just had to add once more that I think this is one of the finest scores ever written, and definitely my release of the year so far (and maybe the decade). Thank you Intrada - I never thought I'd live to see the day.

 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2011 - 11:19 AM   
 By:   Peter Greenhill   (Member)

Nice post Graham. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for this score with us. I've got the CD but haven't played it yet. Seen the film a few times though. Will report back wiith my views soon.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2011 - 5:26 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)


Just a little observation - I think that HOUSE OF USHER shares quite a bit with Gary McFarland's score for EYE OF THE DEVIL. There are moments of blaringly unsubtle horror chords just on the edge of jazz, there's the quietly reverential vocal combinations which create a pseudo-religious atmosphere, and the use of the choir against full orchestra in EYE OF THE DEVIL's End Titles climaxes in its final moments in a way which is extremely Baxterish. If you like EYE OF THE DEVIL you might like USHER. Might...



I had the EXACT SAME THOUGHT. Great minds...

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2011 - 5:48 PM   
 By:   lupoprezzo   (Member)

Mostly agree with your thoughts about HOUSE OF USHER, Graham! It is one of the finest and most daring scores ever written, but it's definitely not for everyone. Everybody who is not that much in experimental, sometimes dissonant, sometimes atonal stuff, should probably stay away or at least watch the film first. I must say I have seen the film so often in the past, that it's difficult for me to listen to the music without imagening the whole film in my mind. I have no idea how it would sound to me, without knowing the film. But I'm sure everybody would agree, that it's one of the very few soundtracks that really creates a complete world on its own.

I'm not completely sure, if it's Les Baxter's most sophisticated score. PIT AND THE PENDULUM comes close I guess, but between these two it's hard to judge, especially because we don't have PIT on CD.

BTW, I just found this excellent review (with all the plot details of the film it might be especially helpful for those who don't know the film): http://www.avforums.com/movies/House-of-Usher-review_10460/soundtrack.html

 
 Posted:   Mar 21, 2011 - 6:48 AM   
 By:   Perky_Norm   (Member)

Still waiting for mine - it was shipped out from Chris' Soundtrack Corner in Germany on the 25th February, so it doesn't look good!!! If it's MIA looks unlikely I'll be sent a replacement - bloody post! frown

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 26, 2011 - 11:58 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Good review, lupo, on that link you gave us. The reviewer obviously knows his stuff, and has a contageous love of the bizarre. I'll be checking out his other articles.

Johnny Enforcer - I hope your copy arrives from Chris' Soundtrack Corner. After all, you were the one who told me to get a move on once it had sold out at SAE and Intrada, whilst I was moping about bemoaning the fact that I might have missed it forever. You suggested the German store - I plumped for the Spanish one and got lucky. Let us know how you get on.

 
 Posted:   Mar 26, 2011 - 5:06 PM   
 By:   mark ford   (Member)

Still ecstatic about finally getting this if though the sound quality is a bit iffy at times (small price to pay to get it). Not a good closed headphone listen or one with the sub woofer turned on unless you like what sounds like a bus idling in the studio during some of the cues! wink

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2011 - 6:21 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Getting in the mood for Halloween, and I've been spinning Robert Cobert's Dark Shadows music, and I pulled out House of Usher again.

This is such an amazing score. Les was really a master and maneuvering between dissonant orchestral mayhem and sweeping melodic romanticism, and all points between, all with a superb color and texture. This is surely one of his best and will be a regular Halloween season spin for me from now on.

 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2011 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

Isn't this a little honey?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2011 - 7:19 PM   
 By:   Robert0320   (Member)

I absolutely love it. I was never a big Baxter fan, but this and BLACK SUNDAY are played often around here.

 
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