When a piece of score transcends the film it was created for and enters the popular conscious, whether or not they know it’s origin, that’s when you know you have a classic. John William’s menacing strings from Jaws, what can be helpfully described as the “dun-dun”, the canyon filling whistle Ennio Morricone created for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and of course Bernard Herrmann’s iconic shower scene music from Psycho. They become shorthands for visual puns and become so overused they risk losing the power of what made them so memorable to begin with.
This recent release from Stylotone seeks to put the power back in the music. They’ve released a 7″ single vinyl of the incredible ‘Prelude’ and ‘Murder’ aka the shower stabbing strings.
The most notable thing listening back to these pieces, devoid of context and away from a spoofing is how deranged they really sound. Herrmann creates a truly off-kilter sound in ‘Prelude’, violent strings which give a glimpse at the horrors to come give way to a flight of fancy as the music seems to take flight. It’s a perfect combination mirroring the violence and mania in the mind of Norman Bates.
When listening to ‘Murder’ on it’s own you appreciate what a truly horrible piece it is. The stabbing violins sound are truly unique and conjure nothing in your mind other than the shower scene itself. The bass when it quickly comes in sounds dreadful in the best possible way. You know how it sounds.
This new vinyl transfer really brings out the rumble in the deep bass, the dread sounds bigger than ever and you realise what an otherworldly achievement from Herrmann this music is.