"I'm not really a fan of horror."
Surprising sentiment from Maurizio Guarini, keyboardist for the ultimate Italian zombie-and-witchcraft soundtrack band, Goblin.
It's impossible to think of Italian terror cinema without Guarini. As a performer and composer, his phantom chords rocked gore-stained classics like Lucio Fulci's Zombie and The Beyond, plus the Housecore Horror Film Festival's opening shocker, The Profane Exhibit. He's most infamous for joining prog pioneers Goblin midpoint into their greatest working relationship – back-to-back scores for Dario Argento. In 1975, the band recorded the soundtrack to his bloody thriller Profondo Rosso.
"[We] worked in the studio, like session musicians," says Guarini, adding that his job was then to transform Goblin into a concert band, including writing new material. "Some of that was released in 1976 as Roller, our second album, and some stuff has been in our archive and has never been released."
Big-screen cult classic Suspiria, a tale of black magic at a dance school, sealed Goblin's covenant with Italian cinema in 1977. Its weird, breathy, echo-laden score casts an eerie spell on Argento's supernatural bloodbath. Where some directors treat bands like day laborers, Argento collaborated, having Goblin score some scenes before they were shot.
"There are movies where you are requested by the director to do something similar to a sample – but not to be too similar, because that would be copying," explains Guarini. "Dario is involved, not in the creation of the music, but of what he would like the music to be."
After years of rotating lineups and long hiatuses – long enough that Guarini established a successful second career as a software developer in Toronto – Goblin has re-emerged as a live creator. For Housecore Horror, the progressive gore innovators perform both a greatest hits set and a full soundtrack to Suspiria. The original plan was just for Guarini to perform, but he summoned up founding members Claudio Simonetti and guitarist Massimo Morante for a full-fledged Goblin assault. While their trip through tracks from Profondo Rosso, Roller, and more are faithful resurrections, their masterpiece will undergo warped experimentation.
"Suspiria is a soundtrack where it's okay to change a little bit, because there's a bit of freedom with the echoes and the sounds. So it's not as boring as it could be playing something for two hours, and waiting 20 minutes for the next scene."
For the full interview, see the Earache! blog at www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/music.
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