Imagine Director John Carpenter had become the spiritual leader for 70’s occult-rock band Goblin, in much the same way that Andy Warhol was a guiding light for the Velvet Underground. The result would probably sound a lot like Umberto. Los Angeles Composer, Matt Hill is the fulfillment of such an imagination. Under the moniker Umberto, Hill began writing music by pulling together all the influences that he loved as a young man; 80’s horror films, Ennio Morricone soundtracks, some adventurous prog and a touch of giallo-disco, just to keep things interesting.
Founded in 2008, Umberto has carried the torch for those seeking eerie, cinematic music with a smart krautrock edge. Hill‘s version of progressive-rock leaning away from the indulgent American & British version of the genre. Focusing instead on atmosphere, enviroment and the forward movement of the sound over the indulgent technical playing of symphonic-arena rock band’s like ELP or, god help me, Genesis.
Equally intersting for the Halloween season is the 2007 soundtrack to Robert Rodriguez‘ film Planet Terror. Entirely composed by Rodriguez, the score is a great slice John Carpenter-inspired creepy goodness. Not that Roriguez doesn’t forge his own (zombie) music. Fact is, Rodriguez created a highly original and musically diversity soundtrack. Layering buzzing guitars and atmospheric electronics between old-school keyboards and a wailing saxophone. Together creating an ambience that is murky, sweaty, tense and paranoid. Just what you want from a fun, violent film about the undead. Best of all, the film itself is an excellent excuse to sit close during a late night film-fest. Light off.