"NOW ON VINYL (& earlier cd-r version is out of print)!!!!
Doubtless many movie (and music) buffs would agree that Italian '70s and '80s "giallo" (horror/thriller) cinema, from directors like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, had soundtracks usually as evocative and inspirational as any visual aspect of the films, soundtracks which often stand as effective works of art all on their own. The scores by prog band Goblin being perhaps best known, influencing such modern day bands as Zombi and Crime In Choir. Now here's another, utterly blatant and most excellent example of Italian giallo soundtrack worship by a current artist: Umberto!
Umberto is actually a one-man band, that man being Matt Hill, live collaborator / touring member of AQ faves Expo '70! Under his guise of Umberto, he has just released his first album as limited edition cassette and cd-r on the Sonic Meditations label run by Expo '70 mainman Justin Wright. While Expo '70 has proven to be especially adept at channelling the heavy kosmiche bliss of prime '70s krautrock a la Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel, Umberto is equally savvy at conjuring the dark, suspenseful soundtrack-y sounds of Goblin and the like. With, some cosmic Klaus-y krauty-ness thrown in as well. This definitely sounds like it could be an actual soundtrack, in fact, someone should MAKE a film just to use this as a soundtrack. You can certainly do so in your imagination, aided perhaps by the cinematically suggestive track titles, which include "Running Blade", "Intermission", "Dream Sequence", "Shower Scene", and "End Credits" (the only track here with vocals, otherwise it's all instrumental... and the vocals on this last track are some sort of hard-to understand, chant-like invocation). Listen with the lights off for best results.
Umberto has a heavily synthesized sound, keyboards buzzing and droning and squelching, crunchily distorted or eerily ethereal, sounding at once like ominous Gothic organ music and also spacey futuristic electronica. Mechanical drumming plods along, propulsive beats adding to the menacing atmosphere. There's also plenty of fat disco synth-bass, and we bet folks into Italians Do It Better 12"s, or Black Devil Disco Club, or even skweee would get a kick out of this too, not just Goblin fanatics... but yeah Goblin fanatics (and John Carpenter and Zombi fans too) REALLY ought to check this out! Very cool, very creepy, and even at times kinda catchy-groovy." - Aquarius Records