perfect score

Soundtrack review: The black spider (Stelvio Cipriani – 2013)

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“Black spider” is an intimate and misty jazzy score like no other and if you are usually touched by the sound of Italian movies from a few decades ago you will consider this one among your favorites.

Film music is my favorite time travelling vehicle. Whenever I listen to and rank a new score, one of the most important elements in my judgment of the way it personally affects me is the nostalgia value. Nostalgia for me doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a special connection with the movie itself or that I remember listening to that score in a special moment of my life; nostalgia is mostly related to the sound of the score. There are clear bookmarks in my past, happy periods in my childhood or teenage years for example, that are related to particular sound. The most precious gems in my treasure chest are the 80s synth sound and the 70- 80s Italian movie sound which was imprinted on my soul mostly by Ennio Morricone. These two musical legacies get the highest nostalgia marks from me because they take me back the fastest to the most comfortable and happy time I can remember.

Stelvio Cipriani’s “Black spider”, another magnificent gift from one of my favorite labels Kronos Records, takes me by the heart and floats me back to my childhood. This quiet and moody masterpiece quiets the outside world and replaces all my worries and thoughts with peace and quiet. I am hypnotized by the slow bass, by the smooth percussion and the echoes of an organ I heard in the background. I have such an easy time journeying together with this composition because it’s timeless. The music doesn’t actually take me back; I find in it the memories of my favorite place and I slide in. Even if I am listening to it for the first time this score feels so personal to me that I can’t imagine it in the context of a movie. I don’t care when it was written and recorded.

Stelvio Cipriani’s composition is tender and meaningful; there’s a permanent steam rising from it which makes me think of the cigarette smoke in a dark lounge. Nobody can find me there; I can hide and be myself. Just like that steam, the music is light and not intrusive. The music also has a darkness it in that also made me think of the atmosphere of Twin Peaks.

The electric piano with its simple and almost metallic sound appears every now and then and drops more anchors of nostalgia. When I listen to “Black spider” I am somewhere else. I am charmed and removed from this world. I recognize the sadness of this score and I am comfortable there. It’s the sadness of melancholy; it’s the feeling of closure and coming at peace with something. There are moments when the score gets livelier (like the delightful “Spiders from the East”) that work but I am more drawn to that endless river of music that flows quietly and eternally.

“Black spider” is an intimate and misty jazzy score like no other and if you are usually touched by the sound of Italian movies from a few decades ago you will consider this one among your favorites. Listen to it even if you don’t; you will probably get addicted to this beautiful album.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 69 / 69

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

  1. Spider Introduction
  2. Spins Of Destiny
  3. Spins Of Destiny (Alternative Version)
  4. Black Spider
  5. Black Spider (Alternative Version 1)
  6. Black Spider (Alternative Version 2)
  7. Black Spider (Electric Piano)
  8. Black Spider (Short)
  9. Black Spider (Reprise)
  10. Love Rendez-Vous
  11. Love Rendez-Vous (Short)
  12. Spiders From The East
  13. Models In Love
  14. Before The Catwalk
  15. After The Defilee
  16. Intimacy
  17. Sun Driver
  18. Spiral
  19. Framed
  20. Framed (Alternative Version)
  21. Fringed
  22. Fringed (Alternative Version)
  23. Bloodless
  24. Spinning The Web
  25. Spinning The Web (Alternative Version 1)
  26. Spinning The Web (Alternative Version 2)
  27. Followed
  28. Followed (Alternative Version 1)
  29. Followed (Alternative Version 2)
  30. Fashion Lovers
  31. Fashion Lovers (Alternative Version 1)
  32. Fashion Lovers (Alternative Version 2)
  33. Fashion Lovers (Short)
  34. Fashion Lovers (Strings)
  35. Spider Epilogue
  36. Spider FXs

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

2 Comments

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  • Mihnea, thank you for the review of THE BLACK SPIDER. The CD is labeled “original soundtrack music” but I can find no listing anywhere of a movie or TV program scored by Cipriani called THE BLACK SPIDER. Do you know exactly what this music was composed for, or where it comes from? – Thank you, John Bender