Michael Reinboth on Morricone

Mundovibes: Clearly you are a big fan of Morricone…what has been his influence on you?

Michael Reinboth: He is not only the greatest and most influential film music composer of all times but he is also the one who touched our heart, soul and mind simultaneously: while film scores are often only background music and sounds, Morricone added to the multi cosmos of score sounds an identifiable unique melody and song hook. In short: catchiness and sounds in one go is his trademark. And both sounds and little hooks (rave signals in our DJ era time) were always deep and innovative.

Mundovibes: What inspired this project?

MR: Having a variety of sound sources from Morricone (60s to late 80s) and having a variety and full spectrum of remixers from downbeat, drum & bass, electro, techno, house, easy listening to 90s new wave. Everybody we asked was truly pleased to be able to remix Mr. Morricone’s music and the other way around, we were as well. To carry his true genius work into the new decade….make it danceable, make it fresh for 2004, reach new younger audiences which might not have heard so much from Mr. Morricone.

Mundovibes: What are your biggest hopes for this project?

MR: A lot of sales, because it is maybe the most expensive Compost project ever. Keep fingers crossed that we can recoup the investment. We hope that people appreciate the mixture and variety in styles – especially regarding the double CD of Vol. 2 with 27 more mixes to come…

Mundovibes: Do you think it will inspire people to check out the originals?

MR: I hope so. For the younger generation (18 – 25 years old) I guess yes. Especially if they are getting into production, DJing and diggin sounds. I guess young DJs and Compost friends are interested in the original sounds. You cannot get these sounds of a 50 piece orchestra, recorded live anywhere else today. You have no choice but to to learn from, steal from, borrow from or in this case remix the good old sources.

Mundovibes: How would you describe the trademark Morricone sound?

MR: As described above: unique soundtrack/score master genius sound with not only the visual aspects related to films. He is and was “ahead of his time”, he combines a huge sound aesthetic with pop music hooks. And his musical skills are amazing as well as his huge conducting experience. If you take the visual aesthetic away, Morricone music is always showing, screaming or leading into a dreamscape of pictures and visuals. If you take other recent or older soundtracks (80s /90s soundtracks), they often fall apart without the visual counterpart. Not so Morricone’s music – and that for over 40 years. It lives on and we wanna dance to it.

Mundovibes: How do you think his work has influenced today’s music?

MR: Very much. You only need to look at act names such as Peace Orchestra (Peter Kruder) or Cinematic Orchestra and you can see how top notch producers, DJs and the whole dancefloor generation are influenced by the 60s and 70s orchestral sounds. Nobody can pay such huge orchestras nowadays, not even a string quartett, but our generation can listen listen listen and learn while listening and if talented they can program and imitate these huge soundscapes. When in the 60s maybe 100 musicians – and that’s an average number – worked on one soundtrack, today you need only one single mind in his bedroom studio to program just a feeling of it. And some do quiet well nowadays.
Mundovibes: The creation of a mood and atmosphere seem to be Morricone’s biggest qualities…

Mundovibes: Is this approach to music something that Morricone and Compost recordings have in common…

MR: As said: neither we nor the big screen film industry would have the budgets for creating a live recorded soundtrack. Computers and the digital studio gear revolution are the solution. In this respect we are comparable with the genius Morricone – hopefully, maybe, perhaps? We are the digital version of the old analogue dinosaur times.

Mundovibes: Do you feel that there is a “thread” with the artists on this project that ties them with Morricone?

MR: I think yes, the remixers we chose have a common and/or good taste in sounds, musical skills and – very importantly – respect for Morricone. Without that respect, a dodgy remixer would have done a dodgy remix. I think all mixes are good, great and treating the maestro’s originals with respect.

Mundovibes: How were the artists selected and what were their guidelines?

MR: The first criterium was their music and secondly, we tried to get a lot of different countries around the world involved. Thirdly, we tried to get a full variety of styles, too. We asked around 16 to 18 remixers, the rumour spread and finally a hundred e-mails later, we had more than 40 producers and DJs acts who wanted to be involved. Since most of the unexpected mixes were also very good we said, ok lets stretch it to another CD, finally resulting in a double CD as Vol. 2. Three or four of the remixers we had asked in the beginning were much too expensive and Kraftwerk said: hmm very interesting, but we have never done a remix. Hmm, shame!

Mundovibes: Were there any attempts at putting vocals to the music?

MR: Yes. In two cases we have additional vocals.

Mundovibes: How close to the originals are the remixes, and what was left “in tact”?

MR: Some are very close, some are a bit far, but still have recognizable sounds and structures. Some have used very rare or unknown Morricone film music, which is not easy to identify. You need to know the original. We discussed putting the originals on the CD too, but that would definitely have been to expensive and a double CD would have grown to a 4-CD. There was also a problem with certain rights as well. Mission Impossible. Anyway 95% of the originals are available or reissued.

Mundovibes: What do “remixers” have in common with Morricone? Is it that they both create atmosphere and mood…

MR: Yes . Most of them asked us if they could join because they had heard about the project and were big big Morricone fans. And we said: ok lets give it a try.

Mundovibes: Is the source important, since many people don’t know his music well enough to recognize the original?

MR: I don’t mind if they do not recognize the original sounds. I think the original sound sources are sooooo wide, open, varied and cover the full spectrum of sounds perfectly. This only shows Mr. Morricone’s genius work.

Mundovibes: Do you think Morricone listens to today’s music?

MR: Not so much as far as I know. He still makes up to 2 soundtracks per year and I guess listens to a lot of composer’s score music, classical music and jazz. I think he is ahead of it and a club tune is maybe like a pop tune for him. He cannot learn anything from us, why should he listen? We can only learn from him. He is an outstanding person. His sons are quite interested in our music and like what we did though.

Mundovibes: What was Morricone’s reaction to this project?

MR: He approved every remix. That’s it. He didn’t give us any particular statement about the grooves, sounds or songs. I think he gained “respect” for how it’s done and the way it’s done, but it is not that he fell in love with the club generation. It’s like you would give Chet Baker a techno remix version of one of his tunes. What do you expect a genius to say? We do not want to compare originals with remixes. Remixes are remixes.

Mundovibes: What were you chief concerns about this project?

MR: That people will compare it with the originals. They were to use sounds and skills, taking it into 2004…..and further.

Mundovibes: How did you select the songs, since he has such a wide body of work?

MR: First we had to check which originals are available for licensing and remixing. What a nightmare! It took us a year. There are seven different record companies involved that hold the rights today. It was heavy shit paperwork. We started with a catalogue of roughly 20 originals for the remixers to choose from. We said to the first 15 or 16 remixers which we contacted to please choose two or three pieces. We would then get back to them with an offer. We had to make sure that not everybody remixes the same song.

Mundovibes: Do you have any favorites on this CD?

MR: My personal faves are Eddy & Dus, Needs, Alex Attias, Computerjockeys, Fukutomi, International Pony, Swell Session, Kid Sundance, Hosono, Dan Curtin.

Mundovibes: It’s surprising there are no dub-reggae driven tracks on Volume 1? Why not?

MR: I agree. Shame on us. We’re also missing a cool Hip Hop remix name, but haha they were all asking for too much money. The US boys are impudent. We said we wanted to pay everybody the same. Fair enough, but you cannot deal that way with US hip hoppers.

Mundovibes: What place do samples have in this project?

MR: A lot. All remixes are based on samples. All.

Mundovibes: The songs retain the original melodies and nothing more?

MR: Some took certain samples, some melodies, some only the hook line, some both hook and samples from original. It was and is impossible to get multi-channels of soundtrack recordings. Imagine most of the scores were recorded LIVE – in one take. Unbelievable but true.

Mundovibes: This will be a two-volume project. How do the two differ?

MR: CD 2 of Vol. 2 has more electro, techno, eletronica and broken beat spaces.

Mundovibes: Did people fight over which track to remix, for example did you have a line of people wanting to remix ‘the good the bad and the ugly’?

MR: Yes, but we said: first come first serve. It was good to see that most remixers had a different wish and option. We only had that problem twice and that was easily solved because we asked everybody for an alternative second or third choice.

Mundovibes: It seems that the originally sceptical Morricone was really impressed with the completed project

MR: Hope so. The approval was part of the deal, but it was with prior consent of the original repertoire holders (the 7 record companies) and Mr. Morricone. But we know that one of his sons is interested in using two or three remixes in his new film…!? If that happens – wow!!

Mundovibes: Will Compost ever get into actual film soundtracks?

MR: Some of our acts (Fauna Flash, Ben Mono, Minus 8 and others) had a few offers, but it is hard work and takes much time. Often at the same time as working on an artists album. So it is better for us and the artist to just work on his album. Minus 8 did a soundtrack two years ago. Should Hollywood ring, we would all be delighted – just speaking for the Compost acts. But it really depends. Usually the film company wants to exploit the soundtrack. If Compost would be able to exploit it it would make more sense for us and our artists.

Mundovibes: Will this lead to other tributes to composers?

MR: No not really planned or thought about such an idea. Guess not.

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