The Church by Keith Emerson & Goblin

In which the fairly proggy Italian group Goblin team up with the extremely proggy Keith Emerson to soundtrack a Dario Argento horror flick. Dating from 1989, Emerson takes the film’s title La Chiesa (The Church) literally, by sticking mostly to a huge-sounding church organ. 

Vinyl LP £32.99 DW138

Reissue LP on Death Waltz.

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The Church by Keith Emerson & Goblin
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7/10 Robin 03 June 2015

Not being satisfied with the simplicity of a split as it usually happens -- you know, two bands record some music separately and then put it out together -- Keith Emerson and Goblin did the next best thing, opting to score a slasher flick by taking turns on the biggest church organ they could find. ‘La Chiesa’, originally released on the edge of the ‘80s, makes me very thankful indeed I’ve never spent time with progsters, but if you like organ, I’m pretty sure we’ve found your holy grail.

This should by all accounts be a genre relic: Mr. ELP -- Mr. Nice, Mr, Trio, a progster’s progster through and through -- trades tunes with Goblin’s Fabio Pignatelli. Ultimately, though, it’s hard to tell their playing apart: this record is reverent to the instrument they’re playing, which often blindsides with its overwhelming volume and continuous wall of sound. The rawness of the organ makes its players feel anonymous, which fits the film nicely -- the horror flick’s mythos makes the church its antagonist, so the music should sound larger than the lives that created it.

Flourishes of Emerson and Pignatelli do appear, such as on “Possessione”, on which the Goblin to end all Goblins dangles sharp synth chords over a circulating motif and tinny fanfare. Emerson gets a chance to show off his uncanny knack for silly sincerity with “The Possession”, a track with softened industrial percussion and synth that sounds like ghosts humming. In these moments, the organ feels like another part of the kitsch -- its use in the cadence of “The Possession” is pantomimic. This is a B-movie; it follows that its soundtrack is B-music.



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