Premium rare soundtrack materials from Tomita. Originally released only in Japan, this Contempo reissue puts the album back into the hands of people who aren’t international collectors: at last! Catastrophe 1999: The Prophecies Of Nostradamus is something like an Ennio Morricone suite if Morricone used a lot of mellotrons, synths and funk guitar.
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Praise be to disaster movies, am I right? I’ve watched my fair share of films like The Day After Tomorrow on Film4 at half one in x-godforsaken Leedsian takeaway, and they certainly don’t have soundtracks like this: for Catastrophe 1999, a film entirely based on the miserable future envisioned by Nostradamus, composer Iaso Tomita swerves between gorgeous choral ambience to funk-fleeced guitar riffs into reverent synth washes. At times, his score sounds like the creeping retrograde rock Ennio Morricone would’ve thrown into a Western, but there’s an artificial eeriness, and often a playful rhythmic cool, that sets Tomita’s work apart from his soundtracking peers.
Tomita’s soundtrack serves to create both an epic, grandstanding backdrop for ‘Catastrophe 1999’ and a reminder that it’s all just pulp: the drum fills and cool guitar licks take the listener out of the moment in just the right way, offering much needed levity in the face of self-serious synth washes and pieces that include airy whistling and samples of waves crashing. Combining erudite arrangements with little flourishes of silliness seems fitting for a disaster film whose premise lies on a dude predicting its disasters many years prior. If I were Jake Gyllenhaal and I was trying to outrun a devastating snowstorm I’m pretty sure I’d want Iaso Tomita behind me, telling sonic jokes and then taking me very seriously.
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