Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Clay Russell to Bjork

Speaking of 6 DEGREES, late Friday night I was working on updating my video collection page, and I pop in a video called Behind The Greek Door. It's from 1975, and while I really just want to check the credits so I can type it up, I remember that this must've been one of Clay Russell's first films (you may remember him from such movies as El Paso Wrecking Corp, The Boys of Venice, and Heatstroke). Here, however, he's not all shaved like he was in many of his mid-80's movies, but he's got a fuckin' rug on his chest, hair on his back, and his shoulders! (But the box cover art shows him with a smooth chest!) So, I'm enjoying the film, and it goes into the next scene, where the frat pledge has to have sex with all his brothers as part of his initiation (poor kid!) and the background music sounds like the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. But no, it isn't, exactly- is it a discofied version? Actually more jazz-funk than disco, so of course I go to Audiogalaxy to see what I can find. And of course Google, to see if I can figure out who did it, rather than download 16 different versions. So, between the 2 resources, I finally get to hear the downloaded song, and that's it! It's really great (I know, it might be hard to get worked up for the 2001 theme, but the musicianship is great - Stanley Clarke, Ron Carter , Billy Cobham, Ray Barretto, and others - ) - from Brazilian pianist & arranger Eumir Deodato's album Prelude. Maybe you know this already, but the 2001 theme is borrowed from a longer piece from Richard Strauss titled "Also Spracht Zarathustra". Strauss got his title from a work by Nietszche (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) - about a man who lived among people for most of his life, went to a mountain cave for ten years, and then came back down to the world and witnesses the madness and insanity there - which is why Stanley Kubrick used this at the beginning of his film. In 1973, Deodato reworked the original Strauss into a quite groovy, grammy-winning hit!

Now, if you've been paying attention to my ramblings, you'll remember that back in 1995 or '96, Bjork was looking for a song to do for the RED HOT + RIO benefit album, and Milton Nascimento's Travessia introduced Bjork to the work of arranger Eumir Deodato. While her recording of that song never made it on the album, Deodato did produce and arrange a whole new version of Isobel from Bjork's second solo album, Post, that made it to a CD-single, and the 1996 Bjork remix album Telegram, which is pretty groovy, since he worked with Kool and the Gang in 1979 to give their career a boost . On her 1997 album, Homogenic, Deodato worked on most of the songs, including Hunter, Joga, and Bachelorette.

So, if you're not ready to hear Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001 Theme) all jazzed-up, I would highly recommend September 13, from the same album.