Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dark Suites Feature Artist: Fabio Frizzi

Fabio Frizzi’s Fearful Compositions

Born July 2, 1951 in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Fabio Frizzi is best known for his film scores, especially those composed for the late, great Lucio Fulci. A frequent collaborator with the famous Italian horror maestro, his scores have become some of the most widely known in the genre because of his attention to detail and innovative use of electronic and found instruments. With a father who practically raised him in the Italian movie business, Frizzi started his first band at age 16 and dreamed of going professional in the music industry. Although his father pressured him to become a lawyer instead, his love for film took him off into composing for movies. He found himself working with music composers such as Franco Bixio and Vince Tempera. Working on a variety of soundtracks for many of Italy’s top directors at the time, it would ultimately be his first foray into horror music for Fulci’s 1979 grue-classic, ‘Zombie’ that would make him a horror household name. He and fellow composer Giorgio Tucci created their now famous keyboard soundscape for ‘Zombie” using primarily Yamaha keyboards, Mellotron and a variety or percussion tricks and found instruments.

From there, Frizzi and Fulci would collaborate on several other films, most Fulci’s ultra violent mafia film, 1980’s ‘Contraband’, ‘The City of the Living Dead (aka Gates of Hell-1980) and The Beyond (aka Seven Doors of Death-1981). It seems now, looking back, that Frizzi’s music became almost as important to Fulci’s films as any of his characters, adding doom laden atmosphere and ambience to his most gory movies.

Later working with ex-Goblin member, Maurizio Guarini, Frizzi experimented with various versions of the new electronic keyboard industry, including Yamaha’s CP80 and CS80, vocoders, Prophet 5, Arp 2600, Oberheims, Roland Jupiter 8 and others. But it was his desire to keep the older instruments circulating in his compositions that brought the Mellotron, Mini Moog, ARP Solina and Fender Rhodes in use time and again.
After composing perhaps one of the most haunting horror soundtracks of the 80s, 1982’s ‘Manhattan Baby’ for his longtime friend and collaborator, Fulci, that he decided to part ways. He would not work with the great Fulci again until 1990’s ‘Cat In the Brain’, Fulci’s final true horror film.
After ‘Cat In the Brain’, Frizzi walked away from film composition for a time, instead concentrating on television music, where the money was.
These days Frizzi, ever the innovator, continues to stay abreast of new technology, using ProTools and Digital Performer to create his latest compositions. He is also working with Giuseppe Meddi, famous Eurodance composer, producing new and exciting music for television. He is currently working on a new season of the Sindoni directed television series ‘Butta La Luna’ and recently did the music for the series ‘Per Una Notte d’Amore’, a show produced by cult actress Edwige Fenech. For the past few years he has also been working on a musical and dance tribute to Lucio Fulci.

As fans have matured and gone on to create their own brand of dark music, one cannot truly describe the impact his horror compositions have had on modern music, especially in the dark dance and industrial genres. It seems you can hear his influence in anything slightly menacing and foreboding these days.
Here’s to hoping he will soon be composing brilliantly for the horror world once more.

Frizzi’s most recent work can be found here- through Warner Chapel Music Italy

Fabio Frizzi on MySpace

Partial Discography:
Zombi 2 (1978)
Contraband (1980)
City of the Living Dead (1980)
The Beyond (1981)
Cat in the Brain (1990)

--Nickolas Cook