Friday, 12 May 2017

Bless the rains down on Arrakis

Listening to the soundtrack of David Lynch’s Dune and musing on Toto’s unlikely involvement with the film. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a satisfactory explanation how Toto got this gig, although the group’s chief songwriter David Paich suggests in the liner notes penned for the 1997 PEG Recordings edition of the soundtrack (which contains only Toto music), that he essentially auditioned for the scoring job when he visited David Lynch in Mexico and handed him a demo tape of proposed music, the deal finally sealed over a mutual love of Shostakovich’s 11th symphony. I had a plan to listen to some of Toto’s early albums in preparation for this post, but I balked at the idea of listening to anything cut from the same cloth as Rosanna or Africa. And yet, the music Toto wrote and recorded with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra is frequently stunning, far removed from the slick, soft rock the group is largely known for, from epic brooding orchestral passages to short synth driven numbers, and quiet introspective atmospheres, which mesh very nicely with Brian Eno’s Prophecy Theme, an excellent leftover from the Apollo albums sessions which I believe is not available elsewhere. It’s interesting to note that Toto never worked in the soundtrack field again and I wonder was it due to the critical mauling the film received ? Listening to the Dune Desert Theme, which could easily fit the heroics of Top Gun, the group might well have had a second day job á la Tangerine Dream…


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