Published Mar 05, 2019For even the most dedicated Italian soundtrack fans, the name Claudio Tallino is an obscure one. Only a tiny handful of releases were ever connected to the mysterious composer, with little to no biographical info available online to reveal who he actually was. But despite all the question marks, Tallino managed to craft a true classic with Calamo — an insanely rare, but sought-after 1976 soundtrack now getting a second chance via Sonor Music Editions.
From the ominous clock-ticking percussion that kicks off the score, it quickly becomes clear that Calamo is one serious monster of a record — and one that stands tall among the best Euro sleaze/giallo works of the era. In fact, Tallino employs pretty much all the best elements that make so many '70s Italian soundtracks so timeless.
Not only are you hit with spooked-out Hammond organs, gospel-like pianos, sinister vocal mobs and a stunning female lead, but Calamo delivers a major psychedelic punch, complete with roaring prog riffs, funked-out bass lines and more fuzz than a speaker can rightly handle. Add in some majestic string work, a touch of exotica and beats that hip-hop heads would die for, and it's a seriously complex piece of work that ticks off an impressive number of boxes.
Of course, these varying sonics don't hit all at once; Tallino expertly weaves them in and out to make a fascinating and varied whole. And really, it's the kind of soundtrack mastery that's right up there with some of the best giallo/thriller work that Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai ever delivered.
While this is all displayed stunningly on Sonor's nine-song vinyl version of Calamo, the complementary 16-track CD is loaded with bonus cuts and outtakes that drive it all home even further, with many of the themes drastically reimagined to stunning effect.
The film itself may have had little impact, but Tallino's Calamo soundtrack is sleazy listening at its best — not to mention an album that still sounds like a true classic all these decades later. (Sonor Music Editions)