For this week’s Friday Album, I’m veering off a little into leftfield, selecting the original score to the 1970 Czech film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders by composer Lubos Fiser. I initially became aware of this wonderful album when it received its first proper release on Finders Keepers Records in 2007, a label whose entire output and catalog of discoveries and reissues I cannot recommend enough. Upon first listen, I was completely in awe.
From what I understand, the movie (and the book before it) is about a young girl living in a dream world of vampires, monsters, fantasy…and lesbians, a disorienting and erotic metaphor for leaving childhood behind and becoming a part of the larger and more equivocal state of adulthood. But I’ve never seen it (or read it), and that doesn’t matter. The soundtrack works on its own merit as a piece of sonic art. It puts a film in your head without having to actually see one.
Consisting of a dreamlike and intoxicating mix of chamber music, chanting, prayer, church organ, children’s choir, carnival play, and psychedelia, Fiser’s score paints a surreal picture of awakening into a new state, an accompanying soundtrack to falling down the proverbial rabbit hole into parts new and unknown. Mystery. Intrigue. A haunting journey into the fantastic.
This album is an intoxicant. If you have even a passing interest in movie scores, you’ll want to check Valerie out, as it ignited my current and ongoing audio fetish in the art of soundtracks.
As always, if you like what you hear, I implore you to seek the music out and buy it.
Back to you Joe.
From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.