I really like Komeda’s works on Polanski’s films. How can you not?
The Polish jazz composer’s works on Polanski’s 60s classics like Rosemary’s Baby, Knife In The Water and others, really contributed to the overall strangeness and enigmatic feel of Polanski’s films.
While Polanski made incredible thrillers, he had some comedies as well, or should I say dark comedies, like Cul De Sac or The Fearless Vampire Killers, Pirates and ‘What?‘.
The soundtracks for the first two challenged Komeda to leave his jazzy world and focus on an eerie, strange melodies and arrangements, with interesting sounds. They were somehow cold, distant-like tunes that when listened out of the film context, creates an unrelaxing mood and in a way bothers your soul.
It’s not like Morricone’s works or Hans Zimmer’s that can still sound lush and beautiful when played outside of the film context, as Komeda’s works on comedies sound more like Morricone’s experimental stuff, inspiring yet sometimes challenging.
Cul De Sac’s soundtrack is incredible, yet very short (15 minutes in total) set of music based on freaky theme played on a weird synth that sounds like Zorna. Throughout the soundtrack, this theme repeats itself in various variations.
The Fearless Vampire Killers is longer and features 19 tracks, from very short (0:22) to longer pieces (Herbert’s Song, 3:57) and in a way is varied in style. It’s not my favorite Komeda soundtrack (I think I like Rosemary’s Baby the most) but the new reissue on vinyl by the Series Aphonos label is a damn good excuse to recall this wonderful soundtrack, that I believe is worth introducing to.