Did you know that there is an entire subgenre of music dedicated to making scores to films that exist only in your mind? I didn’t either. That is, until I heard Umberto’s 2010 record From The Grave. This friend listens to a lot of electronic stuff like Golden Retriever and Gonjasufi, so I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I put it on one day, randomly working my way through a bunch of music I had been given, and I was instantly transported. It wasn’t so much that it sounded like a movie score, but that it was crafted specifically as a 70’s italian Giallo film score. Think Fulci or Bava. From The Grave is incredibly intense and not for a passive listener. But if you’re up for it, I can’t recommend it enough.
For his new album, Matt Hill leans a little more toward science fiction than horror. Confrontations is still terrifying at times, but there’s also something very intelligent about the soundscape. When I close my eyes and let the music wash over me, I feel like I’m in deep space where no one can hear you scream.
It’s hard to describe what it is about Umberto that I dig so much. I generally don’t go for this kind of music. It’s not like rock or folk where lyrics and guitar riffs please your ears. This is the kind of thing that digs into your brain and lives in your mind with you (Like we’re all Malkovich’s and Umberto is John Cusack). Listening to Confrontations for the first time, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what happens next. Umberto is a great storyteller using synths and drum machines instead of words.
I don’t really know what else to say about this record. It’s fantastic if you can get into it. If not, I totally understand. I didn’t think I would either, but you’ll never know until you give it a try. If you love a good film score, know that Umberto’s major influencers are John Carpenter, Ennio Morricone, and Pino Donaggio. He has a complete understanding of what makes a score work, and he does it extremely well.
I know it sounds a bit weird, but this record is already in my top ten so far, and I think it’s gonna make a move up the ranks this week after I’ve listened some more. You can stream the whole thing on Umberto’s Bandcamp page, so it costs you nothing but your time.