I have long been a fan of the American film maker John Frankenheimer. One of his most eerie and disturbing films was Seconds, with a great early score by Jerry Goldsmith. When, nearly a century after the movie appeared, the music was finally released I jumped at the chance to get it.
The fact that the CD also featured another obscure Goldsmith score, for a romantic comedy called IQ, was at best a distraction, at worst a nuisance. But when I listened to the CD I was delighted to discover that IQ is actually one of Goldsmith's finest. It's an utterly uncharacteristic score for Goldsmith. It features a lot of classical and jazz sounds (and even doo-wop — check out 'Campus Morning'), and none of the neo-Copeland Americana I associate with the composer. And it is utterly beautiful.
What of Seconds?It is thunderously brooding, electronic-edged and modernist, with a satanic sounding violin and even a good old horror-movie organ which segues into a more modern, angular kind of unease ('Main Title'). The haunting solo piano on 'Isolation' is also a highlight.
This music reminds me that Goldsmith wrote for The Twilight Zone, both in its original 1960 incarnation and later remakes.
There were some issues with the surviving tapes of the music for Seconds, including "print through" which is when sounds migrate through layers of magnetic tape from one track to another. So we have some, very faint, dialogue on a few of the musical cues.
But these ghostly voices bleeding through actually add to the eerie atmosphere of the music.
(Image credits: The front cover of the CD is from Soundtrack Central. The back cover image is from FF Shrine. The alternative covers, featuring just one movie each, are from Willard's Wormholes (Seconds) and FF Shrine again (IQ). All these sites have interesting information about the movies, and the scores.)