Braen Raskovich: Abnormal Sensations LP
Collectively known under their production pop group moniker The Pawnshop, Italian Giallo/Spaghetti legends Alessandro Alessandroni, Giuliano Sorgini and Giulia De Mutiis (using their Giallo-psych alter egos of Braen, Raskovich and Kema) would reconvene behind the curtain in 1973 to craft this lost full-length LP as a mythical addition to their tiny group discography.
Pin-pointing a bona fide crossroads between the composers’ individual library grails The Underground and Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue, this previously commercially unreleased slice of abstract Giallo stoner funk combines Alessandroni’s inimitable twang-happy growling fuzz and desperately inquisitive guitar/harp/ dulcimer manipulations (akin to his work on All The Colours Of The Dark, Marquis De Sade and Danger Diabolik) with Sorgini’s eery industrial scrapes, moaning echoes and face-slapping percussion grooves (found on his rare TV soundtracks like Zoo Folle or the undercover work he did for library labels like Leo, Leonardi, National and Lupus). The inclusion of Alessandroni’s wife Giulia De Mutiis on groaning wordless vocal duties not only completes The Pawnshop trinity but adds the essential Giallo sheen popularised by Morricone regular Edda Dell’Orso (evoking clear comparisons to that of Lizard In A Woman’s skin and Veruschka). For fans of Giulia’s work on Bruno Nicolai’s The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (dir. Jess Franco) and most notably Morricone’s Sospiri Da Una Radio Lontana (from Henri Verneuil’s The Night Caller) and Venus (on the Nereide label), the distinction glistens in the detail.
These twelve tracks were circulated amongst TV and cinema production houses in the mid-70s for potential film synchronisation by library label Octopus under the title Judicial Inquiry (Inchiesta Giudiziaria) in what was perhaps an effort to capture the imagination of directors of the growing trend in Italian crime cinema. Track titles such as Abnormal Sensations and Psychic Getaway, however, indicate the trio’s natural penchant for the absurd and supernatural, rendering this particular beast quite specific and unique as its own dedicated non-release. For fans of extrovert Italian freak funk, avant garde pop and European horror sountracks this LP should sit comfortably in the company of your Bruno Nicolai and Gruppo Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza records and draw striking comparisons to international horror soundtracks by Don Gere, Pierre Raph and Andrzej Korzynski while exposing another secret hiding place for some of Italy’s finest A-List composers making rich experimental noise for B-Movie masterpieces.