Il Sesso della Strega (‘Sex of the Witch’) is available on vinyl for the first time via CAM Sugar.
Launched in 1959 Rome to capitalize on the ascent of the Italian film industry, CAM (Creazioni Artistiche Musicali) has been synonymous with the country’s rich film music legacy ever since.
An early home to composers including Nino Rota, Piero Piccioni, Carlo Rustichelli, Ennio Morricone, and hundreds of others, CAM was central to not just documenting, but influencing, the sound of Italian cinema. By treating the music not just as aural wallpaper for the visual action but as a genre to be taken seriously, CAM and its publishing arm helped amplify some truly genius recordings. It also recycled pieces for use as library music.
CAM, which was rebranded CAM Sugar after a 2011 acquisition, made a business of documenting film composers as their careers expanded and evolved. For example, among CAM’s earliest releases was longtime Fellini collaborator Nino Rota’s score for Renato Castellani’s Il Brigante. Rota would go on to release dozens of records through CAM, including the great Il Casanova score. Cam Sugar reissued that last year as a double album with previously unreleased cues from the movie.
The Italian B-movie Il Sesso Della Strega (Sex of the Witch) is little more than an asterisk in the country’s filmography. A titillating fantasy released in 1973 that explores existential themes on life, death and passion — and whose title kinda captures its premise — the film arrived without much fanfare, one of a bounty of low-budget erotic popcorn-chompers coming out of the country at the time.
Though much lesser known than legends Rota and Morricone, Il Sesso … composer Daniele Patucchi is described in CAM Story’s overview of the new release as “one of the most skilled but still underestimated composers of the Italian Golden Age.”
For Il Sesso Della Strega, Patucchi harnessed the heavenly voice of Nora Orlandi, best known for her work with Morricone and for the use of her song “Dies Irae” (which she wrote and sang in Sergio Martino’s The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh) in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 2.
The label describes the score as “a hypnotic soundtrack, which leads the listener to a dreamlike realm where the sensual charge of the themes mixes with the sinister and dark atmospheres typical of the genre.”