156

Caleb Sampson: Mr. Death - The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter Jr.

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Caleb Sampson: Mr. Death - The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter Jr. Composer/keyboardist Caleb Sampson passed away on June 8th 1998 prior to the release of filmmaker Errol Morris’ documentary titled Mr. Death – The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr.. Not having seen the movie, I believe Mr. Leuchter was responsible for either developing or maintaining execution apparatus or “machines of death”. In any event, this film has received much praise since it’s release, as Errol Morris possesses an estimable track record for previous documentaries and films for TV. Caleb Sampson commenced with the construction of this soundtrack during the film’s infancy as the liners also reveal that Sampson composed and recorded this altogether endearing project while utilizing only a few snippets of the film for reference, which coincides with his untimely passing.

A member of the marvelous “Alloy Orchestra” (see AAJ April 2000 reviews), Sampson’s soundtrack is one that imparts a lasting impression for it’s compactness and illustrious conveyance of sequential themes and animated flow along with the beautiful and at times haunting melodies. Pieces such as the opener, “Heroics” features Sampson’s commanding – militaristic – style orchestrations and “Ghost Waltz” where Sampson and his bandmates implement somber strings and dark arrangements that emit an air of tragedy or dejection. Apparently, Mr. Leuchter was consumed by his work while also purveying some fairly odd ideologies and dogmas. Many of the compositions here invoke gorgeous waltz-like themes, majestic flutes and an overall distinct sense of nobility along with peaks and valleys of an often probing or inquiring nature. Despite the morose or moribund inferences, Mr. Death is a magnificent score that stands on its own in towering fashion! Highly recommended....... * * * * *


Personnel:

Caleb Sampson; Piano, Synthesizers: John Kusiak; Additional Synthesizers: Terry Donahue; Accordion, Percussion: Ken Winokur; Percussion: Hawthorne Quartet; Strings: Billy Novick; Clarinet: Donald Berman; Piano on

Title: Mr. Death - The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter Jr. | Year Released: 2000


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left" CD/LP/Track Review Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Lionsong" CD/LP/Track Review Lionsong
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "Instrumental" CD/LP/Track Review Instrumental
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Exosphere" CD/LP/Track Review Exosphere
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Expedition" CD/LP/Track Review Expedition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 10, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.