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Whatitdo Archive Group: The Black Stone Affair

Chris May BY

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Whatitdo Archive Group: The Black Stone Affair
Great music recorded in the 1960s and 1970s, never previously released and thought to be lost forever, continues to be unearthed. In 2018, there was John Coltrane's Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!). In 2019, there was Miles Davis' Rubberband (Warner Bros). Now, in 2021, comes another historic discovery: the long-lost soundtrack of visionary Italian film director Stefano Paradisi's masterpiece, The Black Stone Affair. An adventure-western-noir starring Sophia Guccio, Bruno Serafini and Luigi Nicolosi, and introducing Paradisi's personal masseuse, Rita Chevrolet, the movie was shot in Rome, Budapest, Paris and Reno. Its soundtrack was composed and performed by Gruppo Whatitdo Archive, a breakaway faction of Ennio Morricone's Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.

Unfortunately, the loss of the film in a fire the night before it was due to be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1974, meant it was never shown in public. But people who worked on it said that it was destined to put Paradisi on the map alongside the likes of Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antononio. Tragically, Paradisi never made another film: in 1975 his body was found on a beach at Ostia outside Rome. It had been run over multiple times by his own car. The assassins have never been identified.

Miraculously, in 2020, the master tape of The Black Stone Affair's soundtrack was discovered in a bordello in Las Vegas. How it came to be there, nobody knows, and the person who found it, who is believed to be a high-profile movie producer, has chosen to remain anonymous. Nicola Conte is rumoured to be making an entire album (working title Jet Sounds Nova) around it. Meanwhile, the original recording is being released on Milan-based label Record Kicks on April 9 2021.

An inspired fusion of lounge, funk, jazz and bossa nova, the album opens with "The Black Stone Affair (Main Theme)," its dizzying bass line pulsing beneath a Morricone-esque harpsichord melody. "Blood Chief" is all reverb-drenched bongos and sinister baritone guitar. "Ethiopian Airlines" features Afrocentric rhythms and a mysterious horn melody. "Il Furto Di Africo" is a flute-led mood piece. "Italian Love Triangle" is a lounge-y bossa nova evoking a sun-soaked Mediterranean romance. "Last Train To Budapest" is a rapid-action chase theme. "L'Amour Au Centre De La Terre" is a strange monologue voiced by Rita Chevrolet's character, Lola. There is more. It is all a delight.

Nota Bene: This review is based on alternative facts contained in Whatitdo Archive Group's press release for the soundtrack album. The movie never existed. But the album absolutely does. You can get a taste on the YouTube clip below.

Track Listing

The Black Stone Affair (Main Theme); Blood Chief; Ethiopian Airlines; Il Furto Di Africo; Italian Love Triange; Last Train To Budapest; L’Amour Au Centre De La Terre; The Black Stone Affair (Reprise); Farewell Lola; Beaumount’s Lament; The Return Of Beaumont Jenkins.

Personnel

Aaron Chiazza: drums; Mark Sexton: guitar, electric; Christopher Sexton: organ, Hammond B3; Alexander Korostinsky: bass, electric.

Additional Instrumentation

Aaron Chiazza: drums, percussion; Mark Sexton: electric guitar, percussion; Christopher Sexton: B3 organ, Rhodes, Mellotron, harpsichord; Alexander Korostinsky: bass, electric guitar, mandolin, percussion; Ryan Taylor: electric piano; Daniel Schuveiller: electric guitar; Miguel Jimenez: percussion; Lucas Arizu: flute, voice; Benjamin Caiazza: trumpet; Ian Skinner: trumpet; Eric Johnson: saxophone; Joel Stevens: saxophone; John Bennum: trombone; Emily Pratte: violin; Ellen Flanagan: violin; Laura Cooper: voice; Therese Curatolo: voice; Darcy Kathleen: voice; Alessandro Alessandroni Jr: whistle; Joshua Scott: harmonica: Zack Teran: upright bass; Sean Alexander: vibraphone; Bijou Bell: vibraphone; TJ Roe: percussion.

Album information

Title: The Black Stone Affair | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Record Kicks

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