Sunday, September 16, 2007

Something's missing

I'd been meaning to check out Corey Dargel for a while and finally did this weekend when I saw his song cycle Removable Parts at HERE. Sadly I was a little underwhelmed: I felt the songs were hard to tell apart from each other, and that too often the show's theme, Body Integrity Disorder (a syndrome in which the afflicted searches for voluntary amputation), was a skin-deep (ahem) pretext for groan-inducing word play. I did very much enjoy the musical and dramatic interaction between Dargel, who sang, and the always-game, will-try-anything pianist Kathleen Supové.

At the very end, Dargel asked her if what she played depended on her mood. She answered by singing the first few lines of the Chapi Chapo theme (a recording then played over the curtain call). This was completely unexpected and completely delightful, as that theme is a longtime favorite by one of the most cultish film and TV composers ever, François de Roubaix.

De Roubaix's career spanned just ten years—he died in a scuba-diving accident in 1975, at age 36—but it was extraordinarily fertile. In the 1960s, he was among the first to incorporate synthesizers into his scores, and he displayed a constant melodic streak, which worked wonders for the many noir scores he wrote, but also for about 150 commercials and children's shows such as Pépin la Bulle (1969) and the aforementioned Chapi Chapo (1974). You can watch a full episode of Chapi Chapo here; De Roubaix's music throughout is a neverending pleasure.

MP3 François de Roubaix "Chapi Chapo" (from La Télé des Tout P'tits)
MP3 François de Roubaix "Pépin la Bulle" (from La Télé des Tout P'tits)
MP3 François de Roubaix "Xavier à la maison d'arrêt (Main Theme)" (La Scoumoune soundtrack, 1972)

2 comments:

Henry Holland said...

It's funny how people with more conventional values - like you - experience something new and dislike it because it's not like something old.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

Actually I didn't care for it precisely because it was too much "like something old." Under a "bold" exterior, a rather old-fashioned heart was beating. Which is fine, but that's what it is. There wasn't much that was new or transgressive in that show. Again, that's fine and can be perfectly enjoyable on these terms.