I’m still working on compiling my list of my Favorite DVDs from 2007, which I plan on sharing here before the end of the month, but in the meantime I thought I’d put together a list of my Top 20 Favorite Soundtrack CDs of 2007. Not surprisingly, Italy’s Cinedelic Records, Japan’s Hotwax Trax, Sweden’s Fin de Siècle Media and Universal Music France all have multiple releases on my list. All of these labels have put out some fantastic music collections in recent years and I expect more great things from them in 2008. Now on with my Top 20 Favorite Soundtrack CDs of 2007 . . .

1. Naozumi Yamamoto – Branded to Kill (Koroshi no Rakuin)
The great Japanese composer Naozumi Yamamoto created many terrific jazz inspired scores for Seijun Suzuki’s films in the sixties and his work on Branded to Kill (1967) is some of his best. Various pieces of music from the Branded to Kill soundtrack have previously been available on a few compilations, but this great new CD from Think Records in Japan is the first time Yamamoto’s complete score for the film has been made available.
*You can listen to sound samples and purchase the CD from Movie Grooves

2. Hajime Kaburagi – Hotwax Trax Composer Series Hajime Kaburagi

Due to language barriers this fantastic collection of soundtrack compositions by one of Japan’s greatest composers is often being referred to only as the Nora-neko rokku: Sekkusu hanta (Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter) / Furyô shôjô Mako (Bad Girl Mako) Original Soundtrack and scores for both of those 1970/1971 films are featured on the CD, but this terrific collection of Hajime Kaburagi scores also contains compositions from many other great Japanese films that he scored including Bloody Territories (1969), Blackmail is My Life (1968), Velvet Hustler (1967) and Swirling Butterflies (1970). Hajime Kaburagi’s impressive soundtracks are influenced by a wide array of music including jazz, lounge and rock and I can’t recommend this wonderful collection enough.
* You can listen to sound samples and purchase the CD from Movie Grooves

3. Michel Magne – Soundtracks from the Films of Roger Vadim
I’ve loved the soundtrack from Barbarella (1968) since I first watched the film some 25 years ago, so I was thrilled to discover that the great French composer Michel Magne had written some music for Roger Vadim’s film that had never been published before and was finally released on CD from Universal Music France just last year. This terrific collection also contains music from some of Vadim’s other great films including La Ronde (1964) and Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman (1973). The CD comes with a nice booklet in French and English with background info on the release.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

4. Michel Legrand – Le Mans / The Hunter Original Soundtracks
The talented French composer Michel Legrand worked on some of Steve McQueen’s finest films, including the original Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and the excellent racing film Le Mans (1971). Le Mans features one of the composer’s best and most exciting scores, but the soundtrack hasn’t been available on CD for a long time. This new release from Universal Jazz France includes the complete soundtrack for Le Mans as well as the excellent score he composed for another Steve McQueen film, The Hunter (1980). The CD also contains a great booklet with background information about the composer’s work.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

5. Marc Wilkinson – Blood on Satan’s Claw Original Soundtrack
Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) is one of my favorite British horror films and without a doubt one of Tigon Studio’s best releases. Most critics and horror fans tend to praise The Witchfinder General as Trigon’s best horror film, but I personally find Blood on Satan’s Claw more effective and chilling. The film also has a really terrific and extremely creepy score by composer Marc Wilkinson, which was made available on CD for first time last year from Trunk Records. Unfortunately this is a limited release so grab it while you can. It also contains some interesting liner notes.
* You can listen to sound samples, download individual song MP3s and purchase the soundtrack at Amazon

6. Ennio Morricone – Morricone Giallo
I love the scores that Ennio Morricone has composed for many gialli films and this wonderful collection of music from Bella Casa brings together some of the composers best and most unusual compositions from many of my favorite Italian thrillers including The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1971), The Fifth Cord (1971) and Short Night of the Glass Dolls (1971), plus many more. This is not necessarily easy listening since much of the music included on the CD is rather experimental and unnerving, but it showcases Morricone’s great range and will make listeners immediately feel like they’ve just wandered into the set of a giallo production.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

7. Armando Trovajoli – Armando Trovajoli

Armando Trovajoli is one of Italy’s greatest composers and this fine collection from Cinedelic Records collects some of the composers best music from a wide selection of films, which he personally picked for this release. It’s a terrific introduction to his work and the CD also comes with an impressive book with lots of color photos, poster art from the films he worked on and extensive liner notes from many of the actors and directors he has worked with over the years.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

8. Various Artists – A Musical and Visual Tribute to the Cinema of Pasolini
The fascinating and controversial director Pier Paolo Pasolini worked with some of Italy’s finest composers during his lifetime, including Ennio Morricone, Carlo Rustichelli and Benedetto Ghiglia. This excellent collection from Cinedelic Records brings together some hard to find music from many of the director’s best films including Teorema (1968), Medea (1969), and Salo (1975). It also comes with a beautiful book that contains rare photos of the director at work, poster art, a filmography and detailed notes.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

9. Nora Orlandi – Il Dolce Corpo di Deborah Original Soundtrack

Nora Orlandi’s amazing score for the giallo film Il Dolce Corpo di Deborah (The Sweet Body of Deborah, 1968) was released on CD by Fin de Siècle Media for the first time last year. It’s an incredibly lush score with lots of groovy lounge and jazz influences. It’s also the only soundtrack from a film that I’ve never actually seen on my list. I love Orlandi’s film scores enough to purchase this blind and I can’t recommend it enough if you happen to enjoy Italian film scores as much as I do, but I’d also love to see Il Dolce Corpo di Deborah get an official DVD release in the U.S.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

10. Bruno Maderna – La Morte Ha Fatto L’Uovo Original Soundtrack
One of the most unusual giallo films I’ve ever had the pleasure to see is Giulio Questi’s La Morte Ha Fatto L’Uovo (Death Laid an Egg, 1968) and the film contains an impressive avant-garde score by composer Bruno Maderna. An edited version of the soundtrack had previously been available on CD, but last year Fin de Siècle Media released a wonderful new and complete version of Maderna’s quirky score for the film with 10 previously unheard bonus tracks.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

11. Kunihiko Murai – Hotwax Trax Composer Series Kunihiko Murai

This terrific collection of music contains the soundtracks composer Kunihiko Murai created for two of Eizo Sugawa’s Toho crime films, which starred the great action star Hiroshi Fujioka. The first score featured on the CD is for the 1974 film Yajû Shisubeshi: Fukushû no Mekanikku (Beast Must Die: The Mechanics of Revenge) and the second one included on the disc is for the 1973 film Yajû Gari (Beast Hunting). Both scores are really terrific and should appeal to anyone who enjoys funky jazz infused soundtracks.
* You can listen to song samples and purchase the CD at Movie Grooves

12. Luis Enríquez Bacalov – Django (Expanded Version) Original Soundtrack

Along with the more recognized work of Ennio Morricone, the talented composer Luis Enríquez Bacalov has created some of the best and most memorable soundtracks for many great spaghetti westerns. His score for Django (1966) has been available on CD for years, but last year the Japanese label Verita Note released this impressive soundtrack in it’s entirety. The Django Expanded Version contains 19 previously unreleased tracks and the quality is far superior to other releases I’ve heard.
* You can purchase this CD at Amazon

13. Various Artists – A Musical and Visual Tribute to the Cinema of Dario Argento

Please see my previous post about this release.

14. Ennio Morricone – Morricone Awards
At the 79th Academy Award show last year Ennio Morricone was finally honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award celebrating his long career as one of cinema’s greatest composers. In honor of the event, Cinedelic Records released a wonderful CD and book collection simply called Morricone Awards. This superb selection of music is a terrific introduction to the composer’s work if you’re unfamiliar with it, but it also comes with an impressive 62 page book that contains a complete discography of Morricone’s work with lots of rare original record sleeve art, film poster reproductions and photos that will impress longtime Morricone fans as well.
* You can purchase this CD at Amazon

15. Ronald Stein – Mad, Mod & Macabre: The Ronald Stein Collection

If you’d like to read a little more about this release, please read the brief write-up about Mad, Mod & Macabre: The Ronald Stein Collection that I wrote in June 2007 for Cinedelica.

16. Jiri Sust & Jiri Slitr – Daisies Original Soundtrack
I’ve only seen a handful of films from the Czech New Wave, but Daises (Sedmikrasky, 1966) is one of my favorites. The film features an unusual and quirky score by Jiri Sust and Jiri Slitr, which was released on CD for the first time in 2007 by Finders Keepers Records. The original soundtrack for the film has never been made available before in any format, but the music was taken from the original reels. The CD also contains unseen archive images from the film, poster art reproductions and detailed liner notes.
* You can purchase this CD at Amazon

17. Various Artists – Attori A Mano Armata
If you’d like to read a little more about this great Cinedelic Records release, please check out the brief write-up I did for Cinedelica on Attori A Mano Armata: The main actors of the most Violent season of the Italian Cinema Collection in May 2007.

18. Various Artists – A Musical and Visual Tribute to the Cinema of Bernardo Bertolucci
Please see my previous post about this release.

19. Laurie Johnson – Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter Original Soundtrack

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) is one of Hammer’s best vampire films and it also happens to have a terrific and eerie score by British composer Laurie Johnson, but it has never been available in its entirety until last year when BUYSOUNDTRAX Records released it in association with GDI Records. Unfortunately this is a limited release, but it comes with a nice color booklet with movie stills and even features liner notes written by Hammer glamour girl Caroline Munro.
* You can purchase this collection at Amazon

20. Maurice Jarre – Film Music Masterworks Maurice Jarre

This nice collection from Film Music Masterworks features music from the film’s Jarre worked on with David Lean such as Ryan’s Daughter (1970), Lawrence Of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965), as well as compositions from some of the composer’s finest work from René Clément’s Is Paris Burning? (1966) and John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King (1975), mostly performed by the City Of Prague Philharmonic. It’s a great introduction to some of the composer’s best work and for the incredibly low retail price of $9.98, it’s well worth picking up.
* You can listen to sound samples, download individual song MP3s and purchase the CD at Amazon

I also recommend the other terrific Film Music Masterwork collections that were released in 2007 for Bernard Herrmann, Elmer Bernstein and Nino Rota.

9 thoughts on “Top 20 Soundtrack Releases of 2007

  1. This is a great selection. I don’t own any of these, but I’ll definitely be adding them to my wish list. They all sound wonderful. Cool choices.

  2. I hope you get a chance to hear some of these Vanwall & Keith. You can listen to samples from many of them at Movie Grooves, but because Movie Grooves is located in the U.K., the CDs often cost a lot more with shipping then they do at Amazon.

  3. Wow,
    What an incredible list. I have a few of these already and simply put…I want them all. It has been thrilling the past few years seeing so many wonderful archival releases….

  4. Can’t agree more with your 2 first choices. Branded to kill OST is a pure gem as So Kaburagi’s works are a real discovery (although i only listened to the other Sex hunter CD, is there track overlap with this one?).
    As a big fan of Bruno Moderna works, i’m delighted to see this soundtrack has been released! Did you listen to Hotwax ‘Femake Yakuza Tale’ OST ? i Loved the movie and am sure this OST rocks as well! 🙂

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