Although the musical work of Martin Bottcher may not be particularly well known outside of the composer’s native Germany, the television and film scores for which Bottcher became most famous remain a worthy cult obscurity for cinema lounge crate diggers.
Stylistically similar to his fellow funky film composers Peter Thomas and Gert Wilden—the latter of which rose to prominence scoring the sexy, swinging Seventies Schulmadchen Report series of sexploitation films—yet with a sentiment of stateliness not unlike the work of Italian maestro Ennio Morricone, the score work of Martin Bottcher remains an engaging and multifaceted listen, represented quite well here within the composer’s score for the German television series Sonderdezernat K1.
This expanded selection of cues has been freshly unearthed and released by the acclaimed Chris Soundtrack Corner label; a total thirty-one tracks of funky, smooth and sublime brilliance from the Bottcher archives. Given Sonderdezernat’s status as a German crime drama, it would have been easy for Bottcher to simply careen wildly down the travelled city streets of a Lalo Schifrin or Henry Mancini, yet the lion’s share of Bottcher’s cues succeed in distinguishing themselves favorably from the pack via a warm, melodic sensibility; one which almost pushes Sonderdezernat occasionally, yet comfortingly, into a big band, Bob Crewe-esque arena.
However, what this score does best is balance its relaxed lounge-isms with a bold, brassy horn section and a driving, frenetic percussion. Never does Sonderdezernat K1 become boring or predictable, neither on the score’s bombastic, iconic main titles—featuring a crashing, rat-a-tat opening snare assault—the melancholic Spaghetti Western flare of “Flucht” nor the soprano-lead dream of “Oelker Auf Abwegen.”
Instead, what Martin Bottcher achieved here was a perfectly enjoyable amalgamation between relaxed, cinematic funk and hard-nosed, 1970s crime jazz; a sweeping listen which still comes off cool as a cucumber this very day. Highly recommended.
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