Les Reed - Girl On A Motorcycle (OST)

Over thirty years after its release, Cult sixties film Girl On A Motorcycle still has many appealing facets, such as Jack Cardiff's strikingly-psychedelic cinematography, Marianne Faithfull's iconic leather-clad performance as protagonist Rebecca or the decadent themes sprinkled throughout. However, one aspect of the film that clearly springs to the fore when reminiscing about its merits is the original music score by hit-composer Les Reed, and RPM have finally released it on compact disc after all these years.

As a film, Girl On A Motorcycle captured a fine level of dichotomy between swinging sixties' hedonism and feminist liberation. The heroine in the film, named Rebecca, abandons her secure married life to embark upon a motorcycle ride across the country to her more sexually-charged lover. The road movie was a beautiful contradiction, combining primal romance with sixties' rebellion a year before Easy Rider made it popular. It's strong following amongst the art crowd is fully deserved.

Les Reed's score for Girl On A Motorcycle is dutifully schizophrenic, mixing that trademark sound of sixties London big-band orchestra with an eerie wilderness that exemplifies the voyage through the unknown that Rebecca embarks upon in the film. At times, Reed's musical portions are as much sci-fi as they are incidental, and he manages to conjure a Pan-European feel that occasionally acts as a musical-postcard for a now-forgotten era. Often incorporating sections from the film's actual sound recording, and fluctuating in pace dramatically from cut to cut, the score splendidly matches the film's narrative timing; so much so that unlike most de-contextualised soundtracks, Girl On A Motorcycle plays out as a three-act drama solely based on its musical accompaniment. Each of the main characters in the film have a suitable theme allotted to their respective personalities, and the music helps to corroborate the film's major events. Surrender To A Stranger, complete with pounding heartbeat and swirling left/right dizziness, could easily sit amongst early Pink Floyd; in fact, a pre-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page plays session guitar on some of the themes.

There are even three bonus versions included of some of the film's themes which Reed later recorded and re-arranged as full-songs with vocalists Mireille Mathieu (who scored a hit with them in France and Cleo Laine. Whilst Girl On A Motorcycle embodies the notion of a cult film, there is no denying the achievements of Les Reed's evocative and powerful score, finally available at an affordable price to collectors everywhere.

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