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CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL.

 

 

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Another wonderful release from Movie Score Media, and yet again it is a score that most probably would not have seen the light of day if it were not for this now renowned soundtrack label. The film is an interesting take on the Frankenstein story. Set in the squalid and eerie Victorian London of 1888, we see Jack the Ripper causing terror and mayhem stalking the streets of the fog shrouded Metropolis killing and dismembering the victims so that She can supply her Master Dr. Frankenstein with the vital organs and body parts for the unspeakable creation that he is hoping to bring to life. The attacks that Jack is carrying out become high profile and the authorities and the inhabitants of Whitechapel are becoming increasingly aware that it is Frankenstein who is behind them, thus Jack is sent to do one last dire deed and obtain one last but vital part that will give life to the creature. This is a somewhat perverse and twisted slant on Mary Shelley’s infamous tale and brings together some of the most iconic figures in Horror history in a fashion that has never been imagined before. Directed by Jonathan Martin who also was responsible for another recent short film KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, he is a multi-award winning film maker who gained much recognition for his work on the short film AN EVENING WITH MY COMATOSE MOTHER. 2016 has been a particularly busy year for Martin as he worked on both KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL and a handful of music videos which included MY ETERNITY, DEMONS, and GRAVITY. The musical score for CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is the work of composer Gerrit Wunder who also scored KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK which was released earlier this year by Movie Score Media. Like his previous score for director Martin, CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is a fusion of both symphonic and electronic styles, but saying this I am of the opinion that the symphonic approach and content definitely has the upper hand, the composer making effective use of strings and percussive elements throughout and fashioning a chilling and tense work that for me anyway evokes the sounds of both the Hammer horror classics and those marvellously atmospheric Universal filmic masterpieces with the now iconic monsters such as The Wolf man, Dracula and Frankenstein’s creature from the 1930,s and 1940,s. CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL I personally feel is more of a developed and structured score than KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, there is more thematic material present and the composer seems to have created a far more robust and powerful sound and style for this particular assignment. There is a darkness present that is laced with hints of romanticism throughout, with the composer providing the film with some elegant and haunting moments some of which are performed on harpsichord and solo violin.

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It is an accomplished and polished work that is an interesting listen and a pleasurable one too. The release opens with the swirling and highly tense cue CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL which is the opening theme for the film, the composer seems to have put everything into this piece, racing timpani, booming percussion, driving strings and fierce, intense sounding brass, which open the score wonderfully and prepare us for what is to follow. Track number two is an interesting piece, LONDON 1888 JACK THE RIPPER also has a kind of sweeping or swirling persona to it, strings again are the main stay instrumentation, with sporadic flourishes from harpsichord, and punctuation stabs being supplied by the brass section, there is also a brief appearance at the start of the cue of choir or at least breathy voices, which add a foreboding and chilling element to the composition. The composer also weaves an organ into the proceedings that is eventually overwhelmed by hissing and driving strings that end in a crescendo that is filled with apprehension and dread. The composer employs an almost classical approach within several of the cues, by this I mean the orchestration evokes the style of Bach or at times has hints that could be associated with Mozart, which cannot be a bad thing. The score for THE CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is superbly rich and darkly alluring, it also has some highly effective action led interludes which as I have already stated do at times have a certain affiliation with the style and sound that has become associated with the films of the Hammer studios and created by composers such as James Bernard, Don Banks, and their like. The work is also augmented and further supported by the use of choir which it self brings a sense of urgency and impending doom to the soundtrack. There is however a style and sound present that is fresh and original and the various styles when fused and combined all complement each other and work as one to go into the creation of a score that is excellently thematic but at the same time highly atmospheric and affecting. This is one to add to your collection. Do not miss this release.

Creatures of Whitechapel
Screamworks Records
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Format: Digital
Music From
Creatures of Whitechapel (2016) [Short Film]
Music By
Gerrit Wunder

Available from
Screamworks Records Website

Track Listing
1.
Creatures of Whitechapel
1:41
2.
London 1888: Jack the Ripper
2:52
3.
Bring Me a Heart
3:22
4.
Dinner for Two
4:05
5.
Streets of London / Capturing Mary
3:03
6.
Frankenstein’s Laboratory
3:34
7.
Love Remembers
2:16
8.
Sonata for Harpsichord
3:25
9.
We Are Gods Now
1:37
10.
All This for What?
1:25
11.
Such a Beauty
3:10

Total Album Time:
30:30

http://brightondome.org/event/10418/brighton_philharmonic_orchestra_the_best_of_british_film_scores/

at the famous Dome concert hall
film-poster-montage

 

 

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NOCTURNAL ANIMALS.

 

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I won’t go into a big plot or synopsis talk about the movie to open this review, because the film in question is so good that I think you should go see it. Directed by Tom Ford who also directed A SINGLE MAN. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is one of the best movies you will see this year and possibly next. The musical score is by the much talented and highly innovative composer Abel Korzeniowski and is his first American motion picture in nearly three years, of course he is known for his tantalizing and atmospheric music for the dark and disturbing TV series PENNY DREADFUL as well as his lush and haunting music for ROMEO AND JULIET. The composer has in the past few years concentrated on scoring movies that have been produced in his native Poland. Korzeniowski is for me one of those composers that delivers every time, I do not think that I have ever been disappointed with anything he has written. In my humble opinion though NOCTURNAL ANIMALS could be the best score from him thus far. Maybe this will be the one that gains him more recognition and the work that will garner him a much-deserved Oscar. The score is performed predominately by strings whether this be as an ensemble or in solo mode, with at times subdued offerings from the brass, woods and gentle fragmented piano. I thought on hearing it for the first time that there were certain affiliations with the sound created by John Barry, The central and most forthright motif or theme is for the movie s central character Susan which can be heard running throughout the score in some form or another, the first time we hear this is within the opening track on the recording WAYWARD SISTERS, this is emotive and luxurious sounding film music at its best and probably something that Korngold or Steiner would have been proud to call theirs. Violin and cello combine to create this gorgeously rich and affecting piece, that is underlined and further carried along by the string section and some wonderful piano accompaniment. The cue continues to build and grow in melodious content the strings sweeping along and creating a romantic but bitter sweet sound that is heart rending and captivating. This also evoked a sound and style that I had not heard since the days of Bernard Herrmann, and it was a complete coincidence that I had been listening to VERTIGO in the car the day before I started to listen to the score for NOCTURNAL ANIMALS,  because this is what I was reminded of, or at least the quieter moments from that classic score. This style is also evident within THE FIELD (alt version). Then we have tracks such as REVENGE with its low woodwind and MOTHERS with its driving but understated strings, initially one thinks it will be a slow and quiet piece but it begins to  build and build, until it finally transforms into a nervous and perplexing piece with a worrying and taught atmosphere. Both REVENGE and MOTHERS  are of a more tense and darker nature and again I was reminded of the work of Herrmann. Track number two, EXHIBITION is an interesting one, the strings being present once again but this time we hear an orgasmic breathing above them. TABLE FOR TWO is one of the highlights of this beautifully crafted soundtrack, piano and strings combine to create a sensuous and rich sound that washes over the listener. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is a superb soundtrack; it is a score that delights and entertains and what more could one want, it is perfection.. Highly Recommended.

THE HISTORY OF LOVE.

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Armand Amar is a composer I have long admired, he is a composer, musician and arranger that for me is not afraid of experimentation when he writes for film, but he is sometimes criticised by many collectors who have said that the orchestration or the sound he employs is at times a little different, but surely that’s what writing for film is all about, to come up with something, a sound a musical passage or a theme that is innovative and different or original as I would call it. Born in Jerusalem in 1953 he spent his childhood in Morocco, and it is here that he became immersed in the what must have seemed to be the exotic and ethnic sounds of that region. He learned how to play various instruments including the Tablas, Congas and Zarb and familiarised himself with other instruments. He also studied more traditional music and classical music under various masters and tutors. In the mid-1970, s the composer became involved in writing music for dance and could fully express himself musically via this medium and later when teaching at the Higher National Music School focused upon the relationship between music and dance. Since that time the composer has worked with numerous choreographers who are well known and respected in contemporary dance circles. During the 1990, s, he began to write music for TV and film and has during his career been involved in the scoring numerous acclaimed documentaries. His highly addictive, emotive and haunting compositions have become the beautiful and dramatic background to motion pictures of all genres and not just a background as his scores are an essential and vitally important component of the entire film making process. In many ways, it is like the films this composer works upon, have been made in monochrome and Amar is the artist who is adding colour and creating atmospheres and moods via his stunning compositions, this of course is in no way derogatory to the skills and visions of the many directors and producers he has collaborated with over the years. Armand Amar is also a composer who utilises the human voice frequently and to great effect within his scores, whether this be in the form of songs or wordless vocals, either way the result is always mesmerizing, stunning and striking. One of his recent scoring assignments is for an American made motion picture entitled THE HISTORY OF LOVE, it stars British actor Derek Jacobi, Elliot Gould and Gemma Arteton. Based upon the best-selling book by Nicole Krauss and directed by Radu Mihaileanu it tells the story of star-crossed lovers in a saga that travels from a Polish shtetl to New York’s Jewish community. The musical score is wonderfully melodic, diverse and original with the composer fusing many styles and musical colours to create a shimmering and delicately effecting work.

It is filled with themes that are rich and elegant with the composer’s flair for innovative orchestration shining through at every opportunity, giving the work a sound and a style that is at times filled with threat and gloom but on other occasions it has an aura of hope, melancholy and romanticism. The composer utilises solo piano, strings and a range of ethnic instrumentation that adds weight and credence to the proceedings. Take a listen to track number nine, THE DEATH OF ALMA this is a piece that begins slowly and is at first is a fragile and somewhat apprehensive sounding composition, solo piano and viola being the two main instruments, as the track builds and progresses the string section is brought into the mix, with fleeting brass stabs and timpani punctuating which takes the cue into a more dramatic and urgent mode before it returns to the calming viola solo which gradually becomes centre stage again as the string section and brass accompaniment fades away. THE HISTORY OF LOVE is a delightful score a work that is on first listen filled with surprises and “different orchestration” but it is also a score that I know will become a regular listen for any film music collector once heard. Recommended, and if you like this why not check out the immense catalogue of this talented composer.

 

 

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FRANTZ.

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FRANTZ is an anti-war movie, but also contains a bitter sweet story of love and romance. It is set in 1919 just after the first world war and we see a young German girl who is visiting the grave of her fiancée in France who was killed during the war. Whilst there she notices a young Frenchman who is also visiting the grave, it emerges that he is an old friend of her Fiancée’s and became friends with him when he studied in France before the war, but as the story unfolds we see little things that tell us that this is not entirely the whole truth. Much respected and acclaimed French director Francois Ozon seems to have poured his heart and soul into this movie creating a stylish and elegant motion picture which is shot in black and white which adds to the authenticity and atmosphere considering the period in which it is set. The film which is in German and French also purveys a message, which is one that basically calls for us to reject the prejudice and the racism that we are experiencing now everywhere in the world. There are no side tracking subplots or gimmicky inputs aside from the use of colour photography at a few key points within the story, which normally occur at times of happiness or within different periods of the character’s life. The music is by Philippe Rombi and as soon as you see his name on the credits one knows you are in for a treat no matter what the genre or subject matter. Although Rombi is revered amongst collectors of film music he at times is still sadly overlooked, he has composed some of the most thematic scores for cinema during the past two decades. My first encounter with this French Maestro was when I brought a copy of SWIMMING POOL which was also directed by Ozon and starred Charlotte Rampling. After this I have never looked back and have at every opportunity added his releases to my collection even if I have not seen the movie or heard the score and I have to say have never once been disappointed. FRANTZ contains a rather subdued and melancholy soundtrack, the composer employing solo piano and solo string instruments during its running time. The opening cue which is track number two, UNE AMITIE is a short but certainly sweet and beguiling piece with piano and cello combining to create a sombre but at the same time melodious cue which sets the scene perfectly. Track number three LA PROMENADE is a slightly fuller piece although is also short lived it has a warm and rich sound created by the string section which introduce a near luxurious but apprehensive theme to the listener for the first time.

This theme is carried through to the next track, LA LECON DE VIOLON as it opens being picked out on piano that is underlined by strings. Track number five, LES TORMENTS also contains hints of this theme and is a slow builder but does not segue into a melodic theme instead it changes direction with cello being brought into the equation, and strings fading in and out in a Barry-esque fashion to fashion a more threatening mood. Track number eight is I must say one of my favourite cues from the score, a slow and understated piano solo opens the piece and after a short while is joined by cello with punctuates and underlines the piano creating a sad and heartrending performance. This is a score that must be heard to be believed it is filled with emotive and poignant tone poems that will enchant and delight. Rombi like wine improves with age and FRANTZ is a score of the finest vintage. Highly recommended.