Bait 3D.

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A freak Tsunami hits a sleepy beach community throwing it into confusion and chaos. A group of survivors from the disaster find them selves trapped in an underground supermarket that has become flooded. They soon discover that they are not alone as the Tsunami has brought in some unwanted visitors who themselves are now perusing the submerged supermarket for their favourite food, human flesh. The survivors find them selves in a desperate battle with marauding great white sharks, which are not only hungry but deadly. Yep it’s a normal run of the mill day at wall-mart, well in the world of horror flicks at least. Ok the movie may not be that original in its plot etc, but the one outstanding factor about the production is the pulsating, relentless and vibrant musical score. The music which is a fusion of both symphonic and electronic is a joy to listen to and I just hazard a guess that it is far better to listen to the score away from the images it was originally intended to enhance as they would probably distract you from the qualities of this superb work. The soundtrack is the labour of two composers Joe NG and Alex Oh, who I think but cannot be sure are from Singapore. I must mention Movie Score Media who have been brave enough and had the foresight to release this soundtrack, because I am sure if it were not for this pioneering label the music for BAIT 3D would have been lost in the vaults or even in the depths of the Tsunami disaster depicted in the actual film. This label has restored many collectors faith in film music and also I think fortified and assured film music’s future when it comes to soundtrack releases. They release so many scores by composers who to be honest are virtually unknown and bring them to the attention of the film music collecting community and for this they must be applauded. The score as I have already stated is a mix of both symphonic and electronic but the two styles blend perfectly or at least are fused seamlessly by the composing duo every component of the work complimenting and augmenting each other, symphonic being bolstered and supported by synthetic elements and vice versa. What I loved about this score was that the composers did not immediately leap into John Williams Mr Shark theme mode, but instead they developed and created a score utilizing their own particular style, it would have been so easy to have become clichéd and predictable when scoring this type of movie, but instead they put their own original stamp upon the proceedings. Ok yes I have to say that there are some pretty high octane cues which must add much to the atmosphere and ambience of the film and the action that unfolds upon the screen that would not be out of place within any of the JAWS movies but this is a soundtrack that is certainly not humdrum or boring in any way. Fast and furious string flourishes depict occasions which I can only guess to be harrowing and tense and there are also a number of lighter more melodic and quieter passages which filter through via the use of solo piano as in track number five REMEMBERING RORY, which is a plaintive and delicate sounding cue performed by keyboard and underlined by unassuming strings, that do at certain points of the composition become a little more uneasy and are punctuated by an almost ominous sounding single electronic bass beat that creates a sense of impending disaster. One of the highlight cues for me has to be HAMMERHEAD, which although quite short lived does conjure up an atmosphere that is urgent and full of tense and nervous adrenaline an atmosphere that is conveyed by the composers use of percussive elements that are enhanced and underlined by insistent sounding strings. Then there is BAIT, which is a pleasant enough sounding cue, carried in the main by strings that perform a quite melancholy but at the same time light sounding introduction, this however is a mood that changes swiftly and percussion is added to the mix with more sinister sounding strings and underlying brass stabs, these are bolstered by synthetic attributes all of which combine to create a strident and forceful sounding cue. All in all BAIT 3 D must be highly recommended and it just makes me want to discover more of the music that has been penned by these two obviously talented composers and also I look forward to hearing new scores that they will produce in the future.

Once upon a time in the west.

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There are certainly no arguments or doubts about this being a classic Ennio Morricone score. It’s popularity has extended far beyond the actual life of the movie that it was written for and it has become an iconic and key work within Morricone’s career. It also holds the same status within the genre of the spaghetti western film and score.

I remember seeing the movie for the first time when I was in my teens, The picture itself did not make much sense to me at the time – especially as the British distributors had decided to take a pair of scissors to it. I did however notice the excellent score by Maestro Morricone, who I had already come to know via his scores for the ‘Dollar trilogy’, The Big Gundown etc. It was also with this movie and its score that I began to realise just how important music was to the Spaghetti western genre, especially when the music was by Morricone and the man behind the camera was Sergio Leone. I started to appreciate and enjoy the way in which Spaghetti westerns were scored because of this partnership, soon realising that sometimes the music for these sage brush sagas came before any images were filmed. In other words, the director would shoot his footage to the score rather than the other way round, as had been the practise in Hollywood for years.
The soundtrack for Once Upon a Time in the West is basically a collection of themes that accompany the principal characters of the film. The central theme – and foundation of the score – is ‘Jill’s Theme’, which is an emotive, poignant, highly romantic and operatic work. Morricone certainly utilises the incredible vocal talents of Edda Dell Orso to the maximum in order to achieve the utmost impact. Variations of ‘Jill’s Theme’ are used throughout the score, but I am of the opinion that the most powerful instance is the scene at the railway station: Claudia Cardinale arrives in town hoping to meet her new husband and his family, but is left standing at the station. As the camera moves slowly up the outside of the building, Morricone’s beautiful, haunting tone poem builds till the camera reaches the top of the building and reveals the bustling town. As this happens, Edda’s wordless vocal is heard over the soundtrack; surely this is one of -if not the – most effective use of film music.
The other themes include a clip-clopping, somewhat awkward sounding and comical composition entitled ‘Cheyenne’ (or ‘Addio Cheyenne’). This contains banjo and a solo whistle for the Jason Robards character, and is also heard in various guises throughout the score. The harmonica theme – for the somewhat mysterious stranger portrayed by Charles Bronson – features a wailing harmonica, which also haunts other characters throughout the movie. ‘Frank’s theme’ is another powerful composition where Morricone effectively uses a fuzzy electric guitar, and it is the combination of both Frank and Harmonica’s themes that combine to create ‘The Man with the Harmonica’ composition, heard in its full glory during the final showdown between the two characters.
This version of the soundtrack is the definitive edition and contains 27 tracks – 7 more than any other edition of this score. The sound quality is stunning, and the presentation of the compact disc is extremely well done by GDM:a gatefold case with a 12 page booklet that’s crammed with colourful stills from the movie. Overall, this is certainly the best version of a highly recommended score.

MIMESIS

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Various comments and observations have been made over the years about how violence on screen or in games played on a computer or TV etc, can effect everyday ordinary people and turn them into not so ordinary and violent individuals. It has been said many times that violence on screen can maybe plant the seed of violent or evil ideas into the minds of certain susceptible people that watch aggressive and bloody video games and also horror movies. MIMESIS is a movie that will certainly make one sit up and think about this theory. A group of horror fans find themselves unwilling participants in a terrifying role playing game that pays homage to a classic horror film and if you like many others think that violent films, television shows and computer games could be responsible for the corruption of impressionable minds and individuals, then MIMESIS-NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD will I am sure be of interest to you or indeed might evoke your worst fears and darkest dreams. The musical score for MIMESIS is the work of Spanish born composer Diego Navarro, who in my opinion has penned an imaginative and also a highly original soundtrack. The composer utilizes and explores a number of musical avenues within the score and has provided the movie with a musical background that is as harrowing, thought provoking and also as fearsome and gruesome as the movie itself. Navarro combines symphonic sounds with voices which are either in the form of choir or solo performances. He also incorporates a whispering voice in a few of the cues which to be honest is quite disconcerting and un-nerving at times as it does literally make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This is as I have already said an imaginative work, it is not just a film score or the musical soundtrack to the movie, it is an integral part of the movie and becomes part of the action and another component of the storyline that is unfolding on screen. The score also contains a number of less harrowing compositions and the composer does provide us with a calming respite on a few occasions these manifest themselves in the form of a soothing and emotive violin solo which is either introduced or accompanied by solo piano. These poignant moments are however few and far between, the CD opens with MAIN TITLE, the composition commences with a female whispering voice supported by eerie sounding string effects and also a soprano voice is introduced and this ushers in a more strident performance from the string section that establishes a strong and powerful musical theme, the strings are embellished by percussion and also supported by the use of choir which creates an unsettling ambience and a near harrowing mood to the proceedings, the string section carry the central theme like a macabre sounding waltz of sorts, but this fades away and then we are re-introduced to the eerie sounding whispers and the soprano performance which on this occasion is performed unaccompanied musically bringing the main title to a close. 

Track number two THE FARM, Is an equally atmospheric composition, again voice is utilized, and the composer underlines the serenity and beauty of the pure sounding soprano with an echoing percussive sound, the voice fades into the darkness as it were and the cue continues with a spidery sounding motif of sorts that is performed on sinewy sounding strings that are themselves accompanied and punctuated by percussive elements with punctuation from subtly placed harp, piano and a faint music box effect. The cue moves into a more forthright sounding piece at around the 4 minute mark, with strings beginning to stir proceedings up a little and the composer adding to this thunderous percussion and atmospheric crashes that build to what is a crescendo of sorts and concludes the composition. I think track number three, THE OPENING TITLES, is for me one of the scores stand out cues and certainly manages to set the scene and establish the mood in a very short time period. The composer brings together the half heard whispering wordless voice which is catapulted along on a wave of fervent sounding strings which are embellished further by the use of choir and punctuated by percussion, this is a vigorous and effective piece that says it all in just over one minute. Track four, PARTY AT NIGHT, Starts out with a pleasant sounding piano solo, under lined by faint use of strings and harp, but the pleasantries are short lived as percussion once again raises its dauntingly foreboding sounding head, piano returns with strings and lightly plucked bass’s that act as an uneasy sounding punctuation, these are overwhelmed by more dark and sinister sounding atmospherics as the cue draws to its close. Track number five, ZOMBIE ATTACK-THE ZOMBIE DANCE, is a wonderfully harrowing piece, I would describe it as a kind of macabre waltz that builds fairly swiftly with strings, percussion and brass adding layer upon layer of tension until solo voice again seems to intervene from out of nowhere restoring what is an uneasy sounding calmness. MIMESIS is an intelligent and at times quite complex sounding work, it is a score that oozes originality and although this is for a horror movie the composer maintains an air of melodic presence throughout. This is a score that I would recommend highly. 

Alfonso Santisteban/Cinema Tivoli.

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Every so often a gem of a release comes along out of the blue by a composer that one is not familiar with. The surprising thing in this case is that the composer is not a new one, he has been involved in film music since the late 1960s and was very active during the 1970s and 1980s worked in Italy and also in Spain, so how did I miss the genius of Alfonso Santisteban ? This is a great compilation, and shows off the wonderful music that this composer has created for the cinema and his gift for melody and talent in creating tuneful,dramatic and infectious musical themes, his style is very much akin to that of Stelvio Cipriani and also he writes some pretty impress jazz cues as well. The overall sound of the album reminded me very much of the French composers Magne, Legrand and also Lai. In fact I think if one was to listen to this recording without knowing who it was, one would probably say it was Michel Magne, its that type of sound, pop/orchestral  which is slightly upbeat and very catchy.
It has that air about it that just says this is a WINNER.  Ok, not knowing much about this composer I sort of guess by the booklet and also the posters of films he has scored re-produced within it he has worked on some Italian movies, but predominantly was scoring motion pictures in Spain. The compilation is quite varied in its musical content as in style etc and towards the halfway mark does seem to lean towards the jazz influenced material that the composer has been connected with.  Now normally jazz is something of a turn off for me personally, but this is really smooth and polished jazz which is performed flawlessly and with much enthusiasm. The CD also contains a fair amount of what can be categorized as lounge or easy listening, but this is no way a derogatory remark as the cues that have been selected flow well together and make for some impressive and infectious toe tapping head nodding moments. This is a collection that I would recommend to everyone, and especially if you favour the Italian or French school of film music, by this I mean lots of strings, racing percussion,smouldering sambas, lively sounding brass, sensual and soaring female wordless vocals, harpsichord, choir and also hard hitting themes, because this compilation has got all of these and a lot more.
Sound quality is very good for most part but there is or at least I did detect some background noise on some tracks, track number three in particular but I  have been reliably informed that these are taken from recordings that are from the composers own private archive and a few from vinyl  (you know those black round 12 inch things), but even then the production is in no way lacking, in fact I think that Quartet have done a magnificent job restoring these cues, considering age/condition etc, this is certainly another one for the collection… and a wonderful addition to Quartet’s growing and glowing catalogue. Check it out, a s a p.

LA NOUVELLE GUERRE DES BOUTONS

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I first discovered Philippe Rombi a few years ago when I heard his score for SWIMMING POOL. I was attracted to his music for its melodic and infectious nature and likeness to the music of composers such as Georges Delerue and Michel Legrand. He has the ability to work on any type of film and compose a score which is enriching and supportive to it. His style is melodic and, by turns, grandiose, intimate or effectively emotive. Since hearing SWIMMING POOL and discovering other scores such as LOVE ME IF YOU DARE, the luxurious and haunting ANGEL and the marvelously delicate and poignant music for RICKY, my initial feeling about the composer has not altered but has been confirmed with each and every assignment. My respect for his music and distinctive style has grown and I look forward to every new release of his music.

 

 

 

LA NOUVELLE GUERRE DES BOUTONS is a superb score. Rombi has created a soundtrack that literally ticks all the boxes. It is intimate, highly emotional, romantic but also boisterous, comedic and exciting. The disc begins with the “Main Title” or “Generique Debut” where the composer commences with solo horn to which is added subtle and delicate use of woods and strings, creating a delightful and slightly melancholy piece which becomes the core of Rhombi’s soundtrack. I love the way in which the Maestro combines woods with strings and punctuates both elements with delicate and pensive piano which is itself lightly augmented by pizzicato commas and full stops. This opening for the score has a wistful and playful air about it, conjuring up summer days and rolling countryside. In many ways it evokes memories of some of James Horner’s work such as COCOON and the lighter more romantic moments from THE ROCKETEER. It’s a wholesome and carefree sound that garners much appreciation from the listener.

Philippe Rombi has risen to the challenge on this particular assignment – more so than on others he has been involved with – it is an exuberant score containing tinges of pathos and some of the most elegant and emotive tone poems I have heard in a while. I was particularly impressed and drawn to track 6 “Paul et Simone” which is a short but affecting composition; a fragile piece relying on subtle and light nuances performed on piano and woods, underlined and held together by strings and made further tantalizing by delicate placing of barely heard chimes. Track 7 “Les Longeverne Contre-Attaquent/Le Premier Bouton” is one of the more lengthy cues on the disc and begins with a fanfare which develops into a full-blown proud theme performed by strings and brass. The beginning soon fades away and the composition settles into some wonderfully clever writing and orchestration with the emphasis on utilization of pizzicato which is masterfully employed to create an atmosphere of humour and mischief with just a touch of apprehension. The cue ends with a crescendo where the composer combines the strings and brass with a children’s choir, bringing the cue to a triumphant conclusion. Overall this is a wonderful score to have in one’s collection and is a gem of a soundtrack from a composer who will return again and again to entertain us with more delights and enthral us with his mesmerizing music. Packaged marvellously by MUSIC BOX RECORDS with many stills, eye-arresting cover art and informative notes. Highly recommended.