Spara Gringo Spara.


Another Spaghetti western score from the late 1960s that has to be referred to as a classic example of Italian film scoring. The music is by the seasoned composer Sante Maria Romitelli, who provides us with a score that just bursts with energy and vibrant original musical content. It boasts a number of up tempo almost beat/pop tracks which are entertaining, foot tapping stuff. The score also includes a number of tracks that can be categorised as dramatic, symphonic and near operatic, like many scores for westerns which were produced in Italy during the 1960s and 1970s the soundtrack features performances on electric guitar, harpsichord, trumpet and organ, which are either as solo instruments or as a combination of all of these elements to create a score that is not only perfect for the movie it was written for, but also has the ability to stand alone away from the images and remain an entertaining and interesting work. SPARA GRINGO SPARA is a soundtrack that is made up of themes for the films principal characters. For example TEMA DI STARK (track number 7) is a powerhouse of a cue, it begins with an organ motif which is joined and eventually overwhelmed by strings and brass, this then leads into an electric guitar solo, backed up by organ and vibes, the track develops into a full blown version of the theme for Stark, which is carried along by the string section with organ and guitar making entrances along the way, certainly stirring and inspiring stuff. There are also a handful of compositions on the soundtrack that can be described as suspense cues, not really musical or thematic, but nevertheless go to make up an interesting part of this score. Another great release from the GDM/Hillside partnership, hopefully more CAM soundtracks will be issued on their label,as items such as BURY THEM DEEP, ONE MORE FOR HELL, and TO THE LAST DROP OF BLOOD, all by composer Nico Fidenco,have been a great success for the label and its owner/producer Lionel Woodman. They too have released a number of Italian western scores by composers such as Gianni Marchetti andRobby Poitevin which have been equally successful. The CD is packaged well, with striking art work and the sound quality is amazing. Well worth a listen, as I am confident that once in the CD player it may stay there for a while.



RIDDLE, is a thriller which was released in cinemas in the United States in January 2013, by all accounts the film did not do that well at box office, but there again I heard a number of reports that said it was a good movie and also as many saying it was not that special, unfortunately I have at this time not seen the film so I am unable to comment upon its credibility or its quality etc. However I am able to review the soundtrack for the movie, granted I can only do this on the basis of listening to the music as just music but I think I know a good score when I hear one. I have to say straight away I think that the composer Scott Glasgow has fashioned a work that is entertaining and also one that contains some great orchestration and dramatic writing. This is a darkly attractive score and I love the way in which the composer has constructed it. The soundtrack opens with THE PRELUDE which has a fairly light sounding introduction, strings and harp are utilized to create a mesmerizing and haunting foreword to the proceedings, but this introduction soon segues into something that is more sinister and shady in its atmospherics and mood. The thing is the composer seems to add nothing more to the mix instrument wise, by this I mean he seems to utilize the same instrumentation but configures and uses it in another way to create this darker mood, the composition swings from a fairly light piece into a brooding and richly murky composition, but the transition is seamless, in fact I went back over the cue a few times to listen because the change of atmosphere is so faultless, plus the composition switches again at the end of the cue into a lighter mood with a lullaby of sorts being played out underlined by strings. I also had a feeling of de-ja vu whilst listening to the opening as I thought I heard subtle references to Goldsmith and also some gentle nods of recognition to the work ofBernard Herrmann. Track 2, GHOST TOWN, certainly contains more darkness than light as we have no pleasantries in the way of tuneful melodies present here, but still the music for me remains interesting and enticing, it may not be filled with melodic thematic properties, but there is a certain attractiveness present, it draws the listener into a web of rich atmospherics that are foreboding in there construction and sound, these include cimbalom sounding instrumentation underlined by dark strings, with almost growling brass bringing up support and the added enhancement of a visceral string stab that momentarily slices through the low sounding strings causing the listener to sit up and take notice, the darkly intense atmosphere is further embellished by synthetic support that adds a certain unworldly air to the proceedings. 

Track number three,SIGNS OF NATE, is performed predominantly by the string section with just a brief appearance of subdued percussion that acts as a punctuation at the cues opening, this composition too has a sound about it that can be likened to Herrmann, it is a fairly short lived cue but certainly makes its mark upon the listener. Vibrantly urgent strings build into a near furious crescendo that would not be out of place in any Hitchcock thriller, again I have to say that although the music is not melodic in its overall sound it still remains attractive in a strange atonal way. The composer has created a score that is certainly vibrant and for the most part is a dark and highly atmospheric work, but there are also a number of lighter moments that are delicate and subtle interludes sprinkled throughout the soundtrack which contain a high level of emotion or at least infuse emotion and poignancy into the work, these are relayed by a calming solo piano performance, heartrending violin solo and a there is also the use of a theme that has a music box sound to it that creates an atmosphere that is calming but at the same moment chilling, this I think lulls the listener into a false sense of security adding a slither of calm into a tense and abundantly fearsome sounding score. RIDDLE is a soundtrack that I would most definitely recommend, it is in my humble opinion in the same league as Herrmann’s VERTIGO and contains shades of Goldsmiths steamy scores for MALICE and BASIC INSTINCT.

Bait 3D.


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.


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.



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.