In a very short space of time Marco Frisina has established himself as a composer of a very high standard, this release further consolidates his standing as a composer of integrity, worth and also as a music smith who posses a gift for melody that is second to none. The score is full to overflowing with rich and highly emotive sounding musical themes, performed by what sounds like a full symphony orchestra, with the string section of that orchestra working overtime to create wonderful melodies and haunting tone poems that will live with the listener forever. It amazes me that so much quality music can be found within just one of this composer’s soundtracks, the orchestration, performance and construction of this music is without a doubt created with much dedication, love and aptitude. To describe the music on this compact disc is for me very difficult, because it is such an emotional and engrossing experience to sit and listen to it. The composer combines delicate sounding piano with lush and vibrant strings that are supported by deep and sorrowful sounding cello which are themselves enhanced by gracious sounding motifs performed on woods, and chorale work that just bowls the listener over. To try and name one cue as outstanding is so difficult as every single cue is a delight and a thrill to listen to, but tracks 9 and 10, DA UN PAESE LONTANO and SERVE DEI SERVI DI DIO respectively, certainly include some of the most awe inspiring, magnificent and heartrending music that I have heard in many a year. Let us suffice to say then, that PAPA GIOVANNI II, is probably one of the best scores to come out of Italy in the last decade, and Monsignor Frisina, is one of the most interesting and creative composers to emerge from that country since Ennio Morricone. My advice would be to go out and purchase this soundtrack, and whilst you are there doing so order everything that you can possibly get by this Maestro.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor



Randy Edelman for me has always been a composer of note, ok he has normally been involved with films that are of a lighter storyline, ie- MY COUSIN VINNY and KINDERGARTEN COP, but I remember hearing GETTYSBURG for the first time and being blown away by the way in which he was able to get such an epic sound out of synthesisers. His score for COME SEE THE PARADISE also impressed me, with its simple but effective and poignant  theme. This  offering from the composer is obviously, given the films subject matter a large scale score, and Edelman does effectively pull out all of the stops creating a powerful and booming soundtrack, but saying this he also gives to us some marvellously lyrical melodies, showing us just how versatile he is, cello is utilised within the score a number of times and its sorrowful almost sombre rich sound is welcome every time it raises its head. Overall the score has the sound of both Goldsmith and Silvestri present within it, surging strings, rasping brass, ominous sounding choir and tumultuous percussion all combining to create a grandiose and exciting sound. I am not telling untruths when I say that every track on this CD is a delight, there is certainly something here to keep every collector happy. The action cues are relentless, the love themes are sumptuous and even the minor cues are more than worthy. One of my favourite cues is track number 7 THE READING OF THE SCROLLS, the composer treats us to a slow and somewhat subdued beginning, which suddenly erupts into a full blown action cue, this however is short lived and Edelman returns us to relative calm utilising strings and solo female voice, that lead into a richly mysterious sounding composition. The sounds created here by Edelman are threatening, poignant and magical. Track 9 ALEX AND LIN is also a cue that I would highlight as being one of the scores brighter moments if that is at all possible as every track is excellent, another thing about this score is that Edelman does infuse a sound that is oriental, but he never goes over the top which makes these compositions more credible in a way. So for collectors who dismissed Edelman or thought of him as a B list composer in the past, should now I think reconsider their opinion. This is an entertaining score, that rivals Goldsmiths original Mummy score, and equals Silvestri’s work on the second instalment. Worth a listen…

La Legge Dei Gangsters



Piero Umiliani was and still is  a firm favourite of many soundtrack collectors. However, he also reached a wider audience via his connections and compositions within the world of jazz music for which, if the truth be known, he will be remembered for most. La Legge Dei Gangsters is one of those rare soundtracks when a composer utilises some wonderful jazz moments and fuses these with dramatic and romantic musical layers, creating a sound that not only enhances and enriches the images on screen, but also has the ability to stand away from those images and be an entertaining collection of themes on there own. Other composers that seem to be able to get the balance right when combining these styles are Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones and also Sid Ramin on his highly charged score for Stiletto. Umiliani, is probably better known for his quirky Ma Nah Ma Nah track, that was so popular during the 1960s, but there is certainly nothing similar to that composition within the score for THE LEAGUE OF GANGSTERS.

The music contained on this disc is quite a hard hitting work, but also contains some quieter more melodic moments that are well written and superbly orchestrated. Umiliani combines lush strings with sensitively placed Hammond organ and wistful sounding woodwind in certain cues, but on the jazz side of things he provides us with an accomplished and pure sound (‘Pure’, being the composer’s name for jazz music). The trumpet work in particular should be mentioned, it is fast, precise and flawlessly executed, although this might not be to everyone’s taste, it nevertheless works extremely well. Highlight tracks include, ‘Crepuscolo Sul Marie’, ‘La Legge Dei Gangsters’, ‘Very Fast’, ‘Tema Del Ad Dio’ and ‘Epilogo’.
As with all Easy Tempo releases the disc is sumptuously packaged with eye catching artwork and a sleeve that opens into a poster of the movie, which includes information about the film the music and the composer. I personally am not a big jazz fan, but in this case I will make an exception as Umiliani certainly gets the balance right on this, definitely worth a listen. It is a pity that Easy Tempo are no longer around and some of their releases have gone forever.


A brief look at the film production company of Charles Band


Originally published in Music From The Movies 1990/91.


Full Moon productions is a company that was founded by film maker Charles Band, the company has been producing low budgets movies mainly of the Horror variety since 1988 and has enjoyed considerable success with this particular genre, cornering the market in what are essentially termed or looked upon as B movies or straight to video/DVD productions. This success has even surprised Band himself, and during the mid to late 190’s the company began to produce up to ten full length feature films per year, again these were aimed at the straight to home video market and did not receive a cinema release. “We are making movies now that are for the video market that would have been full blown cinema releases a few years ago” said Charles. “Today’s theatrical market place is so unforgiving, that if you bomb out with just one film, it could be the end of the company. So in my opinion there is no shame in releasing a movie in a premiere situation directly for home viewing”.


 MV5BMTk1NTI5MjU3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTA1NjUyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_Charles grew up in a family that was immersed in the film industry, from the age of nine he and his family moved to Italy, where his Father Albert band made a handful of Spaghetti westerns, and also was involved in the production of a number of Sword and Sandal epics. Charles said that his love of fantasy began as a child when he read the Marvel comics, which featured super heroes such as The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four. He gained much of his experience via hands on training after his Father put him to work on the film sets of movies he was either directing or producing. Charles would do a number of jobs, these ranged from numbering negatives to assisting with sound equipment and cameras. At twenty one, Charles returned to the United States and made his first feature film which was entitled MANSION OF THE DOOMED, which starred the late Richard Basehart. After this Charles went on to produce and direct a couple of 3D features, PARASITE and METALSTORM for Avco Embassy and Universal respectively.  In 1982/83 Band founded Empire Entertainment under whose banner he released films such as RE-ANIMATOR,TRANCERS and GHOULIES. However Band found that buying pictures from other suppliers tended to water down the companies overall product, so in 1988 FULL MOON was born.

MV5BMTIwODg0ODg0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDMzNDkxMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR3,0,214,317_Band and Full Moon went on to release numerous production, granted many were of the low budget variety, but many ranged in budget from one and a half million Dollars to three Million Dollars, and up wards of six million Dollars as in the case of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM. Which was one of the company’s biggest movies during the 1990’s. To say that Full Moon is just a film production company is certainly an understatement, Band has been busy creating a whole line of merchandising which includes, Trading Cards, T.Shirts, Sweat Shirts, Comic Books, and a great series of model kits. “I suppose we are creating the comic books of the future here” said Band. Charles’s Father Albert was not only active as a film maker in Italy he worked alongside John Huston on THE ASHPHALT JUNGLE and THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. “I am from the old school of film making” remarked Mr Band snr. “ I never had just one genre that I loved, unlike my son, I always found if I liked the story whatever the subject matter, I would make the movie, but Charlie, he sticks to the same genre”. Albert worked with Charles on DOCTOR MORDRID, and also co-produced the Disney fantasy comedy HONEY I BLEW UP THE KID which was directed by Stuart (THE RE-ANIMATOR) Gordon.

MV5BMTIzODA5NjQwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc5NzQ0MQ@@._V1._SX148_CR0,0,148,200_During the early 1990’s Charles decided to expand the company’s merchandise from the films that they had released, he formed a sister company called, MOONSTONE RECORDS, this branch of the company packages and releases the soundtracks from the films that are produced by Band’s film company. Soundtracks such as MERIDIAN by Italian Maestro Pino Donaggio, SUBSPECIES by Aman Folk, NETHERWORLD by David Bryan, PUPPET MASTER 1 and 2 and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM by Richard Band have all seen releases on the MOONSTONE label.  Whilst Charles is the man behind the camera as it were producing and directing movies, his younger Brother Richard is the man behind the music. “I am a composer who is as much dedicated to music as Charles is dedicated to film”. Explained Richard, “I have my own business, and I work freelance for other producers and film companies not exclusively for FULL MOON”.  Richard also lived in Italy for nearly eleven years. “I fell in love with classical music and through my Father I also learnt a lot about films by visiting the sets”.  The composer taught himself guitar, for a while touring Italy as a flamenco guitarist, he then took up rock music for a period of seven years. When he returned to the United States in 1972, he attended the music conservatory in Los Angeles. Richard got his first opportunity to break into film scoring in 1977 when he collaborated with Joel Goldsmith on the score to the low budget sci-fi romp LAZERBLAST.


His first score for his Brother was in 1978 when he wrote the soundtrack for THE DAY TIME ENDED. This was followed by another Band Brother’s joint effort PARASITE. The composer admits he has done so many fantasy type movies that he feels “It has given me a particular style which I tried to develop. There are certain film music composers, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and also the great Miklos Rozsa, that have worked for many many years within the industry and consequently have developed a definitive sound, but they have worked to refine this sound and when you get this sound you are inevitably asked to do certain types of movies”.

The composers score for THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM is creating a stir amongst collectors, and it is in fact a highly atmospheric and imposing soundtrack, the sound achieved is not a million miles away from the AVE SANTANI chorus in Goldsmiths THE OMEN. “Thank you for that, I don’t think I set out to get that sound, but it worked for the movie and to be compared to Goldsmith, that’s a compliment. I got sick whilst doing the score so maybe I should get a fever more often and I can produce some more great scores”. Richard has composed the music for approx-fifty movies, at least twenty of these have been for his Brother Charles.