The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

 

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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

 

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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.

BAND MOON RISING. ( FULL MOON/MOONSTONE RECORDS).

A brief look at the film production company of Charles Band

FULL MOON.

Originally published in Music From The Movies 1990/91.

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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.

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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.

BADLAND.

 

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You may not have thought that you have heard of composer Ludek Drizhal, but maybe you have not heard his name or immediately associate him with any one picture or score, but you have certainly heard some of his work via his connections with soundtracks such as THE CELESTINE PROPHECY where he performed the task of orchestrations for composer Nuno Malo. As a composer he has already scored a number of feature films and also movies that have been produced for the syfy channel, Drizhal is a composer that can it seems turn his hand to many musical tasks, conducting, arranging, orchestration and also even performing violin and piano. So he is a talented individual, that thankfully has begun to become involved with movies that are slightly more high profile, One of his scores BADLAND (2007), is a beautiful and poignant work and has recently has been issued on KEEP MOVING RECORDS, the composer fashioned and shaped a musical score that is highly emotive and also posses a real intimacy. The film although an independent production does in fact have the look and also the feel of a real Hollywood studio picture. It tells the story of an American soldier who is having problems coping after returning from Iraq, it also poses the question; Can a mentally ill or unstable Iraq war veteran who murdered his wife and two of his children learn to love and trust someone again?  The music for me has a number of affiliations with the style and sound of Ennio Morricone, Drizhal utilizes a beautiful soprano within a number of the cues and this is in a word mesmerising and stunningly moving and emotional. The music seems to contain a number of styles and each and every single one of them works wonderfully within the context of the movie and also away from the images. At the time of the films release one critic thought that the score was overblown, calling it Ennio Morricone’s Viking Funeral, but for me this is what movie music is all about, melodic and haunting themes, intimate and at times melancholy tone poems with darker moments raising their heads at times and underlining drama, sadness and romance and if this critic thought of Morricone when he heard Drizhal’s music then surely this is compliment and recommendation enough as to the scores quality, finesse and musicality. Track number one, THE OPENING, begins with quite sinister sounding low strings, punctuated with harp and a rumble from the percussion, piano and woodwind then begin to come to the forefront and shape the introduction to what is to be the scores central theme, although this does not really fully develop there are the beginnings of a core theme here, which will be returned to throughout the score and further developed and expanded upon to create some beautiful rich and even lush musical passages.

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Track number two, DUSTY ROAD, is I suppose the first such moment, piano and horns underlined by strings introduce the cue, until it eases wonderfully into solo female voice, which is certainly in the style of Morricone, but I would say in a more classical style, woodwinds and strings embellish further the soprano carrying her on a wave of lushness until the cue concludes.  Track number three, JERRY’S THEME, is a more fleshed out version of the opening track, and is a more prolonged rendition of the central theme from the score, and also one that accompanies the stories main character. Strings establishing the theme and woodwinds adding a touch of melancholy to the proceedings, again there is a richness here that is further established by subtle use of brass and a scattering of piano that is laced with harp. I think for me one of the scores highlights is track number, thirteen, JERRY’S CONFESSION, plaintive piano that is supported by strings introduces the piece, woods again come into the equation, and strings segue in from nowhere it seems, to create a highly emotive arrangement of Jerry’s theme, and although this is a short lived cue it hits the mark perfectly, creating an atmosphere of sadness and also one that is filled with fragility, regret and loneliness. Overall all I can say is that this is a soundtrack that I recommend without reservation, you will love the melodious themes, you will delight at the scores delicate and subtle nuances, be thrilled and moved by the use of soprano and also will be intrigued by the works darker moments, please just go buy it..

play fest moves to Malaga,in 2013.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PLAYFEST MOVES TO MÁLAGA, SPAIN

 

Vista de Málaga
Vista de Málaga (Photo credit: Figuelo)

Unique Video Game and Animation Music Festival Announces Line-up 

Featuring Music From Star Trek Video Games, and Composers Kevin Kiner, Jason Graves, Oscar Araujo, Cris Velasco, and Lorne Balfe

(July 25, 2013—Úbeda, Spain) –  The second annual PlayFest — Music, Animation and Videogames Festival, moves to Fuengirola in Málaga, Spain from September 5-8, 2013.  Playfest is a unique event dedicated to one of the fastest growing industries today that will bring together leading artists, composers and companies to participate in master classes, conferences, screenings and concerts.

This year’s concert will spotlight music from Star Trek Video Games (presented by BuySoundtrax Records) and conducted by Kevin Kiner (Star Trek: Borg), the works of composers Jason Graves (Dead Space, Tomb Raider) Oscar Araujo(Castlevania)and Cris Velasco (God of War, Mass Effect 3).  The headliner of the concert will be a special presentation of the music Lorne Balfe (Assassin’s Creed 3, Beyond: Two Souls), which he will conduct — portions of which will be selected by you – the fans!  The concert will be presented at the Fuengirola castle – a magical place for art and music to merge.

 

English: View of Fuengirola harbour. Fuengirol...
 View of Fuengirola harbour. Fuengirola is a large town and municipality in Andalusia, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scottish composer Lorne Balfe invites fans to help shape his program.  Lorne Balfe is a Grammy award winning and BAFTA nominated film composer from Inverness, Scotland.  His video game credits include titles in the Assassin’s Creed franchise (Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Assassin’s Creed: The Tyranny of King Washington), the Skylanders franchise (Skylanders: Giants, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure), Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2, Crysis 2 and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls.

Balfe invites fans to offer suggestions on what themes to include in his performance by tweeting their suggestions to @LorneBalfe with the #PlayfestLB.

PlayFest is organized by Leitmotiv Music, with the cooperation of the City of Fuengirola and the Málaga Provincial Council, BuySoundtrax Records and BSOSpirit. Playfest will take place in Málaga, Spain from September 5-8, 2013.

Leitmotiv wishes to acknowledge the support of the Mayor of Fuengirola and the City Councilor of Culture, Esperanza Oña and Rodrigo Romero, respectively, as well as the vice president of the Provincial Council of Málaga, Ana Mata, BuySoundtrax Records, and all the public and private organizations that support PlayFest.

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For more information contact: Juanjo Ballesteros jjballesterosgarcia@gmail.com