Backlight-Soundtrack-720x320 (1)

I had read a few reviews about the movie BACKLIGHT when it was released in 2010, many of these were negative, but this made me even more determined to see the film myself and make up my own mind, my opinion for what it is worth is that BACKLIGHT is a truly fantastic movie, and director Fernando Fergata, has crafted an entertaining and also a thought provoking cinematic masterpiece that will I know be looked at in years to come and be given its deserved status. I think that the people, who thought ill of it in reviews etc, should again sit down and view the film, because I am certain that their opinion of it would change. This is a Portuguese production, which is something of a surprise as film making in Portugal is somewhat hit and miss as there is little or no support or sponsorship for the industry, the other surprising thing is that the movie although Portuguese in its origins was actually filmed almost entirely in the United States. BACKLIGHT does not have great special effects and can in no way be described as a Blockbuster or epic production, but there is just something about the film that compels one to watch and take it in and try and make sense out of it and then one ends up trying to analyze it but personally I gave up and just took pleasure in the fact that I enjoyed the film. My main reason for wanting to see the film was the musical score by composer Nuno Malo, whom I admire greatly. Nuno had sent me a few of his discs to listen to and I found a suite of music from BACKLIGHT on you tube, and right from the first opening notes I fell in love with it, the music is attractive and hypnotic in places and also has an air of mystery and the mystic about it.


I emailed Nuno asking would the score ever be released,  he was not sure at the time, but thankfully the score is soon to be available on the ever industrious KRONOS RECORDS and for the release the composer has re-recorded a number of the tracks with full orchestra and also a handful of featured solo performances. The soundtrack is a mixture of orchestral and also electronic, the latter does feature quite heavily within the original work but the composer has cleverly utilized orchestral components to enhance and support these synthetic elements and I think has by doing this made them more emotive and striking. Symphonic and synthetic interweave and together they create a sound and also an ambiance that is brimming with ethereal and serene atmospherics that the composer creates via use of strings, falsetto voice, piano, guitar, brass flourishes, choir and a scattering of percussive elements that are lightly dusted and enhanced by an array of half heard sounds and delicate touches.

MV5BMTQ0OTk0MjI5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTg4MjAwNA@@._V1._SX148_CR0,0,148,200_The music is romantically mesmerising, dramatically urgent and also has a side to it that oozes melancholy and hints at vulnerability and fragility, yet at the same time there are a number of interludes that are slightly more upbeat and lighter in their construction and performance, and also a equal number of cues that are lush and quite lavish, I once likened Malo to Morricone and also John Barry, but on listening to this score I have to say this is NUNO MALO, by this I mean he has created his own distinct musical fingerprint and placed it firmly upon this motion picture. If you are yet to discover the delights and the sheer talent of Nuno Malo, then this release is a perfect way in which to acquaint yourself with this brilliant composers music, I am sure that after you have heard this score you will moving on to many others by this Maestro. Presented wonderfully by Kronos and available very soon, why not pre order it now…. Highly recommended.


 Monstrous Movie Music  are an independent soundtrack label whose mission is to record and release film music from brilliant composers who are usually neglected by the larger labels because they aren’t “BIG NAMES.” But their MUSIC is BIG!

The only film music CD label specializing in music from classic science fiction, fantasy, and horror films!

1963-cover-3                                                   1971_Cover__Main_Page_                                   1967-destinationmoon-cover-smaller



Beyond_Two_Souls_final_coverNot a film score in the way we as collectors and film music enthusiasts normally see it, but none the less this in my opinion this is still movie music or at least music for moving images, and pretty good it is too. BEYOND TWO SOULS is a play station (ps3) game for which composer Lorne Balfe has written a stunning musical soundtrack, as collectors I am sure we have all become aware that our favourite composers who we readily associate with writing for film are more frequently now dipping their musical toes as it were into the ever expanding waters that include theme park rides and games for computers etc. The scores that I have listened to over the past few years that are for games always surprise me, I suppose one has it transfixed into ones memory banks that music for computer games consists of that Tetris theme which was and still is so annoying, or quirky tedious little tunes that are played on repeat throughout games, but in recent times scores for games have become far more than this in fact composers have produced some wonderful soundtracks which are just as grand and haunting as scores for epic blockbusters for the big screen, and at times maybe can even be more adventurous, exciting and indeed beautiful because of the images and scenarios that they enhance themselves posses these qualities. Like all technology, games for PC,s, play stations, mobile phones etc etc are constantly developing and becoming more and more realistic in their appearance. BEYOND TWO SOULS is certainly no exception it stars Willem Defoe and Ellen Page, and is at this moment in time creating more that a ripple of excitement among game players.

A young girl Jodie Holmes (Caroline Wolfson) lives with her foster parents on a military base. Since her birth the young girl has experienced a strange psychic connection with a mystifying entity called Aiden, via this entity Jodie is able to carry out numerous bizarre and alarming extra-sensory acts, these include taking over individuals minds, strangling people to death, and also being able to manipulate objects. After a disagreement with some other children in her neighbourhood, the entity Aiden almost kills one of them, it is at this stage that Jodie’s foster parents seek out psychiatric help for her, their search takes them to the department of paranormal activity and two doctors Nathan Dawkins,(Willem Dafoe) and Cole Freeman (Kadeem Hardkin) whom they leave their daughter with indefinitely. I wont spoil the game for you but lets say its an interesting plot and has numerous twists, turns and exhilarating action and leaves the outcome of certain scenarios in the hands of the person who is playing the game.

8f3eb98c9d3ddef3f274e1ad004815f0c4ddf741.jpg__0x529_q85_upscale 4ef0507091927aa3a4185670aa6f9d1e464d4934.jpg__0x529_q85_upscale

Balfe’s affecting and haunting music shadows this action and also enhances and underlines the mystery and adds depth and emotion to the proceedings, giving the game not only powerful and at times epic sounding support but also infusing a sense of heart and tenderness to it. Largely symphonic the score relies upon driving and urgent strings, which at times become the foundation or support to thundering percussion and fierce sounding brass flourishes, there is also effective and enthralling use of female voice which has a kind of Gaelic resonance to it, the composer utilizes a sorrowful cello in a number of cues which is both heartrending and breathtaking , he further develops the more emotive side of his compositions with solo piano that is mirrored by gentle and delicate harp and a plaintive childlike sounding music box effect. This chiming or lullaby type theme is more prominent within track number six, MY IMAGINARY FRIEND, it takes the lead in the first instant, and is underlined by faint use of glockenspiel which is just touched upon, strings are introduced into the equation giving the theme a more romantic sound, with the music box sound still being performed as the strings swell and become lush and even more prominent, there is also however an atmosphere of apprehension within the cue again created by the use of the string section which seem to play slightly against the central romantic theme that is developing. Track number seven, CHILDHOOD MEMORIES is a sensitive and highly emotive piece, performed on piano, that is accompanied by viola and also underlying strings which although are heard are not in anyway overwhelming, the composer allowing the solo piano and viola pairing to shine through, making this a touching and relaxing listening experience. The score disc opens with JODIES SUITE, this runs for nearly five minutes and is a glorious introduction to the music that is to follow on the release, a wordless female vocal opens the cue, which has a definite Gaelic sound to it, strings begin to build behind the vocal, at first just a hint of them but they then start to rise as does the vocal, together they create a haunting theme that is romantic and also melancholy in its sound and style. The voice melts away and gives way to the string section which take on the theme and give it a full working accompanied by percussion rumbles and harp, the vocal returns towards the end of the cue and strings, horns, embellish and support it until it is almost soaring creating one of those goose bump moments in music.

484221_247632425349720_424989368_nTrack number two, DAWKINS SUITE, is another lengthy cue, it opens slowly with a kind of brooding feel to the proceedings, again I sensed a hint of Gaelic origins within the cue, after a slow and downbeat start the composition begins to gain pace and the composer brings into the mix percussive elements that are supported by driving strings and further enhanced by electronics, the tempo is increased with strings inventing a tense and nervous atmosphere whilst the percussion creates an upbeat but at the same time dark sounding backing track. Cue number four I feel is worth a special mention, AIDENS THEME is probably the most beautiful track on the compact disc, and I will say it is one of those moments within film music that occurs very rarely these days, as it has the ability to make this reviewer shudder with emotion as shimmering strings combine with ethereal sounding voices to fashion a stunning and inspiring crescendo, this however is just one part of the composition, the track begins with a melancholy and heartrendingly emotive cello performance that is underlined by piano and harp, this evokes an atmosphere of not only sadness but loneliness and is highly affecting and mesmerizing. The score contains a number of electronic elements, but do not let this put you off, these work well with the main orchestral components at times supporting and embellishing them as well as being utilized independently to generate tense and fearsome interludes. This is a score that I would recommend without reservation, composed by Lorne Balfe with the production side of things being supervised by the ever present Hans Zimmer. Go and buy it…….

RED 2.



Although Alan Silvestri began scoring movies back in 1978 with THE DOBERMAN GANG, I must admit that I did not really take much notice of his music until his first major movie score which was for ROMANCING THE STONE in 1984, of course the composer had begun to build a name for himself in television with music for popular shows such as T J HOOKER, MANIMAL and also a handful of episodes of STARSKY AND HUTCH. I like many other collectors have followed the career of composer Alan Silvestri with interest since those early days and still am unable to control my foot tapping when I hear the strains of the CHIPS theme. For me personally Silvestri stepped into the film music arena when I felt that music in film had began to loose its way slightly, the pop song score was becoming more prominent and beginning to dominate the film scoring process, also film studios were putting more and more trust into music supervisors as opposed to actual film music composers, it was quicker to clear the performance rights etc on songs rather than get a composer in to write an original score, the end result they seemed to think was just as effective, a notion and practice that I still to this day disagree with. After the success of ROMANCING THE STONE, Silvestri’s career in film took off and at times the composer would produce rich and grand sounding symphonic works such as THE ABYSS, VAN HELSING and the BACK TO THE FUTURE movies, but other times would slip into a more contemporary persona creating up beat and slick sounding soundtracks that elevated and enhanced such pictures as RICHOCHET, DELTA FORCE and THE BODYGUARD, plus he was able to fashion poignant and more intimate works and also underline comedies as in

THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT,CASTAWAY and DEATH BECOMES HER, he also scored his fair share of animation as in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, FERNGULLY and POLAR EXPRESS. In recent years he has returned to the blockbuster and has been in demand to enhance the actions of CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS, G.I.JOE and the big screen antics of THE A TEAM. One of the composers recent assignments is RED 2, which stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkolvich and Anthony Hopkins. In which a retired CIA agent portrayed by Willis re-unites his team of operatives for a worldwide mission to track down a missing nuclear device. Silvestri’s score is a powerful and up-beat one, the composer utilizing electronic elements to great effect and combining them with orchestral flourishes which both compliment and augment each other, Silvestri provides the film with a soundtrack that matches the action perfectly and also helps to create a tense atmosphere and a sense of taught and vibrant urgency.

Composer Alan Silvestri speaking at the Carmel...
Composer Alan Silvestri speaking at the Carmel Art & Film Festival in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The score is a fusion of both symphonic and up beat electronic but the combination works so well you will at some point find yourself tapping your feet too it and really getting into the up beat sections and becoming tied up with the scores swift pace and momentum, the synthesized sections are as I have already said either acting as a background to strong orchestral passages or are them selves the foreground or main content of the composition with symphonic becoming the support, either way there are many highly rhythmic as well as dramatic moments within this soundtrack. Track number one, MAIN TITLE, opens with juddering near piercing synth line, that has an upbeat synthesised backing track which straight away grabs the listeners attention, Silvestri throws into the mix a series of grand sounding orchestral stabs that punctuate the proceedings and add a sense of danger and drama to the composition, percussion also lends a hand to beef up the piece and power it along, although a very short lived composition it certainly has the desired effect of making an impact. Track number two, SAFE HOUSE, begins in a rather subdued way, but soon builds into a crescendo of sorts that is created by synths and percussive elements, the cue seems to rise into near action mode but then falls away back into a more brooding persona, again the track is rather brief but as with the opening cue does make a positive and also a powerful musical statement. Track number three, SPEAKING OF SUSAN to me seems to contain more symphonic or conventional instrumentation, and it is the drive strings that push this composition forward, Track number four, PENTAGON is also a pure action cue, more driving and urgent string flourishes that act as the foundation for the cue, the composer adds electric guitar and percussion with an upbeat and rhythmic backing track to infuse drama into the proceedings. The remainder of the score is composed in the same vein, it is an all action soundtrack that does not hold back and is at times relentless but is always entertaining, certainly well worth adding this to the collection.

Available on la la land records.