Music for video games and games in general has certainly come a long way, but for one of LA LA LAND records latest releases we go back to 2007, we are presented here with John Debney’s powerful and highly exuberant soundtrack for LAIR. Which was released by Sony and caused something of a stir among gamers worldwide. The composers sweeping score is released here in a 2 disc set and has nearly 2 hours of glorious music contained in a total of 39 tracks which is a far cry from the five track promo that was issued in 2007. The thing that immediately strikes you when you begin to listen to the score is that it posses such power and drive, it is a vibrant and epic work that draws much from the works of John Williams and also at times Basil Poledouris especially his scores for The Conan movies and to a degree FLESH AND BLOOD. Large symphonic orchestra is utilized along with choir and some excellent female solo vocals courtesy of Lisbeth Scott that add an earthy and credible ethnic ambiance to the proceedings. Brass flourishes reminiscent of Williams STAR WARS soundtracks power the score onwards and sweeping strings add not only drama and fervour but also infuse a sense of romanticism to the work, personally apart from the obvious influences of Poledouris, Williams and Goldsmith there are also present nuances and interludes that can be likened to the epic film scores of Rozsa, Waxman and also Korngold. The composer employing bold and grand sounding thematic material that is filled with heroic and fervent flourishes, fanfares and crescendos and laced with numerous musical colours and layers to create a high octane soundtrack that is relentless and un-stoppable. To go into detail I think wont help, let us suffice to say that this is a score that you must own, it is adventurous, dramatic and full of highly effervescent themes. Presented to a high quality by La la Land records, with a informative booklet, disc two also contains the concert suite from LAIR which is also highly recommended. This is a must have soundtrack an essential purchase, just go and get it.
The main thing that always strikes me with composer David Arnold when I have seen TV interviews or even read interviews with him on the internet is that there is a passion that comes from him about film music, also he seems never to take him self too seriously which I suppose is a good thing also. Arnold came to my attention a few years back now with STARGATE this was I think the score that kind of introduced many collectors to him and his music. Scores such as LAST OF THE DOGMAN followed and then came INDEPENDENCE DAY, after this came James Bond, Godzilla etc etc and there he was David Arnold A list composer. One of the latest releases from those ever so lovely people at LA LA LAND RECORDS is Arnold’s impish, mischievous and delightful soundtrack to the re-make of THE STEPFORD WIVES. When the movie was released I for one thought well there is bound to be a soundtrack compact disc, but alas it never materialized, thankfully LA LA LAND have now put this right. The release contains Arnolds infectious and dark but at the same time comedic sounding score and also has in its running time a number of cues that did not make it into the film itself. Right from the opening one just gets the feeling that this is going to be something special, Arnold opening proceedings with an puckish sounding violin solo that picks out the central theme of the work, female voices punctuate this and underline it giving it more of a manic or desperate sound. Arnold then introduces a more sumptuous version of the theme performed by the string section, and a grand but slightly off beat sounding waltz theme ensues and builds whilst all the time being accompanied by the female voices who’s HA HA HA vocalising become more and more agitatedly laced as the cue progresses and heads towards its conclusion, the composer underlines and supports the strings and female voices with a bassoon and woodwind who pass their part to celli that take it on with support from percussion, trumpet and strings. Track number 4 is for me one of the stand out moments of the compact disc, this is split into two sections the first part, DRIVE TO STEPFORD was not actually used in the film but the second part GATES OF STEPFORD did appear in the finished movie. DRIVE TO STEPFORD has again a mischievous atmosphere to it and although short lived is a wonderfully bold and forthright introduction to more lush and developed GATES OF STEPFORD, Track number 5, HOUSE TOUR/FIRST NIGHT/FIRST MORNING. Again has a air of impishness to it, pizzicato strings, woodwind and more strings are the main players within this cue at the offset with a plaintive piano solo being introduced midway through the cue, and although this is just a fleeting appearance it gives the cue a sense of melancholy and hints at romantic undertones.
The album is also split into two sections the first being tracks 1 to 21 which represent the score with a running time of 43 mins and then from track number 22 through to track number 31,we have a collection of themes that are alternate versions or source tracks, which run for just over 16 mins. THE STEPFORD WIVES is a David Arnold score that many seem to forget, but hardened fans of the composer have been requesting a release for many years and at least with this great release collectors can now savour the delights of Arnold’s inventive and entertaining soundtrack, with its vibrant thematic properties and also its underlying melodious content that has not only a lush and sweeping atmosphere but also contains a sprinkling of comedy and fragility along the way that are fused with moments of drama and excitement. As always the compact disc is presented beautifully by La La Land, with nice art work a number of stills from the movie and very interesting notes on the score with quotes from Arnold.