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So many Italian westerns and so many releases from Italy where do we start. Well I suppose we could start with REQUIESCANT or KILL AND PRAY by Riz Ortolani, which also includes music from another Ortolani western O CANGACEIRO I have seen REQUIESCANT but the other title which I am told starred Tomas Milian is something of a mystery to me and not a western but set in South America. The music for both of these movies is in a word average, I sometimes cannot understand why record companies bother to release the entire scores from movies such as these. Surely a compilation would suffice of themes or principal musical passages etc from each film, like UA records used to do back in the 1970,s with GREAT WESTERN THEMES, GREAT WAR FILM THEMES etc etc etc,,,, these sold well and also gave collectors an idea of what the music was like from certain films. In my opinion if you going to release Ortolani westerns then maybe THE HUNTING PARTY and CIAKMULL should be at the top of the list, that’s of course if the tapes exist. REQUIESCANT is a score that certainly does not match the at times violent imagery of the movie, but I have said it before Ortolani was just too romantic sounding when it came to scoring westerns from Italy, yes granted DAY OF ANGER and THE HUNTING PARTY are exceptions to this rule but THE HUNTING PARTY was actually a British western in theory. The score for REQUIESCANT has just one main or central theme which to be honest is not that interesting or original, it is basically an electric guitar rift that begins well and one is waiting for a big theme to kick in after it is introduced by the guitar, but then that’s it nothing it goes nowhere but back into itself on repeat but the composer never develops it into any more substantial. There are also a number of Mexican sounding pieces on the score, which after hearing two or three getting pretty annoying, so REQUIESCANT is not really a score that I would add to my collection. O GANGACEIRO also is pretty ordinary nothing major here in the way of thematic material again nothing original or groundbreaking. Record labels have to realise that collectors now will not just buy a score because its from a spaghetti western or a film that is similar to a western, if they are going to even consider it, it has to be at least fifty percent listenable or interesting. The only plus about this release are the excellent notes by author Laurence Staig (Opera of violence author). It’s a pity because the compact disc is presented well by PENTAMUSIC (who are a British label I understand) but it’s the music that lets it down, so what is the point of buying it.


cd drift

I have always maintained that Movie Score Media is one of the very few soundtracks labels in recent years that actually listens to collectors and their customers when it comes to releasing film scores. THE DRIFT is one such case, again MSM have listened and deliberated and then released a score that collectors have actually asked for. This can only be a good and positive thing for both collector and label. THE DRIFT is the first feature film score for composer James Griffiths, and I for one know that it will not be his last. This is a powerful work which for me evokes the scoring process and styles of the 1970,s when composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein and John Williams were just three of the big names within the industry that were producing theme filled works more or less on a daily basis. THE DRIFT soundtrack for me is a delight because it contains real themes that are not just hinted at or subtly purveyed but are fully developed and expanded upon giving us a chance to savour the full and stirring effect of the composers highly addictive and infectious style. There is a liberal use of brass flourishes and strings within the work that convey a sense of danger and menace within many of the cues on the compact disc, but these action fuelled compositions are interspersed and punctuated by compositions that are simple and enchanting with the composer bringing into the equation a low key but extremely pretty and effective piano solo at certain points that brings a calmness and serenity to the proceedings. The darkness and the light of the score can be heard early on in the soundtrack with the OPENING cue beginning with a threatening and rather ominous sounding low brass sound underlined by strings, which after just a few moments transforms into a beguiling and hauntingly beautiful piece performed by a lilting piano solo that is underlined by enchanting ethereal strings which would not be out of place in the end sequence of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, dark sounding brass bolstered by percussion and electronic support raises its head momentarily to interrupt the almost celestial sounding strings, but these soon fade away and we are returned to the calmness and serene atmosphere created by the strings and delicate piano.

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Track number two, HELPLESS MASSACRE is a very different composition, it begins slowly and quietly but the quiet is soon transformed into a dark and powerful piece with the composer introducing an onslaught of percussive elements that are enhanced by ferocious and rasping brass stabs with urgent strings further supporting and adding a sense of menace to the composition, slicing strings punctuate the cue adding a searing and foreboding edge to it. Track number three THE DESCENT too is filled with an urgency created by percussion and again the composer enlists the aid of driving strings and brass to create a fearsome and powerful composition.

Track number four GRAVEYARD is the shortest cue on the release clocking in at just 31 seconds but it is an effecting piece and contains the piano motif that is underlined by darker elements. Track number five, THE APPROACH SUITE is one of my personal favourites from the score it is filled with drama and becomes a powerhouse piece with the composer adding more percussion driving low strings and brass, at times it evoked memories of John Williams IMPERIAL MARCH but just fleetingly giving the cue an air of dread and greater urgency. To analyse the score further I think would be a mistake as I am sure you would like to discover its many attributes for yourself, it is an accomplished and wonderfully written work, it is filled with drama and has to it a commanding and potent atmosphere which is embellished by a number of quieter interludes which are stunningly attractive and haunting. The compact disc also contains music from another score by James Griffith entitled DARKWAVE:EDGE OF THE STORM which is an equally compelling listen, the composer adding choral sounds to heighten the tension and create an apprehensive atmosphere, maybe there are not as many big action pieces within this score, but the soprano voice (shades of Morricone) and addition of voices within the duration are welcome and create a score that is melodious as well as powerful the use of solo violin to brings to the work a more intimate sound that is filled with melancholy and fragility, do not miss this release, highly recommended.