Composer PhilipPe Rombi is one of my own favourites ever since I heard his score for THE SWIMMING POOL I was hooked as they say. His latest score is somewhat different from the Rombi we have all come to be used to. L’AMANT DOUBLE, is a thriller with a few twists, it deals with a woman who falls in love with her psychoanalyst, and after thinking she knows him moves in with him, but things are not as she expects and she begins to uncover a side of his identity that she does not know about. The score is very dark, very atonal for Rombi, it also has a fair number of electronic instrumentation, and for me it is more like sound design as opposed to being a music score, by this I mean there are very few themes or thematic properties, this is a jumpy and unpredictable work, which serves the movie but unfortunately will probably not be one that graces the CD player that often, some of the cues being frantic and somewhat grating. I suppose it’s back to the well it is movie music so if it serves the movie it is good, and its doing what it is supposed to. Rombi does keep up the pressure with this score, it is a highly atonal work, with maybe the exception of two actual themes, which appear at the end of the recording, MATERNITE and LA JUMELLE can be described as melodious, in fact I would probably not call them that even as they start off pleasant enough but then really do not progress develop or go anywhere. This work, although serving the movie will I guess be a disappointment to Rombi fans who are used to haunting and delicious sounding tone poems that are draped in romanticism and drenched in melancholy, as in his score from only last year, FRANTZ. If you want that then please don’t even go here.



Let’s go back a few years to 2008, to a movie entitled THE HAPPENING, and a score that was the work of James Newton Howard. I recently watched the movie again on TV and was still struck by the suspense and the sense of apprehension and uncertainty that just oozed from this movie, the musical score had a lot to do with creating this thick and foreboding atmosphere. Newton Howard again providing us with a soundtrack that was haunting in a nice way and unsettling in so many other ways. THE HAPPENING, is an energetic, swift paced, blood pumping and heart racing thriller. It is about a family who are on the run from an unexplained and it seems an un-stoppable entity or occurrence that not only threatens their existence, but also is putting in jeopardy the future and survival of the whole of human kind. Stylishly directed by M.Night Shyamalan, this is one of many collaborations between Newton Howard and the director. In recent years their collaboration has earned respect from not only fellow film makers and composers but from fans and critics alike. The directors obvious gift for creating icy and fearsome thought provoking sci-fi horrors being enhanced by the highly talented and gifted Newton Howard. Although THE HAPPENING is not as hard hitting as SIGNS or SIXTH SENSE dramatically or musically but it comes very close and I must say that I enjoyed it a lot when revisiting the film and the score.



Newton Howards score is just perfect for the movie, the composer underlining the action and moments of violence wonderfully with blasts of sound and dramatic percussive and brass stabs. But there is also the more subdued side to the score via the sober but almost icy cello performances which literally make one tingle. In many ways, this is a score that can be likened to styles of both Jerry Goldsmith and Thomas Newman, with maybe a nod or two in the direction of Herrmann? There is an almost delicate touch throughout the proceedings and key points which in fact adds more of a menacing atmosphere than any amount of booming percussion, urgent string performance or jagged sounding brass stabs could ever do, plus we have the action material in cues such as SHOTGUN.


Then there is the dark and sinister piano laced with strings and punctuated with brass in YOU CAN, T JUST LEAVE US HERE, the score purveys a sense of tension and evokes a mood that is filled with uncertainty and at times panic and dread. The composer relaying these emotions via sinewy strings and solo violin in certain areas. With a calming but malevolent sounding piano in the background on many of the cues it is hard to feel assured or easy whilst listening to Newton Howards music.



The END TITLE SUITE on the recording runs for just over 8 minutes, within this piece we get a chance to relish the quality of the composers score, with the track containing key phrases and thematic material from the soundtrack. With some emotive Cello and viola performances included. The momentum of the movie I felt waned slightly mid-way through, but the score continued to be strong and above all interesting, adding much to the proceedings. One to look out for if you have not already got it within your collection.





I must say I am not a huge fan of TRANSFORMERS the movies although I also should state that they are not as annoying or pathetic as other sci fi movies or superhero yarns that have been doing the rounds in recent years. The attraction for me to TRANSFORMERS is the high octane vibrant and pulsating musical scores and sound designs created by the talented music-smith Steve Jablonsky. The composer is with consummate ease able to fuse the fully symphonic sounds of the orchestra with the synthetic and electronic, on each occasion creating something that is not only wonderfully in tune with the action unfolding on screen but is also able to stand alone away from the images it was intended to enhance and punctuate. A couple of fellow collectors have said to me we can’t understand why you don’t like Zimmer but are ok with a composer such as Jablonsky, well I am not sure really, all I know is that Jablonsky’s music does seem to stir something inside me, maybe it is more melodic or more developed or maybe just more appealing to my own personal tastes, or even maybe it is the way in which he employs his music to the movies he has worked on. For this latest episode of the TRANSFORMERS series of movies THE LAST KNIGHT, the composer has written some beautifully emotive and poignant pieces that are filled with melancholy and have about them an atmosphere and mood that is of the romantic. I also noticed that this score is somewhat less action led in the music department, yes ok, there are the fair share of knock em down and drag em out set pieces but there are also several cues that are subdued or low key, these contain almost lilting themes which are performed by an array of instrumentation, Cello Violin and strings accompanied by choral performances. This is a brooding soundtrack that is not unlike the veritable coiled spring which is waiting to open or jump out at the listener, sometimes a low-key track or a cue that one thinks to be a less energetic piece ends up being a builder that peaks with a blast of thundering percussive elements or a rasping collection of brass or even a wall of electronic sounds. It is a well-structured work rich in strong themes and powerful and pulsating action passages that will I know have you on the edge of your seat both in the cinema and at home when listening to the score. It would I think be wrong to compare Jablonsky to any other composer, but if I was asked to describe his style I think I would probably say it is a fusion of Tyler and Debney, it is rhythmic and on occasion upbeat and commanding but it also has real heart and soul to it which certainly adds greater depth and atmosphere to every project he works upon. This is worth a listen, Check out TRANSFORMERS THE LAST KNIGHT asap.


Available now on LA LA LAND RECORDS.
1. Sacrifice 6:46
2. The Coming of Cybertron 4:58
3. Merlin’s Staff 5:49
4. No-Go Zone 3:28
5. Stay and Fight 6:26
6. Code Red 2:12
7. Izzy 4:00
8. Purity of Heart 3:34
9. Megatron Negotiation 3:37
10. Today We Hunt 1:46
11. Running out of Tomorrows 1:20
12. Drone Chase 5:07
13. You Have Been Chosen 2:17
14. Seglass Ni Tonday 6:27
15. Quintessa 6:36
16. Vivian 3:52
17. Abduction 3:04
18. History of Transformers 4:23
19. Cogman Sings 2:09
20. Vivian Follows Merlin 6:41
21. The Greatest Mission of All 2:19
22. Dive 3:15
23. Two Moons 2:03
24. Merlin’s Tomb 3:18
25. Claim the Staff 3:36
26. Prime Versus Bee 2:45
27. Your Voice 4:34
28. I Had My Moment 2:29
29. Ospreys 1:49
30. Battlefield 3:43
31. Did You Forget Who I Am 1:56
32. We Have to Go 5:48
33. Calling All Autobots 2:55
34. Sir Edmund Burton