Roque Banos is a composer who I liked a lot at the outset of his career, his music was often epic, romantic and above all melodic, his score for EVIL DEAD I think is one of the most original and frightening film scores I have heard in a long while, I WILL RIP YOUR HEART OUT being one of the many stand out cues in that score, the composer utilising strange noises some musical others not, to achieve a guttural and foreboding style and atmosphere, Banos pushed the boundaries of inventive creativity on EVIL DEAD and for that reason I include it in my list of top 100 scores (but I never listen to it in the dark). But, and is there always a but somewhere along the way, he seemed to go through a period where his music was to be honest rather un-inspiring and drab, from late 2016 through to the end of 2017, It did nothing for me as it was a sound and style that I had already experienced, it was like a watered down Banos, a musical wallpaper that was just there for no reason other than to fill a space or underline a moment between dialogues. I wanted something fresh and the composer sadly did not come up with anything.
Until this year that is, I have experienced two of his score which I have found not only enriching and invigorating but also very entertaining and filled with an abundance of themes that are either catchy and rhythmic or poignant and emotive, either way the composer has penned rich melodic soundtracks for two very different movies, these compelling compositions are attractive, and I suppose somewhat addictive. The first of these works was for the movie, THE MIRACLE SEASON, and although one could hardly call this an original sound, it does contain some lilting and delicate musical passages that reminded me a little of the work of Jerry Goldsmith or something that maybe John Williams might have written, there is just a musical aura about the score, with its proud faraway sounding horns and majestic strings that evoked the Goldsmith sound. If I say that it had the HOOSIERS/BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, effect when I was listening to it would that make it a little clearer? Thought so, well, THE MIRACLE SEASON is not your typical Banos score although there are some nice sections where the composer combines and utilises some interesting timpani and percussive rhythms, but it is the brass lines that do it for me on this score, they are in my opinion typical of the style that Goldsmith would employ in movies that had a sporting theme or maybe Newton Howard at certain points, I think what I am trying to say is that it is not a score that says to you this is Roque Banos, the themes are grand, gratifying and at times anthem like in their rendition and execution, and have a distinct American sound to them. Proud horn flourishes are supported by chimes and percussion with underlying strings giving them substance and more stature.
I think one of my s is THE VICTORY it is a tumultuous piece filled with inspiring rhythms and soaring themes from the strings and brass, but it also has a more intimate or delicate side to it, with a melancholy theme being performed by hushed horns underlined by strings, until that is the strings begin to pick up the tempo and bring to life the central theme which is filled with hope and energy. There is also a fragile sounding piece performed on solo violin, which is supported by harp and subtle strings in the cue, BACK TO TRAINING. There are also shades of Goldsmith present in HOME COMING GAME. Again horns, woods and strings, are given pace and vibrancy by timpani and percussion that usher in more driving strings and additional brass, this combination of instrumentation erupts into a crescendo which may only be short lived but is effective before it subsides and gives way to poignant piano, again this brief interlude soon returns to a more upbeat and up-tempo composition as we are treated to grand sweeping brass statements and timpani being augmented by strings. WIN THE LINE is another example of Banos turning to the sound of Americana with its noble sounding themeatic properties and stirring strings becoming affecting as well as effective. This is a score that must heard, you will I know love it.
The second score I was privileged to hear is from Terry Gilliam’s long awaited and some might say ill-fated THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE. Its an interesting movie and one which was shown at the Cannes festival this year after much legal discussion. Toby (Adam driver) is a rather cynical ads director, who becomes involved with an old Spanish cobbler (Johnathan Pryce) who thinks of himself as Don Quixote, the adventure that the pair undertake becomes increasingly surreal and as it develops Toby is forced to come face to face with the repercussions of a movie he directed when in his youth, a film that supposedly had tragic connotations and altered the destiny of a small Spanish town. The score by Roque Banos is excellent, full of drama and romanticism, this has an epic sound to it and combines, choral, symphonic and classical guitar to great effect, it is a bold and brave sounding work that is overflowing with strong musical themes that weave in and out of the work creating a highly melodic and haunting soundtrack. The composer fashions fragile and intricate tone poems that grace the scenarios unfolding on screen and provides the movie with just the correct amount of dramatic content, brass and strings often combine to relay dark and Hispanic sounding motifs. Listen to his opulent sounding WALTZ AT THE CASTLE it is wonderful and the quirky but original sounding RIDE TO THE MOON. Again, the composer has produced a soundtrack that will be admired by critics and collectors alike. These two scores by Banos are stylistically worlds apart, but are both equally compelling and entertaining, why not treat yourself to a Banos fest.