YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER.

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Screamworks Records is a part of the successful Movie Score Media company and has released a number of wonderful horror scores under the banner in the past few years. Their latest offering is YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER, with an exciting and robust sounding orchestral score by composer Andrew Morgan Smith who found favour with collectors previously when he wrote the music for JEEPERS CREEPERS 3. YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER is a send up of all of those slasher movies that we dont like to admit we like that were prevalent during the late 1980’s through to the present. Sam played by Fran Kranz is a camp counsellor who starts to experience blackouts and when he awakens is i surrounded by murder victims. With the assistance of his friend Chuck played by Alyson Hannigan they start to work out that Sam could be the killer. The movie is a homage and also a spoof on so many horror movies and works well on both comedic and horror levels. The music too is a homage to the rich and powerful genre of horror film music music with definite nods to composers such as Jerry Goldsmith and Christopher Young. With shrieking strings and icy sounding stabs that are jagged and ferocious being the order of the day jumping out at the listener throughout the score. If you are a fan of music from horror movies you will get this and love it. For me it evoked not only the aforementioned Goldsmith and Young but also had affiliations to the sound and style of composers such as Marco Beltrami, Danile Licht and at times Richard Band and Pino Donaggio. The composer creates a not only entertaining work but one that has to it an urgency and at times displays a melodic and romantic sounding persona, in fact the balance between light and dark sombre and melancholy are perfect. This is in the main a relentless and driving work, with the strings, percussion and brass working overtime to fashion a commanding and chaotic sounding score but chaos that is organised if that is at all possible. The little pizzicato nuances and underlying tense sinewy strings also add character and atmosphere to the work. This is a score that is fast, apprehensive, driving and so much fun and one  that I recommend you add to your collection, available as a digital download already and soon to be released on CD by Quartet records, worth a listen.

ANDRE RIEU BIRMINGHAM ARENA 13th December 2018

A CONCERT REPORT BY    John Williams.

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Andre Rieu is a phenomenon. A Musical Phenomenon no question. For years he has travelled the world giving music lovers what they want. Something the TV Channels and the majority of Concert Halls I suspect Worldwide have totally neglected: The music tastes of the 40 – 50 plus year olds. Time was, and we are going back years here, that the BBC gave us many years of musical magic from Sir Andre Previn, in the aptly called ANDRE PREVIN’S MUSIC NIGHT. Here well known and some less so, Musical favourites from the Classical repertoire, couple with Sir Andre ‘s superb knowledgeable commentary were played with skill by the LSO. Going probably further back, BBC 2 used to show MANTOVANI IN CONCERT , easy listening, I think just orchestral, and no singing. Going back even further, there were plenty of song and dance shows on all TV Channels

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That music is still sought after today, but the Controllers of the main channels, think that all we want is BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT, and if there is a Concert, it usually by some obscure group or singer I have never heard of.

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Mr Rieu’s Concerts aren’t earth shattering. You don’t got to one of his concerts for something new. You go because you know what you are going to hear, and that is the pleasure of it all. It’s a stylish combination of so much. New Year’s Day concerts from Vienna, Henry Mancini, The Three Tenors. Christmas Carol Concerts . A bit of humour, Ladies in beautiful ball gowns, and it is combination that could go on for years – and has already done so . The concert in Birmingham was near capacity, and the Arena is big venue. I liked his sense of humour, The concert started at 8-00 on the dot. and believe it or not, at around 8-25 people were still arriving. One Gentleman trundled down to the front row, I think at that time. Very courageous. Mr Rieu cordially said ” Good Evening” then looked at his watch. The gentleman took it in good part, and I am sure there must have been a good reason why he was so late, yet he wasn’t the only one. The same occurred after the interval, when some of the audience were still coming in with drinks well over 20 minutes after the second half started.

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It must be me, but I really couldn’t’ do that. If Mr Rieu has come thousands of miles for the Concert, then well you know the rest!!

I noticed as we arrived, some coaches from Felixstowe and Cornwall, so they covered some miles that day.

Watching a small part of his Christmas Concert in London from 2017 on Youtube afterwards , I noticed a lot of the patter between each song is virtually identical, almost word for word,, but again I reckon that is part of the appeal. You know what you are getting, no surprises here.

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Towards the end, he played “The Blue Danube” and as if on cue, couples from the Audience got up to dance. They enjoyed it, and I think everyone in the audience did as well. After the well controlled number of encores, Mr Rieu and his happy band exited, leaving a arena full of happy souls, ready to face the cold late night air, and take the long journey home.

Whatever it cost, I think everyone would be happy to do it one more time.

 

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He defies criticisms. He is criticism proof. You just enjoy and thank him for making your life a bit more richer for his well loved brand of humour, musical taste, gloss and sheer enjoyment.

It make look even better on the DVDS but it is hard to beat the atmosphere of actually being there.

 

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OMA MAA.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FROM KRONOS RECORDS.

http://kronosrecords.com/K92.html
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Finnish film maker Markku Polonen has created a stunning looking movie in the form of OMA MAA (HOMELAND). The story focuses upon Finland from the end of the second world war in 1945 through to 1952 which was the year of the Helsinki Olympics and concentrates on the two central characters, Anni played by Oona Airola and Veikko portrayed by Konsta Laasko who against the backdrop of difficult and testing times fall in love, their relationship is tested when Veikko who was wounded during the war becomes ill. Finland had fought long and hard in the second world war firstly against Russia and then against the Third Reich. This period directly after the war years was a difficult time in Finland as they had to re-settle over 450.000 evacuees and also care for war invalids from Karelia. The country also had the task of building 100,000 new homes. OMA MAA is a touching and dramatic tale which is superbly crafted and directed, the movie having a high level of production standards in all areas. The musical score is the work of composer Pessi Lovanto who has created a romantically laced soundtrack that is delicate, sweeping and lush. The composer is one of the most prominent and sought after in his home country of Finland but is most certainly expanding his work internationally. The composer has written the scores for fifteen motion pictures and his approach to writing film music is a fusion of both vintage styles and more contemporary colours and methods. He also has a musical identity outside of the world of film music as Lovanto acts as a conductor and is a talented and innovative arranger. One of his most successful non-film music projects was with the Helsinki Philharmonic with CLASSICAL TRANCELATIONS, where the orchestra performed club classics. He has also been responsible for writing a number of chart topping songs for Korean and Japanese artists such as ARASHI and THE AFTERSCHOOL.

 

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THE COMPOSER ON THE SCORE.
Interview with John Mansell.
Can I begin by asking you how you became involved on Oma Maa?

“I have made music for three films before for the production company Solar Films, the biggest one in Finland. Their producer Rimbo Salomaa, with whom we had worked on a previous film ”Unexpected Journey”, wanted to bring me in to this project as he though my style would work well with this world. So I had the luxury of getting a direct call from the producer.”

The score is very melodic and lush in places but also contains some nice jazz sounding cues, what size orchestra did you use for the recording?

“We used a professional Finnish orchestra called Tapiola Sinfonietta which is about 45 players. I did the jazz cues separately and had drums, bass, guitar and piano pre-recorded elsewhere. This style of jazz, called foxtrot in it’s time, was rather popular in Finland at the time when the story takes place. I also had one folk-style violin to do some solo lines on top of the orchestra to give a slight folk-music vibe in places.”
At what stage of the production did you become involved, and was the director specific as to what style of music you should compose and how much time did you have to complete the score?

“They had shot the summer scenes in July-August of 2017 and were to shoot the winter scenes in March 2018. I was brought in in November 2017 and started discussing initial ideas with the director. He had some preferences and reference tracks he liked and I began to make some demos of the main themes based on that. He likes the oboe a lot so I put that in quite a bit. Also he made it clear that its a melodrama and that I should not shy away from being lush in the right places. It always takes some time to come up with a core idea you believe is strong enough to carry many repetitions but once that is done, it gets a lot easier and the score begins to write itself. I got a cut of the film (minus the winter scenes) in early January 2018 and wrote all those cues in January and February. Then after the winter shooting they edited those scenes in and I wrote some new music for the inserted scenes. So actually we had plenty of time considering how quickly film scores have to be done sometimes.”

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How much music did you write for the movie and is the entire score on this Compact disc or is it a selection of cues that are representive of the music in the movie and did you have any part in assembling what cues were to be used on the release?

“The CD has all the music I wrote for the film. Being an European indie film there is not that much music compared to a fantasy or animation but if you see the film I think you’ll agree that it’s a good idea since the music really has some meaning and impact when it comes in after a period of no music.”
Was the movie temp tracked at all and do you find the use of this tool by film makers helpful or distracting?

”I had made demos in the early phase and they used those for the edit. I was really happy that they didn’t use much temp music as it often presents a real problem for the composer. ”Temp track love” is a major challenge to the composer and the sooner we can get rid of the temp track the better. I usually try to avoid this by writing demos beforehand which they can use in the edit or submit some of my own music from previous films for that purpose as it’s much easier for me to replace my own music than John Williams’ music.”

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You conducted the score, do you normaly conduct all your own film music and also do you carry out the orchestration?

”I conduct my own scores whenever possible. Sometimes when done abroad it’s not practical if the players don’t speak English so then it’s better if a local conductor does it. I had an assistant in this project who cleaned up my midi files from my Cubase sessions I had used to make demos for the director but then I orchestrated the cues myself after that. Orchestration is something I really enjoy and consider a bit of a speciality so I like to do that myself if time permits.

ARMAND AMAR.

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After collecting film music for nearly 60 years now, I am still amazed at the amount of highly talented composers that there are out there working in film that have not really achieved the recognition that they so rightly and richly deserve, There are also numerous composers that have been recognised and even honoured that still remain in the background and are sadly only a second or third thought when composers list their favourites. One such composer is Armand Armar, I do not think that I have ever seen this wonderful composers name on a list of favourites from any collector, yet when one sits and listens to his scores for films, television and documentaries one cannot fail to be moved emotionally and mesmerised by his obvious talent for melody and his skilful placing of music within any of the mediums.

 

 

 

His output is vast and is always an enriching and rewarding experience whether one listens to it within the film or project it is enhancing and ingratiating or sitting just listening to it as stand alone music. It is an odd thing that Armand Armar is not more of a to use the cliché Household name, after all his list of credits are endless or it seems that way when you look at them and he has been the recipient of so many awards from all over the globe. His use of voices and the inclusion of ethnic instrumentation is I think why his music is so attractive, alluring and interesting. There is no doubt that his compositions are innovative and emotive, the composer being totally in tune with each and every project he has worked on.

 

 

Armar has a light and delicate style that never overpowers or cramps the scenarios or situations that are unfolding on screen and the way in which he scores a movie is not unlike an artist adding colour and character to a blank canvas, bringing it to life with the stroke of a musical brush. Yes there are powerful and even highly dramatic interludes within his work for cinema and TV but these simply enhance and never swamp or overwhelm the visual or aural moments, but instead add depth and create an even greater impact. He as a composer can elevate a scene by the utilisation of a simple or what sounds simple collection of notes performed on woodwind, solo piano, violin, a mournful cello or even by the use of male or female voices. There is just something about his sound and style that not only pleases and entertains but haunts the listener and serves the film, the composer creating fragile, delicate, commanding and enduring musical motifs and passages that colour and adorn.

 

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Born in Jerusalem to French/Moroccon parents, Armand Amar spent most of his earlylife in Morocco. Whilst growing up there he began to take in all of the sounds of the instruments that were native to that country and also others that had found their way into Moroccan musical culture. At the time these instruments were rarely heard outside of the African continent and were also considered to be somewhat exotic. It was hearing these and also in later life experiencing the more European sounds that has shaped and influenced the composer and has also enabled him to utilise and fuse both musical cultures and use them within his music for film and TV.

 


Amar is a composer who is constantly searching for unusual instrumentation for his film scores and musical compositions in general. He has taught himself to play Tabas. Zarb and Congas whilst at the same time studying under a number of more traditional music Masters, where he was schooled in composition, counterpoint and other musical avenues.  The composer discovered dance in 1976, following an invitation from the South African choreographer and trained anthropologist Peter Goss. Which proved to be a decisive moment in the musicians career. Writing muscfor dance he thought allowed him freedom to write music he wanted to and also allowed ato improvise.  Two other challenging ventures broadened his scope further: these were his involvement in Patrice Chéreau’s actors’ school and his teaching at the Conservatoire National Supérieur [Higher National Music School] which focused upon the relationship between music and dance. Since these first forays into writing music for dance the composer has worked with various choreographers from the different parts of contemporary dance (Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Carolyn Carlsson, Francesca Lattuada and Russell Maliphant ).

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His involvement in composing for dance shine through within his work for film and TV in projects and assignments such as, The Axe  (2005), Eden is East (2009) both films by Costa-Gavras. The Concert (winner of the César /Best Soundtrack of the Year Award 2009), Live and Become (2006), The Source (2011) directed by Radu Mihaileanu, Days of Glory (2006), Blame it on Fidel (2006) The First Cry (2007), The Maiden and the Wolves (2008) and You will be my Son  (2011) directed by Gilles Legrand and so many more. In August 2014, Armar was awarded the Amanda Award/ Best soundtrack of the Year for the music of the Norwegian director Erik Poppe’s movie A Thousand Times Goodnight. He more recently composed the music for Belle et Sébastien, l’aventure continues which was directed by Christian Dugay and HUMAN which was directed by film maker Yann Arthus-Bertrand. His most recent work is for director Gilles De Maistre on the movie MIA AND THE WHITE LION which contains a wonderfully melodic and haunting soundtrack. Many of the composers scores and works for dance are released on his own label LONG DISTANCE the majority of which are available via I.tunes or Spotify, he has also released a number of his movie scores on Naive records. The music of Armand Amar is something that has to be heard to be believed, please do not take my word for it go and discover it yourselves. Maybe start with MIA AND THE WHITE LION or go back a few years and savour the haunting tone poems of THE MAIDEN AND THE WOLVES. I guarantee you will not stop there.

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LILLY’S BEWITCHED CHRISTMAS.

 

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Christmas comes but once a year and when it does it invariably brings a little collection of rather nice soundtrack releases. This Christmas is no exception and I have to say one particular score attracted my attention and also held it. LILLY’S BEWITCHED CHRISTMAS is  a wonderful score, it is filled with a magical and mysterious sound and also has within in so many beautiful rich and haunting themes, that it is hard to take in to account that all of these themes and sounds come from just one score. It has an impish and mischievous aura about it and an overall sound and style that attracts and captivates. The music is by composer Anne-Kathrin Dern, this is only the second score of hers that I have encountered the other being, THE JADE PENDANT which was released just a few weeks back also on Movie Score Media. LILLY’S BEWITCHED CHRISTMAS is a joy to listen to and a delight to discover. The work is overflowing with a lushness and a vibrant abundance of cleverly constructed compositions. As you know I do not like to draw up comparisons, but this score has to it the Christmas sound that was created by composer John Williams for HOME ALONE and also within it and running parallel to that style we have the naughtiness and darkness of sounds that could be Danny Elfman, which manifested in films such as THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and EDWARD SCISSOR HANDS. So John Williams on one side and Danny Elman on the other, that cant be a bad thing, can it? Also there is a style and sound that can only be that of the composer of the score, Anne-Kathrin Dern, so mix and fuse these three styles and what do we have? A great score that’s what. Its always a pleasure to discover a soundtrack that one has not really been aware of or even a composer who suddenly grabs ones attention. This is a prime example of Movie Score Media championing lesser known composers and making collectors aware that there are so many talented individuals working in film music these days, individuals that do not see fit to place a drone or low annoying hum on the soundtrack of a movie without any thematic or melodious qualities. I am not going to go on and on about this score, all I am going to say it is a truly amazing score that allures and captivates with its richness and its sheer beauty. It is a score that will enthral, enrich and delight, and one that has so many musical colours will not fail to become a favourite with  collectors who appreciate excellent film music, So I guess that all means its good. So buy it and be entertained and at the same time join the Anne-Kathrin Dern fan club.  The theme from the movie is the work of established film music composer Klaus Badelt who scored the first two instalments of the Lilly the witch series.  Recommended, yes it is. Merry Christmas.