Deliciously dark, and vibrantly alluring, that is how I would describe the score for the movie READY OR NOT by composer Brian Tyler. We are all aware that Tyler is a driving force in film music from Hollywood, and many say he has taken up where Jerry Goldsmith left things after his passing. But there is a lot more to Tyler than just creating action cues for superheroes, war movies and horror pics. This is a composer who is perfectly capable of fashioning beautiful and mesmerizing musical poems for film, and it is a testimony to this composer’s talent and versatility that we hear so much fresh and alluring richly thematic material within his film scores and TV soundtracks. My first encounter with Brian Tyler’s ample creative talent came when I added DARKNESS FALLS to my collection, it was not long until I also added TIMELINE and items such as CHILDREN OF DUNE and FRAILTY. It seems an age away that I first encountered his musical prowess and looking back now and seeing just how many films he has scored and enhanced with his powerful sound I can see I was right. His latest project RAMBO LAST BLOOD is still ringing in my ears as I listen to another tour de force of wonderfully thematic material which is taken from his soundtrack to the horror, comedy READY OR NOT. Tyler once again bringing depth and atmosphere to an already tense and somewhat harrowing film, the music that he has written to underline and support this motion picture although largely atonal or action led still manages to remain entertaining in a thematic fashion, as in yes it is racing and percussive but all the time as it rushes ahead full steam we still are conscious that Tyler is introducing a theme or a hint of a theme at least. The tense score is filled with jumps and musical stabs, swirling and menacing strings, darkly percussive moments and rasping brass flourishes that seem to slide in and out of the proceedings adding their own ominous brand of dread and fear as they do. There is also a driving or up-tempo beat to the work which underlines the strings and brass as it launches itself at the listener in a relentless and merciless onslaught of sounds. I like this score a lot, it never rests and gives the listener so much as in action and also a few lighter moments of respite, Driving, and forthright this is a release that is Recommended.
Geoff Zanelli, is a composer who works steadily in Hollywood, and has scored a number of sequels for box office hits, these include THE SCORPION KING 4, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN-DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES etc, and here he is again following in the footsteps of composer James Newton Howard with his latest score for MELEFICENT-MISTRESS OF EVIL. To be fair I think collectors go into listening to a sequel score which is not by the original composer, in this case JNH with a very negative attitude, firstly they are a bit miffed its not the original composer and secondly because they are at times just in a mood. I know I am guilty of it, but I came to this score with an open mind and listened to it through three times before reaching any kind of conclusion about if I liked it or indeed if it was any good or not. Ok, well it’s not James Newton Howard, but, it is in fact pretty good, Zanelli has created a whole new set of themes, which are pleasing and very interesting, plus he does incorporate fragments of the original JNH theme, which is nice to hear too. It is a fusion of symphonic and choral with a little support from the synthetic department. On listening to it I did feel it evoked some of those early Disney movies such as BAMBI and ALICE IN WONDERLAND etc, ( well as its a Disney production I suppose that is ok really) it has a sparkly and magical style and sound to it that is heart-warming and tear jerking . Of course, because this is a dark and at times evil fairy tale, there are a fair amount of the more shadowy and fearful sounding musical passages, where the composer brings into play ominous sounding brass and percussion with at times male choral work. I have to admit to being surprised at how good this is, I was expecting something of a repeat of his Pirates of the Caribbean effort, which I did not rate at all, but this score has an abundance of rich themes which he develops and builds upon as the score progresses and grows. Worth a listen.
The second soundtrack release in seven days from composer, Eirik Myhr, comes from the stage production, INGENTING. On listening to the first few tracks one can begin to understand and appreciate just how versatile this composer is, the last score I reviewed which was from the theatre production MIO, MIN MIO was a fully thematic and wonderfully melodic work, filled with a musical warmth and wealth that excited and enthralled. INGENTING is I have to say the opposite, but, I am not saying that it is in any way shape or form inferior, its just totally different, which in my book is a good thing because at times composers do seem to have a success and then try and emulate the sound and style that they established in the previous or popular work. But INGENTING displays this composers gift for actually writing to match the scenarios and also the storyline of this project, where as MIO,MIN MIO was a fairly melodious and theme driven work, this is filled with a harsher and more urban sound, electronic sounds dominate the work, and it has to it a more atonal sound in some of the cues. However, the composer does treat us to some fairly upbeat and toe tappingly appealing pieces, in which percussive elements and electric guitar passages combine to create a more contemporary sound than the composer realised within MIO, MIN MIO. As a fan or collector of TV, Film and stage scores, I have to say that I am of the romantic and theme led school of thought, but INGENTING although a little sparse on romanticism as in thematic cues and compositions, does still hold a certain attraction for me, there is a saying HORSES FOR COURSES which basically means you use the tools and sounds etc that is fitting for a specific subject matter, Myhr has certainly done this with his score for INGENTING, in which the emphasise is upon a more modern and at times cold sound, but this is perfect for the production, soaring strings and beautiful tone poems I think would be out of place here. The composer has fashioned effective soundscapes and realised what I would call an industrial or urban style for the project. Plus, there is a darkness or rawness that is purveyed throughout, which is unsettling and also at times fearsome. An effective and interesting soundtrack.
Brian Presley not only directed and wrote this movie but also starred in it as well. THE GREAT ALASKAN RACE tells the true story of the desperate journey that was undertaken by mushers to get urgent medical supplies to a town that has been cut off by freezing snow and ice. It is basically the live action version of the film BALTO although many have said it is not as affecting as the animated feature. The music however is certainly worth a mention, composed by John Koutselinis, this is a proud and inspiring sounding work, it is a score that contains so many themes which all have to them an individual quality but at the same time are working together to create a style and sound that is filled with a deep and affecting musical persona. The style for me evoked the music of composers such as Basil Poledouris and Lee Holdridge, it is a rich and sumptuous sound that we are treated too throughout, Even, within the darker moments of the score the music gives us glimmers of hope and little shards of light that lift and tell us that all is not lost. The composer utilises strings and solo female voice in places which too is hauntingly effective and adds an almost spiritual aura to the proceedings. Piano, woods and strings I would say are the main stay of the score, with the composer adding solo violin at certain points which purveys a melancholy air. But it is the rich and vibrantly thematic material that is the attraction of the soundtrack, percussive elements aid the grandiose effect that the composer creates via symphonic and synthetic instrumentation, which he fuses effectively and seamlessly to fashion a flawless and lush sound. Flourishes from the brass are laced with almost lavish sounding strings to purvey a sense of maybe vastness and also of isolation, but underneath all of this there are still fragments of hope and determination that do fight their way through. This is a score that you should check out, recommended.
I have to admit finding this score by accident, one day I was sitting scrolling through what TV had on offer in the form of world cinema, and I came across this movie from 2017 entitled FURIOUS it’s a Russian film, but it had subtitles so no problem, it’s an historical adventure film, with a little tinge of the realms of fantasy thrown in, But it looked like it was worth a watch and I have to say it was. But it was the score that I was impressed with more than anything, the storyline was a little weird but maybe that was down to the editing of the movie I am not sure, lets say there is plenty of action in this film, no shortage of body counts and lots of battle themed action, Russians against the Mongol horde, yes this is my sort of movie for a cold cloudy Tuesday afternoon. But as I say it was the score that really caught my attention, was it available yes it was thank you Water tower records and Spotify. The music is by Russian composer. performer and producer Serj Tankian. The score is a vibrant and fast paced affair for the most part, but it also contains numerous short but melodic tone poems, which are orchestrated beautifully and add a real intimate and delicate touch to the proceedings which enhance and bring poignancy and emotion to a number of the scenes within the film,.
In fact it is the music in these romantic or melancholy scenes that shines through and gives them greater depth and impact. The action cues too are an important and also an integral component of the film, adding a fearsome and urgent mood to things. The score is a mixture of symphonic or conventional instrumentation which is bolstered and enhanced further via an array of electronic support, the composer at times utilising rock sounding guitar to underline the savagery of the Mongol horde as they sweep everything away that stands in their path.
The work has an aura that is romantically laced also, with the composer utilising subtle strings and woodwind to great effect and creating haunting and affecting tone poems throughout. The composer also utilises choir and solo voice to enhance the more imposing scenes from the movie, which again adds a greater effect. This is a powerful score a commanding work and one that you should seek out. An unexpected surprise, which was also a pleasant one.