The composers GREAT GARBO as they are known collectively are Diego, Nora and Lionel Baldenweg. These talented composers and musicians have over the past year or so caused something of a stir in the film music community and have sent many collectors and fans into raptures with their highly original sounding film and television scores. One of their recent projects was for Australian TV channel ABC and Netflix, when they scored the series THE UNLISTED. To say that this is a riveting and highly atmospheric soundtrack is certainly an understatement. With each assignment they seem to become more inventive and stronger in their compositions and arrangements. The score has to it a brooding and dark persona, but still remains thematic. The composers utilise Pink Floyds ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL to great effect, when I say they utilise the song, its not in its original form as performed by Floyd. No they have arranged it into a highly compelling listening experience, which although familiar becomes kind of alien as in a song I have never heard before, simply because of the way in which it has been orchestrated and arranged, plus the performance to is stunning, with the vocalist Nora Baldenweg creating an otherworldly performance that is both alluring but sinister.(song is available on a single).


The score itself too is something of a sinister and apprehensive listening experience, with the composers utilising both synthetic and symphonic elements to fashion a work that is rich in tantalising and vibrant material. The opening track on the recording THE MAIN THEME is a fusion of electronic and conventional with a beautiful and melancholy cello performance taking centre stage amongst a tense atmospheric background, it is very much a case of bittersweet as the cello weaves a beautiful and emotive theme whilst the support is rather sinister and certainly apprehensive although melodic in a disconcerting way. Track number two, THE ELITE is a more upbeat performance, which after a short introduction that is slightly edgy and does not give anything away as to what direction this will be going, percussion is brought into the equation, creating an upbeat and driving piece, which is punctuated by voice effects and a not unpleasant theme which although still remains slightly tense has to it plenty of appeal. Track number three, DROPS is too an up tempo piece, which builds and builds creating even more of a tense and nervous mood. Track four REBELLION is a more driving composition, swirling music acts a background to both female voice and angry sounding brass that is again supported via electronics to fashion more tense and dark atmospheres. Overall it is a great listen, it is relentless in its creation of dark musical personas and also purveys many entertaining and interesting themes. Another one to add to your collection, available on digital platforms.


27151Amine Bouhafa is a composer I happened to come across quite accidentally when exploring various web sites and digital platforms. His gift for creating wonderfully attractive melodies soon becomes obvious to any listener after listening to a mere handful of his compositions for film and television. He has this knack of fashioning a melody which almost instantly mesmerises or captivates the listener. I know that the purpose of movie music is to support the film or project, but this composer not only achieves this but also moulds themes and tuneful musical apparitions that are highly impacting away from the story that unfolds upon any screen, small or large. There is a richness and even a sumptuous atmosphere to his music, in fact I would describe it as being a fusion of vintage Hollywood or the Golden age of film music, which was fully romantic and overflowing with an abundance of lush and lavish themes plus there are also elements of the Silver age of movie scores present that include dramatic and driving components that are complimented with beautifully touching nuances, that seem to appear from nowhere to develop into fully emotive and affecting compositions. But, alongside all of this we can also hear a style that is undoubtedly innovative and individual, which of course is the composers own unique musical fingerprint, his light and delicate themes or hints of themes are understated but still shine through to make an impression which is lasting and enriching. His most recent score PLACE DES VICTOIRES is a delightfully charming affair, the composer employing strings and piano to create melodic and haunting pieces, the six note motif that is the foundation for the core theme on which the remainder of the score is built is heard in various guises throughout the score, with the composer presenting it in a fresh and vibrant way on each outing at times underlining or punctuating it with subtle accordion or pizzicato strings that add a slightly lighter air to the proceedings. The emotive content of this work overflows and at certain points literally oozes from the speakers of one’s hi-fi. There is a fragility to this work that touches the listener almost instantly, Bouhafa, making effective use of lilting and poignant musical passages that develop into accomplished and polished melodious compositions which are difficult to forget easily. The style employed here, I think could be likened to that of Zbignew Preisner or even at times Debbie Wiseman I know these composers maybe worlds apart stylistically but the sound the aura and the musical persona that s projected within PLACE DES VICTOIRES just evoked certain scores by both of the aforementioned composers. There is simplicity and also at times more involved writing, but each support and compliment each other and together create a score that will I think become a firm favourite and unforgettable. Recommended.



I love the cello, it is an instrument that has so much heart and conveys an array of emotions, It can be sombre and dark, romantic and light and can and often does bring a tear to the eye of many when used in certain situations and scenarios in film. The score for THE ROOM by Raf Kuenen is a good example of the effectiveness of the instrument and the way that it can create and fashion a great many moods and conjure up atmospheres that linger and affect. THE ROOM is a sci-fi thriller and the majority of the score is synthetic and for the most part atonal, the composer realising dark and sinister soundscapes, but within these at times ominous sounding passages we are treated to little ripples of respite in the form of heart rending and sorrowful cello, fragmented and delicate piano, charming otherworldly shimmers and melancholy which is purveyed beneath a veil of sinister sounding effects via piano and cello. At times I was reminded of the work of composer Christopher Young in the HELLRAISER movies, where there is an undeniably fearsome persona present, but still in the background or underneath the malevolent atmospheres there is the sound of hope and respite in the form of a lilting melody that although is overpowered by the dark forces is still managing to be heard. THE ROOM is a masterful work that oozes fearful sounds that are musical and otherwise, it is at times a difficult listen, with its harsh and jagged crashes and slices, but the melodic content shines through to give us an interesting and enriching work. The other score released tat this time by Raf Kuenen, is THE SPY which like THE ROOM is released digitally on Movie Score Media. I do like it when a composer has two scores released so close together and especially when they are from two different types of movies, Why? well it displays the versatility of the composer and also their flexibility and ability to create varying moods and sounds. THE SPY is totally removed from THE ROOM both in the genre sense and musically, the composer on this occasion provided us with a more thematic score, and also one that is I would say more symphonic in its overall musical make up. This time the composer utilising a more symphonic approach, with the use of strings, solo violin and piano, yes, there are passages of music that are realised via electronic means, but the two mediums as in symphonic and synthetic are fused together seamlessly and compliment and support each other throughout, So two scores from different genres which both work effectively and are worth checking out.


Composer Cyrille Aufort is for me probably one of the most original and talented film music composers around today. His scores are always innovative and never seem to follow a predictable musical path. What I mean by this is that Aufort in my eyes continues to surprise and delight with each new work, his music adds depth and a greater emotion and dimension to each film or TV project he works upon. The composers scores becoming an unseen character within a movie, underlining and enhancing the proceedings and giving support to storylines and scenarios. His score for the movie LA MALADROITE which premiered on French TV recently has been released on Movie Score Media digitally, and one does hope that soon a record label will pick this up for a physical CD release as it is a score that deserves such a release. The film deals with a subject matter that is delicate and also highly emotional, and the composer accompanies and gives a greater impact to the situations as they unfold within the movie. The music is based upon a lilting piano theme on which Aufort builds his poignant and superbly subtle and sympathetic soundtrack. I think this for me personally has already become my favourite Aufort score and will also be a firm favourite of mine when I compile my best of 2019 list. The film is based upon true events, which are at times upsetting and at the same time fill one with a sense of anger. The touching and subtle tone poems of the composer do give the storyline more power as we all realise what is happening, but I suppose do not want our assumptions to become reality although inevitably they become clear. Stella is 6 years old but is going to, school for the first time. Happy, exuberant – a little too energetic perhaps – she is a charming and endearing child, but soon begins to have a lot of time off from school. Ill health problems are justified by her parents, and when her teacher discovers bruises on her body, the little girl tells her they were caused by her own clumsiness when she explains she has fallen. But is she telling her teacher the truth? The teacher enlists the aid of others who too meet Stella and try and decide if these injuries are due to her falling or are, they abuse from the parents or someone else. The teacher Céline begins to take note of the injuries until without any warning the family move away.



As I have already said it is a film that deals with a delicate subject, but sadly one that is all to common now. Aufort’s atmospheric and at times mesmerising score, is an asset to the movie, the composer adding colour and shading to the storyline as it develops. The childlike and delicate central theme becomes haunting and even more beautiful as the score develops and grows. It is one of those soundtracks that has to it an abundance of poignant and emotive thematic material, that is overflows and at the same time overwhelms because it is just so affecting and beautifully powerful. Please I urge you to listen to this score, and when the CD is finally released add it your collection, available on various digital platforms, highly recommended.


Composer Piero Piccioni like his fellow countryman Ennio Morricone worked on numerous movies and television series, but unlike Morricone who seemed to lean to more of a symphonic and grandiose style wen scoring movies, Maestro Piccioni became known for his polished and undeniably masterful use of jazz within his film scores. The composer in interview told me many years ago that jazz was pure music and it was a style and genre of music that his was obviously passionate about. At times he would integrate jazz influences and colours into western scores and also combine jazz textures with dramatic and even epic sounding compositions, which one would think would not gel or work, but surprisingly they did and each of the styles complimented and enhanced one another bringing to the project a fresh and invigorating sound. When I say that Morricone leaned towards the grandiose and symphonic, I did not of course mean that Piccioni did not, many of the composers soundtracks are indeed laden with rich fully symphonic pieces and his works for the cinema are amongst the most melodic and haunting that have ever been written.



THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD for example, is wonderfully atmospheric and has to it lush and lavish thematic content as well as containing tense and dramatic passages that are brought to fruition via the use of sombre sounding strings and edgy stylised percussion and woodwinds. His score for IL MOMENTO DELLA VERITA for me is one of his best scores from the 1960.s with Piccioni fashioning proud and rhythmic sounding pieces using an array of instrumentation which include, organ, brass, strings and various bolero, flamenco and Bossa nova influences which add greater depth and energy to the score. This score was originally released on a CAM long playing record back in 1965, then it was later re-issued on compact disc as part of the CAM SOUNDTRACK ENCYCLOPEDIA, which was a collection of 100 cds representing music from the CAM catalogue and also showcasing the ample talents of many Italian Maestro’s. Many of these have recently been re-issued onto CD again by Sugar music, but separately.


The original collection boasted numerous soundtracks by Nino Rota and also included MINNESOTTA CLAY which was Piccioni’ s first foray into scoring movies and an early Italian western, which starred Cameron Mitchell in the title role. The movie was released in the same year as A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS which is probably why it did not attain the popularity it deserved, but in recent years has become essential viewing for devotees of the Spaghetti western genre.

But it is IL MOMENTO DELLA VERITA or THE MOMENT OF TRUTH that I would like to focus upon for this review, sadly I am of the opinion that the wonderfully thematic and driving score has over the years been somewhat neglected, maybe because the composer has done so much in the way of film scores and this early offering just got overwhelmed a little by the composers more jazz orientated works for the silver screen and his veritable landslide of western scores etc. But, saying this IL MOMENTO VERITA too contained a scattering of jazz infused cues, the composer employing double bass, piano and sultry saxophone in places. The main theme too is given a somewhat contemporary sound via the use of percussion and up tempo solo trumpet in the opening track LA HORA DE LAVERDAD which opens in a very serious and powerful way with a church organ creating an imposing atmosphere, this however moves into a more up beat mood with drums, bass, brass and solo trumpet to create a proud and commanding bolero.


The composer then adds strings to the equation, with these giving the piece an even more Hispanic sound, it is a attention grabbing opening, which one is not really expecting, however it is a welcomed and entertaining statement that sets the scene perfectly for the remainder of the score, this is a symphonic work but also has to it a contemporary musical direction, with Piccioni cleverly integrating and fusing the symphonic with the jazz and also the more traditional styles of Spain to create a score that is probably one of his most accomplished. It is a potent combination of styles that are effective within the film highlighting the proud and brave world of the bullfighter and adding to this a modernity via the jazz because of the period that the film is set, the power and daunting sound  of the church organ that opened the scored midway through being replaced by Hammond organ that is supported by an easy going flute solo with a samba backing. These themes and musical ideas are also affecting when listened to as music without any images. Piccioni moulds the many styles and sounds into a formidable musical force, that is filled with a vibrancy of colours and textures, epic at times, grandiose in key moments and light and melodic elsewhere. If you have not heard this, it is about time you checked it out.