Another release from composer Eirik Myhr, this time from a radio series, KATAKOMBENS HEMMELIGHET. This is a score that is a little different as it not only contains some lilting and haunting melodies, but it has within its make-up, Gregorian chant like material and there is a contemporary sound present which gives the work an upbeat pace at certain points. It is modern sounding, but also there are underlying sounds and styles that can only be described as vintage or old school film music, by this I mean there are some well structured and engaging musical moments throughout, which are tantalising and vibrant. I am rather fond of the way this composer utilises sounds such as solo voice, which in this case is serene and beautiful being supported by an otherworldly, mysterious and intricate background that is subdued and simple. There is to this score many varying styles and an abundance of both musical colours and textures, in certain places I was reminded of the work of composer Richard Band, who is a composer I have always admired for his ability to create wonderfully clever and effective themes and musical passages on what was a very economic budget.




Eirik Myhr, I think is a rather unique composer, as he is also able to fashion so many rich, dark and romantic atmospheres via synthetic sources in most scenarios. His style is one that cannot really be defined or pigeon holed because in the scores I have heard he employs a different approach each time, but this is no bad thing, it reveals to the collectors of film and TV music that he is a composer that can quite literally work within any medium and score any genre. This as I have said is a radio series or a play for radio, but the music and the sounds he has created for the production, could easily be for a bigger budget movie, he utilises electronics to weave eloquent and elegant themes, that are both eerie and romantically laced, there is real heart and substance to these motifs as the composer lays down a solid foundation and builds upon it to weave a tense and colourful work. The composer also effectively incorporating solo piano, which in the closing themes is wonderfully emotive, but at the same time creates an uneasy and chilling mood. I am not sure if it is more difficult to write music for radio than it is to score a motion picture or TV production, but I would imagine it comes with a certain amount of difficulty as the composer is not seeing images which he can relate to, and has to rely on a script or on listening to the play beforehand. I do like this score a lot, I love its energy, its melodious content and most of all its dark and sinister sounds that seem to entice and beckon the listener to go closer. One to check out, available on Spotify.


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So many soundtracks being released in the past month or so its hard to keep up with them all, the trouble being is that they are all very very good indeed, which I suppose is a nice problem to have, but how do you (1) afford them all and (2) Which ones do you decide that maybe you could live without? It’s a real problem isn’t it. THE MYSTERY OF THE DRAGON SEAL is one you will not want to miss out on, this is an epic score which is fully symphonic and contains a grandiose array of rich, lush, lavish and sweeping thematic material. It is one of those scores that one thinks where did this all came from and who is the composer? Aleksandra Maghakyan is who She is and wow what an accomplished composer She is too. She has created an opulent and lavish soundtrack, which for me rivals anything written by any one of the A lister film music composers of today.

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This is a stylish and vibrant soundtrack, which I for one enjoyed greatly. It is hard to fathom out just how many core themes there are within this score, because they just keep on coming and developing as the work progresses and grows. The compositions are overflowing with exuberant and exciting musical auras, it is at times operatic and totally absorbing. There is an energy present throughout which is relentless and infectious. It is somewhat like experiencing a never-ending soundtrack, because one thinks that it coming to an end as in there cannot possible be any more themes in store for us, and then out of nowhere another appears and enters into the already crammed content of the work. It is mysterious and magical, adventurous and dramatic, romantic and lilting and has to it an intimate, fragile and emotive side that is as touching and mesmerising as its dramatic and action led content. What more could we as film music lovers possible want?

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I dare you to listen to this score and not be inspired or affected in some way, it is a rollercoaster ride of musical styles, sounds and emotions, each cue being varied and enriching in its overall sound and impact. There are no less than fifty-two tracks on this release, yes some are brief in their duration in some cases less than a minute, but they are wonderfully constructed and performed more than effectively to create layers of moods and powerful atmospheres. Angry sounding Brass, sweeping and also at times sinewy and chilling strings, and booming percussion play an important part within the score as do the contributions made by The Tula State Choir and certain passages which are given over to solo voice performances. There are even rock infused guitar passages that add a certain rawness, ferocity and harshness to the proceedings, plus the composer manages to integrate a number of comedic and quirky sounding levels into the score via inventive and highly creative writing which is at times a welcomed interlude within the score. We even get an Irish dance and Ukrainian Gopack, which just adds a certain amount of authenticity to the work. This is an inventive and interesting score, that has so many textures and colours it is bursting at the seams with creativity and musical excellence.

The film which goes under the title of VIY 2 THE JOURNEY TO CHINA in the UK but is still to receive a release is based around the original story and characters created by writer Nikolai Gogol. The movie looks to me as if it is indeed itself an epic affair, with lavish sets great special effects, expansive and striking cinematography with a plethora of impressive fight scenes that were choreographed by Jackie Chan and his team of stunt people.

It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan who both also act as producers on the movie. Plus, Helen Yao as Cheng Lan and with Jason Flemyng and Charles Dance who repeat the roles, they created for the film’s predecessor VIY and Ruter Hauer in one of his last acting roles before his untimely death. Directed by  Set in the 18th century, the film follows the continuing exploits of cartographer Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng) as he undertakes a scientific and supernatural journey that leads him from the shores of England to the mysterious land of China. There were many rumours surrounding the production with Steven Seagal even being mentioned as a leading role player as well as Jason Statham. The movie was announced to be premiered in Russia in the September of 2018, but due to censorship difficulties in China this was postponed, and the film never reached the screen for its premiere until, August 2019. It was later released in the Philippines under the title of THE DRAGON SEAL in the September of 2019. Confused, I know I am. But saying this its predecessor VIY also experienced many difficulties, both with the technicalities of filming and financial backing.


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The musical score is a triumph and an enthralling and mesmerising work, that I am certain will soon become a firm favourite with collectors. This is an imposing, eloquent and powerful score that evokes so many classic film scores and purveys a romanticism and mysticism within its commanding, mesmerising and haunting themes. Recommended.




More film music excellence released on the Movie Score Media label, this time in the form of the score to the movie TORPEDO by composer Hannes De Maeyer. This is a surprisingly mature sounding work that has its roots firmly planted in the silver age of film music. By this I mean that is a score that has an abundance of thematic action cues just like we used to get from composers such as Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith when they scored war movies. Being an action themed work one would think it would be full on high octane largely atonal music that we are going to be hearing, and although there are a handful of passages within the score that could be described as atonal or non-thematic, for the most part we are as listeners and film music fans treated and spoilt because the composer serves up not only a wonderfully effective score for the movie, but also a soundtrack that we can sit and savour which evokes the music of great war movies from years back. The work is an accomplished one, and literally oozes excellently constructed martial moments that are in my opinion on a par with marches or themes from films such as TOO LATE THE HERO, THE GREAT ESCAPE and VON RYANS EXPRESS, so that’s the level of quality we are dealing with here. The composer utilising percussion, brass and strings to great effect fashioning memorable musical moments that will I am sure become embedded in the memory of the many film music connoisseurs that will be sampling the score. The film TORPEDO is more than a war movie, it is an adventure yarn in which we see a group of resistance fighters capture a German U Boat and transport Uranium from the Belgian Congo to New York. The music punctuates and underlines the many tense and exciting moments within the movie, but the thing is it also stands on its own as just music, well for a film music fan it does any way, as I say it evokes the music of past war story movies, and maintains a high level of nervous tension throughout, keeping it fresh and vibrantly attractive at all times. Thundering timpani acts as a foundation for a number of the cues, these are laced with strings and given greater stature by brass and percussion that adds a driving and theme laden persona to the proceedings. It sounds big, brassy and commanding, so what are you waiting for?  This is definitely one you should check out, available on digital platforms, but at this time again no CD, which is something that seems to be happening a lot recently, this score however deserves a compact disc release so come on Kronos, quartet or even Perseverance, time to step up. Please….Whilst you are sampling the many attributes of TORPEDO why not also check out the composers sweeping and eloquent score for IMMENHOF/DAS ABENTEUER EINES SOMMERS. Which is available on Alhambra records and also digitally.






THE ELEPHANT QUEEN is a film about loss, love and courage but seen within a herd of Elephants that have to make a journey across the African savannah after they are forced to leave their Waterhole. It is down to the Queen of the herd to lead them, re-assure them and get them through the arduous and fretful journey. Narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, it is a story that will engage and involve the watching audience and have them crying as well as applauding the animals as they take this epic journey. The film is aided greatly by a fitting and highly emotive musical score which is the work of composer Alex Heffes, who in my opinion is one of the most talented music-smiths in film and TV music around at the moment. It is sad at times that a talent such as this is often, not ignored but how can I put it, yes Overlooked by collectors. His scores have a lasting quality to them, and he is consistent in producing scores that support and give greater life and depth to every project he works on. He has more talent in one of his little fingers than many other composers I could mention (but I will not). His music also has an appeal to it that gives it a life away from the film or TV show it was written for. THE ELEPHANT QUEEN is no exception to this rule, it is a score that is refreshing and vibrant, the composer at times utilising African voices to give it a greater depth and authenticity. But he also makes effective use of the conventional line up of instrumentation as in Strings, woods, percussion etc. It is an exhilarating and wonderfully entertaining work, which I have to say will keep the listener occupied and entertained throughout it running time. He incorporates musical references and gentle nods to music that is from other genres of film, such as the western film in the cue, BEETLE SHOWDOWN, in which he puts to effective use trumpet to open the cue, then it segues into a kind of madcap chase theme but still retains a western music flavour. Given the subject matter there is also music that will inevitably tug at ones heartstrings, TRUNK GREETING for example, in which the composer writes a beautifully poignant theme which is performed on solo piano underlined by soft and warm sounding strings, which give it an aura that oozes melancholy. This type of scoring is also evident in A MOTHERS ENCOURAGEMENT, piano again but this time woodwind enhances and underlines the central theme which too is further enhanced via subdued strings, the result is simply stunning and affecting. I like this score a lot, it is well written and has to it an alluring and theme laden persona. It purveys a richness and also an underlying apprehensive element, which in turn gives way to a subtle but at the same time powerful musical heart. There is joy, sadness and a sense of hope within this score. A score that in my opinion is at times Barry-esque in places.  One for you to check out, no CD at the moment, but we live in hope.