Mark Isham is a composer that has been around now for a few years and is known for his highly innovative approach to scoring movies, he has a reputation for mainly being a  brilliant jazz trumpet player, the composer has penned a number of highly inspiring film scores that are not only fully symphonic but are grandiose and powerful in their overall sound and style. Two of his scores have been released recently, GODFATHER OF HARLEM and TOGO, the latter being a Disney production. It is obvious when listening to both of these scores just how versatile and talented that Isham is, because each score has to it a very different sound both being innovative and entertaining. GODFATHER OF HARLEM is a more contemporary sounding work with the composer employing synthesised sounds and instrumentation. Isham employs a somewhat minimalist score within the movie, but it is an effective one, there are a number of upbeat and soulful tracks, with vocals provided by Emile Sandae the track RANSOM for example is quite retro sounding with organ, piano and brass leading and then becoming a backing track to wordless up tempo vocals. Isham, has created here a score that is perfect for the movie and fits like the proverbial glove, but it also entertains on another level and without the images it was written to enhance is still affecting. Track number four, MARGARET SNOOPS for example, there is no real melody or even a hint of an actual theme, but it still attracts and fixates because of the sound and the instrumentation employed. The same be said of track number five, REUNION, a slow and bluesy sounding guitar performs a simple theme accompanied by brushed timpani and a lazy sounding organ and strumming guitar, which all go to create an easy going but still effective piece. The score I wold say is 90 percent kind of laid back, but there are a few up tempo pieces which seem to appear out of nowhere that take the listener a little by surprise, these tracks elevate and heighten the overall sound of the soundtrack and make an effective score into an effective and entertaining one, its one of those albums that you put on and before you know it it’s finished, and that is because the music is totally absorbing and enthralling. Recommended.

available on sony classical.



Available now on Howlin Wolf Records.



Brian Cachia is one of those composers that you are really not aware of until that is you find one of his scores and realise, he has in fact got a good body of work behind him. BETTER WATCH OUT was the score I was told about and via this work I discovered a few more and made the discovery that Cachia is a very accomplished composer. On listening to BETTER WATCH OUT I have to admit to being impressed by the style and also the orchestrations that the composer utilised, yes it’s a horror movie so one would expect atonal dark and sinewy material, and yes there is some of this, but there are also some well structured and interesting lighter cues and to be fair to the composer even some of the atonal material remains thematic or at least contains some melodious content. In many ways Cachia’s style evoked memories of some of Chris Young’s early scores, or even the work of Daniel Licht.  I do realise that Cachia’s score in this case does have its fair share of electronic instrumentation as in synthesised based material but it sounds to me as if the composer utilises this as a foundation and then builds the score around it, adding conventional instrumentation and layering the electronic content, building textures and awakening musical colours. As I say the sound and style employed did remind me of Chris Young and also had hints of a style that at times was employed by composer Jerry Goldsmith, it is a dark and somewhat brooding work, but given the subject matter I expected nothing else, the composer is inventive within the score, producing sounds and touching on senses that are effective and vibrant. Cachia’s style and overall sound on this score is obviously quite harsh and in places powerfully driving, there is to the work a robust and earthy sound and one that purveys a richly ominous and mischievous aura, the composer employing a dark and dramatic piano at times to give the soundtrack an even great fearsome atmosphere and adding an uneasy persona to the score. Certainly a release I would recommend because of its originality in places and also because its just a great soundtrack.