LITTLE WOMEN.

 

LITTL

The delicate artistry of composer Alexandre Desplat has always intrigued me, his scores always it seems contain so many beautiful themes and are crafted with what seems to be lovingly, each cue and every nuance containing something that will tantalise and infiltrate the emotions of any listener. One of his latest assignments LITTLE WOMEN is no exception and I would go as far as to say it is probably one of his best scores for at least three years. It contains wonderfully fragile and intimate sounding pieces in which the composer utilises strings and the light touch of a solo piano performance. In fact I would say that the score itself is built around the piano, Desplat laying the intricate but at the same time strong foundations of his work down via the instrument, and then adding strings and woods to create harmonious and melancholy sounding passages that are attractively entertaining, and contain subdued melodies that linger in ones mind long after they have departed. I have always remarked that Desplat is not a new Delerue as there could never be another, but he is in many ways an extension of the music that Delerue had created, or at least the style that we all associate with him. Desplat has as we all know worked on some of the most popular movies that have hit the cinema screens in recent years, and with each assignment and each project, his music seems to become more mature and even more attractive, if that is at all possible. LITTLE WOMEN is a story that has been committed to film on a number of occasions, and each time the score has always been a memorable one. Desplat I think goes even further with his soundtrack for the story as the music kind of becomes intertwined with the story line in a more personal way, in fact his music could even be described as an additional character, as it is so supportive but at the same never swamps the story being acted out and is inconspicuous but supportive. The composers light and airy sound is a joy and like a breath of fresh air, the lilting melodies and alluring compositions adding much to the production. A delight to listen to on its own, as well as hearing or not hearing it within the movie.  Most certainly one for your collection.

GODFATHER OF HARLEM.

GODFATHER OF HARLEM

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.

BETTER WATCH OUT.

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Available now on Howlin Wolf Records.

http://howlinwolfrecords.com/storebwo.html

 

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.

STAR WARS-THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.

star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker
The Star Wars saga continues and sadly they say it reaches its climax and end with the latest instalment THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. No matter what has happened in this glorious saga the coming and going of characters, the deaths of heroes and the emergence of new villains, there is one thing that has remained a constant throughout and that is the symphonic supremely inspiring music of composer John Williams. Who is on board for this the last episode and it also marks his final time writing the score for a STAR WARS film even any so-called spin offs that will inevitably pop up in the future? THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is for me probably the most energetic STAR WARS score of them all, there is so much pace to it and every track seems to step up to the mark to create thrilling and exuberant flourishes, Williams has fashioned a score that successfully encompasses music from the entire saga, the composer referring to old established favourites and intertwining these with new and fresh sounding leitmotivs that build into full blown thematic majesty, that is rich vibrant and lush intis style and sound, Williams is a master of the theme or leitmotif, each character having their own theme or maybe a reference to a theme used in the past that is arranged differently. The score opens with the traditional STAR WARS theme, the brass flourishes inspired by Korngold’s KONGS ROW once again heralding another chapter in the STAR WARS adventure. FANFARE AND PROLOGUE, is an inspiring piece that contains what we have come to expect from John Williams, the fanfares being followed by a tensely urgent and atmospheric piece, that is both apprehensive and foreboding and is an introduction to the remainder of the score. This dark and powerful cue sets the scene for much of what is to follow. THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is filled to overflowing with the now familiar musical trade marks of Williams, the fly away woods, swirling strings, that turn into wistful and yet wildly romantic passages at the blink of an eye, booming percussion and those rasping and raw sounding brass lines, all of these components are present and the composer fuses them together with ease to fashion yet another imposing and commanding set of themes. One of the highlights for me personally is the cue THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, this is again typical of Williams in a more romantic mood, with rich and lavish strings creating a beautifully surging and affecting theme that Max Steiner would have been proud of, in fact the entire score is like a salute, a tribute or a homage, and not just to the entire STAR WARS saga musically, but also a nod in the direction of composers such as Steiner, Newman, Waxman and of course the Master himself Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

SKY WALKER

THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (Track number 3) is a sublime and engrossing piece, its emotive and inspiring qualities bursting through. I also felt that maybe there was a sound and style that we associate with the likes of Walton present here, because the track is filled to brimming with a proud and even patriotic air. THE OLD DEATH STAR (track number 4) is certainly a step back into the realms of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, with Darth Vader’s theme being present and bolstered by increased use of pounding percussion, the low driving strings raise their heads mid-way through the composition and are supported by bellowing but melodic horns that add a sense of dread to the proceedings. Track number 5, THE SPEEDER CHASE is full throttle and a piece that has at its core brass and strings which seem to be themselves racing against each other, the strings climb with the brass underlining and stabbing at the strings, this is Williams in super action mode. DESTINY OF THE JEDI (Track number 6).begins in a mysterious fashion, with strings opening the cue, we then get a brief glimpse of REYS THEME but this is just fleeting and slightly watered down, before the piece starts to become more melodic, building to a crescendo of sorts before dipping back down into a more subdued persona, but although it is not booming or racing, the cue still has to it a certain aura of fearfulness.

 

Celebrating-John-Williams-3

 

The STAR WARS theme is also brought into play but this time a more romantic arrangement with strings elevating it to new heights and brass flourishes supporting. ANTHEM OF EVIL is an interesting cue, (track number 7). Shades here of the Emperors theme, a choral work, which is most definitely sinister because of its low key sound initially, the composer adding strings and those proud sounding horns he does so well fused with additional striking brass and rumbles of percussion to purvey a sense of virulence and urgency. I think I am going to stop here, because this is a score that you should savour for your self and make up your mind if it is excellent, sublime or awesome. This is a soundtrack for heroes, villains and some who are not too sure about if they are either, its sweeping, commanding and entertaining Recommended.

LA IRA O EL SEOL.

LA IRA
It’s a funny thing, when you collect film music you sometimes think that you know the style of many of the composers that you favour, well I thought I knew what to expect from composers Gus Reyes and Andres Sanchez, up until I heard their score for, LA IRA O EL SEOL that is, When I first started to listen I thought, this is certainly different, but I should know that composers who write for film are a talented bunch and are able to alter their style and also the sound that they create from film to film, to suit the scenario of the film and also the style of the movie. LA IRA O EL SEOL contains a score that is a lot darker and complex than anything Sanchez and Reyes have written before, well at least darker than anything I have heard from them. This is a menacing sound here, a virulent and chilling persona comes through and does effectively chill one to the bone. It is in my opinion one of the most accomplished and polished scores that they have penned to date. I am a fan of dark and shadowy scores and this one fits the bill perfectly, there is a real sense of the unknown and the foreboding purveyed within the work, often fleeting sounds or hints of themes and motifs can be disconcerting for the listener as one is trying to focus upon what one thinks is an emerging theme, but instead another sound hits you out of nowhere, the cue HELL on the score is a harrowing piece and the composers make effective use of choir and Soprano, I would not say that it is a melodic cue, but more of an impacting and powerful one, with the voices of the choir bringing an uneasy and unnerving quality to the work.

La-ira-o-el-seol

 

These attributes also manifest themselves throughout the remainder of the score, the composers creating a sinister and unhinged sound that for me evoke the works of composer Gyorgy Ligeti, in REQUIEM ll: IL KYRIE and ATMOSPHERES. The use of the human voice being a vital component to the creation of a fearful and near chaotic sound. I have to say that when listening to many of the cues on the score I did feel uncomfortable as in spine tingling so. LA IRA O EL SEOL is a robust and vibrant work, complex yet attractive, uneasy yet at the same time mesmerising. Take a listen, it’s a rewarding experience. Recommended.