Some interesting scores around at the moment, some from this year others that maybe were overlooked or got away from a year or two ago. We start soundtrack supplement eight with a score that attracted me straight away on hearing its end credits theme. GLOOMY EYES is a 2020 release, and has a highly original musical score by Cyrille Marchesseau, it is one of those soundtracks or movies that maybe you look at and say, “I will listen to or watch that later I think”. My advice is do not do that, listen to it straight away and if you can take a look at the film too. This is an award-winning VR experience that pairs the virtual reality effect with surreal animation that has to it a dark persona and black humour. The characters are very much presented in the style of the animated movies of director Tim Burton, such as NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The look of the movie is weirdly attractive, and its storyline is also a compelling one. Set in 1983, when the sun decides that it will hide-away. Never to shine it’s light upon the earth or allow it’s warmth to touch the land because of the uncaring ways and the idiocy of humans (sound familiar?). As the darkness envelopes the world zombies start to emerge from their graves and soon a war erupts between the living and the dead. Because the world is devoid of light the walking dead seek out the living with one aim in mind. But a zombie boy called Gloomy and a mortal girl called Nena meet and fall in love against all the odds, their romance blossoming amongst all the confusion and mayhem. Gloomy however does not realise that Nena is the niece of one of the most feared Zombie hunters. The film I guess is a highly irreverent but effective look at the relationships that maybe could take place between Humans and Zombies, if there were such a thing as Zombies that is, it kind of takes the classic story of Romeo and Juliet as its inspiration but puts a whole new twist upon it to great effect. The musical score is in my opinion an accomplished one, the composer combining both symphonic and synthetic elements to fashion a work that is overflowing with themes and teaming with haunting nuances. To say that the soundtrack is inventive I feel would be an understatement, from what I can make out there are three episodes of GLOOMY EYES running for approx 30 mins in length each episode follows on from the other until the trilogy reaches its conclusion. The music that has been released has a running time of 51 mins, o I am assuming this is the music from all three of the short films. Within that time the listener will I know be totally immersed in a musical ocean that is filled to bursting with innovative, emotive, and effecting compositions.
There are a handful of tracks that are narrated by Colin Farrell which set out the story to the listener and also explain the settings and scenarios to te audience, which have been underscored sympathetically with the composer adding depth and atmosphere without being over intrusive. I love the sound that he has created here and also adore the quirky darkness that is purveyed within his music, the synthesised choral effects are mysterious and unsettling and the composer puts this uneasy style and sound to effective use within the score. At times one could I suppose remark that it does have to it an Elman-esque persona, but at other times the score is not comparable with any other composers work because of its stunning originality. Check it out, available on most digital platforms.
AMERICAN BISTRO, is a 2019 release, and tells the story of an accountant who is quite successful, but his world falls apart when he discovers his wife has been having an affair with his boss. To deal with the shock of this discovery and also to help him recover he decides to open a restaurant with a family member who he has not had anything to do with for a long time but convinces him it’s the right thing to do. The music is by Avery Kentis, and I have to say that it is a delightful and a surprisingly good score. I say surprisingly because I really did not have any idea that a movie about an accountant opening a restaurant would inspire a composer to write so eloquently and fashion so many emotive and heart-rending themes. The music is sensitive and also highly expressive, solo piano is the main foundation of the score and the composer builds upon this solid but poignant base and adds textures, colours and humorous little nuances and slightly eccentric thematic material to bring to fruition a classy and also an entertaining work that at times evokes memories of the breathy and romantic style of composer John Barry. The light and subdued sounding interludes are touching and calming, having to them a real sense of warmth and an abundance of melancholy. Lovely score, well worth a listen. Kentis, scored a movie back in 2018 entitled INCONTROL which although totally different stylistically to AMERICAN BISTRO is also worth seeking out.
THE SCOUT was a short film released in 2013, the score by Andrew Morgan Smith, is one that I am glad has now been released, obviously because the film was a short the music also has a brief duration, but what it lacks in running time it more than makes up for in musical quality. A group of scouts set out on a hunt for a creature called the Snipe, but it soon becomes apparent to the scouts and to the watching audience that it is not the Snipe that is being hunted. But the creature is hunting the scouts. The movie I felt was a homage to eighties family movies such as THE MONSTER SQUAD or even THE GOONIES, but also had to it a certain element of horror and had the style of THE LOST BOYS in places. It purveys that sort of vibe, admittedly on a smaller scale, but it is one of the most entertaining shorts I have seen in a little while.
The musical score by Andrew Morgan Smith is too a wonderfully uplifting and fun packed work, the composer creating, comedic and jaunty sections plus, layers of tense and apprehensive interludes that contain a style that one would ordinarily associate with John Williams, Elmer Bernstein or Jerry Goldsmith. It’s a soundtrack that I am certain you will return to many times, vibrant and busy with catchy thematic properties, the composer gives us a score for a film that was produced in the 21st century which has a musical style that we associate with the silver age of film music, brilliant and highly entertaining. Do not forget to also check out his soundtrack releases such as JEEPERS CREEPERS THREE, YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER and THE CULLING all of which are available on Spotify and other digital platforms.
So, from score to a short movie to one from a TV series on Netflix, THE WITCHER has been getting some good reaction as has the soundtrack, a double CD has been released and it contains over fifty tracks and runs for some three hours. If nothing else I guess you get your money’s worth here. But seriously this is a good soundtrack, and one which I have to say I enjoyed, I think mainly because of the variation of styles included and the diversity of the musical approaches and sounds that are within it. At times it is harsh and almost rock infused with other tracks containing a near Morricone western Operatic aura. The music is credited to two composers on this edition of the soundtrack, Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli although many of the tracks feature soloists or vocalists and they each receive individual credits, three hours of music is a lot to go through all at once, so I spread this out over a week or so, which I found was better as I was able to digest it and appreciate it a lot more.
I would not say it’s a score that everyone will take a shine too, and for me it works a lot better in the series than it does on its own but remember that’s just a personal opinion, and after all it is film or in this case TV music. It is a fusion of instrumental as in the more conventional sounds of an orchestra and electronic, rock and vocals, its an interesting listen and at times does reach highs in the department of being inventive and innovative. Check it out see what you think.
Now to four high powered and upbeat sounding soundtracks from the pen of composer Anthony Chue. L AND P STORM (thats two movies) and Z AND S STORM (another two movies), all four scores have to them a real commanding and totally high-octane sound. A mix of symphonic and synthetic instrumentation which the composer blends together seamlessly and to maximum effect, in my mind these two soundtracks are every bit as good as say the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE scores as presented by the likes of Elfman, Giacchino, Balfe and Zimmer.
Chue, creates a relentless and fast paced style for both of the movies and amongst all the unrelenting percussion, electronic support, brass and high velocity strings there are also present some really solid themes that at times have a Barry-esque style, these two scores could easily be for a Bond movie, they have that action, bombastic style and it’s a style and overall sound that keeps one interested and also wanting more throughout. Both releases are well worth investigating and are available digitally on most digital platforms via Plaza Mayor music.
Dan Jones is a multi-award winning composer of film and TV music, aswell as writing scores for movies etc, Jones also does sound design and has written music for the theatre as well as being involved with the development of some early items of software. Much of his music is released on his own recording label, WORLD ON FIRE being one of the more recent additions to that.
WORLD ON FIRE was a gripping and interesting series that was screened on the BBC back in 2019. It was met with positive reaction and a second series we are told is in the works at the moment. Dan Jones created a sensitive and emotive soundtrack for the series, which was for the most part rather low key, but it served the series well and on listening to the work just as music remains a touching and rewarding experience, I thought that I would include the score here because I felt it was an accomplished work when I saw the series, and am pleased that the music is now available for collectors to listen to.
It is a lengthy work, running for nearly an hour, but it is one of those soundtracks that whilst listening to it, one is transported back to certain moments within the series, it is affecting and at times mesmeric, the composer using simple but effective thematic ideas that he develops and builds throughout the work, RESISTANCE for example is apprehensive, threatening and also oozes with an atmosphere that can be foreboding. Percussive elements and strings combine alongside brass and synthesised support, to fashion a piece that supports the sequence within the series but also entertains away from that scenario. There are also several lighter less urgent interludes within the score, BROTHER, SISTER for instance, is a much more relaxed composition, but t the same time still manages to hold under the surface a sense of danger. Certainly, a score to check out, again this and a few other soundtracks by Dan Jones are available on digital platforms. THE MINIARTURIST being one of them which is something you should listen to as soon as possible.