Don’t you just love film music, it’s a genre of music that really has no boundaries, by this I mean the composer can if he chooses and the director agrees of course score a movie in either a conventional, inventive or even off the wall fashion. Providing the musi fits the scenes and elevates them and enhances them giving them a greater impact. This could be in the form of laid-back vibes or up-tempo hip-hop orientated interludes or even via totally sampled or synthetic means. What matters in the end I suppose is that any music works for the films in question.
In soundtrack supplement thirteen, I mentioned the score for BERSERK by composer Jongnic Bontemps, an outstanding work and one that I have to say has remained at the top of my listening library since I first heard it. Well the composer has another score out, COLLEGE BEHIND BARS like his music for BERSERK is excellent, albeit quite different in its sound and overall style. But this displays the composer’s adaptability and his talent to work in different genres and rise to the challenge. I would say that COLLEGE BEHIND BARS is probably a more melodic work, it has within it many affecting themes, which are rich with melancholy and ooze a more relaxed musical style and persona. Saying that however there are a handful of cues as in COURSE WORK that for me evoke DR. DRE or maybe TIMBALAND with their up-beat foundation on which the composer builds. It has a hook that I defy anyone not to be drawn in by. The score as a whole is a delight, the composer utilising pizzicato strings, that are supported by more strings and piano at one point in the cue THE DEBATE TEAM to fashion a delightful cue that again is haunting and entertaining, the composer adding cello and woods to create a delightful and light sounding piece. This is a score that you must check out, it is lilting, attractive, and uplifting.
Next we move onto PROXIMITY, I came across this quite by accident, the movie was on TV late one night as a SY movies premiere, straight away I was attracted to the score, it is a fusion of both symphonic with additional electronic or synth support, but for the most part this is a fully orchestral work that also contains chorale work, and what a score it is. John Williams meets Jerry Goldsmith and for the more melodic parts John Barry.
PROXIMITY is an action score so lots of pulsating themes with booming percussion, slicing, and driving strings, rasping brass and flyaway flutes and other woodwind is the order of the day here. Composer Jermaine Stegall has created a strong, vibrant and powerful soundtrack, it is an imposing and at times foreboding sound that we hear throughout save a few lighter moments which are welcomed. Its one of those soundtracks that you cannot resist, and just have to listen to, filled with as I say action cues, but these have to them a richness of thematic material and also are fresh and inventive. This style and this sound for me epitomises the action score, its bold, at times brash and even relentless but always absorbing and alluring, highlight cues, no there are none because they are all brilliant. Certainly, one to add to the collection, no questions asked, just go get it and catch the movie as well to see how the score elevates the action and supports the narrative.
Another action score is THE TAX COLLECTOR with music by Michael Yezerski, this is a mix of conventional instrumentation and synthetic sounds, with the latter having the upper hand, however the composer utilises the electronic components well fashioning catchy themes and within these, introduces a handful of solo performances via guitar etc. The percussive elements within the work form a solid base for the remainder of the score and carry it along at pace when necessary as well as acting as punctuation and giving it greater effectiveness within the context of the movie. Female voice is also brought into the equation, giving the work a slightly romantic feel in places, and also adding a sense of mystery. Its something that I feel you should give a chance and check it out, like the two previous releases THE TAX COLLECTOR is available on digital platforms such as Spotify.
THE PALE DOOR is an interesting movie, it’s a horror western, the plot focuses upon the Dalton gang who rob a train, but things don’t quite go to plan with their leader being wounded they have to make a quick getaway and end up in what they think is an uninhabited ghost town, they however could not be more wrong, to their surprise and delight initially they come across a brothel in the town square, which is filled with beautiful women.
It transpires however that this bevvy of beauty is a coven of witches who have designs on the futures of the gang. Sounds a little bit Tarantino to me, the music score is by Alex Cuervo, again this is a compelling and alluring soundtrack, the composer making effective use of percussive elements both conventional and synthetic.
This is not your normal western score, it is one that has to it a atmosphere of the apprehensive, and also has an underlying sound that is virulent and at times vexing. The composer’s deployment of inventive instrumentation gives the work an appealing and strangely attractive sound with cymbalom and subtle harmonica being called upon to create an eerie and malevolent atmosphere. One to take time to listen to and to savour and appreciate.
As is another score by Cuervo, SCARE PACKAGE is again horror but this time its comedy and horror that are combined to bring us an entertaining movie, Chad Buckley is a horror fan, a fan to point of being obsessed for the subject of horror. But Chad is lonely, I wonder why? He spends most of his time at his video shop that stocks, yes you got it Horror films. He has one regular customer Sam who he delights in arguing with about their favourite subject. When a new person shows up taking an interest Chad decides that he will teach him the rules of horror and of his store, which is something that Sam does not like one bit.
The film meanders in and out of various hilarious horror scenarios, as the newbie is taught everything, each of the shorts are aimed at different horror scenarios. As the newbie becomes familiar with the way things are done, he has suspicions that Chad is up to something sinister, but maybe he is hiding a secret of his own? The score is suitably creepy, but also has that mischievous and impish sound about it.
In some ways I felt it evoked the style of composer Pino Donaggio, when he worked on movies such as THE HOWLING and PIRAHNA, there is certainly an air of the tongue in cheek present here, its an effective work, with numerous atmospheric levels which is also a bit of fun that is a collection of themes and musical scenarios that are tantalising and delightful.
Turkish born, Pinar Toprak is a composer I followed for a while now, I was so pleased when she scored CAPTAIN MARVEL her score being a commanding one and also it was an opportunity to display her obvious talents as a film composer. Her most recent work is for the TV series STARGIRL, again the composer steps up and delivers the goods, this score for season one of the series is outstanding, like CAPTAIN MARVEL Toprak pulls out all the stops, and delivers a knock em down and drag em out work, its driving and robust, with lush and romantic interludes that are brought to fruition via sweeping strings wistful woodwind and proud anthem-like brass, with the composer creating effective and memorable themes as well as heartrending musical nuances that complement the more vigorous elements of the score.
Electronic support is present throughout, but the synthetic and the symphonic fuse seamlessly. This is an essential purchase.
The score for RON HOOPERS MISFORTUNE was released this week by Movie Score Media, as we all know MSM is a label that champions lesser known composers but also releases scores by already established Maestro’s. Ivan Palomares came to notice of many last year when his beautiful score for EN LAS ESTRELLAS was released, he was the MOVIE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL, Breakout composer of the year 2018 and also won the MMI recognition for best original score in the same year for EN ESTRELLAS. The score for RON HOOPERS MISFORTUNE is a mix of symphonic, voice and electronics, it is filled with an affecting aura that is suspenseful and exciting. The composer also fashions a delicate and fragile sounding theme that is the romance feature of the score and forms the grounding for the remainder of the work. This is in my opinion an accomplished soundtrack, overflowing with descriptive and colourful compositions that are haunting and affectual. Recommended.