Its been a couple of years since we last heard from MONDO SANGUE, but at last they have released a new album. As you probably are aware MONDO SANGUE produce albums which I suppose could be referred to as concept albums or music for imaginary films. Their latest is what I would say is a tribute or homage to music from Sci-Fi movies and TV series, VEGA 5 AVVENTURE NEL COSMO, is a collection of themes that I would most certainly say are evocative of the music from both German and Italian science fiction movies from the 1960’s and 1970’s. There are definite references within the duration of the album to the styles of Ennio Morricone, Peter Thomas and other composers such as Gianni Ferrio and Marcello Giombini.
Plus, there is a style and sound that we nowadays associate with Vangelis. There are also passages performed by female voice and the work contains a song, which sounds like it’s taken from a spaghetti western in space. This is an interesting project that has melodic and haunting themes, and will I am sure be attractive to fans of Italian and German film music.
From a concept album back to film scores and one which I think is dark and powerfully foreboding, DEUTSCHLAND 89, has a score penned by composer, performer, and producer Reinhold Heil. This the third time that the composer has returned to work on the series, DEUTSCHLAND 83 and 86 being the other occasions. There are similarities between all three scores, but this is good continuity in my opinion, I say similarities, but DEUTSCHLAND 89, is for me a greater developed work, it just seems to have the edge thematically, the composer possibly being more inventive on this outing. The soundtrack will be available on all digital platforms as of October 1st 2020.
David Buckley’s, GREENLAND is an affecting work, even if it is mostly electronic, but this is how things seem to be going in recent months, the use of synths and samples have certainly increased during the pandemic, I am not saying that this is a totally electronic work as I can hear sections that are possibly performed by conventional instruments, that add a certain depth and give the work a far deeper atmosphere and meaningful persona. I do like the score, there are some beautifully lilting moments, and also dramatic and darker sections too, check it out.
The last time I heard anything by composer Cyrille Marchesseau was on GLOOMY EYES which I have to say I liked a lot. One of his more recent scores is UN BARQUE SUR L’OCEAN, this is a delightful score, and one that I have to admit to listening to through about three times, not because I was finding it hard to be immersed and appreciate it, No, but because I liked it so much.
The composer makes effective and emotive use of solo violin and cello, piano and delicately placed harp, which are interweaved with more strings and given support from subtle synthetic quarters, the use of female voice too, is affecting and ingratiating. The haunting wordless vocals, becoming difficult to not hear even when the track has ceased to play, combine this with poignant solo violin and a lush and mesmerising string section and there is very little you can do to resist it. This is a charming work, that at times evokes the lighter moments from Chris Youngs, THE HAUNTED SUMMER, certainly one to add to your collection.
ALL AGAINST ALL, is a score that I think many Morricone fans may be attracted to, the music is by Kristian Sensi, and has to it a dark and commanding air, the thick and steamy sounds becoming alluring and unsettling both at the same time. The composer creates a tense and nervous atmosphere via solo piano and strings and adds to these guitar and percussion. It is a taught and unsettling work at times but then the composer produces moments that are thematically magical but at the same time managing to keep them slightly dark and ominous. With FRANTA’S THEME being my preferred cue on the soundtrack. Worth a listen. Available from Kronos records and on various digital platforms.
George Kallis is a composer that I admire greatly, his scores are always filled with haunting themes and beautiful melodies, he is a composer who is multi-talented and also one that has the ability to adapt and tailor his music to every scenario and genre. SADAN HANIM is one of the Maestros most recent releases, and it like his other scores has to it an elegant and highly alluring air, the sound achieved is rich, romantic, delicate, and overflowing with melancholy. The music purveys a fragility a beauty and a totally consuming persona, that is difficult to get out of one’s head once heard. The film or feature length documentary deals with the subject of Alzheimer’s disease, Which, is a terrible and heart-breaking condition. But it does this sympathetically and with dignity. The musical score is in a word OUTSTANDING. It contains a wonderfully emotive and delicate style, and is touching to the point of upsetting, the music complimenting the movie without getting in the way or ever overpowering. Instead it laces and weaves its ever-graceful style and sound throughout the documentary. I think that we will be looking at this score again when Awards season comes around, but it is a work that I for one am content to just sit and listen to over and over, each time noticing little nuances and poignant passages that are overwhelmingly emotive and ingratiating. It evoked at times the music of John Barry and Zbigniew Preisner, with the composer combining heart melting solo piano and fragile strings, at times these being underlined or enhanced with moody faraway sounding brass, this is definitely one for your collection, it is stunning. Recommended, yes most certainly.
Jesse Harlin has penned an interesting and power soundtrack for MAFIA THE DEFINITIVE EDITION which is for a video game, the score is commanding and theme laden, the dark and ominous work is one of those soundtracks that one cannot stop listening to because you are thinking how good the track is you are listening to and at the same time wondering I wonder whats in store for me as it proceeds. Symphonic sounding but again these days we can never be sure, but it certainly sounds that way. The themes here are many and relentless, the composer developing them and adding new material as the score moves forward. Video games nowadays are in the forefront of soundtrack releases, the composers that work on them have been creating and fashioning scores that seem to be including more themes and also having more symphonic elements than actual feature film scores, if that makes any sense. So, another one that you must check out.
THE LAST LAUGH has been described as SCREAM meets SUSPIRIA, A stand-up comedian on the verge of breakout success, is forced to make a terrible choice when he discovers a murderer is on the loose in the theatre where he’s about to perform his biggest show. The score is an affecting one, the composer Jon Bash, has treated us to a wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack, it is apprehensive and nerve jangling, the composer utilising mainly synthetic attributes and elements to create an eerie and tense sounding work. I am a fan of this style of score, its dark and malevolent musical colours dominating and conjuring up dread and fearful moods. There is however still thematic material within the work, its not all slicing strings rasping brass and booming percussion. Listen to track number, four PANTAGES, there is richness here and subdued poignancy, and a music box theme that is both calming and unnerving. Again, available on digital platforms for you to investigate.
Finally, two scores by Stephen Warbeck, one from 2019 entitled, MA FAMILLE ET LA LOUP andfrom 2020 THE MAN IN THE HAT, both different but delightful scores from one composer, suffice to say you will not be disappointed with either. Warbeck is a composer of immense talent and has been responsible for creating numerous memorable scores. One only has to listen to SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE or CAPTAIN CORELLI’S MANDOLIN to realise this, and the two titles I have mentioned will I am sure cement even more one’s admiration of this composer. So till next time, happy listening.