Did I say that soundtrack thirty one was like a rounding up of the year a final review supplement before Christmas and New Year Well I might have done, but you know what I was wrong, because there are even more great soundtrack releases to be listened to that have been released this past week and some even in the past twenty four hours. So I have included just a handful to wet your appetite and will be posting soundtrack supplement thirty three early in 2021. One thing I will say about the pandemic is that it may have stopped us in our tracks as far as going to the cinema etc is concerned, but it has not slowed the creative juices of the wonderful composers who write for film and television, in fact I think that have been even more productive than normal and thank god for that.
Let us, begin with GODMOTHERED a Disney movie scored by the one and only Rachel Portman. The film has had mixed reactions from critics but as far as I can see the cinema going public love it, and that is all that matters isn’t it? It’s a movie that has a feel good and warm persona, and don’t we need something these days that makes us smile? Yes, we do. The score is filled with quirky and comedic passages that are all held together by oodles of sentimental melancholy, so did I enjoy the score, you bet I did, it’s the right mix and style for this time of year especially, What I will say to those who did not like the movie is, come on guys and gals lighten up, open your cynical hearts and let the syrupy sweetness of this magical tale come in. A young and unskilled fairy godmother ventures out on her own to prove her worth by tracking down a young girl whose request for help was ignored.
Portman’s soundtrack is a delight, it is a charming and wonderfully melodic work, and I am in no way being derogatory when I say it’s a score that you can listen to from start to finish without even thinking about it, it skips literally from one delicious piece to another, the composer creating a veritable landslide of joyous and affecting themes. It is also fully symphonic, which straight away grabs one’s attention, there is a fragility about Portman’s soundtrack that not only attracts and hypnotises, but succeeds in enhancing the proceedings on screen, with its delicate and vibrant auras. This is one for the collection, one for you in fact (yes you). Available on digital platforms, enjoy, I did. Even with its reference to The Sound of Music within one of its tracks. The film should also be seen by children of all ages, we need this right now, its enchanting and romantic, quirky, and entertaining a story that will transport us away from the here and now for nearly two hours, which again I am sure will be welcomed by many, as for the critics, bah humbug, what do they know anyway.
To a movie now that has not yet been released, its official release date being January 29th, 2021. It’s a feature film based upon a video game, MONSTER HUNTER is a dramatic and tense affair, which has a musical score that matches it all the way, the music by Paul Haslinger, is a fusion of symphonic, vocal and synthetic, the composer fashioning otherworldly sounding pieces that are powerful and do at times inspire and bring a commanding atmosphere to the proceedings. It is an action all the way work, and that is because this is a movie that too is relentless and unforgiving. When Lt. Artemis and her seasoned troops are transported to a new world, they engage in a desperate battle for survival against enormous enemies with incredible powers. Haslinger’s score mirrors the action on screen and enhances and underlines it making it even more urgent and daunting. Yes, it’s an action soundtrack, and there are not that many respites within it, but this is what music in film is about, to support the images and the storyline and to become a part of the storyline, giving the various scenarios on screen more depth and atmosphere, and this is a score that certainly does that. Available on Spotify and other platforms, so a chance to try before you buy.
To a TV score for our next release, PROJECT BLUE BOOK has an atmospheric soundtrack from composer Daniel Whol, this is a score that never really bursts into full-fledged grandiose, but instead keeps the mood and the atmosphere alive with a soundscape of sounds both musical otherwise, the sounds compliments and support each other, and although I cannot say it’s a score that one could possibly sit and listen to on its own, it is an interesting work, that creates a style and a sound that is inventive if nothing else. Its an edgy and also a subtle work all at the same time, its electronic nuances and sounds managing to manufacture stylish and quite thematic material, that purveys a moody and apprehensive air. As I have said probably not a score for a Sunday afternoon session but nevertheless effective.
Talking of music that’s not exactly easy listening I was wondering if you had come across the composer Basil Kirchin? In my humble opinion, the words Innovative, ground-breaking, original and before their time are often used when describing film makers, composers and writers, and these days they are frequently used when not deserved. However, when discussing British composer Basil Kirchin, I think that all of these descriptive terminologies are applicable. Born Basil Philip Kirchinsky in Blackpool in 1927, his Father was Issac Kirchinsky who had changed his name to Ivor Kirchin and was a well-known bandleader. He began to become interested in playing the drums and at the age of thirteen he began to play in his Fathers band. After the second world war Kirchin decided to leave his Fathers band and work for other band leaders such as Harry Roy and Ted Heath. After a period of just two years Kirchin returned to his Fathers band and some of the early recordings they made were produced by George Martin for the Parlophone label.
The appeal of the big band sound began to become less popular as the 1950’s progressed, and it was not long before Skiffle and then Rock and Roll started to dominate the dance halls in the UK. So in the latter part of 1958 Kirchin decided to go to India where he spent over five months in the Ramakrishna Temple, after this he decided to go to Australia and arrived There with his wife Theresa in the October of 1959, as they docked and the couples possessions were being unloaded from the ship, there was an accident which resulted in many of the tapes he had made of the Kirchin Band being lost to the sea, Kirchin admitted that the loss of the tapes affected him greatly and it was something that he had difficulty coming to terms with for the rest of his life. In the early 1960’s Kirchin decided to go back to England, where his Father had been given a residency in Hull, Kirchin commuted between Hull and London and when in Hull became good friends with musician Keith Herd, it was at this time that Kirchin began to experiment with music and sounds and created soundtracks for unmade films. Whilst in London Kirchin worked with various artists one being Johnny Keating and he made major contributions to the classic album THE KEATING SOUND.
At the same time, he started to write for the De Wolfe music library and utilised the ample talents of musicians such as Jimmy Page, Tubby Hayes and Jim Sullivan to name but three. His experimental passion was expanded in the late 1960’ when he was awarded a grant by the Arts Council to purchase a Nagra tape machine, on which he recorded animal sounds from the zoo as well as recording the voices of Autistic children.
He would then slow down the recordings to create stunning effects, his musical experiments he would part fund by writing music for motion pictures, which included titles such as THE SHUTTERED ROOM, ASSIGNMENT K, CATCH US IF YOU CAN, THE STRANGE AFFAIR, I START COUNTING and THE ABONIMABLE DR PHIBES. A handful of his experimental recordings were released the first of which was issued on the EMI Columbia label under the title of WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS in 1971, the second release which shared the same title did not get a release until 1974 and was on the Island label.
The first album was released in the same year as his soundtrack for Dr.Phibes. Which is considered by many to be his most accomplished score for the cinema, the composer utilising a number of styles and sounds to create the work. The score was in parts quite lush and romantic sounding with Kirchin fashioning a jazz orientated central theme on which he built the remainder of his soundtrack. His experimental music and his film scores although having certain similarities tended to be stylistically quite different, but at times did crossover and fuse, DR. PHIBES being one such case. The two WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS album sold very few copies, and did not become popular until much later, when fans and fellow musicians realised just how valuable and pioneering, they were. Kirchin, became disillusioned with the record companies and was beginning to tire of them interfering in his musical direction, so he went into seclusion.
It was at this time that he began to work with a handful of people in Hull which included his long-time friend Keith Herd and musicians such as, Dane Morell and Danny Wood. Producing music at the Fairview Studios in Willerby. He did continue to write music and experiment with sounds but spent his last years in Hull living a quiet and tranquil existence with his wife Esther until his death in the June of 2005. Kirchin left a wealth of inspiring music for the many musicians who would follow such as Brian Eno, who is just one of the many to acknowledge his far-reaching influences.
Why am I talking about Basil Kirchin in a soundtrack supplement, well why not? The reason is I was clearing and organising the other day and came across a few discs by Kirchin and decided to re-visit them, I hope that soon these will be made available commercially for all to appreciate. His score for I START COUNTING is stunningly inventive and ASSIGNMENT K too, is filled with numerous examples of this late composer’s brilliance and originality.
As I write the levels of restrictions in the UK have been once again altered and some have been stepped up, also the Christmas plans have been cancelled by the government for good reason in my opinion, London in tier four, Wales in lockdown, Ireland ging into lockdown in the North on boxing day, etc, but I would have felt better about things if they had like the French, The Italians and Germans just locked down, and yes I realise it is a disaster for the economy especially hospitality, but it’s a necessary action don’t you think, well we will see. As I listen to the news the updates, the arguments for and against what anyone and everyone is doing, it makes one realise that there is far more to this life than film music, but it is sometimes things such as film music or books or indeed films that give you a lift, give you renewed energy and hope that things will soon be better. We are all looking to 2021, but I fear my friends that the coming year or at least the start of it could be even darker and uncertain. I hope you are all well, and safe, maybe the important thing is for us to stay safe over Christmas, I know not seeing loved ones is hard, but remember if we do this, we have many more Christmas’s to come. I wish you a happy Christmas a safe Christmas, and one that if you are on your own will pass quickly and without any ill’s. There was a Queen song THANK GOD ITS CHRISTMAS, within it say’s Thank God it’s Christmas for just one day, well this year it is one day, and to quote a line from I believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake, this year there is, A VEIL OF TEARS FOR THE VIRGIN BIRTH. Let’s hope the vaccine will stop this virus, help us to recover and get the world back on its feet. Stay safe.