This month brings us a new score from Junkie XL, I did mention the preview briefly in the last soundtrack supplement, but now the score has been released officially on Water tower records,
I have always said I am not a great fan of Hans Zimmer, which you all know, and one would think because of this I would straight away give any score by him or someone who is associated with him a negative review, but in the case of Godzilla vs Kong I cant do that, because it’s a good score as in enhancing the movie and also because it is entertaining to listen to away from the movie, its exciting and filled with pulsating and booming percussion, it has so many great themes, which are built around one central five note motif which the composer builds on and adds too as the score develops, it has to it a really fearsome and grand sound, and a style that in the opening cue is not unlike the original Godzilla scores for the Japanese movies. So, it is a score that I certainly recommend that you check out even if initially on digital platforms as in the try before you but fashion, I like it, but I will let you make up your own mind.
Dream Raider I think is an interesting score, its from the HBO Asia original series. Josh Cruddas supplies us with some stirring material here, it is in many ways evokes the style of Hans Zimmer and Ramin Djawadi, with the latter’s style of composition dominating. The opening theme itself has to it the presence, stature, and the impact that we heard in the opening credits music for Game of Thrones. Its sounds as if the score is performed by a combination of the symphonic and the electronic, with grand stabs, being present throughout many of the action led cues. But there is also an emotive side to this work, the composer utilizing violin and cello performances to create and convey poignant and touching pieces that are filled with melancholy and a rich emotional content. The composer also utilizes voices or synthesized voices to create imposing and grandiose cues. I found that this score caught me off guard a little as, I was unaware of the composer and did not really know what to expect, I was listening one moment to driving strings and pounding percussion, and the next was reduced to an emotional wreck by the composer’s employment of lilting and affecting melodies. His elegant and melodious compositions immersing me in a plethora of vibrant and gracious thematic material, that is hard to ignore or difficult to remain unaffected by. Recommended.
To something a little bit more subdued for the next soundtrack selection, and a small but remarkably interesting movie in the form of Six Minutes to Midnight, the film focuses upon events that take place at a private girl’s school in Bexhill on sea in the summer of 1939.
Based on true events that took place at The Augusta Victoria College on the south coast of England with the story opening just seventeen days before WW ll begins. The school is run by a spinster played by Judi Dench who is as always wonderful. But this is a rather unusual girls finishing school nestled in the sleepy town of Bexhill as it is filled with young ladies who are daughters of prominent Nazis. A half German English teacher Mr. Miller played by Eddie Izzard who is excellent in the role applies for a position at the school when hie predecessor mysteriously disappears. He is employed on a temporary contract and shares teaching duties with Judi Dench’s character Rochelle and also another teacher Lise played by Carla Juri. But Miller finds many things at the school as he investigates the disappearance of his predecessor that are filled with mystery and danger. This is an interesting movie and one that certainly retains ones focus throughout, its one of those films that one looks at and thinks Not sure about this? But once started you won’t want to take your eyes off it. The musical score is the work of composer Marc Streitenfeld (Robin Hood, Prometheus, and The Grey). The composer has fashioned a brooding and apprehensive work for this drama and along the way includes several subdued melodies and tone poems that are affecting. The film is scored intelligently I would say as the music adds so much atmosphere and creates varying moods throughout the duration. At times the composer utilizing poignant piano and melodic sounding cello that are underlined by tense sounding backgrounds. At times the style employed by the composer is very evocative of the likes of both Debbie Wiseman and more recently Anne Nikitin, there is a sparse persona about it, where less is certainly yeilds more in the way of support and the building of atmospherics. The score in my opinion, is a delight as is the movie. Recommended.
Chaos Walking is the latest score from Hollywood composer Marco Beltrami, on this occasion who has collaborated with Brandon Roberts. The movie itself I thought was interesting if not a little over long, but it is a movie that totally immerses its watcher into its scenarios and world. Certainly, it’s not a perfect film, is there such a thing as perfect in film? Directed by Doug Liman, the movie stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, who both put in good performances, set in a world that is unwelcoming and filled with dangers where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called noise. The music I think does a good job and the composers manage to enhance and support what is sometimes a swiftly altering storyline and one that jumps from situation to situation. Beltrami is well practiced in this type of scoring, with action being the name of the game, a fusion of both symphonic and electronic with the latter I think having the lion’s share of the of the performance, the composers creating dark and jagged sounds that are filled with a dread and menace, percussive elements both conventional and synthetic being utilized. It’s a score that I would say is interesting and also one that can be deemed as inventive, but is a score that one can sit and listen to more than once or twice, well I’m not sure?
Le Club Vinland is a movie that has its story set in 1949, and focuses upon a teacher or Brother John who is passionate about education but is also an amateur archaeologist, he decides to take his class of students on a trip to the St Lawrence river where he aims to prove that there once was a Viking settlement there. A Canadian production the movie is directed by Benoit Pilon and has a delightful soundtrack penned by composers Pierre Lepointe and Guido del Fabbro. It’s an understated score, with numerous hints of themes throughout, that eventually come together to create a rather delicate yet romantically solid work, the melodies are filled with a fragility and a simple but ingratiating air. I loved the scores simplistic and hauntingly attractive persona, with the composers fashioning themes that for want of a better description are innocent and fresh. A delightful work and one that deserves to be listened too.
As is the score for Los Lobos, by composer Kenji Kishi, this is another rather understated work, but one that is totally absorbing and mesmerising. The composer fashions some beautiful melodies and compositions that are although rather short in duration still manage to become memorable after just one listen, the score has to it a warm and emotive feel, and its one that I did revisit a handful of times because I was that impressed with its sensitivity and its alluring and poignant style and sound. At times, the composer utilising either solo piano or even a series of chords to purvey the emotion of the scene that is being scored. Again this is available of digital platforms from Movie Score Media, so please do give it a listen.
I think one of the most striking scores to get a release this month is Piece of my Heart by Pessi Levanto, this is a score performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra who are supported via synthetics with the conventional and the electronic fuses flawlessly to bring us a score that is not only melodic in parts but also one that holds your attention without having to see the movie, which is rare these days. The score itself is an inventive one with imaginative use of strings, who said the art of scoring movies is something that is fading and becoming a thing of the past, well take a listen to this and be proved wrong, on digital platforms.
Welcome to Blumhouse-Black Box has music by Brandon Roberts, and this is one that’s not for me, sorry to say I found it at times a little lack lustre, and although there are a few moments within it that kind of say to you here I am wake up, these are few and far between. Heres a lot of scores out there now that are for me any way starting to sound very much the same, it’s a trend I think which is for me again worrying because melodies are not included and we are seeing an ever-increasing trend to put in place those droney (is that a word?) and sinewy sounds rather than underscore with actual music, this is certainly more drone and soundscape than music score. I will not be listening again.
Then you come across something like Where do Birds Go, which is just the opposite, this has themes and they are beautifully written and performed, the only negative the entire score is just under seven minutes long, but its ok put it on repeat you will love it. Music is by Jameson Michael Hegger, please do indulge yourself.
To something a little more seasoned now and something that when you hear it you will be reminded of the reason why you loved the music of Jerry Goldsmith so much, at last Face of a Fugitive score has been released by the genuinely nice people at Intrada. This 1959 Columbia Pictures western starred Fred McMurray and was directed by Paul Wendkos, and although this is an early Jerry Goldsmith and a western to boot, preceded only by Black Patch and City of Fear, we still hear the trademark of sounds and the quirks of ingenious orchestration that were to become the standard and appealing sound of the Maestro. The film which was Goldsmith’s first colour feature also starred Lin McCarthy and Dorothy Green. This was I suppose a major stepping-stone for Goldsmith and part of the beginnings of the composers long and illustrious career in film scoring, and it is such a great soundtrack to add to your collection, the sound quality in my opinion is excellent, and yes, I know they are in mono, but I think I would rather have a mono recording than none. Which was a possibility as it was thought that these recordings were lost forever.
Right from the opening bars which herald an urgent yet rather somber brass laced opening, which alters into a fanfare like introduction in its style and performance, the remainder of the score is urgent, dramatic and the composers utilises jagged brass and driving tense strings with solo performances from trumpet interwoven into the percussion and timpani he employs, this in my humble opinion is a score way before its time, with the composer leaving nothing to chance and engaging all the elements of a symphony orchestra to give the movie his full support. At times I was reminded of the style that Miklos Rozsa utilized in The Killers, strident, forth-right and dramatically engaging, but always thematic. So, what are you waiting for, go order it now!
Well with a name like Drum and Lace being credited as the composers on a soundtrack, would you not expect something modern upbeat and maybe a little drum and bass, I have to admit I did and that is why I was so pleasantly surprised to hear the really nice score for the movie Deadly Illusions, now this is something quite refreshing and also entertaining, its not a grand bombastic work, but it works because it is subtle and also has to it a haunting musical persona not as in highly melodic or lush but simply well, because its uncomplicated and also has this calming effect for the most part of its duration, I think that is why I found the work so appealing. There are some nice piano sections within the score, and although this is in no way a tour de force of thematic material it still does linger with the listen. There are numerous hints of themes, as in maybe a theme begins to develop but falls away only for another to start to build. Take a listen to the cue Touch, it is a lilting and calming piece, with piano, violin solo, subtle female voice, and underlying synth layering, which when all combined is quite stunning. Again, available on digital platforms, try it out.
A comedy horror next, with a powerful score courtesy of Andrew Scott Bell, Witness Infection, focuses upon two rival mobs being sent to the same town by the witness protection agency. Which ends in some funny but also brutal events. Life has always been protected for Carlo Serrelli. But his past is about to come back to haunt him. Carlo’s father has always tried to kept him out of the deadly mob business by giving him a job at the family dog groomers, while his younger brother, Dominic, has always been given the dirty jobs to do. Carlo’s father has to force him into an arranged marriage with the daughter of the rival Miola family boss. The families have been sworn and deadly enemies for years . Carlo turns to his two best friends Gina and Vince, who vow to help him get out of the arranged marriage, but they all get involved over their heads as a serious infection starts eating the town. There is however good news because of the infection that is killing everyone and that is that Carlo may not have to get married after all — but the down side is that everyone might die. The storyline is accompanied wonderfully by the score, which at times pokes fun a little at the more traditional horror scores that we experienced in the 1950’s and 1960’s add to this style a more upbeat and contemporary vibe with the composer bringing into play synths that are supporting some conventional instruments on the score and we have a commanding work, and also an entertaining one, the composer also includes some nice little touches that are The Godfather sound- a-like pieces. I really took to this score for the sheer inventiveness and the courage of the composer to write in such a way. Enjoyable and a must have. Also check out the composers work on Rocket, Two Roads, and The Springfield Three also on digital platforms.
Another impressive score this time for TV is La Templanza, with music by Ivan Palomares, what can I say about this score well its brilliant, that’s it really, you need to check this out or just order it now, its one of the most appealing scores thus far this year, filled with charming and melodious themes, that are elegant and romantic, emotive and affecting, it is an essential purchase. The composer showing once again his evident gift for melody and his abundance of talent. This is superb.