Welcome to soundtrack supplement forty-two. This time round there is a bumper crop of new releases and all are not only interesting but quite different. There seems to a number that are realized via electronics, synthetics, and samples, which although not a problem because many are effective scores is for me personally a little disappointing being a collector and critic who leans towards the more conventional and traditional. But it is a sign of the times and to be fair some of the electronic scores are at times hard to separate from the symphonic because the technology is so much improved. In this latest batch there are good examples, not so good and some that I will probably avoid adding to my collection. But all are in the film music collective, and it is how the music, or the sounds achieved support and enhance those images and scenarios that is the important thing.
I am going to begin with the score for the Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy, I briefly mentioned the theme from the series recently which although brief establishes itself well. Th remainder of the score too has a sound and style that I am confident that collectors and listeners will find interesting and attractive, there is a smoldering and apprehensive persona to this soundtrack, but every so often it bursts into life and yields some brilliant musical moments. The composer Stephanie Economou utilizes an array of instrumentation including a fuzzy sounding almost rock guitar to create an impressive sound and gives the series its own inventive and innovative musical accompaniment. After hearing the short but effective title’s theme I was intrigued as to how the remainder of the score would pan out, I am pleased to say that it is a soundtrack that I enjoyed greatly and has some wonderfully subdued melodic and earthy sounding moments throughout. It is a score that is edgy and vibrantly brooding. Occasionally the score does break into a theme that resembles an anthem but normally these are short lived but saying this these moments are priceless and lift the mood. There is an underlying atmosphere to the entire score that purveys a fearsome and also a foreboding. I would say check it out on digital platforms, I like it but everyone as we know is different.
Apex Legends is a free-to-play hero battle royale game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February 2019, and for Nintendo Switch in March 2021. The game is set in the same science fiction universe as Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall series. A movie is due for release in 2022. The score for Apex Legends is the work of composer Stephen Barton, it is an electronic score but has its moments that are proud and filled with anthem like themes, the score is driving and exciting and very rarely allows the listener to relax as in cues such as You are the Jumpmaster, Victory and Lobby Redux, which are both action themed but also has to it an air of melody. I think you will enjoy its relentlessness, and the composer’s obvious talent for creating themes and sub themes that bounce off each other throughout, thus keeping it fresh and vibrant.
Mark Sayfritz has penned a fine horror score for the movie Death of Me, it’s a soundtrack that contains numerous strange and alien sounding quirks of orchestration, the composer conjuring up an uneasy and totally unsettling atmosphere. The score also contains the vocals of Yanin Bandhaya which are distinctive and alluring. Yanin is an independent music artist based in Bangkok. People know her as a singer and songwriter, but she is also interested in being known as a performance artist too. She combines Contemporary Dance and Improvisation Dance in her shows. Her vocals add much depth and create a slightly off kilter mood to the proceedings, the remainder of the score is an effective one and the composer creates a plethora of atmospherics that are not only supportive and perplexing but are absorbing and at the same time complex and evokes his chilling and sinister sounding score for Abattoir from 2016. The score for Death of Me is released by Movie Score Media and is available on digital platforms. And whilst there why not check Abattoir.
Mystic Quest is an Apple TV series with seasons one and two containing a rousing score from composer, Takeshi Furukawa, I love this music it is like swashbuckling superhero material and is relentless in its powerful and tour de force execution. If you were not aware of it you could be forgiven for thinking that it is the work of a composer such as Brian Tyler or John Debney, the themes just keep coming the melodies flow continuously and the composer adds layers and layers of robust and action filled music.
Many of the cues are less than a minute long, but when the composer enters a track which is lengthier, he has a chance to flex his musical muscles as in Ian Fights the asked Man which is dark and foreboding but also has within it a rousing theme and excellent choral work that is underlined and supported by brass, percussion, and strings. At just over twenty-three minutes in duration it left me wanting more and I found myself returning to the beginning more than once. Driving and commanding this score is highly recommended.
Syndrome K by composer Stephen Edwards who also directed the film is a score you should own, no question. Released on Movie Score Media, it has everything, at least I think so. It is a delightful work filled with wonderful melodies and dark and apprehensive passages a varied work which I have to say is going on my best of 2021 thus far list. Every track has something that the listener can latch onto and enjoy and overall, the work is outstanding and superb. Just check it out you will not be sorry.
Those Who Wish me Dead is the latest offering from composer Brian Tyler. The movie which stars Angelina Jolie is directed by Taylor Sheridan, the story centres on a teenage murder witness who finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all. So pretty tense and exciting material, which is matched by Tyler’s score, the music is filled with a nervous tension and has to it a power and an ominous presence. To be honest it is quite restrained for a Tyler score, although it simmers and at times does boil over into full action themed material. But it is the tense and the underlying mood of apprehension and fear that the composer creates via his score that stands out. There are also a handful of relaxed but still slightly nervous and edgy cues within the score and overall it is a work that works well in the movie but does struggle away from the films storyline and images. But, if you are a Tyler devotee then it is an essential purchase.
The Water Man is a movie that focuses upon a young boy who has a very ill Mother, and he decides to go into the mountains and find The Water Man a mystical figure who in local legends supposedly exists in the woods and mountains and is able to cure all ills. The boy named Gunner Boone (Lonnie Chavis) enlists the help of Jo Riley played by Amiah Miller who says she knows where the Water Man is, it’s a good movie and a full-on family adventure that maybe years ago someone like Ron Howard or Steven Spielberg would have been involved with. Directed by actor David Oyelowo who also takes the part of Gunners Father. It is a movie that I feel will find its way into the hearts of many and will be a favourite for years to come.
The score is by Peter Baert (Facades and Adamloos 2018) and is an accomplished and finely tuned affair, at times remaining subdued and subtle which I think adds to the tension or underlines the unfolding storyline to a greater degree. The themes are touching and emotive and the composer is never heavy handed or over the top with his scoring. Thus, the score becomes an integral component of the storyline. Giving support and adding punctuation at every twist and turn. Symphonic for the most part the composer also utilises piano throughout which is wonderfully eloquent and graceful. The subdued persona of the score does alter from time to time most notably in the cue Enter the Forest, which is a grand sounding piece with percussion, piano, and strings, taking on the central roles musically. It also has to it a rich dramatic content that is dark at times and has a brooding and malevolent entity. This is a score that I know I will return to many times, it is one of those soundtracks that when you listen to over and over, one hears little quirks and nuances that you may have missed first and second time around, the mystical aspects of the storyline being complimented perfectly by Baert’s fine score. The soundtrack also includes two easy-going songs. Recommended. On Lake shore records and all digital platforms.
The score for the movie Armugan is if nothing else innovative, I have to say this is probably not my favourite score from the latest releases, but there are several moments within it that make one stop and listen more intently. The music is by Juanjo Javierre, who has created an atmospheric and alluring work. The Estonian made movie was released in 2020. It is set in an isolated valley in the Pyrenees and tells the story of Armugan, who is said to wander throughout the countryside clinging to the body of his servant Anchel, where together they share a task that is secret and is as terrible as death itself. The movie is I think an acquired taste, and the music to be fair is also. But please do not let my opinion deter you from checking it out on digital platforms. As I say there are a handful of moments within the score that are worth listening to.
Initiation is an adequate slasher type movie, which has Scream influences, but saying this Scream was a much better movie. Initiation is intended to be a gripping movie but probably belongs on TV rather than the cinema. One of the best things about the film is the driving and inventive score by composer Alexander Arntzen, who’s fusion of electronic sounds and a scattering of what I can make out as being conventional instrumentation serve the picture well, and at times it is the music that creates the terror, the havoc, and the mayhem. However, when one listens to the score away from the images one does find that you do tend to be reaching for the stop button or the fast forward etc, to stop the noise that is coming from the speakers, again effective within the film, remarkably effective indeed but not one to listen to away from the film, which is ok I suppose as it is film music after all. Because the movie is rather forgettable, I fear that the score too will fade into the mists of obscurity.
The Invisible War is a movie that relates the compelling and inspiring story of a handful of patients that are in a Mental hospital during the 1940’s. And focuses upon one of the characters Rose Berkeley who is one of the patients who is trying to come to terms with her own situation whilst at the same time attempting to understand the needs of her fellow inmates. The score by Italian born composer Alberto Bellavia is a glorious one, it is a subdued but affecting work, with the composer creating beautiful tone poems via woods and delicate piano performances, the emotive and subtle themes are intimate and elegant and at certain points within the score I was reminded of the style employed by the late Richard Rodney Bennet on some of his movie scores, available on Digital platforms, worth a listen.
Movie Score Media have again been industrious and alongside The Death of Me and Syndrome K have released Paper Spiders, by Ariel Blumenthal, this is an enchanting and delightful score, nothing over the top just wonderful thematic music, performed by strings and piano in the main. It is a score that you should own. Again, available on digital platforms, so what are you waiting for?