Let’s start soundtrack supplement 43 with Jakob’s Wife, it has an atmospheric sounding soundtrack written and produced by Tara Busch, and in the initial tracks I have to remark that it evokes the sound of Italian cinema from the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s, it would be easy to say that this has a Morricone flavour to it but there is much more here. The composer has created a tense but at that same time bittersweet instrumental sound, and a score that is filled with varying degrees of uneasiness darkness and the sinister. It certainly evokes many of the scores composed by Italian Maestros for Giallo and Horror movies from said period and comes complete with mesmerizing female wordless vocals, delicate but shuddering solo piano, hissing string passages, frenzied and jangling effects and a calm but at the same time chilling church organ cue plus there is a rock orientated song Bloodletting that stands out.
Although this is a soundtrack that has a malevolent musical persona it also contains short but welcomed respites of intricate musical nuances that are delightfully effective. I would say that this is in the main an electronically realized work, but maybe along the way features solo conventional instruments, the combination of these two styles is not only effective but appealing. The harshness at times of the synthetics complimenting the less abrasive sounds of a solo performance. Either way there is no doubt at all that this is an affecting score, with synth chorale effects lacing the tense and apprehensive soundtrack. It is an inventive work and is successful in supporting the storyline as well as being an interesting listen on its own. The cue Her Lust Part 1 for me is a kind of a contemporary, macabre, and fuzzy sounding version of the cue La Resi Di Conti from For A Few Dollars More, I can almost hear the rhythm of those familiar chimes from Morricone’s composition amongst the electronic tension, but maybe that is just me. As the cue develops it does take on a more modern style, with effects and percussive elements being added. This a score that I think is an accomplished and alluring work, it has to it a mysterious and other- worldly aura that I think will become popular amongst collectors.
The Affair (The Glass Room) is released on Movie Score Media, and again the label has discovered and made available a score that maybe ordinarily collectors might not have become aware of. The music is by composer Antoni Komasa-Lazarkiewicz who has provided the movie with a mesmerizing soundtrack in the classical style. Cello and strings feature throughout as does piano, in this elegant and emotive score. The romanticism or at least fragments of a romantically laced theme run through the work, with the at times subdued soundtrack adding even greater depth and emotive qualities to the storyline.
At times, the music reminded me of the work of Phillip Glass and Michael Nyman, but it also contains the qualities and hints of a style that composers such as Magne, Delerue, and Korzeniowski have employed. Subtle, and understated but always powerful and supporting, this is a wonderfully melodic and melancholy sounding work, and one I recommend to you.
Il Cattivo Poeto (The Bad Poet) is set in 1936, where we see, Giovanni Comini being promoted to Federal, the youngest in Italy. Subsequently he is ordered to go to Rome and is told he has been chosen for an extremely sensitive mission in which he is instructed to observe and keep an eye on Gabriele D’Annun to ensure that he does not stir up any trouble. D’Annunzio is a nationally revered poet who is the State thinks is becoming restless and Mussolini fears that he could damage the alliance with Nazi Germany. However, Comini becomes obsessed with the poet and his work and puts his own career in jeopardy because he begins to doubt the ways of the party of which he is a member. The score is a lilting and quite sparse affair, with the composer Michele Braga utilising piano, strings, and woods to create a melodic and emotion filled soundtrack. At times, the composer also enlists horns that he deploys as background and also martial sounding timpani and percussion, but these initially are again a background, until that is track number ten, Fermare il Duce, when these elements are allowed to flex their musical muscles slightly. The score is a delight, as it is for the most part subtle and unassuming but remains melodic. The end cue of the score is quite affecting and becomes grandiose with percussion rumbling to announce a working of the scores central theme by strings, underlined and punctuated by piano and further embellished by percussion and brass. Worth a listen and available on digital platforms.
To the small screen next and a extremely good score by composer Mark Isham, The Nevers is an HBO series and has recently begun to run on SKY in the UK. There seems to be a landslide of new series on the box recently and all as far as I can see are worth a watch rather than watching repeats of repeats on the BBC and ITV channels. The Nevers is an action-packed fantasy drama, in which we encounter a group of Victorian women who find that they have unusual abilities and are surrounded by enemies but are also on a mission that could change the world. The musical score is also an action filled work, the composer is of course no stranger to the world of film and TV scoring as his polished, inventive, and entertaining score for this series displays. Largely symphonic in its rendition, I feel that this could possibly be one of Isham’s most appealing scores.
It is literally bursting with rich and vibrant themes and has an energy, inventiveness, and melodic aura that maybe I have not heard from the composer in a while. I love the cue We Have Time, as it is a melancholy and affecting piece for piano and strings, with cello also adding its sombre but eloquent voice to the proceedings, it maybe understated but it is filled with emotive power. This style and sound continue in the next cue, The Event, with the emotional content growing and developing, the string section and solo cello also combining to create a truly transfixing sound, which grows even more as the cue progresses realising more and more emotive content. The Nevers is a score one should own. Please take a listen to this beguiling soundtrack.
The same can be said for Isham’s atmospheric work on Judas and the Black Messiah, which is another score you should check out. Both are available on digital platforms.
The movie The Operative was released in 2019, It focuses upon the disappearance of a female spy and her boss who is intent on finding her before she endangers the mission, they were both assigned to. Directed by Yuval Adler the movie stars Martin Freeman and Diane Kruger and has an impressive musical score by composer Frank Ilfman, who has written so many amazing soundtracks in recent years. The Operative is no exception to Ilfman’s high standard with the composer I thought at times evoking a Barry-esque sound. The music is edgy but thematic, conjuring up mystery and intrigue. The soundtrack is again available digitally via Movie Score Media and is amongst the labels recent surge of new releases, this is one that you must take a listen to.
A composer who I think is very talented is Holly Amber Church, who has scored a number of horror movies, her most recent film score is for another horror, Bad Impulse, in which once again the composer creates a work that is filled with not only edgy and jumpy sections but also it has real thematic quality, even when the going begins to get really dramatic and action led for example, there are still hints and fragments of thematic nuances. The score itself is quite unsettling, it has sinewy and uneasy sounding passages, the composer utilising electronics, and thundering effects that at times seem distorted and filled with menace. Again, another score you should take a listen to, in many ways reminiscent of the style of both Joseph Bashir and Christopher Young, harrowing, terrifying and haunting.
Another horror soundtrack next for your delectation so get out from behind the sofa and listen to Baphomet. The Richardson family celebrates their 28-year-old daughter’s pregnancy in Northern California. The celebration is interrupted when a Satanic cult member, Aksel Brandr, pays them an unexpected visit. Aksel, on behalf of the cult’s leader Henrik Brandr, offers to pay the family a large sum for ownership of their land. Jacob Richardson, the father, rejects the offer due to the priceless sentimental value of their home.
Henrik and his cult, displeased, begin to put devastating curses upon the Richardson’s, trying to force them off their land – even if it means murdering them. After suffering unexplainable tragedies, the Richardson’s seek help from Marybeth, a white witch high priestess. They soon discover a terrible secret about their home, revealing why it is so valuable to the cult. They realize they must protect their property from the cult at all costs, and a violent battle between good and evil ensues. So, a typical day in the neighbourhood then? The score for Baphomet is the work of Fabio Amurri with the recording also including a handful of hard rock/thrash songs by various artists. Amurri’s score is a serviceable one, but at times springs into something that is quite harrowing, grand, and perplexing, it is a score filled with chaotic and menacing passages, and a mix of both synthetic and symphonic although I suspect the latter is minimal. The mix of score and song works very well and the two very different styles surprisingly compliment one another. Amurri, graduated from the “G. Rossini” Conservatoire in Pesaro, where he studied Classical Composition and Electronic Music. The score for Baphomet is inventive and includes some eerie and disturbing sounds which add to the already uneasy storyline. Check it out on digital platforms.
Well, here is something different, An Extremist group travels back in time to assassinate Christ before the Crucifixion. The fate of the world depends on a genius with no faith…and a man who has lost his. Different, yes, and the score well its brilliant, penned by composers Chris George and Jim Carrol. Black Easter has to it a driving undercurrent for the majority its duration, the composers creating, introducing, and developing so many themes which for me are evocative of the style of the late Jerry Goldsmith in places, it sounds grandiose and melodic and although relatively brief certainly makes an impression upon the listener. It could be symphonic, but I think its almost totally synthesised, but the music is still melodious and appealing. The Love Theme is gorgeously thematic and lush, with action cues being driving and other cues such as Pain of Loss and Resurrection being inspiring, and emotive. Another one for the collection.
Luz, the Flower of Evil is another interesting movie, released in 2019 this Spanish made Fantasy, Horror, Western certainly leans towards the filmic notions and styles of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. Set in the mountains, in a community led by a preacher named El Señor, a new child who is supposed to be the new messiah, is born, and with him destruction and redemption are unleashed. Soon, everything changes, not only for the town, but in the preacher’s home as his three daughters start to wonder about the real origins of God, the nature of love, pleasure, and inner freedom. A thought-provoking story and movie which has a highly atmospheric sounding score by composer Brian Heater. I say atmospheric as in it suits the scenarios of the movie, but it is not a soundtrack I would say stands up away from the images on screen, how can I put it? It’s an acquired taste in certain areas. But nevertheless, it still does have its moments that are innovative as well as interesting, and as everyone’s taste is different it could appeal to many. Why not investigate the score on Spotify.
Other releases that you might want to peruse include the varied and original music for Domina by Samuel Sim, Nathan Barr’s edgy but stunning score for the Netflix TV series Halston, which also includes a handful of songs.
Oxygen by Rob, is also worth a listen, as is Jordan Davis’s music for Rubaru which is delicate fragile and wonderfully melodious,
Also mention must be made of Assassins Creed Valhalla-Wrath of the Druids, the game score by Max Aruj. Composer Matthew James has also written an 80’s sounding synth/soundscape score for The Djinn.
And Nicholas Brittel has provided a gloriously fun and alluring soundtrack for Disney’s Cruella. The cue Baroque Ball is so evocative of so many French composers such as Lai, Legrand, De Roubaix and Magne and has to it an almost 1960’s retro flavour the composer utilising female voice to relay the central theme. This one is a winner for sure and a score that I have already listened to over and over. So, what better way to close soundtrack supplement forty-three, with a soundtrack that I am confident will impress and entertain, go check it out.