For someone who runs a soundtrack music blog/site and various Facebook and other social media pages, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the music being placed in films these days, I use the word music loosely as in ninety nine percent of cases its just a sound or a noise. It has been hard to focus these past few days since the WAR in Ukraine started and the events over there seem to overshadow the everyday life of many myself included. So this is why the latest soundtrack supplement is somewhat delayed, plus there were in my opinion not that many scores even worth reporting on. So, here is Soundtrack Supplement, with just a handful of titles, for your consideration and also my opinions of these.
Rose, has a lovely score by composer Henrik Skram, which is a mix off electronic soundscape and also interludes of piano solo performances, the score also contains some enticing and haunting moments, which the composer achieves via synthetic layers and the aforementioned piano performances, combining these to create an emotive and poignant work. It’s a score that has to it a certain charm and is certainly attractive, available on digital platforms now.
Bruno Coulais is a composer I have always found interesting, maybe its because you don’t really get a uniformed style or sound from him, although he does have a unique way of scoring movies and TV projects. One of his latest scores is for the movie Maigret which stars Gerard Depardieu in the title role. The music contains a mysterious yet at the same time quite light air, I was surprised at the way in which Coulais approached the project, the score being melodious and inventive, instead of a standard detective soundtrack, but I suppose Maigret is no ordinary investigator.
The music is as far as I can make out totally symphonic, which is always a bonus these days in a sea of unmelodic electronic noise. Coulais creates some wonderfully alluring themes and uses the string section to great effect throughout to fashion not only tuneful and haunting moments but also to mold tense and sinister sounding passages. Again, available on digital platforms, worth a listen.
A score that is a million miles away from Maigret is The Shepherd, which has music by Callum Donaldson, the composer as far as I can see has mostly been involved on projects for TV as sound designer and dubbing mixer but is credited as composer for The Shepherd. The film which is a horror/mystery is directed by Russel Owen, focuses upon a young Scottish shepherd Eric Black who is lost after the mysterious death of his adulterous wife. After her death he decides to change his job and becomes a shepherd. to a new job as a Shepherd, and soon finds himself alone and trapped on a remote and weather-beaten island which reveals an ominous secret. One man’s escalating madness confronts a vengeful supernatural force and what begins as an adventure soon becomes a race to preserve his sanity and save his life.
The score is just as mind bending and complicated as Eric’s experiences, the composer creating a work that is fraught and tense, and for the most part complex and atonal. The music or musical sounds mirror the thoughts and the scenarios that the central character is having and undergoing. Sinewy, malevolent, and unnervingly sinister I think sums up the work on this movie. Not really one to sit and listen to but worth experiencing because of its inventive and innovative sound and style. The opening theme for the score which is track number five on the recording does briefly break into to something that resembles a theme, and even faintly has to it a Gaelic aura, but this is an eerie and disturbingly uneasy soundtrack.
Onto something a lot lighter next Cat Burglar is an animated series on Netflix and has an energetic score by Christopher Willis, its written in the style of the great Carl W. Stalling, I must admit it raised more than a smile whilst I was listening to it and is relentless with composer incorporating all the trademarks of Mickey-Mousing throughout.
Including over the top brass stabs, urgent but at the same time comedic sounding strings and interweaving familiar tunes into the fabric of the score. This a fantastic score, well worth a listen.
Aeturnes is a Ukrainian sci-fi short film which has an atmospheric score by composer Clyde Hanna, being a short the score has a running time of just over twenty-one minutes. Completely electronic, it is an interesting soundtrack, which utilizes dark synthesizer chords and ominous percussive beats that are punctuated and fused with disturbing sound effects that at times sound like gunshots and explosions in the distance.
It also, however, has some themes that do hook one’s attention as the work develops and progresses the composer incorporating slightly up-beat pieces along the way. Interesting stuff that is available on digital platforms. After Yang is a score, I really did enjoy, its not a gran affair or indeed overblow it is more of a subtle and delicate work, which on one occasion does deviate into a more contemporary sounding piece in track number two, Welcome to Family of Four, which is a vocal that has a dance like backing.
But, for the most part this is an intimate sounding work, which relies upon piano to fashion its fragile sounding persona which creates a restful and emotive musical ambience. The piano is also accompanied by light strings at times which further adds to the atmospherics of the score. The music is by Aska Matsumiya, with one piece being contributed by Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The score contains two prominent themes, both of which are simple but effective. Available on digital platforms. Now lets go back a few years firstly to 1978, for the score to Stevie and also to 1982 for Smileys People, both of which were composed by Patrick Gowers. Why am I mentioning these, well apart from them both being excellent they are now available on digital platforms such as Spotify.
Gowers score for Stevie features the artistry of British guitarist John Williams and contains some beautiful melodies, the soundtrack also features dialogue. The film stars Glenda Jackson, who portrays British poet/author Stevie Smith and focuses upon her life with her beloved aunt through direct dialogue with the audience by Stevie, as well as flashbacks, and narration by a friend.
The movie mainly focuses on her relationship with her aunt, romantic relationships of the past, and the fame she received late in her life. Smileys People is the BBC series, which was the sequel to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Written by John Le Carre, Smileys People, was a six-episode series, in which we see George Smiley Called out of retirement to settle the affairs of a friend. Smiley played by Sir Alec Guinness finds his old organization, the Circus, so overwhelmed by political considerations that it doesn’t want to know what happened. He begins to follow up the clues of his friends past days, discovering that the clues lead to a high person in the Russian Secret Service, and a secret important enough to kill for. Smiley continues to put together the pieces a step ahead or a step behind the Russian killers.
The music by Gowers lent much to the series and was responsible for creating layers and levels of atmospheres and creating a tense and nervous mood within the series. Its good to have both these scores available on digital platforms as the LP releases of both are now hard to come by. Hopefully the composer’s music for the TV series of Sherlock Holmes will also make an appearance on digital outlets. That’s all this time folks…