Welcome to the latest edition of Soundtrack Supplement, I hope that you are all well. I start this supplement with a selection of releases from Dragons Domain, who always seem to release not only unusual but interesting items, the soundtracks I am about to review are from their February and March releases, and once again contain a cross section of genres and a wonderful variety of music styles.
Let’s start with one of the titles from March and to a western. The movie No Name and Dynamite opens as we meet the bounty hunting partnership of No Name (Chris Northup) and Dynamite Davenport (Richard Ting) who go their own way to collect the bounties but help each other out when it comes to the more challenging bounties. The movie is a fusion of western styles as in the more traditional that were produced by American studios and hints of the European western produced in Italy, Spain, and Germany during the 1960’s and through to the early 1980’s.
The music is by one of my favourite composers Chuck Cirino, who always manages to come up with scores for relatively low budget movies that contain excellent themes and brilliantly attractive sounding cues which he develops and bolsters to create haunting and memorable pieces of music, that work well in the context of the film and remain effective as standalone music.
This his latest score is no exception to that rule, it is literally overflowing with great themes which pay homage to Ennio Morricone and many other Italian composers who were scoring westerns in Italy back in the day, such as Bruno Nicolai, Nico Fidenco, Piero Piccioni, Francesco De Masi, and Gianni Ferrio. Cirino however, also laces the score with a Hollywood sound and style that includes sweeping strings and brass flourishes that evoke the likes of Jerry Goldsmith (Take a Hard Ride) and Jerry Fielding (The Wild Bunch) to name but two. But it is the Italian influences that shine through with bass guitar, electric guitar, dark sounding piano, echoing percussion, choral performances, and trumpet solos all contributing to the score.
The Main Title theme is reminiscent of Nicolai’s, Dead Men Ride, with dark sounding piano and trumpet, ushering in an electric guitar rift that hooks the listener straight away. There is even a jaunty saloon piano track or two included which in the Italian western score was compulsory or so it seemed. The score contains many of the stock trademarks that were utilized within Italian western scores and has to it a feint jazz influenced style at times akin to the likes of the Piero Piccioni scored Sartana movies, or the music created by composer Gianni Ferrio for the genre both composers standing out as original in their approach to scoring the Italian western. It’s a great score and lots of fun too, well worth checking out and available now via download and also on compact disc. Don’t miss out on this one.
Dragons Domain have also re-issued The Boy Who Could Fly by Bruce Broughton, no new material here but the release also contains other themes penned by the composer, which are given interesting rendition by various artists, these include selections from Silverado, The Blue and the Gray, Ice Pirates, For the Love of Money and Tombstone, and although they are not taken from the original soundtracks are entertaining and showcase the versatility of Bruce Broughton.
Another great release is The Joel Goldsmith Collection Volume 2, which is a formidable collection of themes from three projects scored by Goldsmith jnr. These are Stealth Fighter which is represented by its brief but striking and forthright main theme, and then we are treated to twelve tracks from the score to Rattled which is an all-action affair that only relents from this mode for a few lighter interludes, the score is awash with thematic material and inventive orchestration. And I am sure will become a favourite for many. After this the collection is dedicated to Goldsmith’s score for the pilot episode of the TV series Hawkeye, again very much in the action and adventure zone, filled with powerful themes that are at times overflowing with percussive elements that drive the action along with a commanding pace.
Again, a score that I am sure many will return to many times after the initial listen. The collection is brimming with bristling composition’s and is highly recommended.
The music for the TV series Pasadena has also been released and as with the majority of composer Mark Snow’s work for TV and film is a score worth adding to your collection. The series featured Dana Delany, Alison Lohman, Mark Valley, and Barbara Babcock. Catherine McAllister (Delany) is a mother at the centre of a twisted dynasty. Seen through the eyes of her daughter, Lily (Alison Lohman), the drama reveals the lengths to which a powerful family will go to protect its name. Snow’s music is hauntingly beautiful and wonderfully melodic, purveying, romance, mystery, and apprehension throughout. Again recommended. The release is available via down load only PASADENA – Music From The Television Series | Buysoundtrax
Staying with Dragons Domain and going back to the February releases from the label. There was Atomic Train with music composed and conducted by Lee Holdridge, a no holds barred score for the TV miniseries see’s the composer flexing his musical muscles and creating a tense and dramatic work that is a fusion of the symphonic with the synthetic. This is a powerhouse of a soundtrack, thundering and booming its way through the composer utilising to great effect percussion, brass and driving strings which he further enhances with dark sounding stabs and urgent electronic support. Holdridge sustains a high level of tension and apprehension with his score and adds a greater sense of unease and energy to the storyline. Certainly, worth a listen. ATOMIC TRAIN – Music From The Mini-Series by Lee Holdridge | Buysoundtrax
Next up is a two compact disc set, that contains the soundtrack on disc one and the score on disc two, music is by David Spear and is from the 1984 movie Exterminator 2, the music is I have to say typical of the 1980’s, up-tempo synth tracks that really don’t appeal to me personally but everyone has differing tastes so I am sure that this will be on many collectors wants lists.
The CD is well presented and there are some nice moments within the score, but its all a bit too much Harold Faltermeyer for me.
The Ernest Gold collection vol one is an interesting release and contains music selections from seven movies as scored by Gold. From Smooth as Silk from 1946, Exposed from 1947 to UFO from 1956, and through to Safari 3000 aka Two in the Bush from 1982, plus more. It showcases the talent and versatility of this movie music Maestro. The release has a running time of nearly 80 minutes and is a collection of and themes that will be a rewarding listen for all.
The TV shows of David Attenborough are always interesting and addictive. The Green Planet was a series I adored, giving us an insight into the world of plants. As far as I was concerned this was essential viewing and this alone warranted the BBC license fee. The added bonus whilst watching the series was the majestic, beautiful and affecting musical score which was written by Benji Merrison, and Will Slater, the atmospheric and gloriously thematic soundtrack oozes class and has to it a delicate and fragile persona, the composers utilizing celestial sounding choir alongside strings, woods, brass and percussion to fashion a score that is lush and dramatic. The score will soon be available via Silva Screen in the UK. Its one that you should not miss and if you have not seen the series well, please check it out and be astounded by the way the music brings life and depth to an already fascinating subject matter.
Silva Screen will also release Ian Arber’s music for The Chelsea Detective on March 25th, the Acorn TV production looks set to be a popular one, and composer Arber’s score drenches the production with a mysterious, yet upbeat and apprehensive air. The central character Arnold, whose lifestyle on a battered houseboat in Chelsea’s Cheyne Walk contrasts sharply with the affluent elite whose crimes he helps solve alongside partner D.C. Priya Shamsie, is an addictive watch, one to look out for and the score is another that we at MMI recommend you take a listen to when available.
Composer Phillippe Jakko is in my opinion one of the most talented Maestro’s that is working in film and TV nowadays. His ability to add atmosphere, darkness, light and colour to a movie is second to none. His latest project is scoring the French TV mini-series Ce Que Pauline Ne Vous Dit Pas (What Pauline is not Telling You). The central character Pauline’s ex-husband has just died. He fell from a homemade scaffolding in the garden. Pauline was there when it happened. She called the emergency services, but just a little too late, so everyone suspects her. Even her eight-year-old son is convinced that she is guilty. Facing the justice system, Pauline does not find the right words to defend herself. She has been weakened by years of contempt and daily humiliations.
The examining magistrate quickly identifies a motive and is convinced that Pauline is guilty. What Pauline is Not Telling You, is the story of a woman under the influence of a man, a victim of moral harassment, who, under social pressure and institutional violence seeks to regain her freedom and her desire for life. Jakko’s masterful and atmospheric score is once again an outstanding one, with the composer writing predominately for strings, woodwind, and piano creating tense and nervous compositions that also have to them a degree of melancholy and purvey a sense of hopelessness and a degree of desperation. Saying this the score also conveys a lighter side, with pizzicato strings fashioning a downbeat but somewhat mischievous air.
Available now on digital platforms. Recommended.
Cowboys is from the 2021 movie of the same name the music is the work of composer Gene Back. It’s an incredibly haunting soundtrack, very intimate and totally mesmerizing. The composer utilising a whistler for most of the work which is supported by guitar sensitive percussion and a scattering of strings and synth passages. Cast your mind back to All the Pretty Horses if can, well Cowboys in written in a very similar fashion, add to this a sound that evokes Dee Barton’s theme for High Plains Drifter and there we have it.
Every track is entertaining and as the score progresses and develops the composer adds layers and a variation of sounds and styles to the score. Available on digital platforms, well worth a listen, I found I put it on and left it to play without wanting to skip any of the tracks. Recommended.
La Svolta also gets a release this month and the composer Michele Braga has fashioned a mainly dark and chilling score for this drama directed by Riccardo Antonaroli, that tells the story of Ludovico (Brando Pacitto) and Jack (Andrea Lattanzi), two lonely souls who come across each other. The first, Ludovico, lives in an old apartment, which belonged to his grandmother, where he spends his days holed up within those walls and hidden from the outside world, which he fears too much. The second, Jack, is apparently a strong, determined guy with a rough character, maybe he could be called a “criminal” or maybe it’s just the way he wants to look. The two meet one night, which will give rise to a forced coexistence between them, to discover their respective characters.
Their living together becomes a sort of path of initiation that leads them to adulthood and to know each other, until they grow up to face the harsh realities that will present themselves to them later in life.
Although initially the music is quite dark and brooding, there are a handful of lighter moments in which the composer utilises guitar and light strings to purvey emotive and poignant senses. But the mood of the score is predominantly shadowy and apprehensive, again worth checking out, available on digital platforms. Whilst there please do sample his other scores such as the incredible Freaks Out.
So, onto a score by the incomparable composer Philippe Rombi, it seems that everything that Rombi touches turns to gold, and his most recent score shows no signs of this relenting. Les Temps des Secrets, (The Time of Secrets) is a charming, delicate, and fragile score, the composer creating wonderfully beguiling themes that have to them a touch of the magical that mesmerizes and entrances. It is a richly romantic and emotive work, filled with sumptuous and intimate sounding thematic material, with sweeping strings, beautiful piano, and attractive woods combining to fashion such fine and silk like motifs.
I am of the opinion it is one of the composers best scores over the last five years or so. Remember those piano passages from Ricky, well this not only evokes those but surpasses them in the poignancy and emotional departments, it is an affecting work that is a sheer delight to listen to.
Available on CD and on digital platforms. Highly Recommended.
Harina is a TV series from Mexico and contains an impressive and atmospheric soundtrack by Andres Sanchez Maher and Gus Reyes, I am not sure what it is about the music of these two composers? But for me it is always instantly attractive and in this case in-particular I was immediately struck by the variety and the quality of the music that they had penned for the series.
It has Latin styles that are fused with the dramatic and the mysterious, oozing with apprehension but also the work includes so many infectious sounding upbeat themes. Recommended, available on digital platforms from Plaza Mayor.
Other scores worth checking out include DMZ by the ever-industrious Kris Bowers, The Last Film Show by Cyril Morin, Corro da te by Piernicola di Muro, Lost Luggage by Peter Baert, The Outfit by Alexandre Desplat, Phantom of the Open by Isobel Waller-Bridge, and Bury Your Fish by Roberto Antonio Martinez.
There is also a nice re-issue onto CD of Raymond Leppard, s Alfred the Great which is a score that for many years was very difficult to get your hands on. It is an extremely good score, fully symphonic and in this case has been remastered to yield superb sound by Kritzerland Records, it also includes bonus tracks which are taken direct from the film score.
Leppard’s music was pivotal to the movie and underlined many of the key moments including the realistic battle scenes, it is a work that has everything action, romance and lyrical and affecting interludes. If you have never heard this score now is the time to put that right. That’s all this time.