There seems to be an abundance of new scores for movies and TV out this month and last, one that you might miss if you are not aware of the production and look for the music from it is Paper Birds, this is a short animation movie, which has a stunning soundtrack penned by composer Cyrille Marchesseau,
Now I have been lucky enough to encounter this composer’s uplifting and affecting music before in a movie entitled Gloomy Eyes, which was also an animated short which was released in 2020.
Paper Birds is written in a very similar fashion, with the composer producing delicate and fragile sounding nuances and slightly darker and more edgy compositions which he combines and layers upon each other to create a soundtrack that is totally mesmerizing and fully supportive of the production. The music, the images, and the narration combine seamlessly and beautifully to relate a story that is emotional and poignant. The musical score playing an important part in the storytelling and becoming an integral component of the filmmaking with the composer adding sounds and tone poems like carefully placed brush strokes to which he applies to an already appealing canvas of events that is being rolled out on screen.
The score which is available on digital platforms, has a running time of just under forty minutes, and it looks as if the music is almost continuous within the film when one looks at the duration of the picture. It is a tantalising and haunting score, which is for the most part fully symphonic, certainly worth a listen and adding to your collection, and whilst online checking it out also pay attention to Gloomy Eyes as this is a score I never tire of.
From the big screen to three shows from the small screen. The final season of Better Call Saul wraps up the complicated journey and transformation of its central character, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), into criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. From the cartel to the courthouse, from Albuquerque to Omaha, season six follows Jimmy, Saul, and Gene as well as Jimmy’s complex relationship with Kim (Rhea Seehorn), who is in the middle of her own existential crisis. Meanwhile, Mike (Jonathan Banks), Gus (Giancarlo Esposito), Nacho (Michael Mando) and Lalo (Tony Dalton) are locked into a game of cat and mouse with mortal stakes. Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Better Call Saul has a score that is the work of composer Dave Porter and is now available on all digital platforms from Milan records. Porter steps back to the Breaking Bad universe after having scored the entirety of the original series and its corresponding film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, in what has been a longstanding creative partnership between the composer and series creator Vince Gilligan.
The soundtrack release features music from Seasons 3 through to 5 of the series and will be followed by a final volume of music coming out later this summer in conjunction with the series finale. The score is a mix of styles and sounds and not only works wonderfully with the series but is an exceptional listen as just stand-alone music.
Also released on Milan records and available on digital platforms is the score for Pleasure by Swedish composer Karl Frid. The soundtrack includes a mixture of original vocal tracks and instrumentals all of which are composed by Frid. The Plattform Produktion / NEON drama focuses upon an adult film actress as she finds her way through the complicated and sometimes seedy industry in Los Angeles. Frid’s 16-track album features performances from singer and rapper Mapei and Opera Soprano Caroline Gentelle successfully fluctuates between sacred operatic arias and hardcore at times aggressive sounding hip-hop performances, which would normally be a collision of colours, sounds, and textures, but in this case gel to mirror and underline the conflict at the core of the principal characters journey. It is an inventive score with the composer utilising elements and sounds that he experiments with to great effect.
Director Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature film is a journey into the Los Angeles porn industry through the lens of newcomer Bella Cherry (Sofia Kappel). Strong, self-confident and determined, Bella embarks on a mission to become the best at any cost. Pleasure is written and directed by Thyberg with an outstanding first-time performance by Sofia Kappel, who acts as an anchor to an ensemble of adult industry actors.
Again, this is a score that supports and punctuates the on-screen characters and scenarios but is also a soundtrack that is easily listenable away from those images, becoming a haunting, effecting, and highly entertaining collection of themes and vocals.
Life after Life is a unique series that is now being shown on BBC TV, it’s a delightfully entertaining watch which consists of four episodes, it is wonderfully directed and superbly acted by all members of the cast. It is something that is at last worth watching in a schedule that is sadly nowadays filled with worthless and insignificant shows. The story is one that is deep and meaningful, containing both Philosophical, emotional, and spiritual levels. It tackles the subjects of death, life and the heartache that is caused by both loss and love, and every aspect of a life being lived out. It begins with Ursula Todd dying one night in 1910 before she can draw her first breath. On that same night in 1910, Ursula is born and survives.
The score for the series is by composer Volker Bertelmann, and it is a work that gives life to the series but at the same time underlines the many other emotions of it, these being the sense of loss and also the deeply emotional feelings that are shred and experienced by the series characters. The music is subtle but also effective in its support of the storyline, the composer never flooding or over scoring, but instead being more restrained and because of this approach the music is more affecting and far more supportive. It is filled with unassuming thematic material, by this I mean one can hear the melodies and hints of themes, but they never overwhelm the storyline or dialogue.
The composer making use of strings, and solo piano at times which become mesmerizing.
As for listening to the score away from the series, yes, it is an interesting, low-key affair, but a rewarding experience. Available on digital platforms and worth checking out.
The Last Champion is a movie that was released back in 2020, the score however has just appeared on digital platforms, and it one that warrants your attention. The composer Kazimir Boyle has written glorious, and heroic sounding themes to accompany the storyline which focuses on John Wright, a former championship wrestler and promising Olympian, who is forced to face his past when he has to return to his hometown because of his Mother’s death a place he left in disgrace twenty years earlier. The film is I suppose about second chances and also what we do with those in life. The score combines the heroic and anthem like flourishes with low key and romantically melancholy passages, the composer adding a country style in places via guitar performances.
This I think can be looked upon as like a Rocky or Karate Kid type of score, the music underlining and perfectly punctuating the proceedings and whilst doing this also whips up a triumphant and driving atmosphere which gets the listeners adrenaline pumping. For me there are certain little nods and tributes to composers such as Conti, Horner, and Goldsmith present. Please take a listen to this.
As with anything that is created by Mike Myers, the plot or story is bound to be quirky, unlikely and at times even a little sick. But that’s Mr Myers and to be honest its nice to see him back on the screen even if it’s the small one and streamed. The Pentaverte is a Netflix movie, and has a score by Orbital, which I know many will already be saying Orbital, ok scroll, but just wait. The plot asks the question, what if a secret society of five men has been working to influence world events for the greater good since the Black Plague of 1347?” As the series begins, one unlikely Canadian journalist finds himself embroiled in a mission to uncover the truth and just possibly save the world himself. Remember, The Pentaverate must never be exposed.
Yes, a bit off the wall, oddball etc, but as I have already said its Mike Myers. The score is a delight to honest, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the music, and how Orbital applied the score to the movie, it remains very thematic throughout even in some of the more dramatic sections and the music works so well with the picture. But why am I surprised, ok Orbital are not known for scoring films, but neither were Daft Punk and they did ok with the Tron re-boot a few years back.
What’s that who are Orbital? Well, Orbital are an English electronic music duo from, Kent, in the UK, consisting of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll. The band’s name is taken from Greater London’s orbital motorway, the M25, which was central to the early rave scene during the early days of acid house. Additionally, the cover art on three of their albums showcase stylised atomic orbitals. Orbital have been critically and commercially successful, known particularly for their live improvisation during shows. They were initially influenced by early electro and punk rock and performed on Tomorrow Never Dies for David Arnold, providing an upbeat re-mix of the James Bond theme. The score for The Pentaverate, is fully electronic, which one would expect, but it still has to it real thematic qualities, with Orbital getting the balance just right throughout creating solid cues that enhance and support. Take a listen to the track Skip Arrives, now this could be a look into the future, when Orbital score their own Bond adventure, and, the track The Box 3, which certainly goes into the musical territory of Italian Giallo.
The score is on digital platforms and has a duration of over an hour boasting fifty tracks. Inventive and totally entertaining, worth a listen.
The Apple TV show Roar offers an insightful, poignant, and at times comical slanted portrait of what it means to be a woman today. Featuring a unique blend of magical realism, familiar domestic and professional scenarios, and futuristic worlds, the eight stories mirror the dilemmas of ordinary women in accessible yet surprising ways. How they emerge from their respective journeys and to the resiliency that exists within themselves, and with all women. The music is composed by Isobel Waller- Bridge, who’s score is affecting and effective.
I love the intimacy of the music in places, it is filled with melodic and attractive airs, at times sounding classical and romantic, but also has to it slightly dark connotations and more contemporary styles.
So, a varied and highly listenable score. The soundtrack is on digital platforms, with a handful of her other works for film and TV, Munich the Edge of War being one of them which is another recent score from her. Go take a listen, ASAP.
The Other Side of Darkness is an action-adventure film about a young woman’s journey of self-discovery and the inner strength to overcome even the most challenging of obstacles. Set against the backdrop of America’s largest electrical blackouts, sixteen-year-old Taylor Jo receives a mysterious birthday gift that leads her and her friends on an adventurous collision course towards a plot to dismantle the countries power grid.
Music for this adventure is by composer Niklas Wempe, and I am probably totally wrong when I say this is a symphonic score, as nowadays one can never be sure how music for film is realised, samples and electronic elements being so polished and developed. All I know is how much I enjoyed the score, its relentless in its style and sound with its rich melodic and driving musical persona adding much to the impact of the movie.
At times I was reminded of Brian Tyler, because the music becomes so grandiose, with the composer making effective use of brass and strings, this could be a score for a big blockbuster such as a new Marvel movie, it has to it a stature and sound that is compelling, powerful and commands that you listen.
Plus, it has so many pieces that are intimate and romantic sounding, and an interesting take on the song Country Roads which is interwoven into a cue entitled The Bridge and a welcome surprise, as in “What is that tune” what I am saying is this is highly recommended. Go listen.