Hello and welcome to another soundtrack supplement. I hope you are all well and have been keeping the faith and adding to your soundtrack collections. There are a variety of scores hitting the shelves and the online sores and streaming platforms this month. And I am very pleased to say that there are certainly a lot more good titles than not so good. (we do not say bad). Let’s start with a series that is now in its third season on Netflix, Locke and Key, which has music by composer Torin Borrowdale, the soundtracks for the previous seasons have been glorious and the music for season three is I think probably some of the best yet. For a TV series it does have a grandiose and epic sound about it and the catchy theme helps a great deal as it opens and closes each episode with its haunting and quirky sounds.
Maybe I am imagining it but the music for season three seems to sound even grander than both seasons one and two put together, with its sweeping and lush thematic material, the composer infusing a touch of melancholy at times via lilting strings and also adding a romantic and affecting mood with solo piano that is in turn embellished by the string section.
But as per usual there is a sense of mystery purveyed by the music and some driving and exciting action cues present. Like season one and two I again wholeheartedly recommend season three’s music.
Staying with TV and to Hulu, who have produced Prey a Predator spin off that pre-dates the blood-soaked encounter we first saw back in the 1980s, with Arnie and his posse getting torn apart in the jungle. This time the encounter with the alien life form is set three hundred years ago in what was once the Northern great plains region of America, this time the Predators are pitted against a worthy adversary, because at the time, this was the home of one of the most fearsome, brave and proud tribes of Native Americans, who were known for their fearsome and warlike nature, the Comanches.
The excitement about this fifth in the Predator series has been building since the first trailer was screened back in early June, and as this will now be screened straight to Disney + the audiences will I am guessing be young and many. Although saying this if you are a fan of the franchise and the original movie, I am sure the kids wont mind if you peek.
The atmospheric and driving score is the work of Sarah Schachner, who is already known for her contributions to the Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty video games. As in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Unity and Origins, and Call of Duty, Infinite War and Modern Warfare. Prey contains a score that is a mix of conventional and electronic instrumentation.
What I loved about the score was that it is not only unusual but is never predictable, it keeps the listener on their toes as it were, filled with surprises and certainly overflowing with inventive and innovative musical notions, that encompass ethnic sounding styles and voices that are awash with thickly atmospheric textures and colours. Plus, there are driving and more action led interludes that are striking and commanding. The music at times underlining and elevating the sense of desperation that the central character must be feeling.
This is a very interesting work, with orchestration that is fresh and imaginative, and at times complex. The composer purveying a sense of the wide-open spaces with synth and strings creating lilting melodies and dark ominous sounding soundscapes that ooze with an unnerving and relentless air of the unknown. Check out the film on Disney + its well worth watching and the score is available on digital platforms.
As is the music for Cartas Para Axel, which is written by accomplished composer Roman Molino Dunn. The film which is a short has a delightful score, which although is just fifteen minutes in duration, certainly manages to raise any listeners level of interest with its wonderfully melodic and delicate sounding themes.
The film focuses upon a successful writer who falls in love with a man he continuously meets in his dreams, distorting his sense of reality, forcing him to make an impossible decision. The composer has underlined, punctuated and I feel ingratiated the film with his beautiful score, which is filled with emotion and romanticism. Well worth a listen.
Next up is Elder Scrolls Online:High Isle, the game, which has a score by Brad Derrick. This is an epic and thunderously thematic score, gloriously anthemic and unashamedly romantic, overflowing with emotion, and brimming with grand and driving battle themes, it is a must have for any fan of the likes of Conan, Masters of the Universe, or Beastmaster etc. There, is a wealth of colourful and robust music here, and a plethora of wonderfully inspiring themes to savour, highly recommended.
Marta and Roland live a modest and comfortable countryside life with their young son Nathan. But when the Albanian itinerant worker Valmir enters the family’s life, their world tips out of balance. The cerebral Roland hires the unpolished, taciturn, Valmir to renovate the place, and it doesn’t bother him at first that Marta feels drawn to the young man. At the same time as Valmir gets on with the job, he also pushes increasingly more into the family’s everyday life.
He seems to be tied particularly to the young Nathan in a special way. Soon Marta is forced to realize that she and Valmir are connected by a secret that brings not only her marriage but also their entire existence in danger. That is the plot for the 2022 German drama Geborgtes Weiss or Borrowed White.
The score is a brooding one, it contains some beautiful moments but for most of the time it is underlining a tense drama and heightens the drama and accentuates the apprehensive and uncertain mood throughout. Music is by Frans Bak, who utilises strings and solo violin and cello alongside synthetic support to arrive at a sound that is tantalising and edgy. An accomplished score, and one I enjoyed. Available on the likes of Spotify.
South America, 1960. A lonely and grumpy Holocaust survivor Polsky convinces himself that his new neighbour is none other than Adolf Hitler. Not being taken seriously, he starts an independent investigation to prove his claim, but when the evidence still appears to be inconclusive, Polsky is forced to engage in a relationship with the enemy to obtain irrefutable proof. My Neighbour Adolf is a dramatic, comedy directed by Leon Pruvdosky and stars Udo Keir, David Hayman and Danharry Colarado, with a great score by composer Lukasz Targosz who last year scored the Netfix film All my Friends are Dead and recently worked on the TV series Oldwilz. The score for My Neighbour Adolf is just a fun soundtrack, the composer utilising traditional Yiddish instrumentation, which he cleverly uses to create tense but at the same time mischievous and comedic interludes and themes.
It’s a soundtrack that you will put on and as soon as it has come to an end will want to listen to all over again. Its light but at the same time can project a serious and melancholy ambience. Which is displayed wonderfully in the track Can he be my Friend? Which uses solo piano in light mood initially, then moves into a darker more tense mood, but soon returns to an emotive and sad theme with the piano being supported by oboe, until that is the composer adds to the proceedings a more martial sound, which brings the cue to its abrupt conclusion. It’s a great score, that conveys so many emotions. Well worth a listen, available on digital platforms.
Netflix seem to be unstoppable of late with so many movies and series being streamed it is at times hard to keep up. The Sandman is one such series, based on the visionary author Neil Gaiman’s story in the dc comic books this is an impressively dark series and something that you must-see. A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead.
Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power.
See told you, you’re going to love it, the music for season one is by accomplished and talented composer David Buckley although this is a rather complex score, it is quite low key in many places and it is this subtle but simmering style that I think makes the music work so well within the series. It does however also contain a scattering of sweeping and melodic anthem like themes. Again, available on digital platforms, check it out.
Brett Aplin is an Australian composer who I must confess I have not really looked at before until recently thanks to Randall Larson, because he mentioned two of the composers scores in his soundtrack column recently, and if Randall likes his music that’s good enough for me. The two scores I focused upon were from the children’s TV series The Bureau of Magical Things, which I was hooked on straight away from the opening bars of music, both scores (seasons one and two) are available on digital platforms, but sadly no CD release as yet, the music has to it an instant appeal, with striking melodies and wistful and sweeping interludes that evoke the styles of Broughton, Goldsmith, Horner and Williams.
When I started to listen to the score’s I got a feeling that I had when I first heard soundtracks such as Hocus Pocus, or The Witches of Eastwick, the music being highly expressive and filled with mischievous undertones, well it is a series about kids with magical powers, so why not?
These are soundtracks that any film music fan would be proud to have in their collection, and whilst you are there checking out the mystical and sparkling music of The Bureau of Magical Things, why not also take a listen to the composers other scores as there is a wealth of great music there.
Thirteen Lives is the latest movie from director Ron Howard, it is the true story of a group of boys who along with their football coach became trapped in underground caves when they flooded. Music for this tense drama is the work of Benjamin Wallfisch, who has created a work that is a combination of both synthetic and symphonic sounds, with the composer also making effective use of female voice at key points within the score. Available now on digital platforms.
Steve Jablonsky is a composer I have always liked, and I have always found something within his scores that I latch onto, whether this be a lilting melody or a big full blown action cue. His recent score for DC League of Super Pets is no exception, in fact I love every track, its heroic and driving thematic and uplifting.
In fact, its everything a superhero score should be and more. Yes, it’s an animated feature so the composer I guess can get to be even more grand, melancholy, and well animated! If you know what I mean, its just a fun score, and I warn you an addictive listen. Check it out now on digital platforms.
Going back a few years now to 2019, and the BBC TV production of The War of The Worlds, which had an excellent score by composer Russ Davies. The series ran for three episodes and was a popular in the UK at least. Although the score is not your typical sci-fi score (if there is such a thing as typical when discussing Sci-Fi). It contains some outstanding moments that support and enhance the production greatly, with the composer going in the main for a synth-based work that is surprisingly subtle but also effective. Ok it’s probably not the best score to listen to as just music but in the series, it worked marvellously, underlining but never overpowering.
The score is I notice on digital platforms, I say I notice as it was probably there before, but I was not looking for it, so there is such a thing as happy accidents. Check it out along with a couple of his other scores which are also available.
There are a few things coming soon in the way of TV series Prime video will air The Lord of the Rings–The Rings of Power in late September with a score that’s sounds gloriously ethereal and majestic by Bear McCreary, and Disney + will air Star Wars–Andor, also in September which has a much-anticipated soundtrack penned by the multi-talented Nicholas Brittel who has just finished scoring duties on She Said the American made drama.
Matthew Margeson, (one half of the Kingsman music team) is scoring Star Wars-young Jedi Adventures an animated series from Lucas Films, which is due for release on Disney + in 2023.
Andrea Morricone will conduct a programme of his Fathers film music at the 02 in London on November 28th 2022. Andrea Morricone Conducts Ennio Morricone | The O2 And the renowned LSO are in action at the Royal Albert Hall, for The Return of the Jedi concert on September 23rd through to the 25th, Return of the Jedi | Royal Albert Hall
Until next time… keep well and stay safe.