More scores for your collection released recently and a few you might have missed, (well one at least) again there is a nice mix of symphonic and electronic, with a liberal sprinkling of horror coming out on top. The Tyler Bates and Timothy Williams score for Pearl has been released in full now on digital platforms, and Andrew Scott Bell’s terrific score for Psycho Storm Chaser too is available to stream on the likes of Spotify, with the CD available now from Howlin Wolf Records which contains some nice extras that are not on the digital release.
A soundtrack release has been announced for Hocus Pocus 2, which should be available in November, music is by John Debney who penned the score for the original movie back in 1993. Hocus Pocus 2, premieres on Disney + on September 30th.
Another old horror favourite is also getting a re-boot, as Rob Zombie’s The Munsters will be in cinemas this month just in time for Halloween, when I say a horror it’s not really, it is a bit of fun and from what I have seen could be a popular movie. Music is by Zeuss or Christopher Howard. Who is a producer, guitarist, songwriter, and composer. The soundtrack for The Munsters is available now on digital platforms and comes as a two disc set the first disc being dominated by songs, which are all included in the film even a particularly novel version of I Got You Babe, performed by Lillie and Herman.
The second disc is mainly music from the score but also has snippets of dialogue included, these are very short lived and much like those old Horror music LP records that were released by the likes of the Dick Jacobs orchestra back in the day break up the music tracks nicely.
I found the music for this fun farce enjoyable, with so many references to standard horror film music, take a listen to Dr Wolfgang and the creation of Herman and you will get what I mean. It’s an inventive and clever musical journey which the composer must be congratulated upon as he manages to balance the dramatic and the comedic wonderfully.
Even including the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor at one point and does his own take on that quirky and infectious Munsters theme written by Jack Marshall that many of us (of a certain age) grew up listening to.
The composer also utilizes an arrangement of Also Sprach Zarathustra which was used in 2001 A Space Odyssey, in the track entitled Child of Electricity. Zeuss or Christopher Howard I think pays homage to almost every horror film score that has been written within his soundtrack and some, but he also infuses layers and degrees of originality which range from the tongue in cheek horror sound to the comedic and then to the dramatic and chilling. Although I was not that keen on disc 1, disc 2 certainly made up for it, take a listen recommended. In case you are wondering this is a PG unlike many of Rob Zombie’s other movies which were certainly not child friendly.
Arhynn Descy has produced an affecting soundtrack for the movie Blank which is available via Plaza Mayor on digital platforms. She is a French/South African composer and pianist who divides her time between London and LA. She has written music for feature films, shorts, documentaries, the stage as well as for orchestra and a variety of solo instruments. Blending orchestral and electronic elements, she enjoys bringing different genres and styles together, creating a sound world which is unique to each project. The movie focuses upon a desperate writer who signs up for a fully A.I. operated retreat to cure her writer’s block, but when an unforeseen software glitch occurs, she gets trapped inside her unit with an unstable android and no communication with the outside world. It’s a low budget movie but is an interesting if not rather slow-paced watch.
The music for the sci-fi/drama is a combination of conventional instrumentation and synthetic elements that colour and bring effective atmospheres to the storyline. The composer merges and mixes seamlessly the symphonic and the electronic mediums creating dark and shadowy moments as well as interludes and passages that are melodious and uplifting. The score which runs for just over fifty minutes contains a tense apprehensive air for most of its duration which at key points intensifies, becoming harrowing, and menacing, there are however lilting and haunting sections that do rise to the surface occasionally as in the short-lived cue Running, and A Routine Develops, it is an accomplished and inventive work, which augments and enhances the images and unfolding storyline superbly. Check it out.
Movie Score Media again treat us to a trio of new releases, all from differing genres and all are soundtracks that I am sure you will enjoy. The Automat by Hummie Mann (A much underrated composer) is released as part of the labels Reality Bytes series, the film which is a documentary focuses on the vending machine which was popularized in the 20th century that offered fresh cooked meals in a commissary-style eatery mostly in the United States. It includes contributions from Mel Brooks, Ron Barrett, Elliot Gould and others and is subtly and sensitively scored by composer Mann.
The score contains beautifully thematic compositions which are entertaining as well as supportive, having to them a charming and at times delicate side.
42 Segundos, is biographical drama, in which the Spanish National water-polo team hires that toughest world trainer looking to win the gold medal in the Olympic Games of Barcelona 92. The score is by Oscar Araujo, and is a combination of styles and sounds, the more upbeat sections being thrilling and hard hitting, as with most movies that have sport as their subject the music is at times inspiring and anthem like, check out the cue Match End to see what I mean.
The composer penned the score for the animated movie El Cid in 2003 and was also responsible for the epic sounding scores for the Castlevania video games. His music is always haunting and thematic, and 42 Segundos is no exception.
The third release from MSM is Zeppos Het Mercatorspoor which has music by composer Steve Willaert, this is an exciting and fast paced score for most of its running time with a gentle nod to maybe the 007 movies or even Mission Impossible, it’s that kind of vibe, but also contains a handful of lighter and more melodically based pieces that seem to come from nowhere but are always affecting and welcomed.
Check all three of these new MSM releases on digital platforms, they are all available now.
A composer who has been busy recently is James Cox, he has scored three movies that have been released this year, Pterodactyl, Looks Can Kill, and Six Years Gone, all are available on the likes of Spotify, Amazon and Apple and all three are worth listening to, the composer is classically trained as a pianist and clarinetist and a graduate of the University of Chichester, in Sussex England.
James draws on his background, mixing small ensembles/piano-based palette with an array of electronic and instrumental textures, always working tirelessly to build a distinctive sound for each project. Which he achieves in all the three scores I have mentioned. Pterodactyl in particular is filled with typically action led cues and shady sounding sinister moments which one would expect from a horror soundtrack.
I think my favourite out of the three is Six Years Gone which has to it a more of a melancholy sound and style, but all three you should check out.
Ravens Hollow is new to Shudder and is exclusively streaming there, the basic outline is West Point cadet Edgar Allan Poe and four other cadets on a training exercise in upstate New York are drawn by a gruesome discovery into a forgotten community. With the Name Edgar Allan Poe involved one just knows this is going to be a superior and consuming story, and the producers etc on this have done it justice. It’s totally original and intriguing plot is probably something that you may have witnessed before, but what is attractive about this movie are the various aspects of its plot that are fresh and pristine making it stand out somewhat from other movies or TV shows that have gone down a similar route. It’s a tale that smolders rather than dives straight into the shock and horror, it is a gradual and progressive ascent into something that will certainly send shudders through you and make you gasp and even scream out.
The attention to detail in the settings and the camera work and the overall appearance (including FX) of the movie is tremendous, although at times the acting is a little shaky. The musical score did much to enhance the proceedings at times creating greater tension and adding atmospherics to the plot as it unfolded. Music is by Robert Ellis Geiger, who has fashioned a harrowing but also a subtly sinister sounding work, he also utilises phrases from Lavenders Blue ( “Lavender’s Blue” which is sometimes called “Lavender Blue” an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating to the 17th century). Which opens the recording and has the effect of lulling one into a false sense of security, but the pleasant lilting melody is short lived as the composer introduces a more chilling and sinister sound into the equation a sound and style that then dominates the remainder of the score.
Volume one of the soundtrack is available on digital platforms, it’s an eerie and effectively malevolent sound that the composer has realised, and a score that I think works so well within the context of the film, but as a listening experience away from the images and scenarios maybe not, but this is film music and I have said so many times before the music is to serve the film not to please someone sitting at home listening on a Sunday afternoon. Good score and an interesting movie.
New to Netflix is the miniseries Dahmer Monster:The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, which is a ten part series, It tells the story of what was one of America’s most notorious serial killers, largely told from the point of view of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims, and dives deeply into the police incompetence and apathy that allowed the Wisconsin native to go on a what seemed to be unstoppable killing spree. The series dramatizes at least 10 inOne of America’s most notorious serial killers, largely told from the point of view of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims, and dives deeply into the police incompetence and apathy that allowed the Wisconsin native to go on a multiyear killing spree. The series dramatizes at least 10 instances where Dahmer was almost apprehended but ultimately allowed to walk free. The series also touches on Dahmer the man, who looks like an ordinary guy in the street, clean cut, and on the outside respectful and unassuming, who was on many occasions given a free pass by the authorities including many judges who were lenient when he had been charged with petty crimes. The atmospheric music for the series is the work of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Cave of course is known for his work away from scoring movies but has worked on his fair share of film scores, the music for Dahmer is haunting and at times tormenting, The composers utilising a more electronic and synthetic approach, to underline and support the storyline as it develops. Available on digital platforms.
Fates of the innocent and guilty collide on the night of America’s deadliest rock concert. It could fairly be said that music and rock culture drew one hundred innocent people to their deaths in the Station Night Club Fire. The Guest List is a documentary that explores how that same music and culture became sources of healing and comfort, at least for some, in the years that followed the tragedy. The original score is by composer David James Nielsen, who has fashioned a score that is emotive, stirring, and supportive but never gets in the way or swamps the core purpose of the documentary. His score enhances and gives depth to some of the accounts but allows the story to breathe and be heard. It’s a sensitive piece of scoring that does occasionally burst into a more up tempo and action led (if that’s the correct wording) compositions. It is a soundtrack that is well worth your time and is available on digital platforms.
Composer Nanita Desai has crafted a highly tense score for the BBC one series Crossfire which is although is not about a true-life event does have similarities with several tragic terrorist attacks that have taken place throughout the world. The composer, s music perfectly underlines and compliments the harrowing events of a shooting at an out of the way tourist resort. And focuses upon the guests of the hotel as they attempt to survive the dangerous and violent situation before help arrives. The series is currently airing with all episodes available on the BBC I Player. The soundtrack will be available digitally via Silva Screen Records very soon.
Going back a few years to 20018 for the next score and to a movie that maybe not many people saw, Remi Nobodys Boy, which tells the story of the adventures of young Rémi, an orphan raised by the gentle Madam Barberin. At the age of 10 years, he is snatched from his adoptive mother and entrusted to Vitalis, a mysterious travelling musician. At his side, Rémi begins to learn the harsh life of an acrobat and sings to earn his keep.
Accompanied by the faithful dog Capi and the small monkey Joli-Coeur, his long trip through France involves for meetings, friendships, and collaborations, and leads him to the secret of his origins. The delightful and charming music is the work of composer Romaric Laurence, who created a score that is filled with fragility, emotion and drama, the magical sounding work contains sweeping and driving compositions as well as delicate and marvelously haunting and melodic passages which at times feature the vocals of Thibault Salles.
This is one you should own, if you missed it there is even more reason to acquaint yourself with this poignant and affecting work, available on digital platforms.
From an early age, Romaric Laurence was determined to become a composer of image. Being self-taught on the piano, he preferred to have a solid background in musical computing, which led him to return to the SAE Institute in Paris to train in sound professions. At the age of 20 shortly after the end of the course, he signed with Universal Music as a composer and arranger. The various Universal Music labels asked him to work on several albums by various artists, these included Faudel, Téri Moïse, Stomy Bugsy, and Christophe Willem, to name but a handful. Because of his work on these projects the dream of scoring movies took a back seat but he decided to use all his relationships in the music industry to take his chances in music for cinema and TV. It was by working closely with the synchronization department of Universal Music that he wrote his first scores. To date, he has worked on nearly twenty feature films. Well that’s it for now, see you all next time…