We start this look at another batch of soundtrack releases with the score for The Boat, music by Fabrizio Mancinelli which has just been released on Plaza Mayor Publishing. This tense thriller, which is directed by Alessio Liguori, (In the Trap, Report 51) contains a striking and effervescent soundtrack, which is a fusion of both conventional instrumentation and electronic elements, I personally love the way in which the score moves with ease from downbeat and dramatic passages into haunting and affecting interludes that are a combination of romantic and melancholy.
There are throughout the score short lived but highly effective up-tempo pieces which are not too up-beat but have enough content to create a rhythm and gain the attention of the listener, we also hear a voice throughout in various cues that is affecting and adds much to the overall sound that has been created by the composer. It is also here within the more rhythmic interludes that we hear the thematic properties of the score come to the surface, but this can also be said of the more subdued sections where the composer utilizes cello, solo violin, and strings. At times the style employed, and the sound realized evoked the work of Morricone in movies such as Crossing the Line, In the Line of Fire and to a certain extent Bloodline as the music although at times atonal and threatening remains thematic.
Being a thriller there are also many levels of darkness conveyed within the score, at times these being slight but because they are subtle become even more unsettling, another reminder of the way in which Morricone scored movies adding layers of tension with music that is unassuming but working wonderfully to create moods and atmospherics. Overall, The Boat is a score that you should be checking out.
From a thriller to something more seasonal in the form of the fourteen-part Swedish TV series Kronprinsen som försvann in which we see the young Crown Prince Carl Wilhelm being made to flee the royal castle when his mother the Queen disappears. He meets a poor peasant girl Hilda who helps him assume a false identity as an orphanage boy.So he will remain safe. This is a delightful tale and one that will fit perfectly into the Christmas line up of movies, an adventure that is just right for family viewing.
Music is by composer Jonas Wickstrand who says he has been driven by passion from early childhood and is constantly inspired to evoke emotion through unique sounds and original music. Jonas started playing the violin at age of three and started composing music at six, and has since then been working in tons of musical directions. From working with large symphonies to producing Grammy winning rock bands, the composer has created a very diverse discography throughout the years and works in sound design.
His score for Kronprinsen som försvann is as charming and delightful as the film itself, the composer mixing sounds and styles to fashion a score that serves the TV series well and has the bonus of being entertaining as stand-alone music. Available on digital platforms.
After old enemies kill his family, a former mafia enforcer and his feisty daughter flee to Milan, where they hide out while plotting their revenge. This is simple but brooding and powerful storyline is for the 2022 movie My Name Is Vendetta which is currently showing on Netflix. The score by composers Giorgio Giampa and Marta Lucchesini is a high-octane work with very little respite throughout, mainly realised via synthetic or electronic instrumentation, it is a relentless and driving work that encompasses all levels of tension, anxiety, and apprehension. The music adding layers and levels of these emotions and at the same time underlining the action as well as adding more intensity to an already entertaining storyline.
Think Taken meets Jason Bourne and that is the style employed here. The soundtrack is released on digital platforms via Plaza Mayor Publishing and has a running time of just over thirty minutes.
Mothers of the Revolution is a fascinating documentary that focuses its attention upon first-hand accounts by the women who took part at Greenham Common demonstrations which is presented alongside the tv footage and newspaper articles from that time. The feature length documentary covers much more than just the protests and gives viewers plenty of food for thought. Presented thoughtfully and without sensationalism, a real treat for anyone that relishes social history.
The musical score is by Lachlan Anderson, who has written a score that enhances and supports without being intrusive or overbearing, the music is symphonic (or at least it sounds that way) which is unusual these days for a documentary as many do not have budgets that can stretch to have a score with live players. This is an excellent work and one that has made me want to seek out more of this obviously talented composer’s scores, some of which are available on the likes of Spotify, Tubula Rasa, and 6 Days, being two titles, I think you may enjoy. Mothers of the Revolution I totally recommend and is available now from Movie Score Media on digital platforms.
Deep inside the mountain of Dovre in Norway, something gigantic awakens after being trapped for a thousand years. Destroying everything in its path, the creature is fast approaching the capital of Norway Oslo with city-dwellers struggling to stop something they thought existed only in Norwegian folklore. Troll is a 2022 production that is showing now on Netflix.
I found it quite a predictable but at the same time an enjoyable yarn, with good Fx and a commanding soundtrack by Johannes Ringen who gets straight into things by utilizing elements of Edvard Greig’s Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt, which is something surely that everyone is familiar with.
The composer weaving the piece into many of the action cues from the score, but not in a way that it is a full-blown rendition of the compositions, he takes little snatches and flourishes here and there and incorporates these along the way, and before you realize the moment is over but it is something familiar for one to latch onto. It’s a dramatic and the same time brooding work, the composer combining symphonic and synthetic to realise a driving and tense atmosphere. The music adds much to the films storyline and perfectly enhances the vastness of the mountainous terrain of Norway, Ringen has fashioned a score that punctuates and underlines creating even more drama and tension as the story progresses. He also provides the movie with a heroic sounding theme that has to it an anthem like martial style which reminded me of the style of Jerry Goldsmith.
The final track on the soundtrack release entitled The End is a driving and powerful composition, played over the end sequence, with the composer again bringing in elements of Greig as we see into the cave where the Troll had come from, its one of those endings’ guys, is this really the end, somehow I don’t think so. Available on digital platforms it’s an interesting soundtrack which I think you will return to many times after your initial listen.
Set in the year of 1850, the 24 part Danish TV series Julehjertets Hemmelighed, (The Secret of the Christmas Heart) concentrates upon the soon-to-be teenager 12-year-old Karen who has to start as a maid at the nearby manor house. But turning 13 also means she can no longer see her best friend and protector of the manor, the goblin Rumle. Therefore, Rumle and Karen are tempted to create a magical Christmas heart together, so that they will be friends forever anyway. But suddenly all kinds of mysterious things and accidents start happening at the manor. December will be a magical adventure and a great experience for Karen, where she must save Rumle from the evil Lars Ravn, try to change the Christmas heart so that the manor can return to where it was before the Christmas heart was created and at the same time to take care of her new job. But Karen also must realize that she is the one who must let go of Rumle before everything can be okay again.
The enchanting family adventure is scored by composer Nicklas Schmidt, who back in 2019 wrote a wonderful score for Finding Home and in 2018 created a score that everyone should own for the film Becoming Astrid. His music for The Secret of the Christmas Heart is every bit as charming and delicately haunting as these two earlier works, it is overflowing with a fragile and at the same time romantic, melancholier that grabs the listeners attention immediately, there is within this score a rich and truly magical content that pulls at the heart strings with moments of drama and darkness also present, it is an inspiring fully symphonic work that is brimming with a rich and vibrantly attractive sound, a score that is bursting with mischief, love and at times apprehension.
This is an incredibly lush and entrancing score that is available now on digital platforms.
Manana es Hoy (Tomorrow is Today) is a Spanish film in which a family go on holiday in 1991 and whilst on the holiday their teenage daughter decides to elope with her boyfriend. Her parents then travel forward in time to 2022 and see how much Spain has changed in three decades. Interesting? Well could be I suppose sadly not been able to see the movie, but it is I am told coming to Netflix, (badly dubbed again I am guessing). The score is an upbeat one with numerous pop laced pieces throughout, the central theme I thought sounded a little like some of the cues in Cherry 2000 the sci-fi film that was scored by Basil Poledouris back in 1987.
Its an electronic work but a pleasant enough one, the composer Juanjo Javierre (Amugan, La Caza Tramuntana) providing the movie with an abundance of up-tempo and dance orientated instrumentals that are easy enough on the ear. It’s a score that one does not really have to think about, its not grandiose or overly romantic etc, but it’s fun, which is something that we really do need these days.
Another new Netflix production is Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which you can catch now on the streaming channel. Music is by Isabella Summers, it’s a nice enough score, but for me it sounds a little too fabricated as in the instrumentation sounds electronic although there are string sections to the work, are they real strings I cannot make up my mind with this score, although at times they do kind of sound authentic. It’s an odd sounding work, with rather unusual segues at times shifting from a tremolo string section abruptly into a solo guitar and then back to a string quartet style of performance.
I found it very difficult to become immersed in this and stay focused, but reviews as we know are a personal thing, and that’s my opinion, however you might love it, the music is available on digital platforms, so why not take a listen. The composer recently worked on another Netflix production The Devil in Ohio and the Paramount + production The Offer, which I have to say I liked a lot.
As Christmas approaches so does His Dark Materials series 3, which starts on the BBC on December 18th, music again is by the composer Lorne Balfe, again this is a personal opinion, I find his music cliched and rather dull and uninspired. Although there are moments within this release that I did think were worth a repeat listen. I can’t help it but his music just irritates me, and I am of the opinion he is no more than a Zimmer clone. That’s all on that one apart from its released-on Silva Screen.
Another release on Silva Screen is Dr Who series 13-Eve of the Daleks which has an incredible score by Segun Akinola, I was sad when it was announced that Murray Gold was departing Dr Who, but I am confident that the series and its music are in the safe hands of this brilliant composer who I think brought much to the ongoing series and will I hope continue to do so as the new series begins. The score in this series I thought was outstanding, and for anyone who is still displaying that snobbery by saying this is TV music, well yes, your right but its quality TV music and is in many ways more impacting and also of a greater superiority than many of the scores that are coming out of Hollywood these days.
To horror now and the movie A Wounded Fawn, in which a serial killer brings an unsuspecting new victim on a weekend getaway to add another body to his ever-growing count. She’s buying into his faux charms, and he’s eagerly lusting for blood. What could possibly go wrong? Music or musical sounds and soundscapes are provided by VAAL who is a DJ/producer, VAAL occupies a strange middle ground between solitude and dance floor communion; transmitting emotional depth, captivating rhythms and entrancing narratives from the depths of her studio. Proof that the power of music is sometimes all you need, VAAL’s mission is slowly taking shape and there is no doubt she will achieve everything she sets her sights on.
The score for A Wounded Fawn is different I have to say, its certainly more soundscape than soundtrack as in musical, although there are a handful of moments that do break into something that is vaguely thematic, it’s a largely sound based work as opposed to a melodic one, but its effective and at key points within the score I did think that she created disturbing and fearsome interludes that the likes of Joseph Bishara or Mark Korven might be proud of.
It’s a difficult listen, but it might be of interest, available on digital platforms.
Now’s the season to be jolly unless of course on Christmas Eve, you just happen to be a widow who casts a spell to resurrect her executed husband. However, when the spell goes wrong, the husband is brought back as an Evil Christmas Tree and is hell-bent on getting revenge on the one who caused his execution. Really? Yes really, The Killing Tree or The Demonic Christmas Tree, as it is entitled in various territoriesis not to be confused with The Singing Ringing Tree, because it’s more like a slashing strangling tree. All set to deck the halls with arcs of blood this yuletide, so you better watch out you better hide because the Norwegian spruce is going to get you.
The score for this somewhat off the wall production is the work of composer James Cox who throws in a fair few sleigh bells along the way to lighten or maybe add pathos to the overall mood of the movie. Cox I think is one of the busiest composers in the business at the moment, as he seems to be working on so many films but invariably produces a good solid soundtrack. I quite like the score for The Killing Tree, as it is not only a dark and ominous sounding musical affair it also has to it a lighter and black comedic side. Available on digital platforms now.
In the days after seeing Andrea Morricone conduct a celebration of his Father’s music at the O2 I decided to take a look at some of the scores that Andrea has composed, of course we all know his collaboration with his Father on movies such as Cinema Paradiso, Il Quatro Re, and Ultimo plus his stunning original work on the Barry Levinson movie Liberty Heights comes to mind immediately, but there are a few which I think are deserving of a mention and these are available on digital platforms so its easier for you to sample them. I am thinking of examples such as La Donna del Domenica which was a TV movie that was released in 2011, and not to be confused with the movie of the same name that was in cinemas back in 1975 as scored by Ennio Morricone. L’Industriale, Raul (Diretto di Uccidere), Ciao America, to name but a handful.
I think out of all his cinematic works Liberty Heights is the score I favour more than any other, with La Donna Del Domenica coming a close second. Both scores are on Spotify and I recommend that you take a listen if you have not already done so. We often think of Andrea Morricone as a conductor, but it is evident via scores such as those I have mentioned, that he is a talented and innovative composer.
Our next release is also from an Italian composer, La Guerra e il Sogno di Momi-Contemporary Music for Segundo Chomons Silent Movies. Which is available now on many digital outlets via Da Vici Classics. This is an interesting album as it displays just how music is utilized within silent films and is brought to life superbly by composer Michele Catania, who not only wrote the music but also performs piano and synths on the recording alongside a handful of other highly talented musicians, its an album I enjoyed immensely the composer creating unique sounding passages for films that were originally shown over a hundred years ago.
The composer bringing to fruition melodic, harmonic, and emotive sounding pieces that work wonderfully supporting and enhancing images that are flickering up on the silver screen. There are I feel gentle nods to maybe the work of Nino Rota in places, it has that aura about it. On listening it becomes apparent that the music is working its magic upon the listener as I was drawn in and became totally immersed in the drama the romance and the mystery that it conveyed. I recommend that you take a listen its something special.
Givers of Death or (G.O.D.) is an apocalyptic tale of redemption. It concentrates upon the journey of a man, a detective, and an entire city’s quest for peace. The man seeks peace through atonement, the detective decides to look for it through revenge and the city via resolution. The film explores whether peace can be attained when one exists in a stare of constant chaos, be this in real life or within the mind and subconscious.
The score by Christy Carew is an atmospheric one that is predominantly electronically driven, with performances here and there from live players the composer creating layers of sound and adding textures and colours which enhance and punctuate the action on screen, its not what I would call a full on thematic work, far from it as it is most subtle in its approach but it is effective and works for the movie, adding greater depth and creating more dimensions, levels of tension and drama as the storyline progresses. Interesting stuff. Its on Spotify now.
After staging a bank robbery, a motley band of outlaws hide out in a remote town to decide their next move when they’re suddenly confronted by a race of humanoid creatures known as Tommyknockers revived from a local gold mine.
The outlaws decide to join forces with the surviving towns people to survive and fight the creatures. and must band together with the remaining townsfolk to survive. The Night of the Tommyknockers is probably not one of the better movies released this year, which is a shame because the composer is Scott Glasgow who always produces brilliant scores, and this assignment is certainly no exception, its just a shame that the only real good thing about the film is the score, which is way superior to anything that is being acted out (I use the word acted very loosely) on screen. Glasgow’s score encompasses a variety of styles and works its way through Italian western sounds into gut wrenching, tense and harrowing horror music that is filled with driving and yet thematic compositions. The score is great the movie well, maybe just stick to listening to the music.
Roque Banos has fashioned a suitably taught and mysteriously addictive score for La Piel del Tambor, which I think has a Herrman-esque quality and appeal to it, the thriller which is entitled The Man from Rome in several countries, follows a computer hacker who penetrates Vatican security and sends an urgent anonymous plea to the pope. Father Quart, of the church’s Institute of External Affairs, an arm of the Vatican intelligence, is dispatched to investigate.
The message of the hacker concerns a crumbling 17th century Baroque church in the heart of Seville that apparently “Kills to defend itself”. “James Bond meets The Da Vinci Code” in this polished and entertaining piece of cinema. Banos has created a score is steamy, seductive, and tense, and one that contains enticing and beguiling tone poems that include some accomplished and beautiful solo guitar pieces. Recommended.