As the year draws to a close here is the final review column of 2022, although its had its downs and low lows the year did bring so many great film scores and re-releases. Have a Happy 2023.
Kamakuradono no 13-nin (13 Lords of the Shogun) is a Japanese TV series, which is Set in late 12th and early 13th century in Japan, and focuses upon Hōjō Yoshitoki who with his sister Masako, help Minamoto no Yoritomo establish the shogunate in Kamakura. The Hōjō family eventually consolidate their power as hereditary regents. A historical drama that is filled with intrigue and action, it is an epic production that is shown in thirty-one episodes. Music for this compelling tale is by composer Evan Call, who is an American composer that is based in Japan. He has composed music for multiple anime series such as Tokyo ESP, Violet Evergarden, and Appare-Ranman! Call is affiliated with the Japanese agency Miracle Bus and was previously a member of the group Elements Garden. The music he has penned for the series is richly thematic and grandiose, with beautiful tone poems scattered throughout.
These lighter and romantic moments combine with and lead into sweeping action cues that are filled with brass flourishes and proud sounding compositions performed by strings and enhanced and supported by percussion and even more brass.
There are at times shades of Jerry Goldsmith, with the richness of the themes as written by the likes of Korngold and the enchanting and delicate and touching emotion of Hisaishi present at times. This is a sprawling and affecting musical work that can easily be listened to away from any images, it is a golden age score realised in contemporary times with the emphasise upon the thematic, it is a work that I recommend that you listen to, I cannot see how any film music fan cannot be inspired and affected by this wonderful soundtrack. Grand, lavish, lush, heartrending, luxurious, and entertaining. Available now on digital platforms.
As is When the Robbers Came to Cardomamom Town or Three Robbers and a Lion, which has a great score by Norwegian composer Gaute Storaas, this delightful, animated feature focuses upon three thieves Kasper, Jesper and Jonathan who live together with their always hungry lion in the little town of Kardemomme, the home to a fair but kind police officer, and the strict Aunt Sofie.
It’s a family fun affair that has been scored with much sensitivity by the composer, but as with all of his scores contains some beautiful and entertaining music, the composer mixing fragile sounding themes with comedic cues and action led passages, again it’s a score I recommend to you with no reservations, it is a work that I am confident you will return to many times after your initial listen. Available on the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Spotify, enjoy.
Rene Aubry is a composer that we associate with the world of animation, his scores for animated shorts such as The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Super worm, Zog, The Snail and the Whale, Stick Man, and Room on the Broom etc, are a sheer joy to listen to and to hear within the films.
The composer adding punctuation, atmosphere, and comedy via his enchanting, hypnotic and uncomplicated music. One of his recent scores is for The Smeds and the Smoos, in which the composer employs vocals to enhance the action on screen, its an effective score and works so well with the images and is integral to the unfolding storyline. You can see the short on BBC I Player and the score is available on digital platforms; it may have a short running which is just twenty minutes, but it is sweet.
The composer exploring and purveying so many emotions effectively. Whilst there check out his other scores.
Staying with animation and to a film that was shown over the Christmas period on the BBC, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse, is another delightful tale aimed at children of all ages, and is probably going to be a regular at Christmas time like other tales such as The Snowman, etc. A young boy searches for home, and along the way he encounters a brave and friendly mole, a hungry and ill-tempered fox, and a worldly-wise horse. It was I think a spellbinding viewing experience, a running time of just thirty minutes but within that half an hour there are so many emotions, a story that is about hope and optimism, with something for everyone.
It’s a tale of adventure, friendship, and its fun too, the heart-melting story has I have to say been hyped by the BBC and rightly so, it’s just what we needed at Christmas time, something that is gentle, endearing, and poignant.
With the voices of so many stars including Tom Hollander as the Mole, Idris Elba as the Fox and Gabriel Byrne as the Horse. The score is the work of Isobel Waller-Bridge, who has written an incredibly sensitive and emotional work to accompany the images and the storyline.
It’s an unassuming score that for the most part is performed by strings with piano, the composer adding delicate and wistful nuances to the proceedings, caressing the scenarios and the characters rather than underlining them, the score is wonderfully effective and although it is quite low key also has its powerful and impacting moments. Listen to the cue Home and I dare you not to shed a little tear, it is magical. The music is available now on digital platforms, recommended as is the film. Its on I Player.
To a game score now and composer Christopher Young, who has provided the music for The Monkey King the Adventure Begins, the composer writing powerful, driving, and striking themes for the project. A brief score of just under forty minutes, but forty minutes of Chris Young excellence, pounding percussion, rasping brass, sharp ad driving strings, choir, and flyaway woods all combine to create a score that is breathtakingly brilliant. Worth a listen and its on Spotify.
Håkan has a babysitter, Amanda – the world’s most boring one according to him – and he has to run home where he can attend a very important computer game competition. But Håkan is suddenly eye to eye with both burglars and ostriches. That is the synopsis of the movie Hakan Brakan, which is a 2022 family movie, that has elements of The Goonies and Home Alone, It’s an adventure story, which is on fast forward for most of its running time, as is its bouncy, punchy and energetic sounding score, music is by Jonas Wikstrand who provides a soundtrack that is relentless the composer evoking the work of Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, Dave Grusin and John Williams within his score.
One of the many themes does have a resemblance to The Fratelli Theme from The Goonies, plus there are little touches here and there that pay homage to Williams Home Alone scores, whilst also having to it a swashbuckling style and sound as in think Pirates of the Caribbean, and references that remind one of Beetlejuice, and we even get a big band sound that could easily be out of any of the OSS movies, it’s a big slice of high energy fun which is very entertaining. Take a listen, it’s on digital platforms.
Kurt (Til Schweiger) and Lena (Franziska Machens) move in together into an old house outside the city that is in need of renovation in order to be closer to Kurt’s six-year-old son, little Kurt (Levi Wolter), and ex-wife Jana (Jasmin Gerat). But before their patchwork family happiness can really begin, little Kurt is killed in an accident – leaving behind three adults who don’t know how to live with the tragic loss. Lieber Kurt, is directed by Til Schweiger and has a score by composer Martin Todsharow. The music is light and for the most part filled with lilting melodies, the composer utilising a minimalist approach, with delicate and fragile sounding pieces being heard throughout the score. Piano being utilised in most tracks, giving the work a melancholy but attractive sound.
It’s a score that has themes, but these are slight and touched upon, for me it evoked the style of Thomas Newman, affecting and haunting. Released on digital platforms via Movie Score Media this is the final release of 2022 for the label, but I know they have some great soundtracks lined up for the coming year. And that’s it for now so until next time (next year) bye for now….