The score for War Trap is one of the latest releases from Plaza Mayor and is available on digital platforms. The music is by composer DavidAboucayawho also wrote and directed the moviehas fashioned a score that is a fusion of both electronic and symphonic as in conventional instrumentation. It’s a brooding work in places with small chinks of light and melody scattered throughout. The music relaying many emotions that include apprehension and fear plus it manages to purvey a feeling that can only be described as claustrophobic.
Set during the Second World War, War Trap takes place after an ambush that has been carried out in a fort by German troops. Eugen, a French soldier, finds himself trapped underground and fighting for his survival. His destiny is charted alongside that of another survivor, with both having to find the energy to disentangle themselves from certain death, whilst remaining unaware of the terrible battle that awaits them on the outside.
The music which is varied and superbly placed successfully underlines and enhances the storyline as it is conveyed on screen. The composer never overpowering or swamping the narrative but adding depth, atmosphere, and emotion to the proceedings. Well worth a listen.
As is the music from the movie Superposition, which sees a creative couple Stine and Teit and their young son Nemo leave their urban life in Copenhagen behind in favour of an isolated forest in Sweden. Their aim is to find themselves as individuals while documenting their new lifestyle in an ongoing podcast series. Regretfully, they realise there’s another couple across the lake, which are very similar to them. Soon, old resentments and selfish thoughts begin to take over, forcing them to confront their own egos. This well-done psychological thriller deals with the fundamental split between self-realisation and being present in life. Most people have mammoth ambitions for our lives and self-expression, as well as for our happiness and our partner.
Superposition illuminates the modern day relationship and explores whether we are in fact too self-absorbed to be together.
The impressive score is by Pessi Levanto, the music is quite low key but affecting in many ways working on so many levels and underlining a plethora of issues that are raised within the movie. The music also takes on a more delicate persona with solo piano purveying fragile sounding tones. It’s a score that I think is worth checking out and is available on digital platforms via Swedish specialist label Movie Score Media.
The Night Logan Woke Up, is an adaptation of the popular stage play, La nuit ou Laurier Gaudreault s’est reveille from the pen of playwright Michel Marc Bouchard.
The series, which mixes horror, humour, and drama, takes place in the early 1990s and follows Mimi and her brother Jules, who are best friends with Logan. The music which is by Hans Zimmer and David Fleming has to it a Herrman-esque/John Williams sound and style about it, the score remaining subdued for most of the time but always richly theme driven. In fact, it is in my humble opinion one of Zimmer’s better scores in recent years, as it contains music and thematic material rather than layers of synths and drone like textures.
But then we have to ask ourselves who wrote most of the music Zimmer or Fleming? There is a melodic and attractive air about the score that is alluring and almost hypnotic. The work draws the listener in and supports and embellishes the narrative of the series. I found that it transported one off to another place, as it is not only well structured but has to it a relaxing and comforting persona, Recommended.
Frederick Wiedmann has produced a very entertaining and robust score for the German TV movie Miss Merkel. After resigning from office, the chancellor moves to a small town in the Uckermark with her husband and dog. The Uckermark isa historical region in north-east Germany, which currently straddles the Uckermark District of Brandenburg and the Vorpommern-Greifswald District of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. She fully intends to take it easy but finds it difficult to do so and after a short time has problems with leaving the hectic city life and politics behind. But then there is a death, and the ex-Chancellor leaps into investigative mode realising that she has a job again.
Wiedmann’s score is superbly supportive and adds touches of comedy and creates an air of mystery throughout, as well as this it’s integral to the plot and becomes an important part of the various situations and scenarios. And I have to say is probably one of the most entertaining soundtracks released so far this year. Symphonic for the most part with the composer fashioning humorous and precise punctuating flourishes as well as easy on the ear themes and nuances, again its one for your collection, I really like it.
In the movie Unruly Maren, is a strong-minded young woman, and is seen to be ill-mannered and promiscuous by the authorities. Who become concerned about her her unruly behaviour, thinking it could incite others to behave in a similar fashion. They decide that she must be sent away and is packed off to a women’s institution on an island called Sprogø. They think that she should learn how to behave as a proper young woman. She must share a room with Sørine who has already internalized the story about herself and has learned to behave properly or at least as she has been told too.
Sørine is to help Maren settle in Sprogø and help her change her behaviour and attitude, but Maren’s continued refusal to comply with the system leads to terrible consequences for both women. The film Unruly is inspired by actual events of the women’s institution of Sprogø in Denmark in the 1930’s. The effective score is by Lisa Montan, who’s film music career has thus far been outstanding. Lisa is the only female to have received a Swedish Guldbagge Award (the Swedish Oscar equivalent), for her haunting 2015 score for the film Flocken.
It was her first feature film and for the same film, she was also awarded Best Score at Festival International du film d’Aubagne, as well as the Doris Filmgenipris. The music for Unruly is haunting, experimental, interesting, at times complex but also possesses a melodic quality that is innovative and attractive. Check it out, its on the likes of Spotify.
Heading back a few years now and to the movie A Midsummer Night’s Dream which has a score by Simon Boswell. Boswell created a fully symphonic score for this 1999 movie that is filled with absorbing and lilting tone poems, the soundtrack mixes Boswell’s original score with pieces of opera.
And as a listening experience it is I have to say a rewarding one. The original score is a tantalising and romantically laced affair which does have more dramatic moments scattered throughout, the composer penning beautiful and touching themes that are overflowing with a magical and impish air. Originally released on CD by Decca records the music is available on digital platforms. I sometimes feel that Boswell is overlooked as a film music composer, he has created so many scores that all employ differing styles and purvey sounds that are in no way standard. His music for Santa Sangre being one of my favourites with Tin Man following on very closely. He is a talented composer who utilises both symphonic and electronic effectively, take a listen to Demons 2, to verify this. It is worth checking his music out. Boswell has scored films by some of independent cinema’s incredible mavericks such as Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre, Dario Argento’s ‘Phenomena, and Richard Stanley’s Hardware and Dust Devil.
He has thus far in his career received many international awards and nominations, including two BAFTAs and a Classical Brit Award. After spending his younger years playing in various bands such as Advertising and Live Wire, he became a highly successful record producer and remixer. In the early 1980’s, his production of Italian superstar, Renato Zero, became one of the biggest selling Italian albums of all time, selling a staggering six million copies. In later years his work with 23 Skidoo on ‘Coup’ evolved into the Chemical Brothers’ ‘Block Rockin Beats’. He has also produced, amongst many others, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Marianne Faithful, Andrea Bocelli and Orbital. As a composer he is well known for fusing electronic elements with orchestral instrumentation and his musical range is staggering.
His work for horror and fantasy cinema has always been outstanding and well received and has inspired many other composers and artists, he especially exceeds in Italian giallo movies creating uneasy and effective sounds and music, but at the same time introducing themes and little nuances that act as a hook for any listener. Plus movies such as Clive Barker’s detective horror Lord of Illusions have benefitted from Boswell’s atmospheric scoring. He is also involved heavily in the hybrid, cyberpunk style as employed in Hackers and Hardware, where he combined acoustic, slide guitar with resonant, pessimistic sounding synths to create a hugely popular, apocalyptic sounding score for which he was nominated for BAFTA’s Anthony Asquith Award. The composer has also composed numerous orchestral scores both melodic and experimental, including Photographing Fairies, War Zone, Tin Man, and the re-imagining of Jason and the Argonauts.
Brian Tyler has released a soundtrack album for the immersive live show Awakening. The album features the film/TV/game composer’s original music from the Wynn production and is available now on digital platforms. Awakening is produced by Baz Halpin, Bernie Yuman & Michael Curry, narrated by Anthony Hopkins and tells the story of a beautiful heroine and her two fellow travellers as they seek to restore beauty and love to the world.
The show, which combines dramatic choreography, technology, fantastic creatures, and a custom sound system designed to showcase Tyler’s score, is currently playing at Wynn Las Vegas. Tyler’s music is grand, imposing, powerful, majestic, and epic sounding, the composer utilising choral support to create a varied, ethereal, and sweeping soundtrack that also employs electronica to convey the many moods required. Also look out for the composers score for the new Super Mario movie.
Music for British TV in particular the drama that is produced in the UK has always been superbly written and performed, and in recent years the composers involved on various drama series have fashioned intelligent and sensitive works to support these. As the series Endeavour ended just last week in the UK, Redrocca have released a new soundtrack album for the ITV drama. The album features newly recorded variations written by the show’s composer Matthew Slater and performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra. Also included is the much-missed composer Barrington Pheloung’s award winning theme from Inspector Morse.
Endeavour Variations is now available to stream/download on all major digital music services. A physical release is also expected. Slater provided the series with some beautifully crafted compositions, that enhanced and complimented plus were attractive and haunting away from the images and storylines.
He has also become the composer in residence on the ITV detective series Grace, again writing effective and appealing music. At the moment there does not seem to be a soundtrack recording available from this but hopefully in the near future it will materialise. Endeavour Variations is a brilliant recording that contains so many wonderfully affecting themes and powerful compositions. Whilst checking out Endeavour also take a listen to the composers scores for Deleted from 2021 and his music for Forget me Not from 2020. Highly recommended.