All posts by jonman492000

“MUSIC IS THE LANGUAGE OF EMOTIONS”- TALKING TO COMPOSER RAYMOND ENOKSEN.

 You are one of Norway’s top composers of film and TV music, yet we don’t see your name on the credits of productions outside of your country, have you written music for any English or non-Norwegian projects, and do you have an agent in the UK, as your music would certainly be perfect for several of the drama productions that the BBC and other channels are showing at the moment.

The majority of my scores are for Scandinavian productions, but some of them have quite an international reach. “Atlantic Crossing” is sold to more than thirty countries now and is the first non-English series to be bought and aired primetime on PBS Masterpieces in the United States. It is also nominated for an International Emmy for best miniseries now. The feature film “Thale” was selected to the main programme for Toronto film festival and have had a massive global distribution as well. The horror film “Haunted” is distributed on Amazon prime, The Nordic noir crime thriller “Outlier” is sold to thirty countries including Acorn tv in the UK.  “Ice road Rescue”  on Nat Geo/ Disney? have a wide global outreach as well. 

What was your first scoring assignment?

My first scoring assignment was as a student at the Norwegian State Academy, collaborating with the Norwegian Film school.  My first professional assignment was a documentary series for Norway’s biggest broadcaster NRK. A series that turned out to become of Norway’s biggest phenomenon’s since and rocket launched my career into the film and television industry. 

You come from a family background that is musical, can you tell us your earliest recollections of anything musical and was it writing music for film that was always in your mind to do as a career? 

My mother was a brilliant singer. Mostly Jazz but she sang all the classics. I remember us singing together and making improvs from when I was four, five years old.  As soon as I learned to read music at my piano lessons as an eight-year-old, I also started composing my own little pieces. My interest in film scoring gradually grew as I fell in love with the music of John Williams, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, Howard Shore and Hans Zimmer in high school, but my focus was mainly to be a contemporary composer of concert music. 

When you were studying music as well as studying composition etc, did you focus upon any one instrument?

In high school I did a music specialisation with classical piano as my main instrument. I mostly used my time playing pop and jazz, but I rehearsed a descent repertoire.  I Was accepted at the State Academy of music in Oslo and then I quit spending time developing my piano skills and focused only on composing music. But I am a piano composer, and the piano is always the starting point of my music. 

So when writing music you work out your ideas by sitting at the piano, do you like many other composers also work these ideas out using more technical means?

I’m a piano composer as I said but I’m very much into music technology and I spend a massive amount of time sketching and finalizing music with sample libraries. 

In 2012 you worked on the fantasy movie Thale, with Geirmund Simonsen.  I loved the score, because of its varied content, was this a collaboration in the true sense as in writing themes etc together or did you contribute your own themes to the score separately.

I began the work on this film alone. Composing the main themes and the Norwegian folk music basic expression, but at the time I gradually worked more and more with my excellent colleague Geirmund who I brought into the project and from a certain point we worked together scene from scene. Him being a multi-instrumentalist gave us a lot of sonic freedom to test out a lot of different approaches and styles as well. 

You scored Haunted in 2017, again a very atmospheric score, do you think that movies within the horror genre require more music, or maybe not as much as others?

HAUNTED.

Yes, I think they do but there is a reason for it. In contemporary horror film the composer often finds him/herself in the role of being a sound-designer. A lot of what the audience would perceive as classic sound design is done by the composer in this genre.

I love composing in the middle ground of music and sound design. Making emotional triggers and narrative direction with non- harmonic and thematic soundscapes is the new school of film scoring and the best way to make music as immersive as it can get. 

You worked on many TV series in Norway including two recent shows, Atlantic Crossing and Outlier, which you have already mentioned. Were these both episodic series? If so, do you score episodes in the order that they will be shown on TV and does working in TV differ from scoring a feature film?

High end, high budget television drama does not differ much in production value or process to that of feature films. Atlantic crossing was like composing the music to four feature film in seven months. A massive amount of work. Composing frame by frame from A to Z episodes one to eight. There is of course some re-use of material but there are surprisingly few copy paste situation in over eight hours of drama.  In more middle budget to low budget television drama there is a different process. You often find yourself composing a music signature like any other format television job and composing a bank for the editors and production. Then you work synchronised on selected critical scenes sent to you. Feature films are a luxury when it comes to process if you are used to television drama. So much time for perfection and you don’t have to spread your budget over eight hours but focus all on two. Working with feature films is also very exciting as a composer because you get to work on a higher dynamic range when it is made for the cinema and not the television. But all in all, the process of composing music for television dramas and feature films is getting more and more similar. 

 Kjaere Landsmenn 

I was going to ask when scoring a series for TV such as Kjaere Landsmenn for example, do you re-use cues from earlier episodes in later ones, but I think you explained that in your last answer?

In this style of medium budget drama comedy, there is a lot of re-use. I compose a bank of cues linked to narrative lines and characters that the editors and director play around with in the edit.  But it is important to mention that the re-use approach is an important part of the aesthetics and process of this type of series. 

What scoring process do you have or follow, by this I mean do you have a set way in which you work on a movie as in Main titles theme to end theme, or do you record smaller cues first and move to the larger pieces later?

I have a very clear scoring process. It is a creative and concept-oriented method I developed when doing my masters at the State Academy of music.  To make a short differ between three different categories of concept and make a birds perspective road map for the entire series of film. I focus on phases between “strong concepts”, that is the pure musical structural elements. The theme and chords progressions etc. And in some cases, extremely unique soundscapes or sounds. “Neutral concepts”, The instrumentation or the segmentation of sounds I will use to construct the strong concepts. “Weak concepts”, music who’s only function is to establish characters or situations in the social field, time of day and history. I then move from the big picture (Macro spotting) to the details and hyper detailed narrative craft in each scene (Micro spotting). Working in nonlinear manner and gradually connecting the dots of related concepts form a grand form and sound for the score. 

How many times do you prefer to see a feature film project before you start to formulate what music route you will go down, and have you encountered the temp track when seeing a movie for the first time, and do you find this practise helpful or distracting?

I often start working on concepts when the project is only in script form. Many of the directors I work with like to have sketches of my music to play with when editing. Then only to reboot with a proper synchronised process when the edit is locked.  But temp tracks are a normal part of many projects. The problem is not the temp track but the director’s attitude to it when applying it. For some it is about a general feel and editing tempo, pacing etc. But the problematic part is when it is personal. Some directors write on scripts listening to scores they love. This for me is like only writing half a movie. In these situations, it is often difficult for directors to release themselves from the temp track and you could be pushed down a path of avoiding plagiarism but in some means composing a score that have been composed before. Boring and a waste of a composer’s time. 

You have scored several projects that have all been released in 2021, Taxi Maxi, Outlier, Kjaere Landsmenn, Jeanne d’Arc of the North among them, are you involved with the sequencing and also compilation of what music will go onto the soundtrack release, or do you leave this to the record companies? 

I release my music on my own label. So, I do the selection myself. Often making my own soundtrack edits and cuts as I prefer them In, some projects I do not get the right to distribute myself but I often do the selection there as well. 

What would you say are your musical influencers, these can be film music composers or rock stars etc old and new in fact any artists?

John Williams, Hans Zimmer but maybe most of all John Williams and Trent Reznor for having such unique voices that challenge that film music must be a certain style. We are living in the shadow of Hans Zimmer. His success has in many ways defined that modern high end film scores should sound like. The John Williams of our time. But this is problematic because it also brings stagnation and mono aesthetics to a field that could need more diversity and individual voices. I my self am guilty of this far too often. 

TAINTED.

You utilise many elements and components within your scores, voice, choir, synths, electronic support as well as conventional instrumentation performed by musicians, do you think that the new style of scoring movies with layers of sound or soundscape is as effective as a grand or melodic sounding symphonic score?

I have worked a lot with the orchestra, both orchestrating and conducting my own scores but I have to say. I find the purist orchestral approach a bit boring. I love blending the traditional orchestral flavour with layers of synths, guitars and you name it I will use it. Modern production techniques give us far better possibilities than before. One can make any conceivable sound or soundscapes and you have so much creative control working with films on your timeline of the digital audio workstation. 

Jeanne D’Arc of the North, is a documentary and has a superb score, which is very grandiose in places, I think it possesses a subtle yet powerful aura, with rich thematic properties. How did you become involved on the movie, and what size orchestra or how many players did you have and who was the female voice on the score? 

Jeanne D’Arc of the North

This score started out as a traditional orchestral score for this documentary of the insane and untold story of Norway’s biggest female war hero who worked with Mi6 agents during WW2 to fake a possible British invasion via Middle Norway to distract the Germans away from Normandy.  The score is performed with a standard size orchestra in Hungary. I often record there. Excellent musicians and a super professional film industry. They are rigged for film scores 24/7 in amazing scoring stages.  The piano is performed by me and there is a lot of orchestral programming blended with the recorded orchestra. The singer is the Norwegian artist and vocalist Anja Hausberg Huse who I have collaborated with over many years. She was my student of composition. Her voice can also be heard in “Atlantic Crossing”, “Tainted” and the upcoming thriller drama “Catch and release”.

A lot of your music is thankfully released on digital platforms, but there seems to be very few compact discs, are your scores available in Norway on disc as in the shops?

I’m from the generation who barely knows what CD´s are and I only release digital. But I do occasionally print some LPs on demand to fans and friends. 

Do you orchestrate all of your own music and do you think orchestration is an extension of the composing process and do you also conduct or do you prefer to supervise and listen to the recording in the sessions?

I do orchestrate my own music, but I could easily see myself hiring an orchestrator. But it is difficult to find the right person to work with.  But I will surely try it if I’m to do a grand orchestral project again. I do conduct sometimes. It is an amazing experience, and it is fun but it does not give you the same critical listening perspective that you get in the studio. I tend to get more involved with the fun of conducing than evaluating good takes. So, I often chose to listen and not conduct. 

Jeanne D’Arc of the North

There is a homage to Morricone in some of your scores, most noticeable in Jeanne D’Arc of the North which I also thought had a slight John Barry style woven into it. Was this something that you set out to do?

I composed the score for this documentary around the time Enno Morricone passed away and I listened a lot to his music.  You can hear the influence in the way I construct themes and uses modal harmonies a lot in this score. Also the way I use the wood winds I very much inspired by this massive inspiration and grand old man of global film scoring. John Barry is also an inspiration of course he is or was a composer with a beautiful sense of thematic writing

Have you given any concerts of your music, if not would this be something that you would like to do?

There have been many performances of my concert music but only a few of my film score suites. It’s not really marked for this in little Norway but I am giving my first live in concert to the film this month! my score the children series “Rabalder” or “Trouble makers” (the international name from the distributor)

Do you perform on any of your scores?

Yes! most. I do most of the piano parts, accordion, and many other instruments. All of the synth and programming as well. 

What would you say is the purpose of music in film?

To give it emotion. There’s is not a single thing you can do in a script, in the acting, photography etc that even comes close to adding emotions to the film/series like music can. Music is the language of emotions. 

What is next for you?

Next up is the Nordic noir crime thriller “Catch and release”, the feature film “Girl trip”, A children’s musical and multiple format television shows.  

TALKING TO COMPOSER CHRISTOPHE JULIEN.


Can you tell us about your musical education?

My musical training is fairly classic. From my childhood I played piano and classical guitar. I studied guitars with several soloists including Alexandre Lagoya and Julian Bream. I also received several first prizes unanimously in this instrument but also in harmony, chamber music, counterpoint and followed the teaching of music of the twentieth century of orchestration and Indian music at the CNSM in Paris.  My meeting with young directors pushed me to create my own music.

Was it music for film that you were always focused upon doing for a career?

Artistic creation has always been present with me. But it is true that the work of creation in the image has always been very natural for me … a shot, a camera movement suggests musical ideas to me. I don’t think as a career, but rather what will enrich me artistically. Cinema has this incredible diversity of creation.

One of your latest scoring assignments for film is on the movie Delicious, it’s a beautifully crafted score, did you research into the style of music from the period in which the movie is set, and what size orchestra did you have for the score?

I did indeed do some stylistic research to see how to approach a historical film from this period. What roles did the piano and harpsichord have, how to write the strings. I did not want a large staff to keep a writing of chamber music. I opted for a string sextet with double bass and a few solo instruments including the harp which we found very original for the film. Children’s voices were also a driving force in the writing of this score.

Staying with Delicious, did the director have any specific ideas regarding the music and where it should be placed?

I had great freedom with Eric Besnard. I composed long musical tracks, several themes were born, and I was left the freedom to place the music in the film. We then refined the tempi and orchestrations to exactly match the state of mind of each of the characters in the film.

Were any of your family musical in any way?

My father was a musician, pianist, and my mother is very fond of music.

Le Sens de la Famille, is an entertaining score, is it more difficult to score say a comedy as opposed to a drama or action movie?

The writing is not at all the same when you compose a comedy compared to a historical film. The latter allows important and developed musical ranges while the difficulty of comedy consists in being in perfect harmony with the rhythm of the text and the actors … two different but very interesting composition exercises.

What composers or artists would you say have influenced you in the way that you write?

Many over time have made me evolve. James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith have had a lot of influence on my way of composing, as has Ennio Morricone. I was fascinated by the orchestral sound of Thomas Newman and James Newton Howard. The Beatles always made me create melodies, things I think are the hardest to do.

Do you like to see a movie more than once when you are spotting it, or do you prefer to work on first impressions?

I really like to compose my themes when reading the script in order to let my imagination guide me.

Is orchestration an important part of the composing process, and do you do all your own orchestration work, or is this not possible sometimes?

The orchestra is part of my way of thinking about my original themes. So I orchestrate all of my scores in order to give them the colour that seems most correct and original to me, and not to fall into an orchestral stereotype.

Adieu les Cons, is another recent work of yours, again this is a totally captivating score, how much time are you normally given to work on a score for a movie, maybe use this movie as an example?

My collaboration for the films of Albert Dupontel is captivating because we have a rather long time of research and musical creation. so we can go to the end of our ideas. Some films are composed in two months others in six months, that depends on the evolution of the editing and the post-production. 

There are a handful of your film scores available on digital platforms, when your music is to be released, do you have any input into what music goes onto the release, or is this something that is out of your control?

I have a look at the construction of the soundtrack when the music is are released digitally or physically because some songs are reworked specifically for this output and the stereo mix is different from the cinema mix.

Your music is I think very thematic, which is something of a rarity these days in movie scores, do you think it is important to have themes and motifs within your scores and what is your opinion of the current trend to use noises or sounds rather than actual music with melodies in movies?

Any musical approach is respected. It is true that I am very drawn to the melody. I am fortunate to work with directors who are looking for that. We retain a melody of Ennio Morricone or James Horner. It seems to me a strength for a film, doesn’t it?

Mes Heros is a tender and haunting work, how did you become involved on this project and when you are working out your musical ideas for a film how do you work, with pencil and manuscript, guitar, piano, keyboard or by using more technical elements?

My Heroes is indeed a score of great tenderness. the piano is often the first instrument I use and I orchestrate the themes quite quickly surrounded by computers, because nowadays, getting as close as possible to our final colour is essential. I rarely take the guitar, except for “Adieu les cons” by Albert Dupontel and for Eric Besnard a few times.

Joyeux Noel, had a score by Philippe Rombi, you are credited as additional crew, what was your role on the movie?

On this film, I was just a chorister for the passage of the choirs. The film supervisor asked me, and it was a lot of fun to participate in this recording.

Have you a preference as to where you record your film scores?

I really like recording at the Guillaume Tell studios in France, the place is quite magical. My last scores were recorded in this mythical place. I also really liked the Davout studios where I recorded the film “Au revoir là haut” by Albert Dupontel.

Do you conduct your scores, or do you prefer to supervise in the sessions and ensure that the correct sound is being created?

 I conduct each of my scores because I orchestrate them myself, unlike other composers, and know exactly the result I want to have. My team also knows the sound I want. I have been working with them for over twenty years, and my company HYPARKOS takes care of the musical supervision and executive production of my music (this was the case on “Delicious”)

What is next for you?

Two new films “Adieu Monsieur Haffmann” by Fred Cavayé, a historical film on the war of 1939-1944, and also the next film by Christophe Offesntein “Canailles” will be released soon. At the same time, four films are in post-production and in January 15, 2022 my song album “The girl with the purple smile”, which is the link www.thegirlwiththepurplesmile.com, will be released.

A SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT EXTRA.

Welcome again to Soundtrack supplement extra, an extension if you like of Soundtrack Supplement, we start today with music from an animated movie, which has a delightful score. Even Mice Belong in Heaven, has a musical score by Polish composer Krzysztof A. Janczak, and it is just so good. There is so much going on within the work its hard at first to take it all in, but after listening a few times one begins to hear just how ingenious and fun this is. The score which as far as I can make out is fully symphonic overflows with inventive and effective pieces which are brilliant to listen to just as music and away from the images it was intended to support. I do have to say it is a wonderful score, and one that is very easy to listen to, but at the same time has so much happening, the themes are affecting and at times dramatic and emotive, the orchestration too is entertaining. The composer utilizing a music box effect at times which opens up a fragile and delicate side to the score. Being for an animated feature there is a lot of music here to keep any film music fan occupied and suitably entertained. I cannot really say that I can compare the composer’s style to anyone as it has to it an innovative and robust style and overall sound.

The composer also makes effective use of Soprano which we first encounter in the track Heaven and the Goat, and although it is brief in the introduction it gives the music an otherworldly or celestial aura, choir is also employed, again adding depth and giving the composition or more imposing stature. I love the track Heaven’s Baths it is a waltz inspired piece that just flows beautifully and has to it a grand and lavish persona. Strings take the lead and are supported by woods, percussive elements and punctuated via pizzicato.

The cue does alter direction a little mid-way through with quirky use of brass purveying a more comedic air to the proceedings the cue taking on a jaunty style and conveying a clumsiness?  This is a great score, so many themes are included within the work, that one is spoilt for choice, so just press the play button sit back and be marvelously entertained.  Released on Movie Score Media digitally on all platforms. You would be foolish not to check this out.

Staying with animation and as its nearly Halloween lets visit The Addams Family 2, shall we, music by Mychael and Jeff Danna. Again, this is just a fun score filled with a vibrant energy and a wicked sense of musical humour. The composers have created an over the top dramatic but quirky soundtrack, which is a fusion of both symphonic and synthetic. Its mad cap, tantalizing, a little irreverent and has a slightly melancholy sound to it. I suppose because anything is possible in animated movies composers really go for it when scoring them, and that is what the case is here, fast, and furious in places but frolicking and calming in others.

I am pleased that the composers make effective use of the original Addams Family theme, it is somewhat updated and has a slightly different twang to it but it does come complete with the clicking fingers, in the cue The Addams Family Returns, which is very brief but also very effective. The score itself at times sounds clumsy and cookey but is perfect for the subject matter. We are treated to rampaging and mental action cues that could be something out of the Keystone Cops, the style employed just conjures up for me a pantomime type of picture, or music for a farce on stage the pace being busy and frantic at times. But saying this it is a very good score, filled with inventiveness and certainly catches one’s attention as soon as you begin to listen. Recommended.   

Turandot: The Curse Of the Turandot | 2021 | | Official Trailer | [ Chinese ] – YouTube

From the world of animation to the world of fantasy, the plot of the movie The Curse of Turandot, focuses upon Princess Turandot, who is cursed by a mysterious power emanating from three Mazovian bracelets that were given to her as birthday gifts. The bracelets which have life-draining effects cause the princess to become cruel, and gradually lose her humanity.

Many foreign princes who come to court her are given the task of solving three riddles, one for each bracelet, and only when these are answered will the Princess be freed from the power of the bracelets. In the event any of the questions being answered incorrectly results in the death of the riddle solver.  One day, Calaf, an ordinary citizen, risks his life to answer the riddles to save her and inadvertently uncovers his own extraordinary past.

The movie which is a Chinese production is an exciting and exhilarating viewing experience and the musical score by Simon Franglen (who worked with James Horner) matches the action with proud and powerful themes that support and enhance every second of the movie. It is a grand sounding work and is brimming with action cues that thunder and boom along performed by brass, percussion and strings. As well as the action material the composer has also fashioned haunting and delicate themes that have to them an oriental flavour, these affecting and alluring tone poems are truly beautiful and stand out above the remainder of the score. Tracks such as Master Zhou Returns is one of these and is a charming and romantically laced piece.

The composer also stays in a magical and romantic mood for the cue Holding Hands, which is tender and emotive. This is a score that you must listen to and then add to your collection. The composer at times does slip into Horner mode with familiar sounding brass sounds and choral support, but other than those two noticeable styles it is in the main an inventive and above all entertaining work.  Available on digital platforms.

Halloween Kills is set to hit the cinemas and scare the life out of audiences old and new to the character of Michael Myers. And what would a Halloween movie be with the familiar and unsettling music of John Carpenter, who on this occasion is assisted by Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies on the score writing duties, the Halloween theme is utilised within the score and is woven into the proceedings entwining itself with new material. I think that the Halloween series as we already know it, would have never been so popular or impacting upon audiences if it were not for the scores for the movies, the music playing an important and integral part of the horrific storyline that is unfolding on screen. It is also I think at times the music that is remembered more than the movies, but that’s just my opinion. Like the other Halloween scores this is an all synth/electronic affair, but this does not detract anything from it in the quality and atmospheric departments. Certainly, worth a listen (with the lights on). Bruno Coulais is a composer that many say is an acquired taste, well I am so glad I have that taste because I have always found something within his scores for TV and film that I like and find interesting.

One of his latest scores is for the movie L’Homme de la Cave, (The man From the Cellar). Is I think one of his best scores to date, the subtle and gentle musical interludes are mostly calming having to them some fragments of thematic properties, but in each easy or melodic piece there are elements that purvey an atmosphere filled with apprehension and uncertainty. It is a score that you can sit and listen to and before you know it has finished, I do like scores that are unassuming or not in anyway overblown, and this is a work that fits that description for most of its thirty minute duration, I say most of, because there are a few cues, that do become more animated and upbeat, and these too are highly effective. The composer employs both conventional instrumentation and electronic support for the score and fuses these flawlessly to create tense moods and dark musical passages that are complimented by the lighter and more melodious compositions. Again, a score that I think you should listen to.  

Just Beyond is an anthology series of eight episodes that has recently aired on the Disney Plus channel. The series was created by Seth Grahame-Smith, who based his writings around the graphic novels of author R. L. Stine. The tales of horror, mystery, magic, Aliens and the supernatural involve teenagers that step into a world that is Just Beyond reality. Stine was also responsible for creating Fear Street which has also recently been produced into three films and screened on Netflix, and the movie Goosebumps. The music for Just Beyond is the work of Carlos Rafael Rivera who is already known for his work in both TV and film.

He is an Emmy Award winning composer who has scored Godless, for Netflix which was directed by Scott Frank and produced by Steven Soderbergh, starring Jeff Daniels and Michelle Dockery, as well as  the Universal Pictures release A Walk Among the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson. He also created an atmospheric score for The Queens Gambit which was also a Netflix production. The music for Just Beyond is very much a magic and mystery filled soundtrack, lots of drama lots of magic, sparkle and mystical sounding interludes, it’s a strong and very appealing score, the composer using symphonic sounds alongside synthetic components to fashion a score that is wonderfully grand and at times evokes the style and sound of composers such as John Williams, John Debney and Jerry Goldsmith.

It’s a more traditional sounding score than we have been hearing of late coming out of the likes of Netflix and Amazon TV productions, which I know many collectors will welcome with open arms. A superb score that is available now on digital platforms. Highly recommended.  The Last Duel has been hyped a lot in recent weeks, and from what I have seen I would imagine it to be a movie that entertains on many levels, the music is by Harry Gregson Williams, and I thought this would be a all action score vibrant and robust and maybe a theme here and there.

Sadly I will say here and now I do  not like the score, its very downbeat and in a word dreary, ok it suits the movie and that’s what matters in the end but it’s a score I have listened to over and over a few times and I just cant get into it. I am not saying the music is awful, but its just not for me. Make up your own mind its on digital platforms now. Henry Jackman has worked on a number of movies in recent years and has earned a reputation of a composer that delivers mostly. His score for the animated feature Rons gone Wrong is not a bad work, considering the subject matter of the movie. Jackman has written a varied if nothing else score, with upbeat cues and poignant passages. Its not great but its also not bad.

Other scores I would like to mention are Superman and Lois season 1 which has a compelling score by the excellent Dan Romer, Paul Saunderson’s great music for The Obscure Life of the Grand Duke of Corsica, Richard Wilkinson’s brilliant music for the Dr Who video game Doctor Who- The Edge of Reality. Which is fifty minutes of great music.

There is also Herdis Stefansdottir’s music for Y:The Last Man, and season two of the Apple TV series See, with music courtesy of Bear McCreary. And action laced score for Don’t Breathe 2, by Roque Banos.

There are also some nice releases from Dragons Domain records this time around. Sorority House Massacre ll and ll,  being two titles that they have issued on a double CD release. The movies both contained music by the one and only Chuck Cirino, as we all know Cirino seems to excel creating grand sounding scores for low budget movies and these soundtracks no exception to that rule.

It evokes for me some of his other works, Transylvania Twist being one of them. The films Sorority House Massacre ll and lll were helmed by filmmaker Jim Wynorski who Cirino has collaborated with so many times, and this release I know will be welcomed by many. I always find thet Cirino’s scores are entertaining and there is always something within them that I and others just love. He has the ability to write great supportive film music but als it is film music that sounds good away from the film. Sorority House Massacre ll came to fruition because filmmaker Wynorski had noticed that some sets were available at Roger Corman’s studios. After getting permission to film on the sets from Corman’s wife Julie, while they were out of town and under the condition that Roger would not find out, Wynorski wrote, cast and filmed under the title Jim Wynorski’s House of Babes, with no producer supervision. The Cormans were pleasantly surprised at how well the film had turned out and thought it would be easier to sell if it were a sequel to an existing film but neither of Wynorski’s sequels as they became too be regarded, had anything to do with Carol Frank’s original movie, Sorority House Massacre which was released in 1986.

Chuck Cirino

Cirino’s music did much to enhance and assist the dramatic and atmospherics of both movies. This is an impressive release from Dragons Domain, recommended.

As are two scores by Cirino that have been issued by Dragons Domain on one CD, Teenage Exorcist and Witch Academy which are certainly worth adding to your collection.  Also, on the DD label this time around is a Richard Band score that I think is equally impressing, Deep Ones is a 2020 release in which we see Alex and her husband Petri visit California for a much-needed break from reality.

At an unassuming Air-BnB rental near Ventura Beach, they meet the mysterious Russell Marsh. Marsh introduces them to the oddly enthusiastic locals, fixes them a lavish meal and invites them out on his luxury boat. Little do they know that beneath Mr. Marsh’s thin veneer of avuncular charm lurks a dark devotion to an archaic evil. Richard Band is an underrated composer in my mind, he does as we all are aware work on a lot of horror movies and yes most are of the lower budget variety, but his music is in no way low budget, in fact his scores for films such as The Pit and the Pendulum, Mutant, Troll, and more recently Exorcism at 60,000 Feet are wonderfully epic sounding in places.

Like Chuck Cirino. Band also creates fantastically supportive music for film, which is highly rewarding to listen to just as music. The Deep Ones is one of the composers best scores to date, it is thickly atmospheric, with the composer fusing symphonic textures and colours with electronic enhancement. Other Dragons Domain releases include a rare documentary score by British composer John Scott, from the film Webs and Other Wonders and a re-issue of Scott’s score for the 1981 sci-fi thriller Inseminoid. Plus, a re-issue of the Thomas De Hartman and Laurence Rosenthal score for Meetings with Remarkable Men.

So, a varied collection of titles for your delectation from Dragons Domain. In closing mention must also be made of two Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers scores that have been released on Note for Note, The Zero Boys and The Wind, are both soundtracks that should be in your collection.

AMINE BOUHAFA.

There are so many what I call relatively new composers that are writing music for film, the majority of these talented Maestro’s do not sadly receive the recognition that they so richly deserve, one such highly talented composer is Amine Bouhafa. I have been listening to his scores for a while now and with every new assignment the composer seems to introduce another style or level of inventiveness and originality. He is represented well on recordings with a number now being available on digital platforms. Pick any of his scores for TV or film and I mean any one of them and I know that you will find something within it that is attractive, haunting, richly thematic, or alluring. The composer has kindly consented to an interview which we will publish as soon as is possible. So I thought in the mean time why not highlight a handful of his scores.

One of my favourite soundtracks that is penned by the composer is Grand Hotel or Secret of the Nile as it is entitled in some countries. This is a score that simply oozes quality sophistication and class, it is mostly symphonic and evokes the sound and the style employed by seasoned composers such as Patrick Doyle, Christopher Gunning, Trevor Jones, John Lunn and Carl Davies, it is a lush and at times quite lavish and dramatic score, the composer utilizing strings, brass percussion and wood’s to great effect, there is a romantic and atmospheric quality to the score that straight away gets the listeners attention, I love the way in which the composer combines solo cello and violin in some of the cues, The Love Story for example,  in which he further enhances those elements with delicate whispers of woodwind adding a scattering of piano that is subtle but affecting and punctuating at times with subtle use of  harp.

There are many wonderfully luxurious compositions within the score, plus it is filled with an array of musical colours and textures that purvey so many moods. From luxurious and romantic to emotive stirring and I suppose romantic again, the composers score for The Godfather TV series, which is an Egyptian production, the music again possesses a richness that washes over the listener and straight away has an emotive and striking impact.

The melodious parts of this score are in a word stunning and affecting. Listening to the score is a moving experience especially when you go to tracks such as The Godfather Family Theme, which is filled with not just a haunting and heartrending theme but also contains hints of mystery and apprehension that are laced with a tenderness expressed via the swelling strings and the solo performance on what I think is a cello. He also utilizes female voice to great effect, adding even more depth and emotion to the proceedings. For me this vocal performance echoed the sound achieved by Dulces Pontes when she performed for the likes of Ennio Morricone, and I suppose too the music for The Godfather does have some affiliations with the romantic music as penned by the Italian Maestro over the years, there is a real warmth and also quality to this score.

The composer fashioning sweeping themes that are grand and lavish, but also writing more intimate and personal pieces to accompany the storyline and the characters within it. He also provides a more ominous sounding side to the work in tracks such as The Godfathers Dark Office, which has to it a threatening and slightly sinister aura, overall it is a vibrant and varied work, that I am confident will entertain many times and impress every time you re-visit it. The same can be said about the composers score for Let the Sun Shine, is a lighter sounding score in keeping with the subject matter, I say lighter but not any less heart breaking and effecting, the soundtrack is exquisite, and just develops and expands as it progresses, there are certain scores that do get right to any listeners core, and Let the Sun Shine is one of those scores.

Again I sense a style that has manifested itself in the works of Morricone and also the Maestro’s son Andrea, the strings are at times subtle but so powerful in establishing poignancy and raw emotion. There is a piece on the score entitled Tango of the Sun, which is delicious, strings and accordion combine to create a pleasing and memorable composition, which although brief is one of the highlights of the score for its melodic and quirky sound. The cue entitled How Dare you Leave Me is also outstanding but written in a totally different style, the emotion again is brought to the surface by strings which are accompanied by a delicate solo piano performance which overflows with fragility. Again, highly recommended. Other scores by this highly talented composer include, The First Lady, For the Highest Price, Gabal Al Halal for which the composer employs a wide range of instrumentation and the epic sounding score for Kingdom of Fire. Listening to the music of this Maestro is a pleasure, a delight, and an inspiration.

The score for Place in a Palace is too hugely attractive, o commanding and stridently thematic the composer utilizing solo piano, which is underlined and supported by the string section, which in turn swells at times into hugely thematic passages and via the use of solo cello demands that you listen.  

This also something that the composer does in the score for Bab El Khalk, fashioning driving but at the same time theme led interludes for strings, percussion and female voice, it also within this score that the composer creates action led pieces such as the exciting and exhilarating cue The Chase, where he combines the upbeat and driven strings, with percussive elements, brass flourishes, synth stabs, and choral work.  The music of Anime Bouhafa, is a listening and emotional experience you should not miss out on.  Look out for an interview with the composer coming soon to Movie Music International.

SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT FIFTY TWO.

Its that time again Soundtrack supplement is into its 50’s now so welcome to number 52.

What I said in the soundtrack supplement extra article last week about electronic and synth-based scores still stands but there has been a glimmer of hope in recent days for the future of melodic and emotive film scoring in the form of Claret by Oscar Martin Leanizbarrutia, which I reviewed just the other day as well as catching up with the composer and talking about the score.  

Plus, there have been a few scores released that are filled with proper themes and symphonically performed music, there is an exquisite sounding work being released soon by Mexican composer Alejandro Karo, the composer you might remember scored the movie Jesus of Nazareth (not the Zefferelli) but a more recent take on the life of Christ which contained a beautiful score. available on Kronos Records and digital platforms.

http://kronosrecords.com/

One of his latest works which he collaborates with Maya Lepro on is for the movie 90 Dias Para El 2 De Julio, the score is a fusion of electronic, samples, synthetic and conventional instrumentation. Which is balanced just so to create a work that is brimming with tantalizing and effecting tone poems and layered interludes that at times hint at themes and convey an emotive and lingering atmosphere. It has to it a pleasing and lingering persona, with the composers purveying a sense of calm and poignancy throughout, the solo piano passages being particularly affecting, available on digital platforms through Plaza Mayor, but this is a short score just four cues, with a running time of just under six minutes, very brief but it makes its mark upon the listener. Whilst listening to this score why not also check out two more recent scores from Karo, which are written in the same style but also have to them a more dramatic side the composer delving into darker musical areas, take a listen to Tocar El Cielo, and Buenos Dias Ignacio, I am sure you will enjoy both. There is also like a showreel album on digital platforms entitled Trailer Music vol 1, which is the work of the composer and Maya Lepro, certainly worth a listen as it shows off the ample talents of both composers. Mayra Lepró is a mexican composer and orchestrator who has been making her way into film scoring. After getting her B.A. in Music at the University of Sonora, she founded the company “Emission Music Service”, respectively working on the orchestration and music preparation for film composers.
During her music career, she has been head of music preparation in several mexican and international films with different film composers such as James Seymour Brett, Leoncio Lara Bon, Matt Uelmen, Edy Lan, Alejandro Karo, Gus Reyes, among others.  See the MMI interview with Alejandro Karo here. alejandro karo | Search Results | MOVIE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL. (MMI) . (wordpress.com)

Another composer who I spoke to a while ago was Arturo Cardelus and he has written the music for the Disney animated TV series Descendants a Royal Wedding, I have heard a handful of cues, but there is a suite of music from his score available on the likes of Apple and Spotify, the music is lush and rich with a luxurious style and sound, which one would expect from anything Disney. Dramatic, regal, and apprehensive with a touch of the comedic and melancholy, what more could you possibly want, take a listen and also revisit or take a listen for the first time to his scores from Bunuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles and the excellent Altamira.  Check out the interview with Maestro Cardelus here.  AN INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER ARTURO CARDELUS. | MOVIE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL. (MMI) . (wordpress.com) 

Liv Grannes from Mosjøen became Norway’s highest decorated woman after World War II. But, both her achievements, and Stalin and Churchill’s false flag operation in Helgeland, disappeared in the darkness of history. This is explained and explored in the new movie documentary Jeanne D’Arc of the North, directed by Fredrik Horn Akselsen who also wrote the story. The score is by Raymond Enoksen who recently scored Kjaare Landsmann and Atlantic Crossing for Norwegian TV. He is one of Norway’s most prominent film music composers and has created many soundtracks for both film and TV, including Thale from 2012, and Haunted from 2017.

The composer was Born 1982 in Mosjøen, Norway. Coming from a musical family, he began playing classical and improvisational piano from a young age. In 2001 he was enrolled at composition study at the Norwegian state academy of music and studied there under the guidance of professor Bjørn Kruse and Olav Anton Thommessen. In 2007 he was accepted to the prestigious diploma of composition (Elite master) at the same academy. Here he continued his studies with Professor Olav Anton Thommassen. During the early stages of his studies, his professor recognized a talent for dramatical composition in him and established a collaboration with the state film school. This resulted in his first film productions Oscar and Tokyo Express.

His score for the documentary Jean D’Arc of the North is a varied one and has to it numerous themes that all combine to fashion a score that is simply delightful, although dark and even ominous sounding in parts the work is one that is entertaining away from the images it was written to enhance and support.

The themes are at times subdued but affecting, it has a haunting and beautiful aura to it, with the composer utilising female voice and choir to great effect at times. There is a lightness and a touching eloquence about this work that cannot fail to both attract and please. At times for me it evoked the styles of both John Barry and Ennio Morricone. Available on digital platforms, via Dream score records. The composer will be speaking to Movie Music International in the next few days so look out for the interview.

So far so good with melodic sounding scores or soundtracks  that are in the majority performed by actual musicians, the next score came out earlier this year and is by Mexican composers Gus Reyes and Andres Sanchez Maher, Cosas Imposibles is a work that is mainly constructed from the use of electronic instrumentation, but it is written and put together in such a way that the composers realise an alluring and attractive sound, it is entertaining, calming and at times surprisingly  powerful and upbeat, the composers have already established themselves as being a chameleon like duo who can easily adapt their musical talents to accommodate most scenarios and situations in both film and TV scoring. One only has to listen to their music for the TV series Falco and then to their score for the movie El Complot Mongol to realise their adaptability and also the quality of the music that they produce.

Cosas Imposibles is somewhat lighter listening material then the two scores I have mentioned but it is still a score that I would recommend that you check out. Its vibrant and inventive, and will I know become a favourite. Check out the MMI interview with Gus Reyes here. gus reyes | Search Results | MOVIE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL. (MMI) . (wordpress.com)

Please do not think that I am totally against the use of synths, samples and electronics in film and TV scores, they are if used well an essential component and tool for film music composers these days, it is just at times the un-musical results that I despair at with many of what we would call A list composers utilising them, but creating dronish and colourless pieces that simply act as an annoying musical wallpaper to various movies possessing not melody or substance and to be blunt is just noise.  Many composers use these tools and produce wonderful scores other combine both the synthetic and the symphonic and get the balance right so obviously there is a need and room for conventional instrumentation and electronic support. This latest batch of scores are a very mixed bag, but thankfully this time around the symphonic or at least the melodic and thematic examples are in the majority. That’s all for this soundtrack supplement short and very sweet, next is a special on the record label Dragons Domain and their latest releases.