Category Archives: REVIEWS IN BRIEF.

HONEYDEW, and TRIGGERPOINT SOUNDTRACKS.

Two more interesting and innovative scores from Movie Score Media, which is nothing new from this pioneering and ever industrious soundtrack specialist. The first is from the movie Honeydew which has a score by composer John Mehrmann. This is a score that is a fusion of music, musical sounds and voices that are all used in a highly original way. The composer serves up an inventive and thought-provoking work as in one finds yourself listening more intently to the cues, simply to decipher how he achieved the sound. This is a concoction of half heard vocal phrases, and short stabs of sounds, which combined with anything thematic conveys to its listener a mood that is unnerving, unsettling and at times down-right scary. It is a rather intense listening experience, a sinister and a surprising work, with the composer employing sounds rather than music to create moods and atmospheres, I won’t say it is an easy listen because it is not, modern, slightly unbalanced and maybe bordering on the Avant Garde, but easy no. Check it out, available soon on digital platform.

As will be the latest score from Andrew Lockington and Michael White, Trigger Point, which is also released by Movie Score Media is a score not filled with grand and rich themes but is one that has to it a brooding and drone like aura. Yes, there are fragments of thematic material within it, but these rarely develop, but this does not however mean that it is a score that I do not like, because the way in which it is constructed is like Honeydew interesting, it has to it a tense and alluring persona, and it is I think the fleeting hints of melody that make it so, because they are given no room to develop and are overwhelmed by the dark and ominous synthetics.  Not a symphonic work at all, but realized by electronic elements and soundscape as opposed to soundtrack, but still certainly worth a listen.

 

 

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN.

A movie that was nominated last weekend at the BAFTA awards and won in certain categories is Promising Young Woman, the score by Anthony Willis is a delight, and was quite rightly nominated for best original score sadly losing out to Soul. Right from the opening cue entitled Hymn for Nina, one just knows that this is going to be a score that is special. The composer has fashioned a soundtrack that is varied in its musical make up and one that is wonderfully thematic and hauntingly beautiful. The score is also superbly edgy and has to it an apprehensive undertone, which is dark but at the same time remains melodic. At certain point’s the music evoked for me personally an atmosphere of the vintage film noir movies, the composers use of strings being inventive and striking. At times the performances from the string section being sinewy and alluring. With solo violin or cello being utilized over the top of the apprehensive background, the solo performance being tender and filled with emotion whilst the underlying strings remain darker and more ominous sounding.

The composer also employs solo piano to great effect and again combines this with solo cello convey an atmosphere that is filled with a romantic but slightly bitter-sweet sound. The movie, which is helmed by Killing Eve director Emerald Fennel, is a tantalizing and interesting motion picture which focuses upon revenge and is a story that is not only entertaining but exciting. The score compliments, supports and elevates the films storyline and enhances the actions on screen. It is subtle, but also affecting, seamlessly moving from romantic sounding cues, to easy listening pieces and then into shadowy and sinister sounding passages. At certain points within the score I was reminded of the romantic and melodic music of Ennio Morricone, which I first noticed in the opening cue with the composer utilising Female wordless voice, and then again with the sound achieved in the track Cassie, but this is make no mistake an original work, and also an attractive and affecting one. The more atonal cues are thematic and entertaining, with the composer relaying at times a Herrman-esque musical persona. The soundtrack release includes a Thriller Suite which has a running time of just over eight minutes, and a Romance Suite which is shorter at around three minutes or so , I urge you to check this out, you will be richer for hearing it. Recommended.

THEM and THE UNHOLY.

To say that composer Mark Korven is inventive, innovative, and pioneering is such an understatement. I loved his score for VVitch and am in awe of his work for the latest Amazon original TV series Them.  One can never say that this composer writes themes so that fans or collectors can listen to them away from the project that they are composed for, he writes to serve the picture solely and foremost, and his work within the horror genre is outstanding and highly original.

Mark Korven.

Them contains a score that in one word is Harrowing, the composer making brilliant use of voices, to further unbalance the watching audiences and punctuate, enhance, and support the visuals. His use of percussive elements too is striking and imaginative. This tense and unsettling soundtrack is a treat for true horror fans as they will understand fully that the composer is creating an even greater atmosphere for an already unnerving series. This is a truly remarkable work, modern sounding, at times guttural and for most of the time dark to the point of engulfing any listener. The orchestrations and performances are wonderfully shadowy and resoundingly affecting. It is a driving work at times, vibrant and electrifying as in it never holds back and always delivers that unexpecting twist and shock. A great score, worth a listen, but not alone.

Another score that must be heard is The Unholy by Joseph Bishara, this unbelievably talented actor, filmmaker and composer once again creates a score that sends a succession of shudders through one’s body, this is a tour de force of the scary and frightening. The music never relenting in its job to underline what is occurring on screen and at the same time sending panic and distress to the audience before anything has happened, Bishara is a master at creating music and sounds that are like a pre-cursor to the horror or the violence, As any film music fan that decides to listen away from the movie will tell you. Like his scores for movies such as The Conjuring and Insidious it never allows the audience any respite, and at times Bishara’s music and soundscapes are in fact more terrifying than what is happening in the story on screen.

Joseph Bishara.

The Unholy however does have a kind of celestial sounding side to it, with the composer employing voices to great effect, which do create a false sense of security for any audience or listener, but this is good, as he is doing his job and fashioning a score that not only supports but becomes a part of the story. If you are a connoisseur of horror score’s then this and Mark Korven’s Them is right up your dark, foggy, sinister alley. May I recommend that you listen to Them, then The Reckoning by Christopher Drake followed by The Unholy, a great trio of music from modern day horrors and its nowhere near Halloween yet. .

Three new releases from movie score media.

Three new releases from the ever-industrious Movie Score Media, and all are interesting as well as being entertaining and innovative. The first is from a drama come comedy about the Irish mob, entitled Be Good or be Gone. The score which is a mix of both comedic interludes and highly emotional passages, is the work of Joseph Conlan, the sound that he has achieved for this soundtrack is a fusion of the quirky and the romantic and dramatic. I have to say I like the way in which the composer utilizes the piano and the way in which he manages to purvey a delicate yet at the same time powerful musical atmosphere. The music manages to weave its way throughout the storyline adding depth and conjuring up dark and light moods with its textural shading, and colorful ambience. The movie is billed as a dramedy, which of course is a combination of both shadowy and lighter elements. The music conveys these varying atmospheres perfectly and although is not a large scale or indeed grandiose work, is still an immensely enjoyable one. The composer makes imaginative use of percussion throughout, but I thought was more prominent in the cues entitled Mr. Darius and the Histrionics, and Robbery Gone Wrong.  The composer fashions a rather subtle and low-key score to be fair, and at times I was reminded of the subdued and sparse sound that is sometimes employed by the likes of Thomas Newman, with hints of themes and a gentle but affecting musical persona being developed as the score itself grows and progresses. The movie which is directed by Cathal Nally focuses upon two petty thieves who are also cousin’s Ste and Weed, who receive a temporary release from prison. The story unfolds over a four-day period, where we witness just what kind of misfortunes befall them both. This is certainly worth checking out and will be available on April 9th.

The next release from MSM, is the score for the drama The Lawyer, music courtesy of Lithuanian composer Ieva Marija Baranauskaite. The soundtrack is a mainly a jazz orientated work, but has to it a rather downbeat sound, this however does not spoil in any way the impact and the excellence of the work. The movie which focuses upon a gay corporate lawyer who after the death of his long absent Father finds unexpected love with Ali a Syrian refugee who is stranded in Belgrade. The score smolders and becomes sensual and pleasingly melodic as one gets further into it. The composer utilizing piano, sax, and brushed percussion to create an easy going but at the same time rather sad sounding work.  It’s a score that one can easily leave in the player to repeat over and over, and never tire of it. Worth a listen and again available on April 9th.  

The third release on the Movie Score Media label which will also be released on the 9th of April is the music from the Lockdown horror movie, Held, music by Richard Breakspear. Which is totally the opposite in sound, style and direction to the two previous releases. The atmospheric and at times chaotic and harrowing movie tells the story of a couple whose marriage is beginning to fall apart, and their relationship is put further to the test when they are held hostage in an out of the way holiday home. Their captor is an unseen voice who gives them instructions and runs their lives. Directed by Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff, the musical score is in no way a melodic one, the composer opting to score the film in a more atonal fashion, creating harrowing sonic sounds and edgy backgrounds, making it sharp and claustrophobic in its overall sound, this is not a work for the feint hearted, the music is tense, dramatic, and intense. Recommended for the jumpy and apprehensive components within.

WONDER WOMAN 1984.

At last, it’s here WONDER WOMAN 1984, the soundtrack, by Hans Zimmer, was it worth the wait, you know yes it was. It is a driving and commanding score in which the composer utilises everything he possibly can to enhance, support and herald the return of this superhero. It’s a score that I think is possibly one of Zimmer’s best, and I love the way he references the style of and pays tribute to Ennio Morricone especially the opening cue, THEMYSCIRA, it is certainly Morricone flavoured and Morricone influenced, with THE MISSION like choral and driving strings that also play out an affecting and suitably heroic theme, the composer building upon this adding to it and bringing it to the forefront of the piece, it’s a great heroic and patriotic sounding composition. The same can be said for the remainder of the score, it is vibrant and filled with energy, again Zimmer employs choir and again I was reminded of Morricone in the cue GAMES. It is unlike me to say that a Zimmer score is interesting or in places inventive but this one is, the percussive elements launch the rich thematic material headlong and fast propel it forward, this is an awesome score, a wonderful soundtrack and one that will I am sure become a firm favourite with soundtrack collectors. It has the darkness of his DARK KNIGHT scores and the celestial or more reverent sounds of THE DA VINCI CODE and has at its heart the melancholy and the stirring anthem like style of BACK DRAFT.

A stormer of a soundtrack a triumph of a score, and one that must be listened to over and over because there is so much within it that at times its hard to take in that this is all from one movie. Every track every musical morsel is something that you will latch onto and consume with delight. I recommend this to you without any reservation. To select a highlight cue or composition would be   no is impossible, because every one of them is outstanding. Swirling strings, commanding brass and percussion it’s all here folks, just go get it, you will not be disappointed. It runs for 90 minutes with a handful of the action cues having a duration of nearly 9 to 10 minutes, this is Zimmer at his best, Zimmer as I once knew him and a Zimmer that is most welcome.