Category Archives: REVIEWS IN BRIEF.




I am always in awe of the industrious ethics of the label Move Score Media, it seems at times that this is the only soundtrack label around, simply because they issue so many film and television scores, and they all seem to be good, as in I am yet to find a bad one. What I love about the label is there persistent and ongoing search to release soundtracks by composers that maybe are unknown or at least not in the limelight that much, by doing this they keep collectors interested and this reviewer intrigued as to what will pop up next, well FINDING HOME (HABET) is the answer to that question. The music for this Danish TV series is the work of composer Nicklas Schmidt, who has worked on fair few films, TV shows and also documentaries as well as working as an orchestrator on the score for THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING in 2014 for composer Johann Johannsson. He is no stranger to the Movie Score Media label as they have released two of his scores previously, these being, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS and A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH. His music for FINDING HOME is stunning, the composer constructing poignant and achingly beautiful pieces throughout and purveying these via largely strings and solo violin to which he adds guitar and at times introduces percussive elements which add an atmosphere of tension. But, the score is predominantly exected via strings, which are at times poignant and emotive, then turn into more apprehensive and edgy performances. The cue A NEW JOB for example has to it a quite jagged and harrowing style and sound, with slow but forthright sounding strings acting as a background to a slightly less dramatic violin solo. The combination is effective and striking. The composer also utilises solo piano at certain points which engages in a lilting melody that is supported and underlined by subdued but rich and vibrant strings, as in MARIE BY THE WATERFALL, this is an engaging score and also an interesting work, it contains inventive orchestrations and is filled with delicate melodies that will haunt and tantalise the listener. Another one for the Christmas stocking I think..



As we are all aware film music recently, especially scores from Hollywood have had to them a sound that is very much the same, as in there seems to be a lack of any real inventiveness or originality to them. I cant say that I have heard much in the past five years or so that I thought was particularly innovative, but there again the movies that are being produced nowadays too seem to be overrated and samey. So, JUMANJI:THE NEXT LEVEL. Is probably not a good score to select to listen to see if things are maybe picking up a little in the quality depart. But, hang on wait just a second, this isn’t that bad, in fact I rather liked what composer Henry Jackman has served up here. Ok, it may not be that original or out of the ordinary, but it certainly is entertaining to listen to. It is filled with cues that are fast paced and energetic, and at times these do have about them a sound and style that could be compared with that of Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Alan Silvestri, so not a bad thing me thinks. What I liked about this score was the lack of those awful drone like sounds that have dominated film music in recent years and also the  presence of any Zimmer like connections,  in fact there were even little references to the romantic film scores of the 1940’s with Jackman at times delivering, Steiner/Waxman-esque richness and melodic interludes. This is a soundtrack that contains actual music and it sounds to me as if it is fully symphonic, or at least the majority of it is, with the odd piece of support from the synthetic section. Jackman creating an eerie sound at key points that sends a shiver down ones spine. The composer has penned a powerful work, and also one that that is entertaining away from the images and keeps the listener interested, with its definite nods of acknowledgement to the action scores of the silver age. Its not a score I can wax lyrical about, but it does the job perfectly for the movie and also is something that I have to admit I did not skip through, check it out, it’s a pleasant surprise.



I love the cello, it is an instrument that has so much heart and conveys an array of emotions, It can be sombre and dark, romantic and light and can and often does bring a tear to the eye of many when used in certain situations and scenarios in film. The score for THE ROOM by Raf Kuenen is a good example of the effectiveness of the instrument and the way that it can create and fashion a great many moods and conjure up atmospheres that linger and affect. THE ROOM is a sci-fi thriller and the majority of the score is synthetic and for the most part atonal, the composer realising dark and sinister soundscapes, but within these at times ominous sounding passages we are treated to little ripples of respite in the form of heart rending and sorrowful cello, fragmented and delicate piano, charming otherworldly shimmers and melancholy which is purveyed beneath a veil of sinister sounding effects via piano and cello. At times I was reminded of the work of composer Christopher Young in the HELLRAISER movies, where there is an undeniably fearsome persona present, but still in the background or underneath the malevolent atmospheres there is the sound of hope and respite in the form of a lilting melody that although is overpowered by the dark forces is still managing to be heard. THE ROOM is a masterful work that oozes fearful sounds that are musical and otherwise, it is at times a difficult listen, with its harsh and jagged crashes and slices, but the melodic content shines through to give us an interesting and enriching work. The other score released tat this time by Raf Kuenen, is THE SPY which like THE ROOM is released digitally on Movie Score Media. I do like it when a composer has two scores released so close together and especially when they are from two different types of movies, Why? well it displays the versatility of the composer and also their flexibility and ability to create varying moods and sounds. THE SPY is totally removed from THE ROOM both in the genre sense and musically, the composer on this occasion provided us with a more thematic score, and also one that is I would say more symphonic in its overall musical make up. This time the composer utilising a more symphonic approach, with the use of strings, solo violin and piano, yes, there are passages of music that are realised via electronic means, but the two mediums as in symphonic and synthetic are fused together seamlessly and compliment and support each other throughout, So two scores from different genres which both work effectively and are worth checking out.




Deliciously dark, and vibrantly alluring, that is how I would describe the score for the movie READY OR NOT by composer Brian Tyler. We are all aware that Tyler is a driving force in film music from Hollywood, and many say he has taken up where Jerry Goldsmith left things after his passing. But there is a lot more to Tyler than just creating action cues for superheroes, war movies and horror pics. This is a composer who is perfectly capable of fashioning beautiful and mesmerizing musical poems for film, and it is a testimony to this composer’s talent and versatility that we hear so much fresh and alluring richly thematic material within his film scores and TV soundtracks. My first encounter with Brian Tyler’s ample creative talent came when I added DARKNESS FALLS to my collection, it was not long until I also added TIMELINE and items such as CHILDREN OF DUNE and FRAILTY. It seems an age away that I first encountered his musical prowess and looking back now and seeing just how many films he has scored and enhanced with his powerful sound I can see I was right. His latest project RAMBO LAST BLOOD is still ringing in my ears as I listen to another tour de force of wonderfully thematic material which is taken from his soundtrack to the horror, comedy READY OR NOT. Tyler once again bringing depth and atmosphere to an already tense and somewhat harrowing film, the music that he has written to underline and support this motion picture although largely atonal or action led still manages to remain entertaining in a thematic fashion, as in yes it is racing and percussive but all the time as it rushes ahead full steam we still are conscious that Tyler is introducing a theme or a hint of a theme at least. The tense score is filled with jumps and musical stabs, swirling and menacing strings, darkly percussive moments and rasping brass flourishes that seem to slide in and out of the proceedings adding their own ominous brand of dread and fear as they do. There is also a driving or up-tempo beat to the work which underlines the strings and brass as it launches itself at the listener in a relentless and merciless onslaught of sounds. I like this score a lot, it never rests and gives the listener so much as in action and also a few lighter moments of respite, Driving, and forthright this is a release that is Recommended.



Geoff Zanelli, is a composer who works steadily in Hollywood, and has scored a number of sequels for box office hits, these include THE SCORPION KING 4, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN-DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES etc, and here he is again following in the footsteps of composer James Newton Howard with his latest score for MELEFICENT-MISTRESS OF EVIL. To be fair I think collectors go into listening to a sequel score which is not by the original composer, in this case JNH with a very negative attitude, firstly they are a bit miffed its not the original composer and secondly because they are at times just in a mood. I know I am guilty of it, but I came to this score with an open mind and listened to it through three times before reaching any kind of conclusion about if I liked it or indeed if it was any good or not. Ok, well it’s not James Newton Howard, but, it is in fact pretty good, Zanelli has created a whole new set of themes, which are pleasing and very interesting, plus he does incorporate fragments of the original JNH theme, which is nice to hear too. It is a fusion of symphonic and choral with a little support from the synthetic department. On listening to it I did feel it evoked some of those early Disney movies such as BAMBI and ALICE IN WONDERLAND etc, ( well as its a Disney production I suppose that is ok really) it has a sparkly and magical style and sound to it that is heart-warming and tear jerking . Of course, because this is a dark and at times evil fairy tale, there are a fair amount of the more shadowy and fearful sounding musical passages, where the composer brings into play ominous sounding brass and percussion with at times male choral work. I have to admit to being surprised at how good this is, I was expecting something of a repeat of his Pirates of the Caribbean effort, which I did not rate at all, but this score has an abundance of rich themes which he develops and builds upon as the score progresses and grows. Worth a listen.