Category Archives: REVIEWS IN BRIEF.

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN.

I think even if you were not around in 1970, you would have still heard of the movie The Railway Children, and as a soundtrack collector would also be familiar with the soundtrack as penned by Johnny Douglas. The Railway Children Return is due in cinemas soon and the movie contains a hauntingly beautiful score by composers Edward Farmer and Martin Phipps. Both composers have contributed to the world of film and TV with Phipps probably being the better-known name for his work on The Crown, War and Peace, Victoria and more recently The Princess. Farmer too has scored Beyond Existence recently, which is a score that you should try and check out. The music for The Railway Children Return, is due for release on Movie Score Media on July 15th, and will be available on digital platforms everywhere.

The score is a delightful and richly thematic affair, symphonic and melodic it is in my opinion one of the best scores to be released thus far in 2022.

GODS COUNTRY.
SECRET AGENTY.

The work has to it an appealing and haunting musical persona, that is a entertaining and pleasant listening experience away from the images. The music being subtle but also quite lush and affecting, having to it that very English sound and style.

The score utilizes strings effectively the composers at times engaging solo cello to add a more poignant or emotive atmosphere to the proceedings. It is a score that has many attributes with the composers fashioning compositions that purvey sensitivity, drama, and melancholy. Check it out available soon. The Railway Children Return is directed by Morgan Matthews, written by Danny Brocklehurst and stars Jenny Agutter, Sheridan Smith, Tom Courtenay, Beau Gadsdon, John Bradley, K.J. Aikens, Austin Haynes, Eden Hamilton and Zac Cudby. The sequel to 1970’s The Railway Children is set 40 years after the events of the original and follows a new group of children who are evacuated to a Yorkshire village during World War II and encounter a young soldier. 

DREAMS OF HOME.

MOVIE SCORE MAGIC.

So many great soundtracks around now, and a lot of them have been released digitally by the Swedish soundtrack specialist label Movie Score Media, I have said it many times and will probably say it again and again, that this label is a hive of activity and releases scores that would ordinarily probably not see the light of day. They are a label that I will always support and always look to for innovative and sparkling film score releases. Their release programme is it seems unstoppable, but unlike other soundtrack labels in Europe and in the United States they never seem to release reissues, which for me is fantastic, because one knows that any release will be something fresh. The label has in the past year or so brought lesser-known composers to film music fans attention and at the same time also given them hope that the art of film music is still alive and well.

So, let’s look at a few of these more recent releases. The label has recently released  The Cellar by Stephen McKeon, which is a dark and chilling work, a complex and also an unnerving score that sends tingles and shocks through one when listening.

Although it is a score that many would say is largely atonal in its musical make up, it still contains a rich thematic quality, yes its edgy, its shadowy and filled with dread most of the time but the apprehensive sounds are interesting and also alluring in a strange way. It’s a work that I am sure you will enjoy, overflowing with a foreboding and fearful persona, which at times for me evoked the music of Chris Young in the Hellraiser soundtracks that he worked upon. McKeon first came to my attention a few years ago in 2018 when he scored Pilgrimage, which again was filled with dark and fearful colours and textures, but also like The Cellar was an interesting and entertaining listen. That score too was issued by Movie Score Media and is available on digital platforms such as Spotify.

Then there is Ruben De Gheselle’s brooding yet sensitive score for the documentary A Cops and Robbers Story, which is about a New York cop whose career is threatened by revelations about his former life when he was a member of a gang. The score adds much to the film and lends a tense, serious, yet intimate sense of drama to the storyline.

 Again, available on digital platforms everywhere, it’s a work that you should not overlook, yes it’s from a documentary and not a feature film, but the music is superb and underlines punctuates and enhances throughout, plus it is well worth listening to away from the film as it for me at last was an entertaining and enjoyable listen. In 2018,

Movie score Media released Wildwitch by composer Flemming Nordkrog, this year the label has issued one of his recent works from the movie Ogre which is a fantasy drama, the composer combines symphonic elements and styles with soundscapes to create a work that is inventive and totally consuming.

The score contains the simplicity of a child humming, a whistler and utilises solo performances throughout to fashion an alluring, beautiful but also an unsettling sound. Again, it’s a score that you should check out, the tantalising and haunting style will remain with you long after you have stopped listening to it.

Swedish composer Oscar Fogellstrom has written an atmospheric and mostly electronic horror score for the Yam Laranas film, Rooftop, which tells the story about a group of friends who experience terror because of a prank that goes horribly wrong. T

he score is wonderfully effective in the movie and has to it various quirks and sounds that at key moments evoke the work of John Carpenter, the composer introducing sinister sounding synth-based stabs and motifs throughout the work. It is a dark and unsettling score, but also has to it glimpses of lighter more pop infused cues that occasionally break through. Well worth checking out. As is the composers score for Greed, also on Movie Score Media and available now.  

 I thought how potent that this score was when I first heard it and returned to it a few times after my initial listen. Powerful, affecting, and thematic, I think just about sums this up, at times commanding and grandiose with lighter and more fragile interludes complimenting and further enhancing the proceedings.

Why not have a Fogellstrom fest and listen to them back-to-back, which will also give you an idea of just how talented and flexible Fogellstrom is as a composer. Recommended.  

Composer Timothy Williams describes the movie/documentary Have You Heard About Greg? as “A story of struggle, courage and love“. The score is a work by three composers Timothy Williams, Chad Cannon, and Jessie Carmichael (Maroon 5).

This is such an affecting score, with an abundance of delicate and fragile airs, that at times totally wreck one’s emotions and play with the senses. All I can say is please take a listen to this, because if you do not experience this amazingly sensitive soundtrack then you will be poorer for it.

The label have released many scores this year, and a number of them have already been reviewed here at MMI, but it wont hurt to remind of some of the titles, such as Hostile Territory by John Koutsilinis which is excellent, also The Exorcism of God by Elik Alvarez and Yoncarlos Medina, which is one of the most atmospheric and scary scores I have heard in a while, then we have composer Liam Bates’s fun and grandiose sounding score for the spoof horror comedy Let the Wrong one In.

Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds by Manel Gil Inglada, which is an enjoyable romp of a score filled with proud themes and romantic nuances. Plunder Quest by Massimo Sammi, which I find difficult not to listen to everyday now.

The list it seems is endless, and let’s not forget The Drovers Wife, The Road Dance, Jump Darling, and The Last Film Show. All of which are soundtracks that ooze quality and inventiveness. So if you have not savoured any of the titles I have mentioned now is the time to do so. Quality and quantity going hand in hand rarely happens these days but with Movie Score Media its something that is the norm.

THE ROAD DANCE/THE DROVERS WIFE.

Another addition to the already excellent catalogue of film music that is Movie Score Media, The Road Dance, is a beautifully written score and contains an abundance of affecting themes which become haunting and fully immersing. The score is the work of composer Carlos Jose Alvarez, and is a work that I am sure will appeal to all. The film is set in the Outer Hebrides and focuses upon a young girl who lives in an isolated village there just before WW1. Her life takes a dramatic change when an awful tragedy befalls her. Written and directed by Richie Adams and starring Hermione Corfield, Morven Christie, Mark Gatiss, Will Fletcher and Ali Whitney. The movie is based on the 2002 novel by John MacKay.

The composer has fashioned a sensitive and emotive sounding score for the movie and has utilised traditional sounding instrumentation within the work and has supported and elevated these elements with richer sounding orchestral textures and colours.

The end result is a mesmerizing and affecting collection of themes that one will return to many times after the initial listen. This is a personal and intimate score, filled with fragility and oozing with delicate moods. Recommended.

Another film that has a score that has sounds that are traditionally laced is The Drovers Wife,-The Legend of Molly Johnson which has a score by Salliana Seven Campbell who is a freelance composer and multi-instrumentalist performing on five String Violin, Nyckelharper, Octave Mandolin, Baritone Bowed Psaltry, Piano, Hammered Dulcimer, Hurdy Gurdy and Vocals.

Salliana studied at the old Conservatorium of Music which was where she met her bandmates of Tulipan whose achievements include an Aria nomination for their debut album, two European tours, North American Tour and winning Triple J’s Unearthing the World. The Drovers Wife is the composers first film score, and I certainly hope will not be her last. The score is not a grand orchestral affair, but when you see the movie, you will fully understand why the composer wrote the score in the way she did and also will understand why the films producers and director asked her to become involved on the project.

The style employed is inventive, and effective, I must admit I never really noticed the music whilst watching the movie, but that’s a good thing, because I know that it must have been doing its job in the context of the film, as in supporting and framing scenarios and situations without becoming overpowering.

As for listening to the score away from the images, well it works for me, the composer has successfully fashioned a work filled with so much variety and containing a plethora of themes and musical interludes that are innovative,  and are a pleasure to listen to as stand-alone music. Well worth checking out. Available on digital platforms via Movie Score Media.

MELTING-NICO CARTOSIO.

It’s not often that MMI includes news or reviews of non-film score recordings, but recently I discovered by accident an album on Spotify, entitled Melting, music is by composer Nico Cartosio.

And it is glorious, released back in 2019 I am I know a little late to the party, but felt I had to mention it to MMI readers. In my opinion for what its worth is that Melting is a film score that is looking for a film. Filled with wonderfully attractive themes and affecting and beautiful musical interludes and passages, this is such an enriching and entertaining collection of tantalizing and emotive compositions that encompass the dramatic, the romantic, the melancholy and the thrilling.

There is such diversity so much variation and just a wealth of poignant and melodious content here that its hard to believe it is all the work of one composer and is all included on one album. The recording is just under forty minutes in duration, but it is one that has so many airs and styles to it that it is quite easy to become lost in a sea of music that oozes pure emotion.

The composer treating listeners to sweeping passages that contain romantic and windswept sections that are complimented by an equal amount of heartrending and fragile sounding pieces. But the drama is to there with cues such as The Cocaine March, which could easily be a secondary theme for a dark lord in a galaxy a few miles away. Brass, percussion and urgent strings combine to create a piece that is action and foreboding personified, which only briefly relents to bring to fruition a luxurious theme that evokes the golden age of cinema scores as in Max Steiner or Erich Korngold.

I will not examine and describe each cue, but there is Snow Above the Earth which has to it a certain Eastern European flavour, with solo violin performing a heart-breaking melody accompanied by the string section that is underlining and supporting initially with an even more lush and affecting melody, that finally is taken up by them in a tumultuous rendition of the compositions central melody making it their own.

Each track is a gem, every note is placed with utmost care into place and performed flawlessly, by orchestra and soloists, this is an album you should listen to, you will be poorer for not experiencing its many delights. Highly Recommended.  

I FRATELLI DE FILIPPO.

Set in the early part of the Twentieth Century, I Fratelli De Filippo tells the story of Eduardo, Peppino and Titina who live with their mother, Luisa De Filippo. There is no father, or rather, he is hiding under the guise of being their uncle Eduardo Scarpetta and is the most famous actor and playwright of his time. While Scarpetta did not recognize his three children, he introduced them to the world of theatre. At his death, the De Filippo family had no claim to his estate, but Scarpetta did pass on his talent to them, something his legitimate son Vincenzo did not inherit. This is an interesting piece of cinema directed by Sergio Rubini and contains a wonderfully expressive score by Maestro Nicola Piovani. The music evokes some the early works of the composer including the mesmerising melodies of his score to Le Vita e Bella.

The music also has about it a sound that we associate with Italian cinema as in the works of Nino Rota and to a degree Ennio Morricone and Carlo Rustichelli. There are references to a kind of Neapolitan sound that run through the work, with the composer employing a jaunty and infectious sounding pianola sound.

This straight away conveys an atmosphere or mood that one readily associates with Italy. There are deeply nostalgic sounding interludes and passages that are oozing with a delicate and affecting aura. Piovani also creates highly emotive compositions for strings that are adagio like in their performance and purvey a sorrowful yet enticing persona, the composer also utilises solo guitar which performs a heartbreakingly attractive piece and again evoked classic Italian film music.

Emotive, poignant, entertaining, you will smile and cry when listening to this music. A beautifully written work and one that I for one will be listening to on repeat for a while.