Category Archives: Reviews

THE ROPE AND THE GUN.

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I must be truthful and say I literally just stumbled upon this great soundtrack when I was just looking around the various sites online. This is a superb soundtrack, but I also should be honest with you and say I knew nothing of the movie or even if it was indeed a movie or maybe a game or it’s just an album? Well the latter applies it is a soundtrack to what is called a fake western, so no film sadly, but a soundtrack yes there is and I am so grateful that it has been produced and released. You know me I am a sucker for a western and with a title such as THE ROPE AND THE GUN well I am sold straight away, but this is truly wonderful, there are so many mini salutes musically to composers such as Ennio Morricone, Francesco De Masi, Bruno Nicolai and others such as Stelvio Cipriani, Nico Fidenco, Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, Franco Micalizzi, Carlo Savona and their like, it is a tour de force of musical sounds and colours that hail directly from a bygone age of movie music with the focus being upon the sound and style of the Spaghetti western. However, saying that there is also an originality to the sound and style employed, the composer T.R.JOSSET fusing sounds of the more traditional western as in banjo and fiddles plus atmospheric and grand sounding horns in the style of Copeland with the now stock sounds that we now associate with the Italian or Spaghetti western as in, Harmonica, whistling, guitar and trumpet solos and upbeat and catchy interludes which in this case are straight out of the Morricone/Nicolai text book of music for westerns. So, it’s good guys! There are also a handful of Mexican Hispanic sounding guitar flamenco type passages that add weight and atmosphere to the proceedings. One track in-particular, is cue number three, YOUR PLACE AMONGST THE SWINE, (MAGDALENAS THEME) reminded me of the style employed by Carlo Rustichelli on MAN PRIDE AND VENGEANCE, not a western I know, but it has that kind of vibrancy, that Spanish/South American influence and flavour. Another piece is track number four, ARRIVING TO REDWATER, which is a blend of styles and instrumentation, with percussive elements giving support to banjo, guitar, harmonica and jaws harp, which combined to create an earthy and haunting piece. Then we are treated to TROUBLE BE A HAUNTED PREACHER (PREACHERS THEME) which opens with organ solo, giving the track a kind of irreverent but at the same time Holy sound, this soon fades and is replaced by guitar, backed with subdued percussive elements, that usher in slow but determined sounding strings, which deliver a driving and somewhat unrelenting theme that is noble but at the same time becomes forceful. I suppose the composer has been able to let loose fully with his creative and inventive ideas as he is not restricted by sequences and timings in the ordinary way of scoring a movie, and this certainly shows as he has fully developed some rich and attractive themes and has created a soundtrack that is filled with tension, drama and hints of melancholy.
It is one of those albums that one listens to and as soon as it is finished you return to the beginning and play it again. Well I did anyway. There can be no highlight tracks here because it would be impossible to single out any one, all the music here is good all of it is haunting and riveting. For fans of the Spaghetti western this will be a smorgasbord of sounds and styles, a plethora of musical references that will evoke so many memories. Fuzzy guitars rule alongside soaring trumpets and wailing harmonicas in the superb soundtrack to a film that was never made. Although the score is not symphonic, it certainly sounds it, one would be hard pressed to pick this out as a synthesised work, as it is of the highest quality. Please don’t miss this one, you will be sorry. I look forward to more from T,R, JOSSET.

ANNABELLE-CREATION.

 

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Movies within the horror genre I think need music more than any other type of film. The horror movie has increased in popularity year upon year and the musical scores for films within this category have also become the objects of fascination from collectors of film music and fans of the horror genre as a whole. By this I mean if a collector buys the score to a horror movie and a sequel appears they will invariably buy the score from the sequel even if they have not seen the movie, it also goes without saying that film music collectors buy when they know what composer has scored the film, again in most cases without seeing the movie, they will buy a score because it is by a certain composer. When I heard that Benjamin Wallfisch was onboard for ANNABELLE  CREATION, I was I must say surprised because the original movie had been scored by Joseph Bishara, and I naturally assumed he would be providing the chills and starts and musical jumps for this instalment. For some reason, I associated Wallfisch with films that had a more lush or romantic soundtrack, such as BITTER HARVEST ETC. Which is of course so wrong of me, as we all know that  Wallfisch has worked on numerous movies all varying genres. CONQUEST 1453,  HAMMER OF THE GODS,  A CURE FOR LIFE and PRESSURE among them, plus he scored the TV mini series THE ENFIELD HAUNTING.  ANNABELLE  CREATION is set to be a popular sequel by the looks of things and judging by the little bit of buzz that is surrounding it. The score is a commanding one and a soundtrack that at times is fully atonal but then shifts a gear and alters direction becoming somewhat melancholy and warm with an almost childlike air about it. But, and with horror scores and films there is always a but isn’t there, BUT, underneath the safe and secure sounding interludes there is percolating a seething and ominously foreboding sound that is filled to the brim with terrifying stabs and laced with virulent and guttural sounding passages that infiltrate the work and overwhelm any signs of calm and traces of serenity. The opening track, THE CREATION is at first a low-key affair, with Barry-esque strings and woods intertwining to create a melodic and delicate sounding piece, the strings become more prominent but then the composer moves the composition into a more sinister sounding persona, with a slightly off kilter piano adding a touch of menace and apprehension to the proceedings. The cue turns darker towards the end of its duration, with the appearance of swirling strings that purvey an atmosphere of tension and anxiety bringing it to a close. Track number two, THE MULLINS FAMILY, is a brief but pleasant and effecting piece for piano, the fragile sounding piano being underlined by delicate use of the string section. Track number three, A NEW HOME is slightly less edgy and foreboding initially, with a warm yet melancholy sounding cello solo giving depth to the composition, but all the time there is a somewhat uneasy background or underlying sound which although in the background seems to prevail above the cello and alerts the listener that maybe not all is quite right.

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Track number four, BEE’S ROOM is where the score really begins to get into the deep and evil sounding material, the composer effectively employing the string section to conjure up an atmosphere that is uncomfortable and chilling, but saying this mid-way through piano begins to intervene and adds a calming quality. There are no calm or subdued nuances within track number five however, ANNABELLE AWAKENED, opens with strings again, which effectively hiss and swirl in a maelstrom of sounds which are bolstered using brass stabs, electronics and muffled percussive elements. ANNABELLE THE CREATION is a score that is at times delicate and even fragile, but along the way there are many surprises musically speaking, which literally jump out at the listener and grab their attention. It is a classy horror score, with something for everyone within it, it is inventive, commanding, perplexing and above all, down-right scary, with an almost unrelenting aura of menace being dominant throughout, until track number, 21, THE HOUSE IS BLESSED when the composer adds a little bit of hope in the form of melodic strings, and also in ADOPTION with a piano solo which I would say puts one at ease, but with this score one never knows whether it’s safe to let your guard down, and this certainly applies as we go to the last cue from the score CONDUIT which is a filled with a terrifying and chaotic sound as if the evil is returning after a brief respite. One for the collection.

 

Available on WATER TOWER MUSIC USA.  and  SILVA SCREEN UK.

TRACK LISTING.

1.
Creation
3:42
2.
The Mullins Family
0:43
3.
A New Home
1:28
4.
Bee’s Room
3:01
5.
Annabelle Awakened
2:18
6.
Bunkmates
1:01
7.
Shadows and Sheets
1:25
8.
Bee’s Photo
1:21
9.
Puppets and Mischief
1:16
10.
Your Soul
2:48
11.
Avatars
1:48
12.
Demon Fishing
2:47
13.
The Possession
1:44
14.
Linda’s Suspicion
0:45
15.
Samuel’s Death
2:26
16.
Our Beloved Bee
3:51
17.
Jannabelle
2:58
18.
Transformation
1:29
19.
Demonquake
2:36
20.
Police
1:37
21.
The House is Blessed
1:42
22.
Adoption
1:08
23.
Conduit
1:44
24.
You Are My Sunshine (Charles McDonald)

 

 

 

 

BLOOD FEAST.

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ScreamWorks Records invites its listeners to a Blood Feast, which is an  official remake of the 1963 horror by Herschell Gordon Lewis. This new version of the gory story was co-written and directed by Marcel Waltz and tells the story of Fuad Ramses (Robert Rusler), an American entrepreneur who moves to France with his family in order to open an American diner. With business going slowly, Ramses also works night shifts in a museum of ancient Egyptian culture. Tortured by visions from the Goddess Ishtar (Sadie Katz), Fuad starts to spice up his meals with unlikely ingredients….

The musical score for BLOOD FEAST, comes courtesy of German born composer, Klaus Pfreunder, who has created a harrowing and commanding work via sounds synthetic and symphonic, or at least I think there are some conventional instruments within the score as it is hard to distinguish between electronic and symphonic as the work fuses them both flawlessly. The opening cue entitled THE BEAST, (INTRO) is a piece which sets the scene perfectly for much of what is to follow and immediately grabs the listeners attention, with the composer utilising the sounds of a beating heart and over this we hear the sounds of what I can only imagine to be the beast referred to in the track title, there is a growling and shrieking effect within the opening of the cue, that is edged with sinewy sounding icy strings and jagged brass stabs, with the composer adding a woman’s scream but distorting it to great effect, the heart beat continues and becomes faster and more pronounced as the cue progress’s and develops gaining momentum and becoming more virulent and menacing. The composer fashions an uneasy and uncomfortable composition which can only be described as taught and intensely harrowing, filled with tension, darkness and foreboding. Track number two, NEW DAY is somewhat more low key, and opens with piano underlined by strings, in fact it evoked memories of Christopher Youngs wonderful opening theme for THE HAUNTED SUMMER, with delicate piano taking centre stage and given support by light and romantically laced strings, but the mood of the cue very soon alters as the piano becomes more urgent and the strings also change course becoming apprehensive, there is also a sound in the background that reminded me of BLOOD ON SATANS CLAW, this haunting and fearful cue establishes an atmosphere that is edgy and richly shadowy, but at the same time retains a mood that is tinged with a fragile but melancholy air. The music for BLOOD FEAST is probably not going to be everyone’s idea of a good score, but I liked it and loved the way in which the composer integrated Edvard Grieg’s wonderfully evil and mischievous sounding THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING from Pier Gynt, into one of the main cues, track number 9, THE FEAST. Synthetic or symphonic does not matter really, it is a score that is deliciously powerful and a work that oozes a sound that is affecting and disturbing. The score also includes a handful of songs, by artists such as, Chilli con Curtis and Nici Rox, the latter sounding very much like LORDE who have been doing well recently in the music charts. As I say maybe not for everyone, but check it out you never know you may just like it.

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47 METERS DOWN.

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Composing duo TOMANDANDY ( Tom Hajdu and Andy Milburn)  have over the past few years contributed many scores to movies that have mainly been within the horror or sci fi genres, MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, KILLING ZOE and THE COVENANT among them, all of which benefitted from the atmospheric and at times virulent sounds that they have created.  Their latest offering is from the shark infested underwater thriller 47 METERS DOWN. This is a movie that follows in the footsteps of JAWS and its many imitators or at least big screen incarnations of blood thirsty killer sharks that would tear your arm off if given a chance, the movie is one of those oh my god I cant watch please tell me what’s happening films, and then you realise the person you are watching it with are also covering their eyes. The score is like the bulk of the works of TOMANDANDY electronic or synthesised, however although I am not a fan of sounds rather than music being utilised on a soundtrack to enhance or underline the action or create the tension required I do like several of the past works of this composing duo, and there are certain electronic scores or soundtracks that have not only serviced the movies that were written for well, but have also managed to gain popularity away from the images, I suppose it’s down to individual taste when it comes to film music, you either like synthetic scores or you don’t. Recently they worked on ONCE UPON which contained a score that again was dominated by synthetics but contained some beguiling and haunting melodies which emanated from and around a rather unsettling four note music box theme. 47 METERS DOWN is somewhat different, these are sounds or is it a soundscape? Rather than actual melodies, but in a way they are just as riveting and alluring as the melodic content of WISH UPON, of course miles apart musically speaking, because 47 METERS DOWN is forebodingly dark and tantalisingly tense with cues that are slow burning affairs that build into full blown dramatic filled pieces, which create an atmosphere that is at times chaotic and frenzied, it is a soundtrack that also contains its quieter moments, but even these interludes which are few and far between are thrown into disarray without any warning by an invasion of heart arresting jagged crashes and collisions of sounds that certainly grab the attention of the listener, It is a soundtrack that is quite cleverly written, as I say the quieter moments are torn apart and basically attacked by searing and aggressive sounding stabs and crashes, much like a shark would attack without warning and at great speed.

 

 

 

 

It is a score for a horror movie, so I was not expecting any lush strings or melancholy themes at all, it is also a soundtrack that enhances and supports the action, horror and adds much to the atmospherics of the film. If, however, you are looking for John Williams or anything remotely melodious or pleasantly lilting tone poems, boy have you got a surprise. Atonal, stressful and disturbing. The final cue of the soundtrack ACCENT, is probably the less tense example of the score, it is kind of uplifting and gives one a feeling or sense that the danger is gone the horror could be over and we are seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE.

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DUN DUN DAHHHHHHH its CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, no not me, the movie, although hang on maybe if I, ummm well maybe not,,,,. Faster than a speeding train, braver than anything you can think of and sillier than most things, that is CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, BUT, what a fantastic movie, a laugh a minute it is great. If you are feeling fed up or just grumpy go watch this film it has such a wonderful formula and presence about it which if bottled would I think be a brilliant tonic to cheer everyone everywhere up. The music for this animated feature of epic proportions is the work of the talented composer Theodore Shapiro, I cannot give this score praise enough as it is not only bubbly, energetic, robust and melancholy, but is also filled to the rafters with so much thematic material that is fast paced and just so entertaining, without a doubt the music lends much to the movie and the composers timing with the musical full stops, commas and exclamation marks is uncanny and excellent. I also love the way in which the composer at times parodies the superhero sound that we seem to get served up in the serious movies of this type, not that I am saying CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS is not serious, of course it is, he is a superhero of the highest calibre and should be treated with the utmost respect. The score obviously contains its fair share of the lighter and more comedic sounds and trademarks, but it also has about it a more serious, yes serious sound, which works very well indeed within the context of the movie, adding drama, pathos and touches of slapstick if that is something that can be done musically. I must say I cannot recommend this enough, it’s just a non-stop rollercoaster ride of musical mayhem and magnificence that is overflowing with Bold Brass, stirring strings, rumbling percussion all of which combine to create a score that is faultlessly timed to hit the punchlines and accompany the action throughout, but it is such a great bit of fun too.

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The composer utilising Symphonic and synthetic, with the added presence of choir, which underlines the magnitude and importance of this great superhero. There is even a slice of the HALLELUJAH CHORUS utilized within the score, but not as we know it, well it is but it’s got something to do with Poopy-pants so enough said, Theodore Shapiro, is I think one of the most inventive and talented composers around at the moment, he seems to be able to turn his hand and his talents to any genre of film and is able to fashion music to suit any situation and scenario, GHOSTBUSTERS is a prime example, it is another score that is dramatic but also epic sounding in places and like CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS verges upon the operatic in certain areas, an animated movie with a score that is big, brassy and filled with a gigantic musical persona and did I mention there are kazoos too. Now who in their right mind can resist this, I am just off to the chest of draws to find the underpants and cape, DUN DUN DAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! (and I leave you with that image). Seriously folks go get this score now.