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 Bath‘s 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.
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.
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.