Category Archives: Sleeve Notes.

THE QUEENS MESSENGER. (sleeve notes for the KRONOS RECORDS release)

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Released in 2001. QUEENS MESSENGER, stars, Gary Daniels as Captain Strong, who is a member of the SAS on loan as it were to the Secret Service, who put him to work as a messenger. Strong is a seasoned and highly thought of officer who has the trust of his government. He is a given a highly volatile assignment which involves the perilous task of delivering an important message to the British Consul in Kazakhstan. He must guard the message with his life, as it contains the details of a number of secret agreements that have been made by a handful of heads of state regarding the control of the country’s oil resources. Strong must keep his wits about as there are many who would like to relieve him of this important document. Ben Samm, is one such person, he is the leader of rebels who most certainly benefit from gaining control of the regions oil exploration right. Whilst travelling to Kazakhstan, Strong meets and teams up with American news reporter Alexi Jones played by Teresa Sherrer, who has heard rumours surrounding the Country’s oil resources and is investigating these, but also becomes curious about Captain Strong’s part in it all. Both the reporter and Strong are captured by the rebels, who have also kidnapped the British Ambassador, and are holding him hostage. Strong decides he must attempt to escape and lead his fellow prisoners to safety. Directed by Mark Roper, QUEENS MESSENGER, is an enjoyabl thriller, that contains more action than storyline, the movies central character becoming involved in an overabundance of chases, shoot outs, and fast paced hand to hand fighting, which take up approximately 90 percent of the films duration. The Bulgarian/Canadian and British co-production, was made on a low budget and sadly at certain points within the movie this does show, but saying this it still manages to entertain without the audience having to think to much about the plot. The musical score for QUEENS MESSENGER is the work of Italian Maestro, Stelvio Cipriani, who came to the notice of the cinema going public back in the 1960, s via his, inventive, haunting and infectious soundtracks to Italian produced westerns, such as A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN, THE BOUNTY KILLER and THEY CALL ME ALLELUJAH to name but three. His theme for A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN became a worldwide hit with artists such as LeRoy Holmes and Henry Mancini including arrangements of it on their albums. Cipriani also became known for his highly emotive and theme laden score to THE ANONYMOUS VENITIAN. The music for QUEENS MESSENGER is in the main action driven, with up-tempo themes and near martial sounding cues dominating the work. But the composer also manages to include a lush and romantic sounding side to the soundtrack, in the tracks, BACK TO LIFE and ALEXI’S THEME with strings that swell and rise and solo piano that is delicate and alluring, which adds a degree of fragility to the proceedings. Its sound not being a million miles away from the composer’s music for THE ANONYMOUS VENETIAN.

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Cipriani does have a distinct and recognisable sound, but for QUEENS MESSENGER, the composer employed a more conventional approach, relying upon strong performances from, brass. percussion and strings, with Female solo voice making a subtle appearance from time to time, giving the score a touch of ethnic authenticity. He also bolsters and supports the conventional orchestra with a handful of electronic and synthetic additions which combine with the symphonic seamlessly. Thanks to Kronos records we can hear one of the composer’s lesser known works for the silver screen.

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SALVATORE. (sleeve notes for the Kronos release)

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Composer Paolo Vivaldi has written the music for over 70 motion pictures and television projects, most of his works being for the small screen the composer writing for television mini-series or TV movies, such as ADRIANO OLIVETTI-LA FORZA DI UN SOGNO, VISO D; ANGELO, THE TEACHER and I CERCHI NELL’ACQUA. Born in Rome on January 20th, 1964, the composer has put his musical stamp upon drama’s, romantic tales, thrillers, and so many other genres. He has also written haunting and appealing musical soundtracks for documentaries including, THE SUN IS DARK and METAMORFOSI. It is somewhat difficult to comprehend why such a talented and versatile composer such as Vivaldi has not enjoyed more success as in being better known amongst the film music collecting fraternity. In 2006 the composer worked on SALVATORE-QUESTA E LA VITA, which was a movie produced by Disney. The film sadly did not receive many positive reviews and was ignored or overlooked by critics and audiences alike when it was released, which is surprising as the subject matter is something that Disney normally excels at. Vivaldi’s score for the picture is symphonic with a minimal amount of synthetic support and enhancement and is written predominantly for strings, piano and woods, these elements acting as a foundation on which he builds the remainder of the thematic material. The composer underlining and enhancing the movies, dramatic, comedic and at times heartrending moments superbly. Vivaldi, utilizes solo piano within the soundtrack to purvey delicate and fragile atmospheres, creating emotive and haunting musical nuances and interludes. The composer also employs a beguiling Female wordless voice at certain stages of the score which is underlined by cello and further embellished by subtle piano, a combination that is not only affecting but highly effective. The score is not only melodic and alluring, but also contains a richness and has a luxurious musical persona, Vivaldi, shaping, adapting and tailoring his already emotive and melancholy sounding music to suit every scenario that we encounter within the picture. There is also a more rustic side to the work, which comes in the form traditional sounding Sicilian flavoured pieces, which personally evoked memories of Luis Baclov’s soundtrack for IL POSTINO. But, it is the delicate and more melodic thematic material that attracts one to the score, and within the movie the composer does manage to get the correct balance and enhance rather than overpower with his subtle nuances and lingering tone poems, plus creating a rich and attractive work. The score has been issued digitally, but this is the first time it has received a compact disc release.

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After the sudden death of both his Mother and Father, a young boy Salvatore, (Allesandro Mallia), is gripped by anger over his catastrophic loss, but his anger and frustration turns to determination as he decides that he must now become the man of the family carry on the family business stepping into his Fathers shoes. He does this so that he can support both his younger Sister and elderly Grandmother. The 12-year-old continues running the fishing boat that his Father worked and becomes a farmer, cultivating a crop of tomatoes. But because of his determination to carry on working he neglects his education and decides that he will leave school. Social services are made aware of the situation by the education department and become involved, which could mean that Salvatore may be separated from his family and placed into care at an orphanage. However, a young Teacher (Enrico lo Verso) discovers what Salvatore is trying to do, and sets out to help the youngster with his school work, going to Salvatore’s home every day after he has finished teaching to tutor him one to one, he also helps the boy fishing and working in the greenhouse where Salvatore has kept the family business going. Although this is a film that has a predictable plot, and is somewhat sugary in areas, it is still a movie that will be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and is a tale of determination in the face of adversity, friendship and family.

ARTIFICIAL.

Sleeve notes for the Kronos records soundtrack release.

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As a genre of film and indeed as a genre, whether it is in book form or even a comic book, Science Fiction can either appeal to many or be either loved or loathed but the public at large, yes of course blockbusters from Hollywood as in Star Wars and Close Encounters of the third kind, are examples within the genre that obviously sat well in the eyes of the cinema going public. But, examples such as these are or were few and far between and many SCI-FI films as in shorts or low budget productions do tend to attract something of a niche following. The production values and standards of many being a little shaky to say the least, which is probably due to the budget the film manged to scrape together. The Sci Fi movie when produced correctly and written well is in most cases an enjoyable experience, both visually and cerebrally, often thought provoking and engaging and at times is a journey of discovery, escapism and enthrallment. It is a genre that can create moments of true brilliance within cinema and literature. ARTIFICIAL, is a short film which runs for less than thirty minutes, produced in Spain in 2015 and directed by filmmaker David Perez Sanudo, it is a tale of a man who arrives at a job interview full of hope that he might get the position, but what he does not realise is that he has already been selected and his potential employers make him an offer of 80, thousand Euros to agree to take part in an experiment where he will be cloned. The musical score is by Spanish born composer, Jorge Granda, who has created a highly atmospheric soundtrack via the utilisation of an entirely electronic score, synthetic sounds are at times grating and non-musical when not handled with care and expertise, I am happy to say that this is certainly not the case with this score, the music is pleasing and also very melodic and filled with delicate notations and motifs that trickle along at a steady pace to relay a sense of calm initially, but after a while these calming sounds become a little more tense and begin to alter and transform into something that is slightly more dark and uneasy, let us remember this is a short film which has a duration of just 20 minutes, so the composer had very little time to establish his score and also to expand it into themes or something that remotely resembled thematic material. In a feature length motion picture, the composer has sometimes nearly two hours to enhance the proceedings and is able to introduce more than just one central theme having the luxury of a longer running time in which he create themes for certain characters, in the world of the short film, the composer has an infinitely more difficult job as he must enhance, support and underline the storyline but has very little time in which to do it in, and invariably a smaller budget. For ARTIFICIAL, composer Granda, has worked a little bit of musical magic, he has fashioned a score that is contemporary, synthetic and one that works well with the images and scenarios on screen, but he has also managed to infuse emotion and fragility into the work, which is as we all know rare in electronic soundtracks.

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Composer, musician and producer Jorge Granda was born on December 14th, 1985, since the early part of 2010 he has focused upon the composition of music for films and media. He has been involved in the writing of over 30 scores for short films, and has also worked on documentaries and other visual projects. His sound or style is not dissimilar to that of the combined styles of Vangelis and British musician and composer Mike Oldfield, where he combines both synthetic colours and musical textures with conventional instrumentation such as, Guitar, piano and percussive elements alongside samples, fusing these effectively to produce attractive and effecting musical moods and atmospheres. Many of his albums are available on various music sites and he has in a short space of time built up a wonderfully diverse and original sounding body of work. Thanks to Kronos records, we can hear the alluring and haunting sounds that the composer created for ARTIFICIAL.

THE LION WOMAN.

Notes for the Kronos/Movie score media CD release.

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Composer Uno Helmersson, has written a particularly, fixating and captivating soundtrack for THE LION WOMAN, his musical score being, highly melodic and filled with a rich and luscious sound that is haunting and extremely beautiful. The score is overflowing with fragile and delicate tone poems that weave in and out of the proceedings creating emotive and poignant musical moments. The score also contains a handful of cues that are much darker and even at times ominously foreboding, the composer fusing both symphonic colours and synthetic textures together to fashion a shadowy and at times unsettling musical persona. THE LION WOMAN contains one of the most interesting and hypnotic scores that I have heard in a while. The composer relies in the main on piano, strings and cello to create his light and romantically melancholy musical themes, the cello in-particular has a richness to it that oozes emotion and sadness that is the heart of the score in many ways or at least its soul. Most of the work is light and beguiling, with Helmersson, utilising piano solos or piano and woods in unison that are supported by layered strings that seem to caress and accentuate the core musical themes. The musical score plays an important and integral part to the unfolding storyline and gives it greater depth and certainly more emotion, the score is key to the sensitive content of the movie, the composer creating subtle but effective and affecting motifs and musical passages to underline, emphasise, support and punctuate each scene. The central theme is a combination of solo piano and strings which together form a solid opening foundation, on which the composer begins to build his theme, this musical notion is then expanded and embellished with woodwind and additional strings to create an elegant and lingering piece which grows and builds in momentum purveying a romantic yet strident style. The score is enchanting, and magical, and contains an appealing fragility that shines throughout, it is a soundtrack, the style employed I would say was akin to the sound achieved by composers such as Phillipe Rombi, Alexander Desplat, Georges Delerue and has hints of the romantic sounds of Ennio Morricone and maybe too incorporates touches that are of a Barry-esque quality. Uno Helmersson, was born in, Vasterbotten, Sweden, on March 28th, 1977. As a child his parents noticed his aptitude for music and decided to let him take Organ lessons. As he grew up and entered his teenage years, he began to play in various bands, and it was at this time that he realised that it was music he wanted to pursue as a career. He studied music in upper secondary school and continued to study via various preparatory courses before he was finally accepted into The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, in 2002.

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Whilst he was at college he became friends with Johan Soderqvist, who is one of the most prominent composers of music for film in the Nordics, and after graduating from college Uno began to work as Soderqvist’s assistant. And worked on scores for films such as KON TIKI, LIMBO and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Helmersson got his first solo break into composing for film in 2010 when he wrote the score for the Danish documentary ARMADILLO, and has since then been busy writing music for film and television.
THE LION WOMAN, was written and directed by Scandinavian film maker, Vibeke Idsoe, and was released on September 14th, 2017, in Germany, the screenplay was based on the novel by Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen, and tells the story of a young girl Eva Arctander who suffers from a very rare genetic disorder, which generates hair growth over large parts of her body. Eva’s Mother dies in child birth and her Father attempts to hide his daughter away from everyone, because he feels ashamed of her appearance. Despite all the odds being stacked against her, Eva, has such a passion for life but because of her experiences with people’s bigotry and disrespect she decides to join a theatre group which includes members that also suffer from rare diseases, the movie is her story and follows her from the age of seven and concentrates on her 14th and 22nd years, and is set between 1912 and 1932. It is a touching and somewhat frustrating tale, but also a film that you cannot stop watching, a compelling storyline, with some wonderful performances by the leading actors.

MORTE VESTITA DI DOLLAR. (AKA-DOG EAT DOG/WHEN STRANGERS MEET).

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http://kronosrecords.com/KG27.html

Available Now, from Kronos records.

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Directed by no less than four film makers, Richard E. Cunha, Gustav Gavrin, Ray Nazzaro and Albert Zugsmith, the movie is an entertaining production and does I have to say sustain an air of drama and tension, but also has an equal amount of lighter moments along the way. Released in the UK as WHEN STRANGERS MEET which was the title of the original novel by Robert Bloomfield on which the films screenplay was based, the movie had the title DOG EAT DOG in the USA and MORTE VESTITA DI DOLLAR in Italy. The score composed and conducted by Carlo Savina is a work that includes several musical styles all of which are rich in melody and filled with drama and vitality. The score is a vibrant and energetic one, the composer combining the big band jazz sound with that of a more luxurious and stylish aura that is linked with many movies that were produced during the 1960, s. For much of its duration the soundtrack leans towards a more traditional jazz style, which is in keeping with the films storyline and the period in which it is set. He composer utilizing to great effect piano, woodwind and at times lush string interludes that are quite grandiose and opulent sounding.

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The Maestro also employs a style and sound that is very much akin to the composing style of fellow Italian composers such as Piero Umiliani, Armando Trovaioli and Gianni Ferrio to identify a few. Savina makes effective use of organ solos and introduces and integrates these performances at key points within the work, the sound and style lending much support and atmosphere to the score as well as enhancement to the scenarios unfolding on screen. The use of organ was commonplace in so many Italian soundtracks, the instrumentation adding touches of drama, melancholy and fleeting hints of the sinister, when employed. The opening cue sets the scene perfectly for what we are about to hear, it is a fast-paced swing composition for percussion and brass and although short lived makes an impact immediately. Track two, is a more elaborated version of the opening cue and contains nice muted trumpet performances as well brushed drums and classy sounding piano. Track number three, is more dramatic in its sound and style, the composer employing strings that are supported by both percussive elements and brass, that when combined create a tense and urgent sound. Other cues as CONCERTO ROMANTICO, are quite powerful and emotive, the composer employing solo piano underlined by the string section, which add a certain classical sounding persona to the score. Whereas tracks such as RITMI DI LATTA are pure jazz/swing with vibes and saxophone combining with guitar, piano, percussion, bongos, and bass to purvey a groovy sounding piece, that has an infectious pace and appeal. When listening to this and other scores by the Maestro, it becomes very clear why he was in such demand and how versatile and talented he was.

TRACK LISTING.
1.  Swing Frenetico
   2.  Stasi
3.  Concerto Romantico
4.  Ritmi Di Latta
5.  Atmosfera Torbida
6.  Suona Un Organo
7.  Morte Di Un Ladro
8.  Il Dramma
9.  Caccia Spietata
10.  Grottesco
11.  Delitto
12.  Incerto Candore
13.  Agguato ed Assassinio
14.  Atmosfera Sospesa
15.  In Giallo
16.  Ritratto Di Signora
17.  Sospensione

tracks   1-17 The Original LP Program

tracks 18-36 are previously unreleased bonus tracks, available for the first time ever!