The Man Who Cleans knows you can find a lot of secrets in trash. People tend to lie but their trash never does. The Man Who Cleans thought he was invisible, until he met the Girl with the Purple Hair Lock. Girl with the Purple Hair Lock breaks into his tidy life because only an evil angel can save her now. Meanwhile, the Huntress knows somebody is killing blonds out there. Nobody believes her, but she knows. What she doesn’t know, though, is that evil is hiding behind the green door. The truth lies at the bottom of a dark, deep abyss.
Maybe a little strange as an explanation as to what a movie is about, but intriguing none the less. I was attracted to Lo Sono L’Abisso not because of its plot or its actors etc, but because of its film score by talented composer Vito Lo Re, you may recall the composer because of his brilliant score for the movie L’Uomo del Labrinto aka Into the Labyrinth which was released in 2019 and featured Dustin Hoffman. The film was not only entertaining but also perplexing, harrowing, and thought provoking at times being confusing. A thinking person’s movie perhaps, but its one I just loved.
The score for Lo Sono L’Abisso, is just as powerful but it contains more intimate and solitary thematic performances mainly on piano which conveys a romantic atmosphere, this however does not mean there is no variety within the score as there are also darker elements that the composer introduces that manifest mainly in track number three Le a Mia Amica, which although not menacing has to it a more sinister sound and apprehensive vibe. The score is quite brief, just five tracks with one being a rap/song by Shocker MC, but it is still a rewarding listen, recommended.
Welcome to another soundtrack supplement Soundtrack Supplement number seventy now. As you can image Halloween related films and TV material is coming thick and fast, or is that trick and fast? (see what I did there). Two Netflix films this week have had their soundtracks released digitally, The School for Good and Evil and TheCurse of Bridge Hollow. Both are great works composed by Theodore Shapiro and Christopher Lennertz respectively.
The score for The Curse of Bridge Hollow is certainly a homage to John Williams and the likes of John Debney and Bruce Broughton, the score is windswept and lush with hints of mischievous interludes, it is a grandiose yet contemporary sounding work, filled with lush and lavish themes that just seem to surround and enthrall, plus it has a more personal and up-tempo side to it, the composer creating beautiful tone poems alongside madcap and frenzied passages which are so haunting and driven.
I don’t think I have got goosebumps like this over the sound of a Halloween score since the original Hocus Pocus. I just love the various styles and levels of intensity within the score, one minute it is filled with a mystical and magical air the next there is a full-on action cue going on, the composer makes effective use of a Danny Elfman childlike choir (shades of Edward Scissorhands) throughout that brings so much atmosphere and adds colour and texture to the proceedings.
This is in the main a traditional sounding score, with strings, percussion and brass taking on the lion’s share of the performance, the booming and powerful themes are a sheer joy, with the comedic styles creeping in here and there making it an entertaining listen.
I recommend that you take a listen ASAP and take a look at the movie on Netflix, because it’s a really enjoyable Halloween romp for kids of all ages, and pays homage to many films within the horror genre such as Walking Dead, Killer Clowns, Monster Squad, Aracnophobia, and Pumpkin head, albeit in a very tongue in cheek way.
There is even a nod to the vampire movies as made by Hammer with the obligatory rubber bat dive bombing various characters in the storyline well I say rubber bat but it’s a little more hi tech than those used back in the day, but it evoked memories of those comical looking bats on strings. It’s an entertaining movie and one that I did enjoy.
The School for Good and Evil is also now available to watch and it’s a movie I found quite entertaining. This is a little darker than The Curse of Bridge Hollow. The story opens in the village of Gavaldon, where we find two misfits and best friends, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), who share the unlikeliest of bonds.
Sophie, a golden-haired seamstress, dreams of escaping her dreary life to become a princess, while Agatha with her grim aesthetic and offbeat mother, has the makings of a real witch.
One night under an ominous looking blood red moon, a powerful force sweeps them away to TheSchool for Good and Evil – where the true stories behind every great fairy tale begin. But things do not go quite to plan with Sophie being dropped into the School for Evil, run by the glamorous and acid-tongued Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron), and Agatha in the School for Good, overseen by the sunny and kind Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington). As if navigating classes with the offspring of the Wicked Witch (Freya Parks), Captain Hook (Earl Cave), and King Arthur (Jamie Flatters) wasn’t hard enough, according to the Schoolmaster (Laurence Fishburne), only true love’s kiss can change the rules and send the girls to their rightful schools and destiny.
But when a dark and dangerous figure (Kit Young) with mysterious ties to Sophie re-emerges and threatens to destroy the school and the world beyond entirely – the only way to a happy ending is to survive their real life fairy-tale first.
Theodore Shapiro’s score is wonderfully dark and mysterious with touches of those sparkly sounds that we associate with the world of the fairy tale, it’s a soundtrack that I found appealing and entertaining, the composer creating powerful and also melodically haunting compositions, it’s a commanding score, in which the composer utilizes brass, thundering percussive elements, dark sounding organ, and choir, with strings filling the work with gloriously thematic material that is affecting as well as effective in the support and enhancement of the movie.
The waltz at the start of the movie is also impressive. This is in a word a superbly dark and wickedly succulent and thematic score and one I recommend to you without reservations whatsoever. Watching the movie and the music working with the images and unfolding storyline is I think a masterclass in scoring film, as the music supports wonderfully but also adds so much depth and creates numerous moods and atmospheres that bring the story and its many twists, turns and surprises to life.
Heading away from all Hollows eve and everything connected with it for a moment and into something a little more calming, and to a new version of the delightful tale of Belle and Sebastien, in Belle Et Sebastien-Nouvelle Generation, which has a hypnotizing score penned by David Menke. It’s a charming and wonderfully melodic work with unassuming themes and beautiful affecting compositions that weave their undeniable magic upon the listener. It’s a gracious and entertaining work, that also has its fair share of darker and action led cues as in Loups, and Gas Cherche Belle, which also has a spaghetti western influence within it performed by a dark sounding electric guitar.
Then there are cues such as Poursuite, which start out dark and ominous in their mood but gradually become lighter. Above all it is the fragility and the slightness of the thematic material here that is the attraction, lilting and subtle melodies warm one’s heart, whilst the more fearsome and dramatic cues also entertain on another level. Worth a listen and available on digital platforms.
Batman and Superman– Battle of the Super Sons, has a high octane and imposing score which is the work of Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis, it’s a highly entertaining and richly anthem like soundtrack, filled with so many action cues, that for me at least evoked memories of the style of Jerry Goldsmith, and Elmer Bernstein, with action cues oozing an abundance of rich and vibrant thematic material.
The animated series is also an interesting and entertaining one, the music is available now on digital platforms. And has a running time of over an hour and includes twenty cues from the score.
A little while ago I spoke of the beguiling score for the BBC documentary Elizabeth the Unseen Queen, in the hope that the music would be released, well it is now I am pleased to say available on digital platforms, and hopefully will also be released on compact disc in the very near future. click here for a reminder of the article on the score and on the composer David Schweitzer.
There is also another wonderful film and score coming in November dedicated to her Majesty. Portrait of the Queen will be released on November 21st and has another marvellous and affecting score by Italian Maestro Remo Anzovino. The soundtrack will also be released on digital platforms and a CD release will follow.
Remo Anzovino is currently one of the most influential composers and pianists in the contemporary instrumental music scene. His style is the result of a long experience in composing for the cinema, theatre, and advertising. His songs have no lyrics, but are a glorious fusion between classical music, jazz, world music and film music.
Born in 1976 from Neapolitan parents, he received in 2019 Nastro D’Argento prize from Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists – special mention “music of the Art” for his soundtracks. As a composer, through record projects and film soundtracks, has linked his name to characters, “monuments” and facts of history, as well as art, literature and sport of universal value such as Frida Kahlo, Napoleon Bonaparte, Pompeii, Dante Alighieri – Inferno Canto XXIII, the Vajont disaster, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Muhammed Ali, Pier Paolo Pasolini, “The Infinito “by Giacomo Leopardi, the Nazi obsession with degenerate art, Buster Keaton, Galileo Galilei, Tina Modotti and the Co-Cathedral of Taranto designed by Gio Ponti.
He has released sixteen recordings which include studio albums and soundtracks, he is the author of the famous 9 October 1963 – Suite for Vajont and penned the music for the Unesco #iosonooceano campaign. His music has been synchronized by famous commercial brands for their advertising campaigns and by noted Italian television broadcasts. Many artists have collaborated with him: Franz Di Cioccio of PFM, Roy Paci, Lo Stato Sociale, Pappi Corsicato, Angele Dubeau, London Session Orchestra, Vardan Grigoryan, Masatsugu Shinozaki, Nadia Ratsimandresy, Giuliano Sangiorgi, Gino Paoli, Oliviero Toscani , Mauro Ermanno Giovanardi, Enzo Gragnaniello, Tony Esposito, Danilo Rossi, Dino Pedriali, Lino Capolicchio, Three Merry Dead Boys, Davide Toffolo, Simone Cristicchi, Taketo Gohara, Paolo Baldini, Vincenzo Vasi, Gabriele Mirabassi, Italian String Orchestra, Chorus Polyphonic of Ruda, Luisa Prandina, Gianfranco Grisi, Alessandro “Asso” Stefana, Lelio Luttazzi Foundation, Dj Aladyn, Dargen D’Amico, Roberto Dellera, Emanuela Audisio, Didi Gnocchi, Fabrizio Ferri, Gianmarco Tognazzi and Marco Goldin.
Parallel to his recording and scoring he has developed an intense concert career in Italy and all over the world, establishing himself as an exceptional live performer and purveyor of beautiful and affecting tone poems, dramatic and powerful action cues, and richly thematic and ingratiating compositions. The composer is available for your film, TV series or production, his music elevates and underlines superbly, and will add more atmospherics to any cinematic project.
As a ruthless invader threatens to enslave their people and destroy the Kaaba, a sacred sanctuary, the people of Mecca take up arms. Only able to muster a small force against the massive army, defeat seems all but inevitable. Aws, a seemingly simple potter fighting to protect his family, is forced to reveal his dark past when he discovers amongst the defenders a long-lost friend believed to be dead – a warrior named Zurara. As fear threatens to break their resolve, Aws’ strength of faith compels him to stand and fight.
Aws battles his own doubts and fears as he tries to unite his friends and compatriots on the eve of battle. Abraha’s army is fast approaching, and the fate of Mecca and its people hangs in the balance. Will the people of Mecca defeat the colossal army with nothing but their simple defences and their love for their city?
That is the plot for the animated feature The Journey which has a commanding and alluring scored penned by Japanese composer Kaoru Wada, in which he utilizes a plethora of ethnic instrumentation and sounds to realise a score that is wonderfully attractive and varied, the work literally overflows with dramatic, melancholy, and romantic moods. Which are aided greatly by the composer’s use of imposing choral performances which from time to time during the work are employed. The music perfectly sets the scene for this Arabic tale. Also known for Ninja Scroll and the scores for the twenty-four-episode TV series Yashahime-Princes Half Demon, Wada is an accomplished composer.
The Journey is a score that I recommend you check out, available now on various digital platforms.
Ever since I heard Ryuichi Sakamoto’s haunting score for Merry Christmas Mister Lawrence I have followed his career with interest and have been rewarded and totally mesmerized by this composer’s talent and versatility. This is not just through his movie scores but also via his many studio albums and non-film compositions. Showing on Netflix now is the anime series Exception, which Sakamoto has scored, as with every work by this composer it is a collection of varied and inspired compositions and is a fusion of melodic and experimental compositions.
The composer supporting via a single piercing synthetic sound or underlining a moment with strange and tormented noises or even creating a heartfelt ambience with a sad and affecting sounding solo instrument and at times a combination of all of these. This is in my humble opinion one of the composers most accomplished and at the same time complex works, but I know you will find it a rewarding listen. It is at times a score that evokes feelings of melancholy, loneliness and maybe torment, but it works both with the animated images and as a work to just sit and listen too. Worth a listen and again its on the likes of Spotify.
Hilma is a biographic drama about the life of Hilma Af Klint who is now recognized as being one of the Western world’s first abstract artists. now recognized as one of the Western world’s first abstract artists. The film has been sensitively scored by composer Jon Ekstrand, who’s score infiltrates and invades the subconscious of the listener whilst at the same time subtly enhancing the fascinating and illuminating story that is unfolding on screen.
It is not a grand or overbearing work, but instead works because of its simplicity and its light and delicate touch, the composer adding his music like an artist’s adds brush strokes to a blank canvas, Ekstrand’s music is perfect for the movie, the composer adding textures and colours that are ingratiating and affecting, and in certain areas is evocative of the composers work on other movies such as I am Greta, and Life. The score is available now on digital platforms.
Potionomics is a new video game that was released on October 17th 2022, in which players assume the role of a penniless witch named Sylvia who must transform her debt-ridden potion shop into a thriving business. The score is by composer Greg Nicolett, and it is one that I will say straight away is recommended. To me it sounds fully symphonic which nowadays is always a good start, many of the tracks have featured soloists such as Patti Rudisill on violin, and the voices that are Atemisia, what I liked about the score was that it is so varied, the music I do not think fitting into any one genre or having a particular sound, it sounds like the composer just went for it and created a score that first and foremost served the game.
I really enjoyed the score, which in some cues is sweeping and grand, yet in others is upbeat and contemporary sounding, with comedic, romantic, swashbuckling, adventurous, dramatic, and mysterious styles and moods being realized. If you are looking for an enjoyable and innovative listen, then this is certainly the one for you.
The score for the short Benito is released on Plaza Mayor, music is by composer Navid Hejazi, is is a subtle and at the same time quietly brooding work, that colours and enhances the story of a young Benito Pérez Galdós, set in the summer of 1864. It is the story of Galdos who lives a deep love that will determine his destiny and his literature. The score is mesmerizing and affecting, with the composer fashioning layers of emotion and creating haunting tone poems, which at times have to them a John Barry-esque style, with solo piano being underlined by layered strings. The music is touching, poignant and emotive. Recommended.
Maggie and Jimmy have never met, but they keep showing up in each other’s dreams. As they navigate memories, traumas, hopes and desires in sleep and the waking world, they’ll discover the truth of their linked destiny. Dreaming Grand Avenue was released back in 2020, but the score has just popped up on digital outlets, music is by Seth Boustead. Piano figures large within the score acting as a foundation throughout in many of the cues, the composer adding to these piano performances a scattering of strings, that are more of a background than anything. But the combination of strings and piano with other instrumentation such as woods and a mournful sounding cello has the desired affect and grabs one’s attention. It is a low-key work for the most part but is well worth experiencing.
The composer occasionally rearing his dramatic sounding musical head in cues such as the short lived but effective Sell your Soul. There is a treat within the score which evokes vintage scores and classics with the composers Dream Nocturne, that has to it an aura of romanticism to it that could easily be the work of Rachmaninoff.
The Emigrants was released in 2021. Based on the book by Vilhelm Moberg (published in 1949) depicting a few people emigrating from Sweden to the United States in the 1840 – early 1850. Karl Oskar is a poor farmer in Somåland in the mid-1800s, and when the harves fails and hunger rages, he decides to travel to the promised land of America with his wife Kristina and their remaining children into an uncertain and unknown future. Music is by the highly talented and renowned composer Johan Soderqvist, the score is filled with highly emotional compositions, performed by strings and augmented by woods, at times a scattering of brass and subtle use of guitar and elements of light percussion. Released on digital platforms.
Another highly emotive and affecting soundtrack is Forever and a Day which has music by Edward Antonio and is released on Plaza Mayor. Whilst listening I did have recollections of James Newton Howards superb score to The Man in the Moon, as the instrumentation is quite similar, I am not however saying that the music is the same, but it had that kind of style and sound about it. It is a intimate and fragile sounding work, and one which deserves to be savoured.
Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power is a documentary about the politics of cinematic shot design, and how this meta-level of filmmaking affects and intersects with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse/assault and employment discrimination against women, especially in the film industry. Brainwashed contains over 175 clips from A list movies from 1896-the present, as well as interviews with important women professionals including Laura Mulvey, Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Rosanna Arquette, Charlyne Yi, Joey Soloway, Catherine Hardwicke, Eliza Hittman and many others.
The gripping and atmospheric sounding score is by Sharon Farber, in which she pays a homage to the style of Bernard Herrmann, most notably Vertigo and there are also shades of Goldsmith’s Basic Instinct soundtrack present.
But saying this the score is still an original and inventive work, with the composer placing her own unique musical fingerprint upon the film, creating tense and uneasy passages. Available on digital platforms via Movie Score Media this is one you must listen to.
Another documentary that has a score well worth a listen is Exposing Muybridge which tells the story of trailblazing 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who changed the world with his camera. Muybridge set the course for the development of cinema when he became the first photographer to capture something moving faster than the human eye can see–Leland Stanford’s galloping horses. He also produced a sprawling and spectacular landscape catalogue, ranging from Alaska to Central America, Utah to California. Artful, resilient, selfish, naive, eccentric, deceitful–Muybridge is a complicated, imperfect man and his story drips with ambition and success, loss and betrayal, near death experiences and even murder. “The machine cannot lie,” Stanford declared of Muybridge’s pioneering motion images. But what about the photographer? More than a century after his death, Muybridge’s photographs have never ceased to seduce cutting-edge artists, scientists, innovators, and general viewers alike. Released on Movie Score Media on digital platforms, the score is by Chad Cannon and will be available soon.
There is over an hour of music to enjoy here, it’s a soundtrack I have to say I enjoyed, the composer including so many inventive and entertaining cues along the way. Thanks, MSM for this little gem. Movie Score Media will also be releasing the score for Teach Me if you Can, (aka The Prof) by Remi Boubal, which is a charming soundtrack. Again, I recommend that you look and listen to this one as it is available now.
Remi Boubal also has another score released which is for the movie Plan 75, that deals with a controversial subject, with a nod to the fabled Japanese practice of oyasute, which itself was rooted in Buddhist teachings, the film conjures a mythical modern Japan where an aging society has devised a plan to re-balance itself economically by informing its citizens older than seventy-five of the option of euthanasia.
A 78-year-old woman faces the question of whether she should carry on or seemingly serve her society through self-sacrifice.
Cave Rescue I think is the second movie as well as a TV Mini-series to be released this year about the incredible events that took place in Thailand when a youth football team of twelve boys, aged between eleven and sixteen, and their Twenty Five-year-old coach were trapped deep inside a cave in Northern part of the country, thousands of volunteers and soldiers from around the world united in a race against time to find them. Once the boys are found alive which was ten days later, the only way out was an impossible five-hour dive-swim that only expert cave divers could survive. In Ireland, airplane factory electrician and recreational cave diver Jim Warny gets the call: “How soon can you be here?”; Arriving in Thailand, Jim steps off the plane and into the cave – a knife-edge three-day mission is underway. Based on these true events, Cave Rescue tells the thrilling story of the largest international rescue mission of modern times, from the unique perspective of the men and women facing life-and-death decisions and displaying selfless determination and sacrifice, culminating in a triumphant outcome against all the odds.
The music for this drama is the work of Olivier Lliboutry, the music, and the sounds that the composer has realized for the film are amazingly effective, with the composer utilizing a water sound that he incorporates into the score giving it a greater and more resounding impact. An atmospheric and stirring soundtrack, that includes moments of melancholy it is a score that actual makes one feel slightly claustrophobic at times. The music is released on digital platforms now by Plaza Mayor.
Till is a profoundly emotional film about the true story of Mamie Till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14 year old son, Emmett Till, who, in 1955, was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world.
Music for the film is by award winning composer Abel Korzeniowski, one track from the score entitled This is my Boy was released on digital platforms on October 14th with the full score being released soon. Keep an eye out for it.
Five months after the maternal death of his partner, a man is at a crossroads with how to raise their baby. That’s the storyline of the touching and emotive new movie Pattern which is directed by Ivan Madeira. Music is by Anthony William Wallace, who has penned a very interesting score, that combines symphonic and electronic to realise a score that contains numerous musical twists and turns and encompasses a handful of styles and musical genres.
These include melodic and melancholy to uneasy and apprehensive sounds, the composer combining these and at times even turning them upside down and inside out to arrive at an innovative solution, I personally like the use of female wordless voice which brings a sense of calm to the proceedings, not that this an action score but at times the sound of a lone female voice is welcome. Available now on digital platforms as is Syndrome E the music from the six-part TV series as scored by French composer Nathaniel Mechaly this is also a combination of both conventional instrumentation that is performed alongside electronic and synthetic elements.
The composer makes effective use of choir in certain cues which brings a chilling and uneasy air to the proceedings, there are dark and foreboding tones that lay the foundation for the majority of the score, but there are also some lighter and more melodic interludes such as the cues Bain Glace and Histoire Sombre, which although do maintain an unsettling style are a welcomed melodious respite to some of the more sinister and fearsome sounding material. I think that this is an accomplished work, and one that you really should check out.
And whilst there listen to the composer’s other works that are on digital platforms. Nathaniel Mechaly studied the cello, chamber music and electroacoustic composing in Paris, Marseille, and Boulogne National Academies of Music. Nathaniel Mechaly signed his first cinematic score in 2004 with Raphaël Nadjari ‘s film Avanim and later went on to compose music for many other films including Revolver for Guy Ritchie and contributed to the success of the Taken trilogy (1, 2 and 3) (music won 5 BMI Awards in London and L.A.). Nathaniel Méchaly is also an accomplished composer in music for theatre and contemporary dance.
In 2014, he was granted with Shigeru Umebayashi the Best Composer Award at the Asian Film Festival and a Best Original Soundtrack Award at the Hong-Kong Film Festival for their work on film The Grandmaster. In 2019 he scored Swoon, which was a popular soundtrack with many film music collectors.
In the movie South of Heaven, convicted felon Jimmy gets early parole after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Upon his release, he vows to give Annie, his childhood love, now dying from cancer, the best last year of her life – unfortunately it’s turns out that its not that simple. Music for this action and crime drama is the work of David Fleming, who you may remember for his involvement on scores such as Dune, The Unforgivable, and Hillbilly Elegy with a certain Mr Zimmer.
This is a score that has many stylistic faces as in the composer fashions lilting and poignant themes performed on piano but also manages to segue into harsher and more hard-hitting pieces realized by a mix of synthetic instrumentation and a handful of conventional live performances which are combined seamlessly and effectively. There are a few cues which I thought maybe were a little off the wall and out of place and leaned more towards soundscape rather than music, but maybe working with Hans Zimmer has rubbed off and influenced the composer? Overall though it’s not a bad score, it’s on digital platforms so go take a listen.
“Storage” is a short psychological thriller about a woman and a high school cheerleader trapped in a storage facility. Music is by Ryan Mclean, who has previously worked on movies such as What’s in the Woods, Broken Vessels and the TV series History Alive. His score for this tense thriller is impressively dark and edgy, the composer managing to create a suitably fraught and harrowing atmosphere in a very short time span, there is some interesting orchestration within the score, the composer utilising an array of unusual sounds to fashion an ominous mood for the movie. Short and sweet or maybe not so sweet in this case, but affecting and inventive.
Netflix are now showing another impressive horror themed series entitled The Watcher, which is a seven-episode series that follows a married couple moving into their dream home and begin to be threatened by terrifying letters from a stalker, signed – The Watcher. The music is very atmospheric and work extremely within the series, and to a degree is effective when listening to it away from the images. But it is probably a score that is best heard in the context of the series as the action unfolds and the tension and dramas build.
The score is by Morgan Kibby and David Klotz, who do a fantastic job of creating suitably scary and apprehensive passages and interludes, they utilize female voices within the score which bring an uncomfortable and unsettling ambience to the proceedings. I enjoyed it.
On November 4th, Silva Screen Records UK will release Mark Isham: Music for Film CD and digital album, available on all major digital streaming platforms. Presented by Film Fest Gent, this is the ninth album from the now well established and critically acclaimed Silva Screen Records series. The album spotlights some of Isham’s best work, and for the first time an entire album is devoted to the composer’s film and television scores.
Interview with the Vampire is a title that I always associate with the talented Maestro Elliot Goldenthal, his score was and still is in my own personal top 5 soundtracks. So, when I heard that there would be a TV series based around the story, I was slightly sceptical about the score that would be realized for it.
The scoring duties fell to Daniel Hart, who I must say has done an admirable job, he has produced a melodic, romantic yet unsettling work which for me works very well. There are I think gentle nods to Goldenthal at times, but maybe that is me wanting to hear these. The composer successfully merges both contemporary sounds with more established styles and comes up with a soundtrack that is supportive and entertaining both in the series and away from it. The music is a combination of electronic soundscape and symphonic, worth a listen.
Cabinet of Curiosities is a new series that starts to air on Netflix soon, it is like a Twilight Zone/Tales from the Crypt format, with stories of horror, and mayhem selected by filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. A trailer for the series gave many a glimpse of its oozing practical makeup effects, stacked cast and new creepy-crawlies. In the series, the filmmaker acts as a guide, passing the torch to a new filmmaker for each episode. “Welcome to my cabinet of curiosities,” he says at the end of the trailer. The spooky proceedings begin on October. 25th, two of the eight episodes will be released each day; and by Halloween, will be able to engage in a scary fest of unmentionable tales and shocking stories, that will enthrall, unsettle and entertain. What is attractive I think for film music fans is there are so many composers attached to this project, many already established and associated with the genre of horror in film.
The outstanding, slightly chilling but kind of irreverent and quirky entertaining main title theme is the work of Holly Amber Church, who’s music is always a bonus for any production no matter what the genre maybe. The powerful and haunting music that she has provided to open each episode sets the scene perfectly and invites the listener in to sample more of the same.
On hearing the theme I was reminded of something that Jerry Goldsmith once said about writing a good opening theme for a TV show, it has to straight away get peoples notice and as soon as it starts they will know to get out of the kitchen or stop what they are doing because their TV show is starting, I think that Holly Amber Church has done this with this jaunty and infectious tune.
Composers that feature throughout the series include Christopher Young, Tim Davies, Jeff Danna, Daniel Luppi, Michael Yezerski, Anne Chmelewsky, Daniel Lopatin, and Jed Kurzel so an impressive musical department. All of whom create a smorgasbord of effective and startling compositions alongside many pieces that are less fraught and shocking. He soundtrack is available on digital platforms and has a healthy running time of one hour and forty six minutes, totally absorbing, and wonderfully rich, dark and infectious. Recommended oh yes.
Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, The Banshees of Inisherin, follows lifelong friends Padraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. A stunned Padraic, aided by his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic (Barry Keoghan), endeavour to repair the relationship, refusing to take no for an answer.
But Padraic’s repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend’s resolve and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate, with shocking consequences. Music is by Carter Burwell who once again treats us to a charming and subtle score, it is an intimate at times low key affair, but works so well within the film, underlining and supporting on all levels. Burwell for me is such an underrated composer, and a Maestro who produces consistently very good music, In, this one of his most recent assignments he does not disappoint.
On Spotify CAM/SUGAR have posted a compilation of the music of Ennio Morricone, there is probably nothing there that devotees of the Maestro do not already have, but it’s a great playlist and one that you can just press play on and be taken back in time to hear all the wonderful themes and musical passages that the Maestro penned which were originally released on CAM.
Back to physical releases now and to the ever-industrious Spanish soundtrack specialist Quartet, who have been as busy as ever. Adding a few releases to their ever growing and impressive catalogue. that I know will be of interest, Elmer Bernstein’s classic western score for The Scalphunters is now available on CD, but not as you have heard it before. Due to the success of the film and its score, Bernstein re-recorded a short, 28-minute album for United Artists Records. This recording was reissued on LP and, later, several times on CD, often paired with another western or another Bernstein work, but the score as heard in the film has been unreleased until today.This new edition includes the original album recording, remastered from first-generation tapes, as well as the original score recorded at the Samuel Goldwyn Stage from mono elements recently discovered at MGM/UA, and all painstakingly restored and mastered by Chris Malone. The package includes a 20-page full-colour booklet with liner notes by Jeff Bond, so this is definitely one for your collection.
The label will also be releasing a five LP record set of the Rambo soundtracks as composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Based on David Morrell’s 1972 novel of the same name, First Blood stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo. The Ted Kotcheff directed film was released in 1982 and immediately became a megahit that generated two sequels in 1985 and 1988, completing a trilogy until the character was brought back by Stallone in 2008 and 2019. The iconic character of Rambo evolved from a persecuted Vietnam veteran in the first film to a reluctant government operative and then a mercenary in Afghanistan in the later instalments.
Jerry Goldsmith wrote a stunning, dark, and heavy, almost crushing score for First Blood, although he also composed a memorable melancholy theme (“It’s A Long Road”) that identified Rambo’s solitude and loneliness.
The series and music turned more towards action and adventure in Rambo-First Blood Part ll, and then in Rambo III, included exotic nuances and impressive forays of action music, that now rank among Goldsmith’s greatest efforts in the genre. The box set will be available on November 17th, but you can pre-order now. Also available from Quartet on CD is an expanded edition of the score for Arabian Nights by Ennio Morricone.
The Black Pharaoh, The Savage, and the Princess, is a new animated feature film that includes three tales, three eras, and three worlds, an epic from ancient Egypt, a medieval legend from France, an 18th century fantasy in Ottoman costumes and Turkish palaces, to be carried away by contrasting dreams, populated by magnificent and grandiose gods, revolting tyrants, cheerful protectors, cunning lovers, princes and princesses who do as they want – in an incredible explosion of colours. All of which are presented in an animated production that is squarely aimed at families.
The movie has a score that is composed, arranged, and orchestrated by Pascal Le Pennec (Slocum, Louise en Hiver, Le Tableau), the feature’s music draws on Michel Ocelot’s multiple imaginations and worlds of expression. Structured around three tales, Pascal Le Pennec’s score brilliantly sets to music the captivating stories and colourful drawings of one of the greatest French animators. Le Pennec is an interpreter, concert performer and composer, Pascal Le Pennec first worked in contemporary music (numerous creations), musical theatre (with Jérôme Deschamps, Macha Makeïeff, Pierre Santini…), singing (Allain Leprest, Romain Didier, Régine, Hélène Delavault, Philippe Meyer…). Pascal Le Pennec has also collaborated with many directors, and composed for various cinematographic and audio-visual productions such as the feature films Le Tableau (SACEM Prize for the best original music at the Tübingen-Stuttgart International Francophone film festival in 2012) and Louise en Hiver (Prize for the best soundtrack at the Festival Voix d’Étoiles in 2016 and nominated to France Musique-SACEM Prize for best original music in 2017) by director Jean-François Laguionie, or short films such as Les Souvernirs (CNC Quality Prize in 2013) directed by Renaud Martin. Honoured this year with the Cristal d’honneur at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
The soundtrack from The Black Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess is available now on digital platforms, it is a wonderfully lyrical and richly thematic soundtrack performed by The National Orchestra of Brittany (ONB) under the baton of Johannes Le Pennec. Recorded in Rennes in April 2022, the talented musicians of the Orchestra were able to capture and restore Pascal Le Pennec’s vibrant compositions in a truly authentic tone. It is a score that is majestic, mysterious, and romantic, and one that I recommend you take a listen to.
The composer commented “I wanted the music to transport people and the audience to those times but to transport them also from a sensitive point of view.” Well on listening to this magnificent score I think that the composer has achieved everything he set out to do.
Rosaline is a comedic twist on Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet in which the classic love story is told from the perspective of Juliet’s cousin Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever), who just happens to be Romeo’s recent ex-girlfriend. Crushed when Romeo (Kyle Allen) parts ways with her after he meets Juliet (Isabela Merced). Which leads sharp but idealistic Rosaline scheming to foil the famous romance and win back her lover. Music for this Hulu production is the work of Drum and Lace, and Ian Hultquist. Drum & Lace, aka Sofia degli Alessandri-Hultquist, is an Italian composer, sound artist and performer that writes and creates music for film and media. Fusing together sampled field recordings, chamber instruments and lush layers of synths, she creates heavily textural and beat driven music, greatly drawing from film music, music concrete and modern electronica.
Her ambient and chamber work also gathers great inspiration from nature and natural sound, as well as the juxtaposition of unlikely sounds with one another. Her feature-length film scoring credits include Netflix film Night Teeth (directed by Adam Randall), campy-thriller Deadly Illusions (directed by Anna Elizabeth James, Netflix) and upcoming drama Summering (directed by James Ponsoldt) which will be premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2022. Television credits include AppleTV+ Original Series “Dickinson” (created by Alena Smith), seasons 3 and 4 of NBC Good Girls (created by Jenna Bans & Bill Krebs) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (created by Sara Goodman) for Amazon Prime Video. Rosaline successfully combines renaissance styles of music with contemporary hip hop and trip hop beats.
The composers creating an atmospheric and pulsating soundtrack, which adds an enormous amount of support to the images and the storyline that is unfolding on screen. They also incorporate into the score familiar songs and tunes, which work wonderfully. Available on digital platforms now.
Composer Nathan Barr has scored Prey for the Devil, as far as I can see no soundtrack album has been hinted at which is a shame as the composer is arising star in the film music community and has worked on numerous movies and TV productions. Barr is a unique breed of composer. In addition to writing his scores, he also performs all of the instruments heard in many of his compositions.
Skilled in many styles and genres, ranging from orchestral to rock, Barr is known for his collection and inclusion of rare and unusual instruments from around the world, such as human bone trumpets from Tibet, dismantled pianos, a rare Glass harmonica and gourd cellos, among many others. Nathan began studying music in Tokyo, Japan at the age of four. He grew up surrounded by eclectic music, ranging from Kabuki Theatre to the sounds of his mother performing on the koto and piano, and his father playing the banjo, guitar and shakuhachi. His interest in the art form was further influenced by extensive travels around the world, where he experienced music, ranging from Bali’s Kecak Orchestras to China’s Beijing Opera. Barr went on to study at Skidmore College, and toured Italy and Switzerland with the Juilliard Cello Ensemble in the summer of 1993.In recent years he has been involved with TV projects such as True Blood and The Great and has worked on well over thirty feature films. Which include, Cabin Fever, Hostel, Hostel Part ll, and The Last Exorcism. Let’s hope his score for Prey for The Devil will be out soon.
Now for something as they say completely different that brings together the sinister spawn of spooky-obsessed hitmakers – responsible for crafting songs like “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry,“Halo” by Beyonce, “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, and “Levitating” by Dua Lipa – and the terrifying orchestrations and interludes by master film score composer Christopher Young (Hellraiser, Nightmare On Elm Street 2, Sinister, etc.) –
‘Scream Warriors’ was mixed in Dolby Atmos, creating an immersive listening experience by revealing incredible details that can be heard and felt all around you. “Think of the album as a soundtrack to a horror film that hasn’t been made yet. We really tried to create a listening experience that was ground-breaking and pushed the boundaries of an audio-visual listening experience. We wrote the music and then collaborated with Christopher and his team to orchestrate, and sound design a universe of sonics that fully support the album’s story narrative – before, after, in between, and even within our songs.” comments LVCRFT songwriter Evan Kidd Bogart, AKA Lil’ Punkin, who when he isn’t writing ghoulish hits can be found writing smashes for the living like “Halo” by Beyoncé.
This is indeed a listening experience like no other, with the two differing musical worlds coming together to create what many would say is a new genre of music. It could be a film score but then “No” listen closer is it a greatest hits album of popular songs? Rock, Trip Hop, Rap, and sinister and harrowing tones, the contemporary world of popular music being enhanced and elevated by a strong orchestral presence that boasts inventive and innovative musical notions.
At times I was reminded of Michael Abels ground-breaking score for the horror movie US, (listen to Kill Room to see what I mean) but either way this is a collection that successfully combines styles and sounds that one would think are exact opposites, but they work and work superbly. For details click here https://lvcrft.net/
Going back in time quite a way now because I caught a post on a social media page by a fellow collector that made me go to my LP collection and dig out an album by Hugo Montenegro, released in 1968, which was a collection of music from The Good the Bad and the Ugly and the other two dollar movies as scored by Ennio Morricone. Montenegro certainly put his style and stamp on these renditions of Morricone’s themes, and because soundtrack albums from films such as these were not more readily available people including some serious collectors were under the impression that these were the originals.
The single of The Good the Bad and the Ugly reaching number one in the UK pop charts in 1968. What Montenegro did was great because he brought the music of Morricone to the masses, and the rest as they say is history. The album contained eleven tracks and had a running time of twenty-eight minutes. Montenegro purveying his own arrangements and upbeat pop influenced versions of tracks from For a Few Dollars More and A Fistful of Dollars. At the time I thought this was a brilliant album, but how things change and listening to it right now I think how did I ever think that this was the original music? But it’s an entertaining compilation and is now available on digital platforms.
Montenegro was a talented arranger, and composer and we have to I think be grateful that he decided to record GBU. Montenegro released so many compilation albums and best of collections, but they all basically were the same just sequenced differently or with one or two additional tracks included. I wish he had received more commissions to write original scores, as his music for films such as The Undefeated is wonderfully robust and thematic and filled with Americana references.
Staying with cover versions and compilation albums, are you of an age where you can recall Geoff Love and his orchestra and those brilliant Big Movie Themes Albums on Music for Pleasure, they were great value for money in those days being just 13 shillings and 11d. We had Big Western Movie themes, vol 1 and 2, Big Western TV themes, Big Terror Themes, you name it Geoff and his orchestra were not afraid to tackle it. And even released other albums under the name of Manuel and the music of the Mountains, which were far more expensive. Montenegro, Love, Mancini, Goodwin, and Leroy Holmes were essential in those early days of collecting as many of the original scores were not released. So, it was a way of hearing the music or at least an arrangement of it until many years later in some cases when the original scores saw the light of day. Listening to them now is a little uncomfortable as some of the renditions were nothing like the originals. But needs must and we needed to hear that music in some form or another. Nowadays they say we are lucky because we can type in a title or an artist and up pops a long list of what is available, but I think I speak for many when I say its not half as much fun as it was back then. Discovering gems and rarities in little back street shops for less than a quid. Those were certainly the days in the 1970’s when imports were first brought into the London shops such as Harlequin and the original Dean Street records with Derek and Michael Jones behind the counter. And these jewels of musical excellence such as The Blue Max, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, The Five Man Army, and so many others were yours for just £3.15p.+ 50p p and p.
Lifeforce the complete powerful and consuming score by Henry Mancini is now available on a two CD set from Intrada records. In many the film and also the score have over the years been somewhat ignored, the soundtrack being released initially on an LP and then onto CD from various labels including Varese Sarabande, normally I would say when listening to a film score that you are familiar with and rate quite high any expanded or improved edition can be suspect, there is the saying that less is more and I have over the years found this to be true in the case of so called expanded film soundtrack releases.
However, Lifeforce is I think the exception to that rule, as it is such a good score, and any extras are welcomed with open arms and an open mind. This sci-horror was directed by Tobe Hooper who brings to the screen a tale of space vampires. Released in 1985 the movie starred Steve Railsback, Frank Finlay, Peter Firth, Patrick Stewart, and Mathilda May. Based on the novel by Colin Wilson, the screenplay is a joint effort from Dan O’Bannon who co-writes with Don Jakoby. Cannon Films produced the movie which boasts a magnificently ferocious and ominous sounding soundtrack penned by the highly talented and versatile composer Henry Mancini.
Due to various problems and set back’s in post-production and changes that were called for by censors and distributors, the film needed to be re-scored in places, but Mancini was not available so the producers enlisted the help of Michael Kamen, who wrote approximately seventy five minutes of additional music for the re-edited version. Kamen’s music providing support for much of the opening of the movie. This two-CD set contains Mancini’s complete score, with Intrada also releasing Kamen’s score on separate CD, including premieres of his orchestral sessions. If you have not already added the score to your collection via the likes of previous releases, this two CD is a must have item, it shows just how versatile and chameleon like Mancini was, and there was more to this composer than syrupy little songs and themes such as The Sweetheart Tree and Moon River.
At times Mancini’s score becoming malevolent and commanding, there are also some complex compositions within the work. But I think more than anything it is the rousing and fast paced Lifeforce theme that many collectors will be impressed by. It is a theme that could I suppose be described as classic film music, dramatic and driving, with commanding brass and sweeping strings. Its persona establishing a daunting and threatening atmosphere immediately. The film sadly did not do as well as many thought, with the movie appearing on British TV very quickly. A Joint U.S. and British team working in space discover an immense spacecraft which is concealed inside Hailey’s Comet.
The ship is found to contain, not just humanoids but bats, they discover a female alien (Mathilda May) and decide that they should take her back to earth. But it is not long before they and the audience realise that she is a space vampire, and she begins to claim victims killing them by draining energy from their bodies. She is particularly focused upon Col. Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback).
His encounters with the female vampire (who memorably plays much of her part nude) ultimately lead to spectacular, and bizarre, climax in London cathedral. Mancini becomes an integral part of the action, employing dark strings, rasping brass, and driving string passages. His central theme wastes no time establishing itself with wonderful 12/8 meter rhythm in lower strings, dynamic French horn and trumpet lines above, Mancini is in complete control from the start.
And treats us to a polished and haunting soundtrack, that although for most of its duration oozes tense and unsettling compositions also has to it moments of mesmerising beauty, quiet mystery, and rich lush thematic quality.
This I think stands as one of Mancini’s finest works, that is filled with spectacular moments, to die for crescendos and swirling mystical pieces, that have to them and eerie and ethereal sound. Tim Greiving provides informative notes for the release and the superb art-work is the work of Kay Marshal. The score was originally recorded by Eric Tomlinson at EMI Abbey Road Studios in the December of 1984. Mancini also conducted the score which was performed by the mighty LSO. The Varese Sarabande tracks are available on disc two of this release. Not got this then go get it now. And whilst you’re there why not order the Michael Kamen disc as well.
Just a few years ago many film music collectors often dismissed TV music, I am pleased to say that that has become something of the past and film scores and music for TV programs is treated equally and in some scenarios the TV scores get better press. The same I suppose could be said for music for games, I do not in any way shape or form profess to know a lot about music for games, but I do know that in recent years this medium of entertainment has given us so many wonderfully atmospheric and innovative soundtracks. With composers who work predominantly in this area writing epic and emotive music that could easily be from the latest Hollywood blockbuster. The music for video games has certainly developed over the past two decades, with full blooded rich symphonic scores being created to underline and underscore people’s favorite games. Assassin’s Creed for example and Journey, both contain atmospheric and imposing musical works.
The latter title has recently been given a new lease of life by its composer Austin Wintory, in the form of a re-recording entitled Traveler-A Journey Symphony, which I am told will be performed at the BBC proms in London in early August. Although basically the same as the composers score for the video game, it does have certain variations, with some themes from the score being developed more for the re-recording, on listening to the symphony it was so good to again hear the lilting and emotive themes that the composer first wrote back in 2012, and I for one will be tuning into the proms when the music is broadcast.
However, the symphony is available on digital platforms, and makes for a mesmerizing and at times a relaxing and poignant listen. It is a work that washes over you at times, creating a Zen like atmosphere, the beautiful and wonderfully thematic score is one that I would recommend to anyone, it is music that chills, heals and relaxes, and is also a soundtrack that lives a life of its own away from the game it was written for. Wintory’s music is attractive and haunting, with delicate tone poems being scattered throughout.
But like all good soundtracks there is variation in the style and sound of the music as it accompanies various levels within the video game, the composer adapting and creating said sounds and musical styles to suit and support. But it is the more melodic and melancholy sounding cues that stand out, simply because of their gracious and affecting musical personality. I listened to the score three times through, and never tired of it, and the same can be said for the new recording, because once you begin to listen its very difficult to come away from it and the mood that the music fashions. As I say I am no games music expert, but this music I think would be not only appealing to film music collectors, but also a score that they would want in their collection and return to many times after the initial listen. Check it out on the likes of Spotify.
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