The storyline of Crimes of the Future sounds ambitious, as it delves into the not-to-distant future in which humans are learning to adapt to synthetic surroundings. This advancement moves humans beyond their natural state and into a metamorphosis, which alters their biological makeup. While some embrace the limitless potential of trans-humanism, others attempt to police it. It’s a David Cronenberg movie so you are going to either love it or loath it, I am still trying to make up my mind to be honest, as I found it both grotesque and disturbing, with so many cringing moments, but strangely attractive. This is not a movie for everyone, but everyone is different. I do not think its a film I would choose to see more than once lets put it that way.
Either way, accelerated evolution syndrome is spreading fast in this rather strange affair of a movie. In this case the filmmaker is adept at observing the close relationship between technology and the human body that this horror/philosophy film gives attention to, with the storyline making some sense some of the time. Arguably the film is easier to stomach, so to speak, than would be suspected. There’s almost acceptance of the way things have evolved which stands midway between The Fly and Crash, it is a movie that is symbolic and at times displays a glimpse of hope about how or if humanity will continue to survive. Surgery is the new Sex , in this picture, or so we are led to believe.
The musical score is by the renowned composer Howard Shore, who has worked on many of Cronenberg’s movies, Shore’s soundtrack is at times complex, but also has to it a kind of relaxed persona, with subtle motifs and thematic material, that in my opinion scores against the shocking and graphic content of the movie, and this is probably why the music works so well.
The composer utilising both symphonic and electronic instrumentation to fashion a score that may not be memorable, as its themes I have to say do not linger that long, but it’s certainly effective. Its dark, and thickly affecting and surprisingly easy to listen to away from the images, in fact its probably a better listening experience to hear it as just music. Available on digital platforms.
Lord of the Rings– TheRings of Power, is an epic drama that is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, this grand series will take viewers on a journey back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain Tolkien created threatened to cover the world in darkness.
Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. It takes us from the shadowy depths of the Misty Mountains to the mysterious and vast forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breath-taking island kingdom of Númenor, and on to the furthest reaches of the map, the kingdoms and characters within the series will carve out legacies that will live on long after they are gone.
Season One of the series, begins on Amazon Prime on September 1st. The musical score is by the multitalented Bear McCreary and the soundtrack has already been released on digital platforms.
Like the series the music is grandiose and epic, the composer creating powerful, commanding, regal, and eloquent pieces that underline and support the action. It is a score that once heard you will want to go back to the beginning and start all over again.
There is a rich sense of the mystical present throughout with the work overflowing with magical, fearsome, and ethereal ambiances that take one’s breath away. This is a highly accomplished work, a score that will I know please everyone, it is superbly thematic, gloriously symphonic, mesmerizingly attractive, and hauntingly beautiful. The composer utilising choir to great effect, fashioning at times dark and menacing passages.
There are at times nods to the work of Howard Shore or at least there is a sound and style that can be likened to the music he penned for TheLord of the Rings and TheHobbit scores, but is that such a bad thing? I certainly do not think so. Shore composed the theme for the series, with McCreary fashioning the score. All I can say is you must seek this out and own it. Recommended.
Howard Shore is without a doubt a great composer, his music for LORD OF THE RINGS is a testament to that statement. He is an inventive and highly original composer, who utilises at times unusual instrumentation or experiments with orchestration to achieve effective and affecting musical solutions. His scores are varied and also interesting as his style if you can say he has one is so varied with each assignment. I suppose he first came to everyone’s attention with his music for the David Cronenberg movie THE BROOD, he soon followed up this success with music for films such as DEAD RINGERS and of course SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. It was not long before Shore had established himself as a composer who was talented and also a Maestro who could adapt and tailor his music to any genre of film and also to any scenario within these genres. One of the composer’s latest releases is musical score for THE LOST PRINCE, which is something of a departure for the composer from films such as LORD OF THE RINGS, SEVEN and THE FLY. The score is a light-hearted one, with the composer creating charming and carefree musical themes, that are not only a delight to hear but also a fresh and at times amusing listen. But, saying this I suppose I should take a look back on the composers credits and re-visit scores such as BIG and to a degree HUGO, before I say that THE LOST PRINCE is a departure musically and stylistically for Shore, I think at times it is just because we associate him with films that have a darker and sinister subject matter that we forget that he is perfectly capable of fashioning delicate and subdued musical compositions. And for THE LOST PRINCE we are treated to many of these such moments, the score is a sheer delight from start to finish, the composer utilising strings, brass, percussion, harp and woods in the main, that are complimented and further enhanced via choral performances, it is a score that like many of his other works is filled to overflowing with a richness and also an abundance of standout musical moments throughout. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, THE LOST PRINCE is a film that tells the story of a seven year old girl, who every night is transported to an imaginary film studio or STORYLAND, where fantastical fairy tales and adventures are brought to life by her Father Djibi, who has a starring role in each of them, portraying a heroic and handsome Prince. But as the girl grows up, she starts to invent her own stories and her Father is no longer the hero or central character, in the real world too, his roles begin to alter, and he decides that he must re-invent himself and find a way to remain his daughters hero.
Shore’s music compliments and enhances perfectly the varying scenarios that are unfolding on screen, it is a dramatic but also a touching, heart-warming and melancholic sounding work, that also has to it a brilliant comedic and mischievous air. Filled with emotion and also subtle nuances that are poignant and heart-breaking, THE LOST PRINCE is highly enjoyable and entertaining. Recommended. Available on various digital platforms on Howe records.
I have to admit to never fully reading the tome that is LORD OF THE RINGS, I know it is something that needs to be done at some stage, but I suppose I either lacked the concentration or maybe did not realy understand it fully, so seeing the movies for me was the next best thing. After seeing the first in the series, I was left rather cold and even more bemused, why end it here, what happens next and it was at this stage I thought read the book, but again no time and everything got in the way, so eventually I started it again and after a few hours that was it something distracted me. So, when the next movie was released, I was so pleased, and after seeing the animated version I was grateful that Peter Jackson had stepped up and made these live action versions of the famous story about Hobbits, Heroes, Wizards and Orcs. First to the animated film, well, not exactly a runaway success was it, the animation I felt was lacking, and the way in which the story was diluted and condensed down was also rather disappointing.
But this was all down to a limited budget, the producers being restricted because of the lack of it, the film had its high points and more interesting sections where the animation did look amazing, but, and remember this is just a personal opinion, I always felt a little let down by the movie, at the time they said it was made as an animated feature because they could not afford to make the story or stories as live action pictures, of course a lot of things have changed and we have the advanced technology to make it seem as if we are seeing tens of thousands of Orcs on screen, but back in the period when the animated version of Lord of the Rings was produced these techniques were unheard of or at least in their infancy. Turning to the score for the animated movie by Hollywood composer Leonard Rosenman, well, apart from the central theme or the stirring march theme, I felt this too was feeble, the composer not really taking on board the storyline and scoring the production with at times music that was ill fitting or just tracked to certain scenes. I remember getting the LP record of the score, and later the CD but why I got the CD I am not entirely sure as it was a soundtrack I very rarely played if ever.
The Peter Jackson trilogy was so far removed musically even though when I heard Howard Shore was to be the composer, I had some doubts. But, the proof of the pudding as they say, and yes, I certainly had my fill of Shore’s proud and romantic sounding scores, the composer creating dark and fearsome themes and sounds to accompany and underline the story of Frodo and Sam the brave Hobbits, evil Orcs, fearless Wizards that are fighting for both good and evil and Heroes in the form of men and Elves who unite to fight the evil tide that is sweeping the land. Shore created a whole new sound and style to enhance and support the storylines and their many characters and scenarios. The music mirrored the darkness and light that was present within the movies and had to it an otherworldly aura and persona that was thick with the mysterious, the magical, the foreboding and fearful and the romantic.
The composers work on the trilogy and to a degree the following HOBBIT tales, was as important and influential as the music John Williams composed for the STAR WARS series of movies, and as innovative as the works of Morricone and his like.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE TWO TOWERS and THE RETURN OF THE KING all contained complex yet at the same time simple scores, filled to overflowing with a wonderful power and a brilliant thematic core on which the composer built his score, and with each successive score we heard his themes and inventiveness grow and multiply. The songs such as MAY IT BE performed by Enya, are enthralling, entrancing and beguiling.
May it be an evening star Shines down upon you May it be when darkness falls Your heart will be true You walk a lonely road Oh! How far you are from home Mornie utulie
Believe and you will find your way Mornie alantie A promise lives within you now May it be the shadow’s call Will fly away May it be your journey on To light the day When the night is overcome You may rise to find the sun Mornie utulie (darkness has come) Believe and you will find your way Mornie alantie (darkness has fallen) A promise lives within you now A promise lives within you now
With cues such as GOLLUMS SONG being expressive, affecting and haunting, the Icelandic vocalist Emiliana Torrini bringing a certain ghostly sound to the piece. The lyrics being particularly effective with Shore’s mystical strings introducing and accompanying them.
Where once was light Now darkness falls Where once was love Love is no more Don’t say – goodbye Don’t say – I didn’t try… These tears we cry Are falling rain For all the lies You told us The hurt, the blame And we will weep To be so alone We are lost We can never go home So in the end I will be what I will be No loyal friend Was ever there for me Now we say – goodbye We say – you didn’t try… These tears you cry Have come too late Take back the lies The hurt, the blame And you will weep When you face the end alone You are lost You can never go home You are lost You can never go home
The action pieces for the great battles such as THE RIDERS OF ROHAN and THE SHIELDMAIDEN OF ROHAN are nail bitingly entertaining and get the watching audience to the edge of their seats as Shore adds another dimension to the proceedings and ingratiates and underlines each scene adding layers of tension, drama and fearfulness via pounding percussion, imposing choral work and rasping brass and swirling strings.
Then there is THE LIGHTING OF THE BEACONS which is a commanding and powerful piece that builds and races as the fires are lit throughout the Kingdom calling all forces together to face one common enemy. To say that Shore’s scores for the trio of movies are monumental is an understatement, because it is grandiose, gigantic and totally consuming. Shore’s music for the trilogy of movies is a powerhouse collection of themes, that are hauntingly effective and also have to them the sinister, relentless, fearful and at times charming personalities that we associate with the Lord of the Rings stories, each film contains core themes that the composer fashioned for central characters at the outset and he has in later productions as in the two sequels developed these and expanded their musical content, by either adding nuances and making extensions to them or arranging the already established and familiar thematic content. His artistry and Masterful handiwork shines through and although at times these changes or arrangements are subtle the music is still an integral and of paramount importance to the action being acted out on screen. At times the music we are aware is present, but it never seems to get in the way of the scene or dialogue, instead it enhances these elements and brings them to the forefront and emphasises the situations, giving them even more depth and stature.
Shore opens the first score with the piece entitled THE PROPHECY, a slow and initially quiet opening, but the composition soon builds into something that is rather more grand with choir and brass being pushed along by strings and supported by percussion, until it reaches its foreboding and in a way tormented crescendo. Shore then, alters direction, and utilises a softer approach, strings again are centre stage, as we hear the wistful and slightly apprehensive theme take shape, with Shore adding solo trumpet as the cue evaporates and eventually closes.
Track number two, CONCERNING HOBBITS is a homely and quirky Gaelic infused composition for flute and fiddle, with underlying strings which enhance it further and add to it a delicate air of sophistication and lushness. It is in cue number three that we first hear the first hints and flourishes of menace, THE SHADOW OF THE PAST is at first brooding and ominously shadowy in a subdued way. But, it soon builds into a commanding and fearful sounding piece, with the composer utilising pounding percussion and growling brass that is at times overpowered by choir, there are also swirling and sinister and icy strings present, and when Shore fuses all of these elements together it is an intimidating and raw sound that we hear. The composer conjuring up an atmosphere that is thick with virulence and rich with a sense of danger.
THE TREASON OF ISENGARD is another cue that displays moments of light and darkness, Shore employing low strings and booming brass that is underlined by both strings and percussion, the composer then introduces the commanding sound of voices, which are given support by an array of symphonic richness, percussion again working overtime to embellish and enhance. The same can be said for the cue, THE BLACK RIDER Shore’s music purveying a real sense of fear and chaos which is totally unnerving and absorbing. AT THE SIGN OF THE PRANCING PONY is one of the more prominent cues for me but saying this the scores are wonderfully compelling and affecting. AT THE SIGN OF THE PRANCING PONY, is a fusion of all we have heard before, the composer compiling elements of the other cues into one grandiose and potent piece, which involves all sections of the orchestra, including choir, which has to it a celestial but at the same moment a satanic sound.
A KNIFE IN THE DARK is next in the running order, Shore pulling out all the stops to create a lumbering and crashing composition that is filled with dread and is relentless in its persona.
Mid-way through however the chaos and formidable sounds cease and these give way to a lighter and more serene sound, initially introduced by strings and woodwind, we hear above everything a pure and spiritual boy soprano, which in the movie and also whilst listening away from any images causes one to stop and focus even more intently. It is one of those rare moments in film when the music says everything, there is no need for words or any earth-shattering events, it is the score relating to the gazing audience the beauty of music and image working as one. I think my own personal favourite is the score for THE TWO TOWERS, I cannot really say why I just prefer this score to the other two but saying this I must also say that all three are excellent examples of film scoring. THE RETURN OF THE KING is probably the most complex, with THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING coming in third, Howard Shore is we all know an accomplished and highly respected composer, An innovative Maestro, who’s ability to create and realise music for any situation and any genre of film is well known. Maybe now re-visit the films in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and whilst there have a listen to the scores too.
On September 16th Howe Records will release, for the first time ever, composer Howard Shore’s complete score to David Fincher’s renowned film SE7EN, this release will contain over 60 minutes of original music. The release will also boast newly commissioned liner notes by the esteemed and respected film historian and author Peter Cowie. Howard Shore is one of today’s most sought after composers whose music is performed regularly in concert halls around the world by some of the most prestigious orchestras. It is also heard in cinemas across the globe. Shore’s musical interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginative world of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT, as portrayed in the films directed by Peter Jackson, have enthralled people of all generations for years now. The composers work on these particular movies stands as his most acclaimed compositions to date, garnering him three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes. His score for SE7EN has a life away from the shadowy and fear filled scenes that are being acted out in this riveting and classic tale. The music that Shore wrote for the motion picture is in a word masterful and has to it an all-consuming musical entity which is hard to escape from whilst listening to it, it has the ability to surround and completely engulf the listener plus it is an essential and important part of the motion picture, Shore creates levels of intense tension and layers of apprehensive moods via his powerful and virulent musical tapestry, the composer painting a picture that is harrowing and at times seemingly filled with sheer frustration and desperation. Shore utilizes brass and at times sinewy sounding strings to create a sound that is unnerving and totally unsettling. He also underlines the majority of the proceedings with percussive elements and at times adds to the mix woodwind which does bring a calming atmosphere into the work on occasion, however the score as one would expect is a work that is for the most part atonal sounding and also one that builds a tense and uncertain persona. This is a classic score there is no doubt of this, I feel that at the time of the movie’s release the music maybe was not appreciated and was not given the full credit it deserved, the images on screen are unsettling on their own the storyline is also one that is filled with taught and sinister musical passages. Although we are treated to a more upbeat and almost majestic cue in the form of SLOTH track number 7. I say upbeat, what I mean is that the music is actually quite forthright in the opening stages and more theme orientated than the remainder of the score. The composer creating a positive musical persona, brass and percussion fuse seamlessly and are supported throughout by strings and piano which underline and punctuate the proceedings. In many ways the score harkens back to a number of the golden age movie scores by the likes of Roy Webb, Miklos Rozsa and Franz Waxman, there is an aura about it a sound or a style that evokes days gone by, which I think are evident within the cues JOHN DOE and SLOTH there is a luxurious and sweeping atmosphere present but at the same time there is an underlying or secondary sound that is filled with dread. In track number 16, WRATH we are treated to a slow but strident piece with swirling strings and percussion acting as a background to ominous sounding brass stabs which relay an atmosphere that is filled with dire and potent connotations of the shocking kind. The re issue of this score in an expanded form is most welcome. I look forward to sitting in a darkened room (within easy reach of the light switch) listening to Shore’s inventive and highly original sounding work. This is a must have release.
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