Available now on Howlin Wolf Records.
Brian Cachia is one of those composers that you are really not aware of until that is you find one of his scores and realise, he has in fact got a good body of work behind him. BETTER WATCH OUT was the score I was told about and via this work I discovered a few more and made the discovery that Cachia is a very accomplished composer. On listening to BETTER WATCH OUT I have to admit to being impressed by the style and also the orchestrations that the composer utilised, yes it’s a horror movie so one would expect atonal dark and sinewy material, and yes there is some of this, but there are also some well structured and interesting lighter cues and to be fair to the composer even some of the atonal material remains thematic or at least contains some melodious content. In many ways Cachia’s style evoked memories of some of Chris Young’s early scores, or even the work of Daniel Licht. I do realise that Cachia’s score in this case does have its fair share of electronic instrumentation as in synthesised based material but it sounds to me as if the composer utilises this as a foundation and then builds the score around it, adding conventional instrumentation and layering the electronic content, building textures and awakening musical colours. As I say the sound and style employed did remind me of Chris Young and also had hints of a style that at times was employed by composer Jerry Goldsmith, it is a dark and somewhat brooding work, but given the subject matter I expected nothing else, the composer is inventive within the score, producing sounds and touching on senses that are effective and vibrant. Cachia’s style and overall sound on this score is obviously quite harsh and in places powerfully driving, there is to the work a robust and earthy sound and one that purveys a richly ominous and mischievous aura, the composer employing a dark and dramatic piano at times to give the soundtrack an even great fearsome atmosphere and adding an uneasy persona to the score. Certainly a release I would recommend because of its originality in places and also because its just a great soundtrack.
As I have said so many times before Horror movies crave music, they need it probably more than any other genre of film and are a wonderful genre in which a composer can become creative bringing terror and even more foreboding to an already scary movie. DJINN is one such case in point, the movie is already a jumpy and frightening viewing experience, but add to this a realy atmospheric and chilling soundtrack and well, get out of my way I am behind the sofa under the duvet or even out of the house. Composer B C Smith who worked on other scores such as SMOKE SIGNALS and MOD SQUAD has fashioned an all-electronic work, which not only scares the pants off the listener but supports and underlines each and every terrifying frame of the movie superbly. I say this is an all-electronic score, which is true but the composer creates some beautifully crafted passages throughout, which for me personally evoke the music of Italian group Goblin as well as composers such as Joseph Bishara, Fabio Frizzi and Claudio Simonetti, it is probably true to say it is more atonal than melodic, but this is a horror movie and one that certainly calls for harsh and at times abrasive sounding tones, which B C serves up in the bucket load. Its one of those scores that maybe you think I am not going to enjoy this, but in the end, you love it because it is so inventive and also does the job it is supposed to. At times it is sparse and dark with a brooding and apprehensive persona that lingers or hovers throughout, it is suspenseful and multifarious as within the movie it accompanies the central female character as she gradually and helplessly falls into insanity. The soundtrack does contain a slightly more emotive side, but these colours and textures are few and far between and largely are utilised to enhance any warm and close moments experienced by the family, for which the composer turns to solo piano. This is a score that will bring to the surface many emotions and senses, and one that I think will be recognised as a masterful work within the horror genre. Available on Howlin Wolf records, who have done a great job on the presentation, the release also has liner notes courtesy of the composer, worth checking out.
There has over the past few years been numerous horror movies released and many of these have had as their subject matter Zombies, I suppose you could say it all started to snowball with SHAWN OF THE DEAD, but then,,,,, maybe not! Anyway there is another Zombie movie being released soon, COLLAPSE, so be ready to be scared stiff again. The music for this latest Zombie fest is the work of composer Vincent Gillioz, who in my humble opinion should be on the Hollywood A list of film music composers, his talent is immense and his attention to detail and also his efforts to remain original are evident and entertaining. The music for COLLAPSE is not a sweeping romantic score or indeed a soundtrack that contains a great amount of thematic material that is conspicuous or memorable, in fact it is one of the most dissonant and malevolent sounding film soundtracks that I have heard in a long while, in fact it is in many ways as chilling, unsettling and foreboding as the Roque Banos score for EVIL DEAD which to be honest is something that I am still recovering from. Gillioz has created a work that is overflowing with a malignant and fearsome atmosphere that contains a relentless and unforgiving onslaught of sounds both musical and otherwise which combine to conjure up a mood that is brimming with an intense sense of wickedness. The theme he has fashioned for the Zombies is in my opinion a kind of macabre march in which the music seems to drag itself closer and closer towards you, madly and chaotically instilling a sense of doom within the listener, the intensity of darkness growing the air of desperation and horror becoming overwhelming and the feeling of hopelessness to do anything about it being totally absorbing. The score is a frenzied and heart stopping triumph which does just what it should, scares you silly. The motif or theme that accompanies the Zombies is created by double basses slapping their strings against the fingerboard of the instrument at a pulsating and pounding walking pace, the action which is called the Bartok Pizz is accompanied by low brass holding a low note and finally bending it down. The best example of this inventive style of writing can be heard in track number 5, STORMING THE TOWN, which also has the added enhancement of electronic support that is grating and vibrantly edgy, a driving and threatening effect is achieved here, the cue possessing a rawness and savagery that is turbulent and aggressive and a sound that is highly effective and certainly original. There is a quieter and calmer theme present within the score the longest statement of this being within track number 3, MY SON IS SICK, the music is low key and performed on piano, but even though it has to it a degree of melodic melancholy there is still in the background an underlying mood that hints at things not being peaceful at all.
This theme or at least fragments and short phrases from it make appearances throughout the work but are short lived and soon become overwhelmed by the more harsh elements of the score. OK this is a horror score that for the most part is a thundering and unmerciful powerhouse of a soundtrack, but I for one enjoyed listening to it and hearing this competent and talented composer show us another side of his composing prowess. Recommended ? Hell Yes…. Released on Howlin Wolf records soon.
Howlin’ Wolf Records is a record label founded by a long time film score collector and enthusiast. The mission of this label is to release select film scores with collectors in mind. All releases will be limited edition pressed CDs with professionally designed and printed inserts and liner notes. Most importantly, we will always strive to present the best possible audio from source materials available for a film score.
Though a love for underscores from all genre of film is the foundation for the formation of this record label, the initial focus will be on presenting dynamic film scores composed for suspense and horror. From synthesizer to orchestra, music that unnerves, haunts, and sets your heart pounding is our passion. The intent of Howlin’ Wolf Records additionally is to introduce some wonderful and innovative composers that may be less familiar to collectors.
This record label invites all collectors and lovers of film music to partner with us on this venture. We would love to hear from you regarding film scores that excite you and to hear what scores are on the top of your wishlist for release. It is great to be a dreamer and without this important step in the process we may see many great film scores lost or hidden away from our listening pleasure.