Ever kicked yourself because you had a soundtrack in your hands and for some reason you put it back in the rack and walked away, only to re-think the rash act and return to find it gone. Yep been there done that and I even got the T shirt. So as a new occasional series I thought I would add a few reviews under the heading of the one that got away or Soundtracks you might have missed.
It’s a sad fact that composers pass away and when they do we as collectors I think do grieve in a way, I think we realise that there will never be anything new from them and have to come to terms with having their scores in our collection as a lasting memory of their talent. Joel Goldsmith passed away far too soon, he was I think destined for greater things, but alas it was not to be. I first heard his music in LAZERBLAST which he co-wrote with Richard Band and next I got MOON 44 which is a wonderful soundtrack, written in the style of Goldsmith snr, but with just enough of Goldsmith jnr in it to make it an original. The film was a low budget affair but was not awful and Joel Goldsmith’s score was an asset to the production, his commanding and relentless compositions adding power and atmosphere to the movie. It helped that the score was performed by the Graunke Symphony orchestra who’s reputation was then and is now glowing. The score is mainly symphonic, with support coming from the synthetic department, I have to say the composer did borrow significantly from his Fathers RAMBO scores as in broad and bold brass with unrelenting timpani and percussion being present throughout, these elements being underlined by strings and woods and further embellished dark sounding piano and crashing effects all of which combine to create an exciting and exhilarating work. The track FIRST TRAINING FLIGHT is one that I return to many times, this is classic Goldsmith (but which one). Unrelenting and commanding this for me is the highlight of the score, but that does not mean that there are not other high points within the soundtrack, its sounds like a Jerry Goldsmith score from the 1960’s for an all action knock em down and drag em out adventure. The composers subtle use of woods within the track SO LONG FELIX is stunning, and he combines these with electronic other-worldy effects, which are in turn further bolstered via the string section in sinister mood. Then the cue alters direction and transforms into a series of brass fanfare like flourishes that are accompanied by booming percussive support, and finally this mood alters and becomes more synthetic led with strings adding a chilling undertone, the composer fashioning a piece that is apprehensive and unnerving.
If you are a fan of Jerry Goldsmith and you have not had the good fortune to hear MOON 44, please do take time out to sample it, you will not be disappointed. The CD was available on Silva Screen but has been long deleted, however there is the re-issue on BSX which is still available and I know it may not be ideal, but it is on spotify, so at least you may check it out there.
From a futuristic sci-fi tale and score to a soundtrack from a horror movie that was released in 1996.based on the 1984 novel by Stephen King, THINNER was directed by Tom Holland, it focuses upon a high flying lawyer who has an obsession with food and after successfully getting an underworld boss off a charge of murder accidentally runs over a Gypsy, eventually he too is acquitted of any blame but the Gypsies Father places a curse on the lawyer and he begins to loose weight rapidly. His wife becomes concerned that it could be cancer and enlists the help of a Doctor, but her husband then thinks she is having an affair with the doctor. It’s a gripping tale as one might expect from the pen of Stephen King, and has numerous twists and turns within its storyline. The musical score is by composer Daniel Licht, the soundtrack album was released in 1996 on Varese Sarabande,
The score is a dark one which is not surprising, but what is somewhat unusual is that the soundtrack contains some quite lush sounding themes that are more of a romantic tone. I always felt that this was a score that was sadly overlooked, and in many ways, it evokes the style that was present within many of composer Christopher Youngs works from the 1990’s. But saying that every time I listen to the score and hear Licht’s outstanding compositions, I also can hear references to composers such as Elmer Bernstein and to a degree Jerry Goldsmith.
The composer makes effective use of the string section and employs solo violin which is subtle but affecting. It’s a large-scale score with brass, woodwind and percussion contributing the lions share of the performance supported by the ever-present string section which jumps from romantic to swirling and frenzied sometimes within one cue. An accomplished work a classic in my opinion, again the CD might prove difficult to get hold of, but Spotify do have it, sample it I think you will find you will be impressed.
Back to 1985 for the next soundtrack, a horror again and also written by Stephen King, SILVER BULLET was directed by Dan Attias, and starred Corey Haim, Gary Busey and Everett McGill, a horror set in modern day that focused on the legend of the Werewolf. Music came courtesy of Jay Chattaway, and again for horror movie the score contained a number of lilting and more melancholy moments, However the main score that was utilised over the action scenes was high octane and at times atonal, brass, string and percussion feature throughout, with the composer fashioning what I would call a typical sounding horror film soundtrack. Chattaway makes effective use of a harpsichord/celeste effect in the cue MAKING THE SILVER BULLET which is subtle and somewhat delicate in its overall sound and style, this style of scoring is also present in LOOKING FOR MR ONE EYE where delicate guitar takes the lead and is supported by a light and magical sounding keyboard whilst every so often we hear the musical reference to the werewolf which is a far off howling effect.
The soundtrack LP was issued on Varese Sarabande in 1985 with a Varese CD being made available in 2008 as a club release. The score is a fusion of the symphonic and the electronic, but the composer balances these elements well and each medium successfully compliments each other. The composer utilises slicing Physco inspired sounding strings at times which make you sit up and listen and add a chilling and urgent persona to the proceedings. This one could be a little difficult to come by, as I can’t see it on any digital platform and the CD is now long out of print. Nevertheless, it’s a score worth looking for.