Tag Archives: Johan Soderqvist

AMUNDSEN.

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At last a new score from multi talented composer Johan Soderqvist, I have for many years admired this composers work, his music for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN being the score that blew me away and convinced me to watch out for his future scores. The latest addition to the composers impressive list of credits is the soundtrack for the movie AMUNDSEN. This is an inspiring score for a true and even more inspiring story, it is a historical epic about a hero of Norway Roald Amundsen who is best-remembered for his achievement of reaching the South Pole in 1911. The score is one that is filled with atmospheric sounds and themes, the composer creating some wonderfully haunting and melodic passages that seem to come from nowhere, his style is so original and fresh, he is also a composer who experiments with sounds as well as music, fusing the two to fashion effective and innovative nuances and motifs. For example he will utilise synthetic sounds and over these he will introduce a plaintive and melancholy piano solo then support this with melodious and romantic strings as in track number three on this score entitled TWO BROTHERS. In this fairly brief cue the composer purveys so many emotions and fills the listener with hope, sadness and romanticism all at once. Soderqvist, is a master at the use of unusual sounds within his film scores the usual becomes the innovative and musters the interest of either the watching audience or the film music collector who is listening to the score just as stand alone music. Maybe there is a touch of the drone style of scoring within this particular score where score melds into sound design, but in this case it is warranted and also well executed. The cue THE ICE RAVINE/NAMING THE MOUNTAINS is such a track, mostly consisting of atonal sounds but from time to time there is a glimmer of a melody or at least a hint of it, I thought towards the end of the three minute cue there were certain attributes that could fall into the Morricone style of scoring, being dark but at the same moment containing a lilting theme underneath the atonal elements. AT THE SOUTH POLE is a near anthem like piece and I suppose is the closest that the score comes to being lush or lavish, the theme builds to a crescendo of sorts that is quite emotional, then fades back into a piano led piece underlined by strings. There is also action cues within the score, as in the thundering and urgent sounding ICE BEAR ATTACK, which although short in duration is relentless in its ferociousness. Soderqvist has created a score that conjures up a feeling of desolation and one of loneliness and listening to the music one can imagine just a little how vast an area that Amundsen found himself in. THE CHILDREN is another cue that I was attracted too, piano again with underlying strings augmenting then the piece moves into a poignant theme performed by guitar and piano, delightful This is a score that I think you will enjoy very much, there are so many emotions purveyed throughout its duration that it is hard to fully describe, but I will say it is a score to take a listen to, released by MOVIE SCORE MEDIA  now on digital platforms and soon to be released on CD by Rosetta.

THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM.

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THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, is a period horror/drama, that fuses both old school Hammer horror moods and atmospheres with contemporary styled scenarios which are present in horror movies that have been released more recently. The cast is particularly strong and each actor/actress brings something to the movie that is undeniably charismatic and believable. Set in the city of London, this atmospheric and suitably dark movie, is directed by Juan Carlos Medina, and focuses upon a series of murders the perpetrator of which is referred to as THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, the City is place that is filled with fear as the killer leaves a string of cryptic clues which are written in his victim’s blood. Shades of the Jack the Ripper story are present here and anyone with a little knowledge of the Ripper murders will obviously make comparisons at certain points within the films storyline. The authorities have a few leads which they are pursuing, but as public pressure and fear grows, Scotland Yard enrol the help of an experienced detective, who himself has a chequered and somewhat troubled past. Inspector Kildare is portrayed convincingly by the excellent Bill Nighy, who because of his past seems to think he has only been given the assignment by his superiors so he can fail. As the story progresses Kildare enlists the assistance of one of the key witness, s played by Olivia Cooke. Kildare, tries all he can to stop the grotesque murders and close in on the killer in the hope of bringing him or her to justice. This is a great horror story, and one which is akin to many of the glorious Hammer Gothic horrors which were produced during the 1960, s, simply because of its settings and the way in which it is photographed. The musical score is also something that would not sound out of place in a horror movie that was released during the 1960, s it is filled with a strong symphonic presence and oozes melodies as well as being filled with dark and sinewy passages that have the ability to send a cold shudder up one’s spine. Within the score there is a delicate but at the same time icy touch, which is highly effective and creates some wonderfully hypnotic and fearful interludes. The composer, Johan Soderqvist has worked on several movies in which his music has gained recognition, his ability to create atmospheres and invent innovate musical colours and underline sequences and scenes is stunning. Working on such movies as KON TIKI, KING OF DEVILS ISLAND, THE MURDER FARM, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, JAGARNA 2 and TV projects such as THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES and THE ABSCENT ONE the composer displays a multi-faceted approach to scoring film, his soundtracks are all highly original and there is not a style or sound that one can compare him to as his style is all of his own making.

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The score for THE LIME HOUSE GOLEM, I would have to mark as one of his finest works for cinema, the composer giving the already tense and fear filled storyline even greater depth and virulent and urgent musical persona. But, Soderqvist’s music for the movie also has to it a richness and an opulent and lavish sound that simply envelopes the listener, it is alluring and becomes an important component of the developing storyline, underlining, supporting and at certain points even overpowering the images and scenario being acted out on screen, this is a powerful work, a commanding and haunting soundtrack, that is almost operatic with its imposing growling brass and swirling strings, light flourishes of harpsichord and lilting woodwind and piano performances, the composer lulling the audience into a false sense of security and then suddenly without warning creating a motif that is filled with dread and doom. Soderqvist music for THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, in my opinion is thus far this year probably the most interesting, worthy and entertaining score for a motion picture, if it is not nominated for an Oscar or a BAFTA then there is something seriously wrong with the system. Its lush and romantic heart is at times overshadowed by its shadowy and dramatic interludes, but the two styles complement each other making this a highly desirable release, and will be a treasured addition to any film music collection.

 

Available on Varese Sarabande records.

1.
The Opening
1:00
2.
John Is Dead
2:11
3.
Marx As The Golem
1:26
4.
Aveline And Lizzie
2:03
5.
Misery Junction
2:38
6.
Dan Offers Lizzie A Job
1:31
7.
Dan Leno As The Golem
3:07
8.
The Theatre
1:06
9.
Give The Public Blood
2:00
10.
The Rape
1:26
11.
Gissing As The Golem
1:38
12.
Dan And Lizzie
3:01
13.
What Did She Know About Railways? (Olivia Cooke)
1:26
14.
Cree As The Golem
2:37
15.
Lizzie And John
1:06
16.
Chasing The Manuscript
1:30
17.
Uncle’s Secret Room
1:13
18.
Race To The Gallows
2:26
19.
Mother And Daughter
1:41
20.
Following Gissing
3:11
21.
The Golem
2:10
22.
The Hanging
1:06
23.
Ratcliff Murders
1:55
24.
The Limehouse Golem End Credits
4:16
25.
I’m Waiting For Him Tonight (Douglas Booth)

 

 

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

 

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A vampire movie, so the score is all crash, bang, thud, atonal stabs. rasping  growling brass and big percussion with cymbal clashes, right ?  Wrong ! Composer Johan Soderqvist has created not only an atmospherically frightening score, but also at the same time manages to infuse poignancy and gentleness into the proceedings, so with one hand he puts the listener on edge and with the other he soothes and calms that same listener by introducing  low key and understated levels of underlying  tranquility. This composers gift for melody is abundantly clear in the beautiful composition ELI’S THEME which is track number 3 on the compact disc, the cue begins with harp being underlined by layered and unobtrusive strings, these strings soon swell and bring to the fore a poignant and emotive theme, it is heartrending to the point of bringing tears to the eyes of the listener and creates an aire of what is near to serenity. Yes I admit that there are some pretty atonal sounding passages present within this score, but it still manages to stay musical rather than just a background noise. Examples of this type of scoring are demonstrated in track 6, HIDING THE BODY, where low foreboding strings are supported by from what I can deduce sparse use of synthetic sounds, that when combined create a resonance that is obviously atonal but at the same time has musical substance to it. This can be said of a number of cues on the compact disc, atonal in their make up but musical in their overall effect, the composer creates short but effective themes and leitmotifs, which catch one unawares and within a sea of  at times quite disturbing, harrowing and complex compositions there comes from nowhere a piece that just melts the listener as in track number 8, OSCAR STRIKES BACK, this short lived cue is an adagio of sorts, beautiful, calming and emotive. As a fully paid up member of the Hammer Horror fan club, I suppose I have a fixed ideas about what Horror movie scores sound like, or at least what they did sound like, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN , bears no resemblance whatsoever to the frenzied scoring of James Bernard, or the near romantic compositions of David Whitaker, it is a horror score with body a horror score with direction and focus, it combines shadowy orchestral textures and colours with uplifting and beautiful romanticism and these fusions and combinations I for one think work extremely well, it is for me anyway one of the best horror scores I have heard in many years. This may not be everyone’s idea of a great soundtrack, but I do urge you to buy this CD, I think when you hear it you will be hooked by this composers approach and his stylish and emotive compositions .