The Mandalorian is an American space-opera set in the STAR WARS universe at a time just after the events that were the subject of THE RETURN OF THE JEDI. The story focuses upon a lone Mandalorian gunfighter who is beyond the gaze and clutches of the New Republic. The music is by Oscar winner Ludwig Goransson, who earned acclaim for his work on BLACK PANTHER and was also praised for his music to CREED. So, it’s a STAR WARS story so that means it’s filled to over-flowing with sweeping themes and triumphant flourishes, yes? Well actually NO. Its an odd score as in I really cant make up my mind if I like it or not, its rather down beat and also the composer utilises a lot of electronics within it, so that for me is not an attraction, ok synths etc are ok when they are used effectively and are also used in conjunction with symphonic elements. But, in this case they for me anyway are more of a jarring and crashing ingredient, they are grating at times and harsh in their delivery, so no abundance of thematic material I am afraid. Goransson makes effective use of percussive elements however and laces these with strings or synthetic strings I cannot quite tell, for me it’s a re-hash of both Black Panther and CREED (told you it was odd).



In fact, one can hear snippets of ROYAL TALON FIGHT at times when the percussion takes hold and forms the foundation of certain cues, what was great in Black Panther suddenly has become tired and uninspiring when heard as presented in this score. The final cue MANDALORIAN is basically ROCKY but not as good if you get what I am saying, one can most certainly hear the influence of Conti within the cue and also other tracks contain certain sounds and elements that we have also heard before in Black Panther, it is a shame as I for one thought we had a creative composer in the form of Goransson, but after hearing the disappointing CREED ll and now this I have to reserve judgement. There just seems to be no originality present in MANDALORIAN, ok yes there are one maybe two nice little touches, as in track number six YOU ARE A MANDALORIAN but what starts out as something that could build, turns into a watered down version of Bill Conti’s ROCKY THEME or even at times the action music of Poledouris’s ROBOCOP, but again not as effective or stylish. The themes that do start to sound promising melt away and become cues that are nothing really to shout about and the ideas within the cues are not developed fully to become anything other than a hint of a theme or are given an overblown and chaotic synthetic sound which annoys and irritates. I am not sure what he was trying to achieve here, but it has fallen flat. Sorry not for me. Maybe it will improve in later episodes, we will see, but I think do not hold your breath,





I don’t know about you, but I loved the score for BLACK PANTHER, I also thought that the understated score for the re-boot of DEATH WISH was pretty good as well, so I for one was pleased to hear that the composer who worked on both was to score VENOM. Ludwig Goransson fashioned some funky themes for BLACK PANTHER and fused these up-tempo pieces with some interesting conventional sounding film music. When he scored CREED, he pulled out all the stops and blew me away with his re-working of the Rocky theme and his original material for the score was awesome. VENOM is the latest in the never-ending cycle of superhero movies, Goransson has scored the film and I have to say that there are a few moments which I found original and sections that I considered were ok. However, for the most part the score kind of goes down the route of musical noises or even un-musical noises, the composer relying more upon sounds, pulses or beats to create atmospheres and moods for the picture, yes I realise that this is probably more of a horror film than a superhero movie, but you know I don’t really get the difference sometimes.




The composer has I have to say disappointed me more than surprised or entertained me with this his latest offering. There are some high-octane powerhouse moments within the score,  as in PEDAL TO THE METAL but these are often, interrupted or overpowered using the electronic and the synthetic never allowing anything vaguely musical to develop. Yes I know this is an action movie, but there should be room for a theme here and there or at least a hint of one. The manufactured sounds or samples are just grating and seem to be more so in this case, working against the remainder of the score, the noises, jolts, starts and frantic chaotic jarring sounds just do not a good experience make. So, it’s a thumbs down for this one, but as you know this is just my opinion, and what do I know? Also dont forget there are two albums, one is the score, the other a song compilation.

DEATH WISH. (2018).




This is certainly a busy time for composer Ludwig Goransson, BLACK PANTHER and now the new version of DEATH WISH and all within literally a few weeks of each other, or at least that’s how it seems because of the release scheduling of the movies. The composers work on both CREED and BLACK PANTHER are original and innovative in their own way, but there is more to the music of Goransson, than simply being original or different, he is a composer that can take a simple or brief motif and develop traces of a theme into the foundation on which an entire score can be constructed upon. CREED especially displayed the way in which the composer can take elements of an already established work that is in a word ICONIC and give it more impact by adding his own thematic properties, thus giving it a modern take but without taking anything away from the already established theme.


DEATH WISH, I think contains more synthetic components and content than CREED or BLACK PANTHER, although PANTHER does make excellent use of these, but the music is still too a degree melodic and even a little romantic and melancholy at times which is purveyed in the main via piano, and strings that are embellished by hints of electronic support. Given the subject matter of the movie, the score is perfect, it conjures up images that are dark and foreboding and creates an atmospheric sound that is filled with apprehension and underlined further with an ominous and somewhat uneasy persona that lurks in the shadows and is ever present. This atonal and sinister foundation at key moments within the score explodes and heightens into jagged and pulsating rhythms that are interspersed and punctuated with sharp stabs of percussion that are themselves supported further by electronica making them sound even more vicious and disturbing. The composer adds to the proceedings an array of sounds and stabs that bolster the central direction of the score. But, as I say there are a few lighter moments which can be a welcomed respite from the mostly action led work, piano and strings combine on a handful of cues, this being prominent within the final cue END CREDITS, but even as we listen to the pleasant enough melody performed by the string laced piano there is in the background a malevolent sound performed by sinewy strings that alerts us to the fact that maybe although we think its all over, it is far from that. Again, the composer has fashioned a score that has many colours and one that fades in and out of darkness and light. Certainly, worth a listen.



Composer Ludwig Goransson has had a lot of press recently, and in my opinion, this is well deserved attention. The composer has scored two big movies which I have no doubt are popular and will be popular. CREED and BLACK PANTHER are both very different movies but each of them contain such effective and innovative scores. The composer who is not yet 30, is certainly talented and original in his approach to scoring movies and listening to both CREED and BLACK PANTHER back to back, I think that we will be hearing his music and seeing his name on many film credits to come. He has the knack of combining, ethnic, electronic and fully symphonic styles, fusing them together with what seems to be consummate ease to create some powerful and striking themes.  BLACK PANTHER is in the film news a lot after the hype it received and also now it is released people are raving about it,  CREED is wonderfully anthemic, and I have to say each listen reveals another sound another little nuance or a grand sounding musical passage. But BLACK PANTHER is a real tour de force in mixing so many styles, As I have said both movies are very different, and the scores too are quite far apart stylistically, BLACK PANTHER relying upon a strong African flavoured ethnic background that includes voices and powerful percussive elements, on which Goransson builds his dramatic and commanding score. Its ominous and almost fearsome themes demanding that the listener take notice. CREED to is a powerful work, but  has to it a more contemporary sound, the composer utilizing the familiar and infectious ROCKY theme as penned by composer Bill Conti. Goransson keeping the ROCKY fanfare and elements of GONNA FLY NOW close, as he blends into the mix his own  original themes for the movie to create a highly motivating and stirring musical persona, that adds much to the movie. What attracted me so much to this score was the way in which Goransson has fashioned his own ROCKY theme, or at least a theme that is very similar in places and utilised it as an underlining statement to Conti’s composition.  But then we hear the composer’s innovative talent in places that is present in cues such as BREATHE, MOVING IN WITH ROCKY, SHED YOU etc, which are fusion of voices, electronics and a jazz orientated style, that at times bursts into something that resembles drum and bass. So, the score for CREED is I suppose a cross between old school film scoring and contemporary styles that are beginning to work there way into film music in recent years. But saying this the composer has got the mix just right, and we hear Goransson’s central theme lacing Conti’s original musical ideas to form something that is not only perfect with the images on screen, but also is a wonderfully entertaining listen just as music. I found the score inspiring as I felt that film music of the future will be safe in the hands of such a composer. Of course, as with all ROCKY scores there are some fantastically dramatic and stirring set pieces within the score such as.

IF I FIGHT, YOU FIGHT. (TRAINING MONTAGE) which is worth listening to at least three times to appreciate the choral work and the use of the thundering percussion, that booms throughout and punctuates the proceedings, and its bold brass flourishes that are heightened and embellished further by effective use of soaring strings. Then there are mesmerizing moments where the composer turns to faraway sounding horns and gracious strings with little touches of choir adding just the right amount of melancholy, I think what I am saying that this is a good old fashion film score, with glimpses of the modern sounds of film music, both of which compliment and support each other throughout, each bouncing off each other and creating something that is certainly worth listening too. The best cue on the score, or at least the best action orientated cue must be YOU’RE A CREED where the composer throws everything possible at the listener but saying this THE CONLAN FIGHT too is a piece that will get the blood pumping with its infectious central theme being performed by horns and strings whilst the percussion goes to work giving it strong support. But I think that film music aficionados will agree with me on hearing YOU’RE A CREED that this evokes memories of the Conti scores and elements of themes and styles employed by Vince DiCola, for ROCKY IV. Plus, underneath all of this is Goransson, adding stabs, punches and body blows, before giving us a triumph and lush sounding rendition of GONNA FLY NOW that although short lived just lifts the piece, and then is even more elevated by the composers own central theme. Do I like this score, umm yes, I guess I do, and you will too. The soundtrack release does have a few snippets of dialogue, but these too are entertaining and add atmosphere to the listening experience.



So, from CREED, I turn my attention to Goransson’s score for BLACK PANTHER, there has been a lot of talk about this movie, it is the first ever Black Superhero, to hit the big screen and he does it in style. The score is a very effective one, again the composer fusing symphonic and synthetic plus injecting African sounds and styles into the equation. The opening cue is an imposing one, WAKANDA ORIGINS sets the scene perfectly for the remainder of the score, voices and fast paced percussion opening the track, and proceeding at an even faster pace until its conclusion. Percussion and African sounding voices play a big role within the work, and these elements are bolstered and enhanced by rasping horns, proud sounding brass, driving strings and even more thunderous percussive attributes. I nothing but praise for Goransson for creating such an interesting and original sounding soundtrack.




He takes the ethnic sounds and melodies and elevates these even further so that they become more powerful and commanding, arranging them for strings and brass throughout, a prime example of this is WATERFALL FIGHT, which begins with wild percussion grunting voices and earthy sounding woodwind, but develops into a highly dramatic piece, with choir, brass, strings and all of which is driven along by the percussion section, to a crescendo, which then goes relents as we experience a glorious melody that is infectious as in foot tapping infectious that brings the cue to its conclusion. There are also some quieter moments within the score, ANCESTRAL PLANE being one of these, cello, string section and voices combine to create a heartrending melody that is romantic yet tragic. This is a score that will delight, surprise and captivate, it is filled to overflowing with such creativity and I am glad to say that Goransson is a composer who is not frightened to experiment with sounds and combinations of instrumentation and voices that ordinarily one would not think of putting together. So, did I like this, oh yes. Go buy it, you will not be disappointed.