Tag Archives: MIKE HIGHAM



Tim Burton and Danny Elfman is a pairing of talents that is made in heaven or at least made in a parallel world which is filled with odd and unhinged dark things that delight and fright all at the same time. So, I was a little surprised when Tim Burton’s most recent cinematic project came to the screen minus the ample talents of Mr Elfman. The film which is positively dark and suitably weird would have probably benefitted greatly from the magical musical touch of Elman, but do not fret or fear Burton’s latest imagining for the silver screen is in safe hands with composers Mike Higham and Matthew Margeson. This talented composing duo have created a succulent and inviting work that not only enhances the off kilter goings on at MISS PEREGRINES HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, but elevates and underlines the occurrences and the somewhat shadowy and unpredictable storyline superbly. To be fair some of the musical passages are not dissimilar to the style of Danny Elman with their cheeky and impish nuances being put to excellent and effective use by the composers. Maybe the score is not as mad cap or even as manic as some of Elfman’s work for Burton, but it is still highly effective and innovative, punctuating and supporting the warped and strange world that is being brought to life on screen. This is a score that is filled with themes that are at times low key and even calming, but these are also themes that has something of a dual personality and can turn from sweet and lullaby like motifs into darkly rich threatening and powerful pieces that infuse a sense of danger and create an atmosphere that is thick with apprehension and unease. To say that this is an accomplished work is simply not enough, this is a score that is masterful and powerful and one that establishes itself almost immediately, the composers creating a work that is sublimely virulent yet melodic and soothing at the same time. I love the way in which they utilise strings, low woods and choral support which is I suppose ironically “ELFMAN-ISH”. The use of a ticking clock in several of the cues attract one’s attention with the composition on each occasion rising from the simple tick tick sound, at times transforming into subdued or haunting tone poems but more often than not turning into themes which are sinister or unsettling, that either build gradually into taught and thunderous crescendo’s or move swiftly from 0 to 60 towards a full on and spellbinding no holds barred onslaught of symphonic and synthetic magnificence. The music is haunting as in unforgettable and it is also a score that you will want to return to as soon as you have finished listening to it. Accomplished, fantastical and Herrmann-esque in places, with guttural low woods and jagged brass lines and stabs being woven through sinewy, swirling, driving or urgent sounding string passages with at times organ making an entrance to fashion riveting, terrifying and icy sounding musical moments. It’s a delight, and a pleasure to encounter, savour and experience. One for your collection, a must have item. Available on La La Land records. Highly recommended.