ScreamWorks Records invites its listeners to a Blood Feast, which is an official remake of the 1963 horror by Herschell Gordon Lewis. This new version of the gory story was co-written and directed by Marcel Waltz and tells the story of Fuad Ramses (Robert Rusler), an American entrepreneur who moves to France with his family in order to open an American diner. With business going slowly, Ramses also works night shifts in a museum of ancient Egyptian culture. Tortured by visions from the Goddess Ishtar (Sadie Katz), Fuad starts to spice up his meals with unlikely ingredients….
The musical score for BLOOD FEAST, comes courtesy of German born composer, Klaus Pfreunder, who has created a harrowing and commanding work via sounds synthetic and symphonic, or at least I think there are some conventional instruments within the score as it is hard to distinguish between electronic and symphonic as the work fuses them both flawlessly. The opening cue entitled THE BEAST, (INTRO) is a piece which sets the scene perfectly for much of what is to follow and immediately grabs the listeners attention, with the composer utilising the sounds of a beating heart and over this we hear the sounds of what I can only imagine to be the beast referred to in the track title, there is a growling and shrieking effect within the opening of the cue, that is edged with sinewy sounding icy strings and jagged brass stabs, with the composer adding a woman’s scream but distorting it to great effect, the heart beat continues and becomes faster and more pronounced as the cue progress’s and develops gaining momentum and becoming more virulent and menacing. The composer fashions an uneasy and uncomfortable composition which can only be described as taught and intensely harrowing, filled with tension, darkness and foreboding. Track number two, NEW DAY is somewhat more low key, and opens with piano underlined by strings, in fact it evoked memories of Christopher Youngs wonderful opening theme for THE HAUNTED SUMMER, with delicate piano taking centre stage and given support by light and romantically laced strings, but the mood of the cue very soon alters as the piano becomes more urgent and the strings also change course becoming apprehensive, there is also a sound in the background that reminded me of BLOOD ON SATANS CLAW, this haunting and fearful cue establishes an atmosphere that is edgy and richly shadowy, but at the same time retains a mood that is tinged with a fragile but melancholy air. The music for BLOOD FEAST is probably not going to be everyone’s idea of a good score, but I liked it and loved the way in which the composer integrated Edvard Grieg’s wonderfully evil and mischievous sounding THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING from Pier Gynt, into one of the main cues, track number 9, THE FEAST. Synthetic or symphonic does not matter really, it is a score that is deliciously powerful and a work that oozes a sound that is affecting and disturbing. The score also includes a handful of songs, by artists such as, Chilli con Curtis and Nici Rox, the latter sounding very much like LORDE who have been doing well recently in the music charts. As I say maybe not for everyone, but check it out you never know you may just like it.
Not sure how to put this. But, you know when you have heard the work of a composer on a handful of projects and one thinks to yourself this is very good, and it can’t get better than this, can it? Then along comes one score and it just hits you as being superb, well this very thing happened this week when I heard the score for ALBION THE ENCHANTED STALLION by composer George Kallis. It is if you like a coming of age score for the composer or that is how I would describe it, because there seems to be a seasoned and more profound sound to this work for whatever reason. Although I must say his other film scores are all very good indeed. All I know is that it is an excellent work, that is filled to overflowing with a richness and vibrancy that is emotive and exciting. There is a delicate and fragile air to the score as well as a wonderfully melodic and inspiring sound that purveys not only a romantic aura but oozes dramatic content and relays an atmosphere and mood that is a delight for the ears. Symphonic sounds are combined with synthetic support and some stunning choral performances and solo Female voice that seems to be the heart of the score. It is a lush work that has within it a hint of the melancholy, but never seems to get to syrupy or sweet, it also possesses a lighter and more comedic side, which is expanded on and displayed openly in the crazy sounding SPLIT PERSONALITIES and raises its head at various points within further cues, WALL CREATURES AND A LITTLE GIRL, for example. There is an abundance of strong thematic material within the score, soaring strings, faraway sounding horns, subtle woodwind, and a scattering of piano and percussive elements all combine seamlessly to create a soundtrack that is just so entertaining and mesmerising. There are also featured solos from cello, violin etc, which just melt one’s emotions. The cue THE TWO TRIBES is a piece that displays a varied style with dramatic and emotive atmospheres combining intertwining and eventually fusing to work beautifully. It is also a score that right from the off one just knows that it is special, the vocal THE STRENGTH TO LIGHT OUR WAY is highly emotive, and although relatively short, certainly hits the spot straight away, every cue has within it something that will appeal to even the most finicky collectors, this is a contemporary score which has the heart and soul of what film music was all about back in the day. The entire soundtrack is a sheer delight and one which I have returned to numerous times already, please check this out, you too hopefully will be mesmerised, beguiled, and entranced by this magical, mystical, and hauntingly enchanting work.
Another wonderful release from Movie Score Media, and yet again it is a score that most probably would not have seen the light of day if it were not for this now renowned soundtrack label. The film is an interesting take on the Frankenstein story. Set in the squalid and eerie Victorian London of 1888, we see Jack the Ripper causing terror and mayhem stalking the streets of the fog shrouded Metropolis killing and dismembering the victims so that She can supply her Master Dr. Frankenstein with the vital organs and body parts for the unspeakable creation that he is hoping to bring to life. The attacks that Jack is carrying out become high profile and the authorities and the inhabitants of Whitechapel are becoming increasingly aware that it is Frankenstein who is behind them, thus Jack is sent to do one last dire deed and obtain one last but vital part that will give life to the creature. This is a somewhat perverse and twisted slant on Mary Shelley’s infamous tale and brings together some of the most iconic figures in Horror history in a fashion that has never been imagined before. Directed by Jonathan Martin who also was responsible for another recent short film KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, he is a multi-award winning film maker who gained much recognition for his work on the short film AN EVENING WITH MY COMATOSE MOTHER. 2016 has been a particularly busy year for Martin as he worked on both KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL and a handful of music videos which included MY ETERNITY, DEMONS, and GRAVITY. The musical score for CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is the work of composer Gerrit Wunder who also scored KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK which was released earlier this year by Movie Score Media. Like his previous score for director Martin, CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is a fusion of both symphonic and electronic styles, but saying this I am of the opinion that the symphonic approach and content definitely has the upper hand, the composer making effective use of strings and percussive elements throughout and fashioning a chilling and tense work that for me anyway evokes the sounds of both the Hammer horror classics and those marvellously atmospheric Universal filmic masterpieces with the now iconic monsters such as The Wolf man, Dracula and Frankenstein’s creature from the 1930,s and 1940,s. CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL I personally feel is more of a developed and structured score than KISS THE DEVIL IN THE DARK, there is more thematic material present and the composer seems to have created a far more robust and powerful sound and style for this particular assignment. There is a darkness present that is laced with hints of romanticism throughout, with the composer providing the film with some elegant and haunting moments some of which are performed on harpsichord and solo violin.
It is an accomplished and polished work that is an interesting listen and a pleasurable one too. The release opens with the swirling and highly tense cue CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL which is the opening theme for the film, the composer seems to have put everything into this piece, racing timpani, booming percussion, driving strings and fierce, intense sounding brass, which open the score wonderfully and prepare us for what is to follow. Track number two is an interesting piece, LONDON 1888 JACK THE RIPPER also has a kind of sweeping or swirling persona to it, strings again are the main stay instrumentation, with sporadic flourishes from harpsichord, and punctuation stabs being supplied by the brass section, there is also a brief appearance at the start of the cue of choir or at least breathy voices, which add a foreboding and chilling element to the composition. The composer also weaves an organ into the proceedings that is eventually overwhelmed by hissing and driving strings that end in a crescendo that is filled with apprehension and dread. The composer employs an almost classical approach within several of the cues, by this I mean the orchestration evokes the style of Bach or at times has hints that could be associated with Mozart, which cannot be a bad thing. The score for THE CREATURES OF WHITECHAPEL is superbly rich and darkly alluring, it also has some highly effective action led interludes which as I have already stated do at times have a certain affiliation with the style and sound that has become associated with the films of the Hammer studios and created by composers such as James Bernard, Don Banks, and their like. The work is also augmented and further supported by the use of choir which it self brings a sense of urgency and impending doom to the soundtrack. There is however a style and sound present that is fresh and original and the various styles when fused and combined all complement each other and work as one to go into the creation of a score that is excellently thematic but at the same time highly atmospheric and affecting. This is one to add to your collection. Do not miss this release.
Creatures of Whitechapel
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Creatures of Whitechapel (2016) [Short Film]
Screamworks Records Website
Creatures of Whitechapel
London 1888: Jack the Ripper
Bring Me a Heart
Dinner for Two
Streets of London / Capturing Mary
Sonata for Harpsichord
We Are Gods Now
All This for What?
Such a Beauty
93 DAYS is a 2016 Nigerian produced thriller/drama directed by filmmaker Steve Gukas, the movie tackles the difficult and also heroic events that surrounded the EBOLA epidemic in Nigeria and surrounding areas. The film which is dedicated to the Nigerian born physician Amevo Adadevoh who played a crucial and important part in the eradication of the deadly virus in his homeland and western Africa tells of the horror and heartbreak of the EBOLA virus and how it affects the lives of many and not just the people who have contracted it and their families. The movie stars Bimbo Akintola, Danny Glover and Bimbo Manuel.
“93 days the movie celebrates the act of doing what is right, selfless service and making a difference in the world.” Steve Gukas Director.
The musical score is the work of composer George Kallis who is known for his inventive and haunting music to films such as GAGARIN-FIRST IN SPACE and TV series such as HIGHLANDER, THE SOURCE and HEARTLESS. The score for 93 DAYS is a fusion of both symphonic and synthetic with the symphonic elements definitely having the Lion’s share of the work. Released on the ever industrious MOVIE SCORE MEDIA label 93 DAYS was recorded by a 65-piece orchestra, the style employed by composer Kallis ranges from a celestial almost serene sound to tense and apprehensive atmospheres which underline the drama and desperation of certain situations within the storyline. It also reflects the dedication and selflessness of the team of Doctors that acted quickly and without thought for themselves in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly Ebola virus within the Nigerian Capital Lagos. Kallis utilizes the string section to great effect and bolsters enhances and punctuates this with the use of subdued brass, woodwind, piano and percussive elements. The compact disc opens with SPEECH OF REMEMBERANCE which is the longest cue on the release running for just over six minutes, this is a emotive and somewhat proud piece but at the same time is filled with an air of melancholy, it has an almost opulent and lush aura about it which as the opening piece purveys a sense of hope, in many ways the style and sound we hear is not many miles away from the style of the late James Horner, strings combining with faraway sounding horns and choir at certain points, giving the composition a mood that is lonely but determined. Track number 2, THIS IS MY CITY, is a mix of electronic and symphonic where the composer puts to effective use percussion that acts as a background to layered and melodic strings which themselves are supporting and enhancing a wordless vocal performance by Nigerian born singer Onyi who is now based in The United States, although short lived the cue for me personally is one of the most affecting and memorable cues within the score as it seems to set the scene for all of what is to follow.
Track number 4, INTERNATIONAL REPORTS is a more intense and taught sounding piece, with strings again being the mainstay of the proceedings, acting as both background and central instrumentation to percussion, brass, woodwind and female voice. Track number 6, THE DISEASE IS SPREADING is a particularly poignant and haunting track, with female voice being underlined by emotive sounding strings and further embellished by subtle brass, percussion again is brought into the equation adding weight to both strings and brass elements, which continue to give support to the vocal performance. Track number 16, THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, for me is one of the score’s highlights is effectively a combination of the scores central or core thematic material, performed by the string section with light touches from piano and woods that introduce choir which although is just a fleeting appearance is wonderfully atmospheric. The final cue EVELYN is a beautiful and mesmerizing piece, with strings and choral elements being given a more emotive and affecting aura by the use of piano and finally by percussion which acts as an introduction and a background to a short but stunning. This is a score that should be savoured by any discerning soundtrack enthusiast.
Speech of Remembrance
This Is My City
The Beautiful Man
The Disease Is Spreading
Taken to the Ward
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
It’s been a long time since I went to a gathering or meeting of any type concerning film music, and it’s been even longer since I enjoyed it so much. Today September 24th 2016 I will remember for a long time, it was the first gathering of FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES organised by Tim Smith and James Fitzpatrick, guest composers in attendance were TREVOR JONES, MARK THOMAS, DEBBIE WISEMAN, CHRISTOPHER GUNNING and DANIEL PEMBERTON. All of whom were in a word wonderful, I loved the way that all of them were so relaxed and also so forthcoming with their thoughts and opinions about film music, scoring films and the art and craft of what they do. The last time I attended such a function must have been way back in the 1990, s when it was organised by either THE GOLDSMITH SOCIETY or John Williams of SILENTS AND SATELITTES and early editions of MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES fame. I Seem to recall a few of these SEMINARS as they were called being held at the BONNIGTON hotel in London, but that is by the way. Today’s event was well organised and it ran so smoothly at least that’s what I witnessed, the only hiccups being Tim Smith’s nerves I think, which is understandable when organising something like this, but he handled it very well and made everyone welcome.
It was also a time to put faces to Facebook (other social medias are available) conversations which was also really nice and it was something of a reunion for myself with fellow soundtrack collector Jerry Daley being there and of course talking with Trevor Jones and Chris Gunning after a break of more than a few years, Trevor remarked that is was the sessions for HIDEAWAY when we last saw each other in the flesh as it were.
Held at the renowned ANGEL recording studios in Upper Street Islington, this was an afternoon that I know many will be thinking of for a long while. Tim Smith took to the floor at around two o clock, and spoke to the gathered fifty or so attendees, briefly explained the fire drill then went on to introduce the host for the afternoon, the well know record producer and passionate film music fan James Fitzpatrick, many of us in attendance of course remember buying LP records off of James when he was behind the counter and managing the sadly missed 58 DEAN STREET RECORDS, and then he was one of the driving forces behind SILVA SCREEN initiating that labels foray into re-recordings of soundtracks which included the first release of music from Hammer films for example and renditions of themes from movies such as WITCHFINDER GENERAL, NIGHT OF THE DEMON, KISS OF THE VAMPIRE and full score reconstructions and re-recordings of soundtracks such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA,THE BIG COUNTRY etc. James is now the boss at TADLOW MUSIC producing so many exquisite re-recordings and releases of excellent film music and providing orchestras for composers on various projects.
His attention to detail and also achieving high quality recordings is second to none, and I believe he is a Master of his particular craft and a person who does not shout about his achievements as in blow his own trumpet (forgive the pun). James made a brief introduction, and also then introduced the guests for the afternoon, it was at this point we were treated to something of a sneak preview from an up and coming release on TADLOW, which is Miklos Rozsa’s classic soundtrack for THE THIEF OF BAHGDAD, which like all of TADLOW’S releases sounded magnificent, it was fantastic to hear the music and also see the orchestra conducted by Nic Raine perform.
After the cue had concluded James started things off with a question to the guests about if they thought film music composition was an art or a craft. Debbie Wiseman began the responses, followed by Mark Thomas, Trevor Jones and then Christopher Gunning and Daniel Pemberton, all explained their idea of composition being an art or craft very differently, but I thought basically they all more or less agreed that it was part art part craft, which then segued into discussing other topics that were related to being a composer of film music, this spontaneity by the guests who were happy to chat about almost anything without being prompted for me made the afternoon even more interesting and enjoyable. We learnt that Daniel Pemberton is working on another movie by Guy Ritchie which is a KING ARTHUR film, and also that when he feels he has got something right as in writing a particular cue does a little dance around his flat, which as Debbie Wiseman remarked is an image that will linger in her head for a while.
There were also questions from the audience, which were very interesting enquiries and also the responses from the assembled guest were too as interesting if not more so. It’s surprising that although they all work in the same field they all seem to have different approaches to the actual mechanics of writing the scores, some preferring the more classical and time honoured approach of manuscript and pencil others using the more technical options that are available, which then led to explanations from Trevor Jones about certain software that became available to the composer back in the late 80’s etc, which made it either easier or more of a headache for them to score films. He also spoke of the switch almost overnight from analogue too digital which gave him more than one headache in the studio.
We did have a short break for refreshments and this gave members of the audience a chance to chat amongst themselves and also with the composers, it was at this point the first raffle was held and the winners (not me, I was one away, but I am ok honestly) were given generous goodie bags of compact discs which were given freely by TADLOW, MOVIE SCORE MEDIA, CALDERA and SILVA SCREEN, there were also FANS OF MOVIE MUSIC mugs on sale a snip at £6.95 and then we had a second raffle for a poster advertising the event signed by all the guests.
More questions and answers followed and it became apparent that Christopher Gunning was shall we say a little tired of scoring films and TV as he had been writing what was is called by some “serious” music as in concertos and symphonies for concert hall performance, Christopher was relieved that he never had a deadline or a director and producer peering over his shoulder all the time, but then he said when writing his symphony at times he had wished he could phone up a particularly difficult director and ask him to come round and stand behind him and give him a hard time so he could actually write some music.
Debbie Wiseman and James Fitzpatrick.
Debbie Wiseman told us how she got into the business and how after working on a series such as FATHER BROWN that if a different director was brought in it would be them that had to adapt to her music simply because she had written so many established themes for that series and had been there since the offset. So that was a different perspective, as its normally the composer that has to adapt their music for anything that the director might want to do. All of the composers told stories of either directors or producers that were shall we say difficult, Christopher Gunning remembering to be asked to score POIROT but not include the established and award winning theme for the series, (which everyone knows and loves) Gunning told us that he tried to introduce the theme when he could at one point turning the music upside down.
Daniel Pemberton recalling the time he scored a documentary about Hiroshima, one of the greatest losses of human life in the 20th Century and when it got to the part in the film where the bomb had been dropped and there was utter desolation and destruction, the executives on the film telling him that his music was to down beat and sombre. Mark Thomas being asked to score a section of film with music like the music in the chariot race scene in BEN HUR, and then realising there is no music in that sequence, “So that was easy” he said. Time unfortunately was running out and we had to stop, but then we were allowed to ask the guests to sign CD covers etc. Which they did and gave their time generously stopping to talk to each and every person about the cover they had selected and their love of movie music, the signings were accompanied by some great music and images of orchestra performing at various TADLOW recording sessions.
Overall it was a great success, there were no awkward silences, no silly questions, it was just a good experience that had an easy going atmosphere with all of the composers being quite laid back and forthcoming with snippets of information and various stories of good, bad and ugly situations that they had encountered in their careers. (Chris Gunning was very open and frank) which was very amusing and interesting. I hope that this is an event that will be repeated and become an annual occurrence, we have to thank TIM SMITH who initiated this and also James Fitzpatrick who helped immensely in it coming to fruition, we also have to say a big thank you to all of the composers for their time and also their interest in the people who buy soundtracks and too all the FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES team for being there making the day go well, plus a big thank you to Phil Watkins for taking all of those great photographs, some of which I have with his permission used in this article. marks out of 10, I give it an 11.
Just one thing left to say ENCORE,,,,, Looking forward to FANS OF MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES 2.
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