Time again for another dive into to soundtrack releases old and new, and again it’s a bumper crop so I will keep things short sweet and to the point so that I can cover as many as is possible. Plus, now you can if you wish go onto the Spotify links provided to take a listen to certain cues from various scores. Some scores will get a fleeting mention and others a more expanded view, but please check out as many as possible because with reviews it is always a matter of personal taste and preference. Amongst this latest batch there are several releases by composers that maybe you are not familiar with, but it is always worth taking a listen as the new composers of today could well turn out to be the stars of film scoring in the not-too-distant future. Let’s begin with a new release but of a score from the 1970’s with Intrada’s impressive two-disc set of The Eiger Sanction, music by John Williams. I remember getting the original LP record which I think was on MCA and then later the CD release that was put out by Varese Sarabande, listening to this new edition of the score it has much-improved sound and seems to shine rather than have a dullness to it which as far as I remember was the case with previous releases of the soundtrack.
The LP sound quality being a little distorted in places. The opening theme straight away hooks the listener with its melodic but mysterious sounding theme being carried by the string section and punctuated and enhanced with harpsichord flourishes. For me this Williams theme has always reminded me of something that maybe Morricone might have penned during the same decade. In fact, the entire score does resemble something that the Italian Maestro might have written, with Williams combining dramatic, romantic, and mysterious colours with a lounge or easy listening sound to great effect. It was good to revisit the score and also all the extras that have been included. All in all, this two-disc set will be an interesting and valued addition to any Williams fans and to any film music collector. Get it while you can it will undoubtedly sell fast. Albert Glasser is probably one of the most underrated composers in the history of film music, he scored so many movies and was able to adapt his musical style to almost any genre.
There are many of his soundtracks on Spotify and the like, in the form of compilations a kind of best of if you like. Thankfully Kritzerland records issued a few of his scores onto compact disc, one being The Boy and the Pirates, which contains a rousing and typically Hollywood/Disney-esque sound when this type of movie was released during the 1960’s.
I suppose you could say it was a fusion of The Swiss Family Robinson, Devil Ship Pirates, and In Search of the Castaways.
The label has previously also released the composers scores to Invasion USA which is paired with his music for the movie Tormented, and his soundtrack for Earth vs the Spider, all four scores being filled with drama but also having to them a core that is melodic and memorable.
If you have missed these I urge you to take a listen, its quality film music.
The Match is a film that combines true events with drama and sport. Football being the sport in question and a game that was arranged by the Nazi’s in 1944 between an elite German team and a team made up of prisoners of war. A similar scenario to Escape from Victory, except this movie takes its subject matter a little more serious.
The film stars Franco Nero and is scored by Croatian composer Dalibor Grubačević, who has fashioned an emotive and affecting soundtrack, the score which is fully symphonic is a poignant yet dramatic, the composer utilising woods, strings and subtle percussive elements to create a work that is of a high quality.
There is a richness and haunting excellence within it that is hard to ignore, the composer weaving fragile and delicate themes into the fabric of his work whilst the central style and sound of the work is at times anthem like and inspiring. One to check out. Available on digital platforms and also from Plaza Mayor publishing. Recommended.
Continuing with a new release Nine Perfect Strangers is another interesting recent work from composer Marco Beltrami, and Miles Hankins. The TV series contains an elegant and haunting soundtrack, with the music becoming more and melodic and attractive as the work progresses. When I say attractive, I don’t just mean in a thematic or romantic fashion, but also in an upbeat way also, with the composers adding levels of drama and tension throughout dripping drops of tense and dramatic atmospheres in here and there. I think Beltrami and Hankins have written some really affecting, innovative, and infectious music for this project, it is a soundtrack that you simply must own. It’s on digital platforms.
The Night House has a score by composer Ben Lovett who on this occasion is credited as just Lovett, the film is one of the scarier movies around now and premiered at the Sundance film Festival in 2020, if you are a fan of movies such as It Follows and Hereditary, then this is the way to go. The music is as it should be, tingling and tense, but it also has to it thematic properties which although are fleeting and maybe only a backdrop to the unsettling material in the score, they are there and work well in the context of the movie. But being a horror/Thriller, the music was not written to entertain away from the images really, it is effective and at times engrossing and consuming. The composer underlining the uneasy plot and effectively adding depth and atmosphere to the story as it unfolds with a mix of symphonic and synthetic instrumentation, but certainly with the electronic having the upper hand. The music fully integrates with the film’s storyline and images, and it is the music that at times is scarier than the film. Take a listen if you dare and whilst there check out the composers riveting soundtrack for Synchronicity which was released in 2016 and is also on digital sites.
Flag Day is thriller directed by Sean Penn who also stars in the movie alongside Dylan Penn, it focuses upon a Father, who is living a double life as a counterfeiter, con man and bank robber to provide for his daughter. The music is by Joseph Vitarelli, and is an intimate and affecting work, the composer utilising solo performances on many occasions which include violin, piano, and guitar. It is a sensitive score that although subdued and subtle in its presentation, style and sound becomes an important part of the movie and a mesmerising and elegant soundtrack filled with delicate tone poems. The score also contains more dramatic material as in the cues The Robbery and Chase, but for the most part this is a pleasing and touching soundtrack. Well worth a listen. The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure game for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One. And that is basically all I know about it, the music however is more than interesting the composer Michael Allen has written a powerful and relentless score that is filled with grandiose and adventurous moments, at times becoming lush, lavish and epic it is a vibrant and robust sounding soundtrack, overflowing with grand themes, booming percussion and proud and driving brass and strings, you must go and check this out NOW.
Matthew Herbert’s score for the 2021 movie Port Authority is an atmospheric one, released by Movie Score Media and available on digital platforms, it is a soundtrack that I think is accomplished and inventive, the composer has realised his work via electronic means and creates a stylish and textured series of themes that are layered and mainly subtle in their style. It is a score that one can listen to and be totally mesmerised because it conveys a kind of hypnotic aura throughout. It will be a score that is maybe a n acquired taste but do take a listen.
Protégé is a 2021 thriller which stars Samuel L Jackson, Michael Keaton and Maggie Q, the movie directed by Martin Campbell is scored by Photek a British born record producer, Dj, and composer. Real name Rupert Parkes who works in drum and bass, deep house, and downtempo genres of music. He has provided this tense thriller with an even tenser and apprehensive soundtrack, again this is mainly realised via electronics but also contains some nice percussive moments and female solo voice performances that add depth and atmosphere to the proceedings. Its one that you might find interesting give it a spin.
Professor T is a series that seems to be attracting a fair amount of attention on British TV at the moment, and there have also been some positive things said about the music for the series which is encouraging, the score will be released later this month by Silva Screen records and is the work of Hannes De Maeyer who is one of Belgium’s most versatile composers, best known for his collaboration with director duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, recently listed among ‘Variety’s 10 Directors to watch’ with their third feature Gangsta (Patser).
His scores range from pure electronic to affecting and impressive symphonic soundtracks, as well as everything in between. His music for Professor T is superbly done, it underlines the action, elevates the storyline and is also attractive and enriching away from the images it was written for. The elegant and colourful music is one of the main attributes of the series, being thematic, and varied. Recommended.
Composer Kevin Kiner has always in my opinion produced great film scores and one of his more recent assignments is no exception. Star Wars-The Bad Batch vol 2 (episodes 9 to 16) is a brilliantly done set of scores, and Kiner pulls out all the stops to fashion a rousing and relentless work, filled with brass, percussion strings etc and supported by synths. It’s a release that one will listen to over and over, the music is just so appealing and has to it a pulsating and driving persona, there is darkness, light and hints of melancholy within the soundtrack, with fragments of John Williams original themes shining through from time to time. I think its one that collectors will be listening to over and over. Good stuff.
Alun Richards has crafted a serviceable score for State of Desperation, in fact it’s a clever and consuming work because it often relies upon being subtle and soft, but then out of nowhere we get hit full in the face by an eruption of sounds that startle and surprise. I think there is a handful of conventional instrumentation employed here and there but for most of its duration the score is performed via synthetic means. Not that this is any way a slight on the effectiveness or the quality of the music and musical sounds. Its one that you may like, check it out on Spotify etc.
One of the latest movies to be produced by Netflix is Sweet Girl, and it has a score by Award winning composer Steven Price, and I have to tell you the soundtrack is superb. The opening track alone sends shivers up your spine I’m a Part of You, is stirring stuff, with the composer creating a theme that builds and continues to become more vibrant and robust, this is film music for a contemporary movie but has to it that vintage movie theme appeal. It has everything, melancholy, emotion, poignancy, and high drama. Amazing score and movie. Please do not pass this one by and check out the movie and see how well the score works.
What you were expecting to be a nice quiet and romantic night in with your wife’s turns into a nightmare as police break into your home arrest your wife for murder and beat you to death, no its not the latest episode of Emmerdale, but the starting point of a video game entitled Twelve Minutes, the music for the game is by Neil Bones, and it has to it a sinister, macabre and Hermannesque style to it. There is a shadowy and dark musical entity present which at times although sounding threatening and foreboding can also have to it a melody or a thematic property. Video game music has come so far in recent year’s and this is a score that I would say is a contender for being mentioned in dispatches in the future. I found it appealing in a slightly unsettling way and will I know become a favourite for many.
Swiss composer and sound designer Jakob Eisenbach (Patient Zero, Temple of the Diamond Skull), in partnership with Truevr Systems, a world-leading developer of location-based virtual reality (LBVR) game experiences, releases the original soundtrack to Tikal: Night of the Blood Moon on August 19th. Now available at VR locations in North America and Europe, Tikal:Night of the Blood Moon is a full-body VR arcade experience utilizing motion capture, physical props and 4D effects to teleport players into an ancient Mayan temple where you and your team are dispatched to stop the awakening of evil in the shadow of the blood moon. Truevr’s most sophisticated experience to date and setting a new benchmark for the LBVR industry, Eisenbach’s original musical score was recorded with a full symphony orchestra and choir in Budapest, Hungary. It is lush and luxuriously thematic, grand, and opulent with action cues heard alongside sumptuous and lavish romantic compositions. This is one for you, no question.
Electronic Arts and Dice has announced that two-time Grammy Award, Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy, and BAFTA Award-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker, Chernobyl) alongside composer Sam Slater (score producer Joker, Chernobyl) will score the latest entry in the Battlefield franchise, Battlefield 2042. Worldwide digital release of the album will be via Lakeshore Records. Lakeshore Records and Invada Records will co-release the vinyl edition. More details in future Soundtrack Supplements.