Tag Archives: Soundtrack supplement extra.

SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT EXTRA.

Tyler Bates and Timothy Williams have scored the horror origin story Pearl, which shows us how Pearl became who she is and explains some of the iconic villain we saw in X. Trapped on her family’s isolated farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and overbearing watch of her devout mother. Lusting for a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl finds her ambitions, temptations, and repressions all colliding in this origin story.

There are a few snippets of the score being made available now on the likes of you tube, and a single release of the Main Titles on digital platforms. From what very little I have heard of the score it I think will be one to look forward to with the Main Titles certainly having a John Barry-esque style and sound, filled with romanticism and melancholy, which we all know is just there to lull into a false sense of security. Hopefully released very soon the full score will offer up more of the same plus cues of a dramatic nature.

The original movie X was also scored by Tyler Bates who collaborated with Chelsea Wolfe to bring to fruition one of the most disturbing scores I have listened to in a while. Set in 1979, adult movie actors and a small film crew arrive to a farmhouse occupied by an elderly couple in the desolate Texas countryside to film an adult movie. As the day shifts to night, the visitors slowly realize that they are not safe, and are being targeted by a nearby enemy.

Tyler Bates has I must say not been one of my favourite composers in the past, but this is an inventive work and is available on digital platforms. Pearl’s Lullaby is particularly haunting, with the composer evoking a kind of Morricone/Komeda sound, via a lilting melody and voices (think He and She meets Rosemary’s Baby).  

The Conversation is now available on digital platforms, composer Dalibor Grubacevic has fashioned an affecting and wonderfully supportive soundtrack for the movie, which is available on digital platforms and CD from Plaza Mayor.

The label will also release Marco Werba’s score for Daemon Mind soon, the composer providing a suitably atmospheric score which is performed by the Orchestra Italiana Del Cinema for this horror/thriller, which focuses upon a brilliant, but traumatized neuroscientist researching human consciousness. Experimenting with mental frequencies, she finds a way to free her inner Daemon which becomes her guide, adviser, and, ultimately, her accuser, as she embarks on a series of vengeful murders. Daemon Mind is a story which explores the boundaries and possibilities of human consciousness. It delves deep into the conflicted psyche of a young woman who is inspired equally by her need for revenge and her search for redemption. Movie Score Media have once again been busy, the Swedish specialist label has released three scores this month, Medieval by Philip Klein, Deus by John Koutselinis, and Wolf by Matthijs Kiemboom (the latter already reviewed here at MMI).

All threeare available now on digital platforms. Composer Koutselinis has written a very different sounding score for Deus than his last assignment which was for the western Hostile Territory, but the differences between these two works showcase this talented composer’s versatility and expertise in film scoring.

Hostile Territory being more melodic and epic with Deus displaying more soundscape elements, with experimental and harsher compositions, the composer making effective use of choral support in places. It is a score that remains entertaining and one that works well for the images and storyline on screen, creating highly atmospheric passages and purveying uneasy moods.

Medieval is also another effective soundtrack, composer Philip Klein too includes choral and solo vocal performances within his score right from the off, the soothing voices introducing the scores Main title theme, the music soon begins to build and become dominant above the choir, but then both choir and orchestra combine to purvey a rich and driving performance which is affecting and mesmerizing.

The remainder of Klein’s score is a delight, at times very subtle and sparce with the composer introducing solo performances, that are enhanced by choral work that is emotive and enthralling, however the composer maintains a grand and lush persona with the use of strings, percussion, and brass throughout. Both Deus and Medieval are recommended.

Composer Georg Mausolf is a new name for me, and a young one as he was born in 1997. His enchanting and wonderfully melodic score for the twelve-minute short Psykhe has been released on digital platforms in the form of a five track EP.  Released in 2020, the film focuses upon a small act of courage and kindness, as a young boy saves an injured butterfly.

The spirit of the ethereal creature “PSYKHE“, the Greek word for soul accompanies him throughout his life, through good times and bad, until his story comes full circle when his grandson finds a caterpillar. The music is gorgeous, beautiful, emotional, and poignant.

Georg Mausolf

And that is all I can say really, this is a charming film that contains a score that will reduce you to tears both within the film and when listened to away from it, just go and listen now.

George Kallis.

Another touching and emotionally charged score is for After Ever Happy music by the talent who is George Kallis. As with all this composers scores there is something for everyone here, lilting melodies that affect and haunt, delectable and consuming themes that are rich and beguiling, and subtly upbeat pieces that are entertaining and interesting. The full and rich thematic properties are stunning and the way in which the music flows and is orchestrated just proves how much of a talent Kallis is, Highly, recommended, its on the likes of Spotify etc. 

Burning Land is directed by Lirin Shitrit, and tells the story of Yair, a teenage runaway who is running from the police and finds himself in the contested Samaria region of Palestine. There he bonds with a group of boys who live on a remote hill and in effect become his family while at the same time drag him into a conflict with their Arab neighbours. The musical score is the work of Omri Lahav, an Israeli composer, songwriter and instrumentalist who says that he creates music with the approach of a storyteller – blending a lush, melody-driven style with a strong sensibility for story and world-building. Educated in Western classical music and a self-taught folk artist, Omri’s passion for folklore and music from around the world allows him to bring some truly unique colours to every piece of music. His ability to write in a broad variety of genres, combining craftsmanship and technology with a profound love for modern orchestral repertoire make Lahav a versatile and effective composer.

Omri Lahav,

The score for Burning Land is a sensitive and dramatic mix of styles, with the composer producing tender and emotive pieces throughout, without his score the film I think would be less impacting, again available digitally, please check this one out.

Lifemark, is a true story about an 18-year-old boy David who was adopted. Now that he is an adult, his birth mother wants to meet him. After some consideration, he agrees, and has a life-changing meeting with her. It’s a faith-based movie, which I know is not everyone’s taste, but please if you get a chance go and see it, the score is as affecting as the film, with the composer Kyle Mc Cuiston (who is also a filmmaker) providing the movie with a suitably melancholy and heartfelt soundtrack.

The composer relying on piano, and strings to create slight but at the same time imposing compositions, which at key moments surge becoming powerful and affecting. Worth a listen as is his score for Show me the Father which has to it a kind of early James Newton Howard sound to it.

Onze Natuur, De Film (Our Nature, The Movie) is an ambitious nature documentary about Belgian wildlife, full of wonderful stories about both well-known and little-known animals that amaze people and increase their love and respect for creatures of the natural world. As with any documentary the music does much to elevate and punctuate the scenes on screen, and because there is no dialogue as we know it only narration then the music does have to be that little more expressive.

The score for Onze Natuur is the work of esteemed composer and conductor Dirk Brossé, who has written a score that is simply outstanding. It’s a score that encompasses so many styles and includes numerous sounds that are delightfully entertaining and not just as music for film but as music to sit and listen to without watching the images that it was written to underline. I think this is one of the best scores to be released thus far into 2022, its mischievous, melancholy, dramatic and emotionally charged.

And is a score that you as a film music fan should own. It runs for well over an hour and is a enchanting and entertaining listening experience, fully symphonic and performed by the excellent Brussels Philharmonic orchestra, recommended yes most certainly. That’s it for this little extra supplement hope it’s been helpful… till the next time.

SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT EXTRA.

Walt Disney Records has released the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from Rise, which features a multi textured and emotionally stirring score composed by Re Olunuga. The movie RISE is based on the compelling and uplifting real-life story about the remarkable family that gave the world the first trio of brothers to become NBA champions in the history of the league.  Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Laker’s Kostas Antetokounmpo, along with their younger brother Alex. The film premieres on Disney + on June 24th, 

Ré Olunuga is a Nigerian composer who experiments with orchestral and synthetic sounds to create multi layered and enticing musical pieces. His unique approach to orchestration and in the way he tackles scoring movies and TV projects is refreshing to say the least. The composer has in a very short space of time established himself as a composer that is inventive and highly original. The composer not only writes for cinema and TV but has also collaborated with several artists to release various commercial recordings. His music for film not only supports and underlines the emotions and actions on screen, but acts as an extension to the storyline, creating an ambience and atmosphere that at times can be looked upon as being an unseen actor within the various scenes he has scored.

The soundtrack for Rise is a rich and colourful one, that contains beautifully crafted melodies and at times complex and dramatic interludes. His music within the movie is I suppose the punctuation to the events unfolding on screen and adds a deeper and more emotional ambience to the proceedings. It is a score that contains so many emotional levels and is also a rewarding listen away from the movie it was written for.

The music having to it a traditional symphonic sound which is fused with a handful of more non-conventional musical sounds and styles.  It is a wonderfully melodic work that you should check out, available on digital platforms now. The composer also worked on the BBC movie Girl this year, and the intimate score will hopefully be available to hear soon.

Staying with Disney + and to a score that I enjoyed so much Ms Marvel, which is the work of composer Laura Karpman, in which she fuses the more traditional sounds of Hollywood superheroes as we know them with a Bollywood or Bhangra sound. The composer combining rich thematic material with fast relentless action cues with Indian beats and rhythms. An odd combination you may think but it works and works incredibly well too. It’s a score I think you will all love and return to many times after your initial listen. There is just so much crammed into this score its hard to take it all in on the first few listens, and this is just Vol 1, above all it is entertaining and not only performs well within the series and seems to develop and grow even more as the series progresses.

The three-note motif that acts like a fanfare throughout becoming familiar and anthem like and a trio of notes that accompany and herald the appearance of Ms Marvel. This is a compulsive and entertaining listen as just music and is just as affecting away from the images it was composed to enhance and support. Well worth checking out. The series began its six-episode run on June 8th, on Disney +. The series central character Kamala Khan is a superhero fan with a runaway imagination, particularly when it comes to the likes of Captain Marvel. Kamala feels that she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even feels out of place at home, that is until she gets superpowers like all the heroes she has looked up to.

Becoming Elizabeth, Season 1, US, Key Art, ELI1_104_030621_0014 & GettyImages-1019765220 Smoke

Starz, new series Becoming Elizabeth, begins when King Henry VIII has died leaving England to pass into the hands of his son, Edward (Oliver Zetterstrom). As Edward learns how to rule a country, he is torn by his older sister Mary’s (Romola Garai) desire to keep her Catholic faith. Trapped in the middle is the teenage Elizabeth (Alicia von Rittberg), sister to them both and, as history tells us, the future Queen of England. Its an interesting take on the way in which Elizabeth grew from a young girl into a powerful and feared Monarch.

The music is a little different from what one might expect for a period drama, and at times has to it a contemporary and upbeat style, the score is the work of composer Tim Phillips, who has also recently written the music for another TV series entitled Shining Vale which is just as inventive and innovative as Becoming Elizabeth, the score for Becoming Elizabeth is one that keeps one interested, I found myself thinking what is the composer going to serve up in the next cue, it is a score that is filled with interesting surprises stylistically, and also one that I think film music fans will be tantalised by. Check out both Becoming Elizabeth and Shining Vale on digital platforms.

To the big screen now and to Mark Korven’s highly atmospheric and slightly disturbing score for The Black Phone. Korven of course has a great track record when it comes to music for sinister and chilling movies, just take a listen to his excellent soundtrack for The Witch and you will understand what I mean. The Black Phone is in my opinion on a par with The Witch, in fact its even more jumpy and unsettling with various uneasy sounds and unnerving passages of music and sounds that combine to create an atmosphere that is highly charged and totally affecting.

I won’t say to you this is a great listen away from the movie because its music for a horror movie which does what it is supposed to and makes that movie even more edgy and effective. So, no it’s not a great listen but it’s a great score and when you do listen to it away from the images it still remains disturbing. Available on digital platforms.

Eleusis, is a short horror movie from 2021, which was directed by Andzej Gavriss, it contains an impressive score witch is the work of composer Phar (Raphaël Dargent). The soundtrack utilises effective use of voices as in collectively or as solo performances, the Soprana performance by Baraka May is particularly compelling and haunting throughout with the composer adding depth and support to these via strings and bringing into the equation various percussive elements and sounds that successfully fashion an otherworldly aura.

The films storyline focuses upon a musician who is experiencing a deep state of a creative and is signed to a rehab program at the highly protected, isolated sanatorium that promises a lifetime warranty for endless inspiration.

A bourgeois setting with welcoming stuff slowly creeps into a violent cult that tortures artists in the name of inspiration. With the musician’s greatest hit becoming his darkest nightmare. The score works on so many levels and has to it at times a spiritual and celestial persona, available on digital platforms from Movie Score Media. Also now available on digital platforms are the composers scores for Team Maryland, and Winter of 79. Recommended.

SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT EXTRA.

As always after posting the most recent soundtrack supplement up pops a few more releases that are worthy of a mention.

The same day that Cecilia and Une meet Leo for the first time, a corpse appears on the beach in Skutebukta. Who is he and what did he do in Skutebukta, and what does he have to do with Cecilia’s mother’s death the year before? Together, the three young people begin to unravel the threads of what will prove to be the CLUE gang’s very first mystery. This is the beginning and ongoing storyline of the movie Clue:Maltesergaten, which is an intriguing and entertaining movie from Norway that contains a brooding and at the same time wonderfully lyrical score by composer, Henrik Skram. It’s one of those scores that one accidently comes across and once you begin to listen its very difficult to stop. Why? Well because it is just so good. This is a score that offers up everything in the way of styles and sounds, it is quite rich and lush at times, but also contains levels of fragility and conveys a deep sense of apprehension and foreboding. The sweeping strings are straight away alluring and the composers at times windswept melodies also attractive and entertaining. One for the collection most certainly.

 Tre Notter Til Askepott aka- Three Wishes for Cinderella, or Three Nuts for Cinderella is a charming tale, and has a rousing, romantic and luscious sounding score by composer Guate Storaas. This is a composer I always look out for as he consistently creates such brilliantly thematic material, which is invariably grandiose and symphonic. Within this work there several heartfelt themes that are not only attractive and mesmerizing, but literally ooze melodious splendour. A fairy tale, filled with drama, romance, mystery, and magic, what more could one want. And a score too that is rich in incredible themes, that convey a sense of adventure and romanticism. highly recommended.

The documentary is now a genre of movie that one should really take notice of when thinking of film music because documentaries are films, and they have music and many of them have scores that are deserving of more recognition and in many cases even Oscars. Movie Score Media have released a handful of scores from documentaries and one of their latest releases is Tale of Sleeping Giants, which is the third documentary score by talented composer Panu Aaltio that the label has issued, this is a superb score, there are no words really for the feelings and the emotions that it kindles within when listening to it, the composer fashioning, creating and realising a soundtrack that is simply awash with affecting and highly emotional themes, this is a score that you will listen to and straight away return to the beginning to start all over again, and again.

Symphonic, choral, and electronic support combine to bring to fruition a work that is impeccable. Every cue is affecting and charming with each track shining and tantalising, there are passages filled with a comedic style, drama, melancholy, and a rawness at times. It is grand, and sweeping intimate and ingratiating, it is just superb, touching, excellent, and welcomed in every way thank you Maestro Aaltio for this treasure trove of music and thank you Movie Score Media for yet another outstanding release.

West Side Story is an iconic musical, and a classic movie, so when I heard it was being re-made, I was filled with horror, and then when I heard Spielberg was too direct I still kind of thought oh no. I remembered what Clint Eastwood did with the Jersey Boys, and that too I thought was a disaster. Well, it’s now out and the critics thus far love it, but the soundtrack which I was listening to for the past few days is something of a mixture of good, bad and not so sure of performances, but I suppose we have to put the original movie and its soundtrack out of our heads and focus on the here and the now. On first listening to the new version, I thought that it sounded like a rather amateur production, you know the kind of thing the Old Village players do West Side Story, the performances were for me anyway rather lack lustre and had no depth or even any real emotion to them. However, on listening for the second, third, fourth and fifth times I started to finally warm to the performances, (but I am person remember who must have watched the original movie at least sixty times now) and I would still go back to the original every time for every single song, the orchestral score too I felt lacked the power of the original movie, so for me it’s no thanks, I’ll stick to the original. The new soundtrack is available on digital platforms, and I think for me that’s where it will stay.

Nightmare Alley is one of the latest scores of Nathan Johnson to be made available on digital platforms, I am sure we all remember the composers atmospheric and mischievous score for the movie Knives Out in 2019, and this is a soundtrack that has a similar but not identical vibe and style. There is darkness and drama but amongst it there is also that cheeky rather impish sounding undercurrent running through it.

I will say I enjoyed Knives Out immensely and thought at the time where is the composer going next because this is so good. Well with Nightmare Alley he has answered my question by creating a score that is at times delicate, but also richly shadowy, foreboding, and apprehensive, it’s a soundtrack that I believe will become a favourite for film music fans, there is a kind of silver age sound to it, evoking the likes of Goldsmith and even Bernstein in places, but it also has an inventive and original ring to it.

The movie is directed by Guillermo de Toro, its dark subject matter benefitting from Johnson’s melodic but mysterious sounding score. An entertaining listen and one that MMI recommends you experience.

Composer Christopher Lennertz returns to score season three of the Netflix re-boot of Lost in Space, and once again provides the series with some stunning music, the composer enlisting the assistance of Alexander Bornstein on a handful of the cues, it is like the first two seasons a varied and entertaining musical package that Lennertz has fashioned, which contains lyrical and lush interludes that at times erupt into full on and powerful action cues, the composer also providing rich and colourful pieces that are highly emotive, it’s a wonderfully thematic work, certainly varied and inspired, and well worth a listen, available now on digital platforms. Recommended.

Tom Howe is a composer that I think is just brilliant, he can turn his hand to every type of genre, and excels in creating music that is supportive and expressive, but it also has an appeal away from the movies that it was written for, Shaun the Sheep:The Flight before Christmas, is no exception, and I think at times it is the musical score that makes this little family affair of a film even more entertaining and hilarious. The composer underlining the various situations with musical comms and full stops effectively.

The BBC will be screening this over the Christmas period, so keep an eye out for it and whilst being entertained by the antics of Shaun and his friends listen to the score and fully appreciate the composer’s great talent and versatility this is a score that contains so many styles and manages to entertain on many levels. Available on digital platforms.

In the 1970’s there were several TV shows that one tried not to miss, and some that you avoided, The Waltons was a series that you kind of loved but would never admit that to your friends because it was not really that cool, a bit like Little House on the Prairie. Well, this year you get a chance to revisit the Walton family because The Waltons – Homecoming, has already started to stream for your delectation. The made for TV film even stars Richard Thomas, but not as John Boy I guess the years have caught up with him and the character of John Boy is portrayed by Logan Shroyer, other roles are taken on by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davies Junior, yes the same Marilyn and Billie that had a handful of hits in the 1970’s. John Boy and his family prepare for John Sr’s homecoming to spend Christmas together, but after a storm gets in the way, John Boy has to find his father and the journey through it will change his life forever. So, as you can see nothing changes and things are not always straight forward for this family. The original theme from the 1970’s was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it is probably one of the most familiar TV themes of all time. Composers Tena Clark and Tim Heintz do make use of Goldsmith’s theme or at least elements of it within their score for the movie. But we don’t get a full-on rendition, instead they very subtly incorporate it into the fabric of the score, so we hear out of nowhere the familiar six notes that we remember as being The Waltons theme.

The score itself is quite low key and delicate, and at times I was reminded somewhat of the style that composer James Newton Howard employed on the movie The Man in The Moon back in 1991. This is an emotional sounding work, with strings, guitar, woods, and piano creating wistful and touching melodies, with these being supported by effective use of subdued brass. A magical score that radiates a feel-good aura. One for the collection. Available on digital platforms.

And so, to another vintage TV series that has been brought back to life, but this time set in rural England. All Creatures Great and Small, was another series that was extremely popular in the UK during the 1970’s, and first aired in 1974. It told the story of the day-to-day life of a country vet James Herriot. Music for the original series was the work of composer Johnny Pearson, well the theme was at least. I think the series scores were the work of several composers but don’t quote me on that, the theme that Pearson penned even managed to get into the British singles charts, but there again back in those days the charts were so much more varied and entertaining than now.

The new series of All Creatures Great and Small has a delightfully charming soundtrack provided by composer Alexandra Harwood, who wrote a just as entertaining and supportive score for the movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society back in 2018. She is a gifted composer and has a knack of writing delightfully melodic themes that also work so well with the images and enhance and elevate scenarios in films and TV series. This is a release that you should check out, issued by Silva Screen in the UK and available on digital platforms now. Enjoy.   

June Again is described as an emotionally devastating drama, where we see June Wilton having a brief period of lucidity from her dementia. When she realises that she has so little time to bring back together her estranged children and save the family business as well as rekindling an old flame.

The movie is a poignant and sensitive piece of cinema, the musical score is the work of Christopher Gordon, who is a composer who deserves to be working on so many more movies, he has created a beautiful score for the film, and one that works so well with the unfolding storyline and the introduction of various characters. It’s a very brief score and runs for just over twenty-one minutes, but has some affecting moments, with the composer utilising solo piano, violin, and strings. Another one for your collection when it is released.  

Another score to watch out for is Benadette by Anne Dudley which is not released as yet, but it is said that there will be a compact disc and a digital release. Which is also publicised on the composer’s web site. The movie directed by Paul Verhoeven, I am sure will raise a few eyebrows, set in 17th-century Tuscany, Italy where the threat of the Plague casts its shadow over Europe, a devout eight-year-old novice, Benedetta Carlini, is brought into the Theatine Convent of the Mother of God in Pescia as a bride for Jesus. When she is twenty-six a test of faith awaits deeply pious Benedetta in the form of Bartolomea: a young girl who enters the convent to escape the beating and abuse of her Father. It’s a typical Verhoeven film, filled with irreverent, and scandalous happenings and overflowing with, violence, sex and shocking scenarios. One to watch out for.   

SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT EXTRA.

Mention the name John Barry and straight away you think classic, iconic, dramatic, classy, thematic, melodic, and lush. There is just something about this composer’s music that is alluring and haunting. His score for the movie The Tamarind Seed is no exception, and Silva Screen in the UK will release the CD of the soundtrack on November 19th 2021. It is one of the composers most affecting scores from this period in his career but at the same time is probably one of his lesser-known works as well. The movie, which was released in 1974 starred Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif and was directed by Blake Edwards. It was a surprise to many that Henry Mancini was not the composer assigned as he and Edwards had worked together successfully several times. Barry fashioned an effective and highly emotive soundtrack for the movie utilizing his unmistakable sultry and sensual strings associated with his eloquent style these convey a romantic and poignant theme that re-emerges throughout the score in various arrangements. This work along with scores such as Somewhere in Time, Peggy Sue Got Married, Out of Africa, My Life and Raise the Titanic are filled with that unmistakable Barry air, and just ooze a sophistication possessing an attractive and appealing musical persona which leans more towards romanticism and mystery in this case. The score also contained cues that were not far away from the music Barry had penned for the various Bond movies he had worked on, with some tracks being tense and driving for me it evoked certain themes in Diamonds are Forever, where the composer created a tense atmosphere but also at the same time fashioned rich themes.

So many delicate nuances, breathy and emotive passages, and fragile sounding interludes are included, which are not only highly effective within the context of the movie and its unfolding storyline but also at times transfix any listener. This is certainly a welcome release and I know many Barry fans will be incredibly pleased, even though it was not really a high-profile score or movie it has many qualities. Reber Clark is a composer who is so underused he works mainly on low budget movies, and scores radio plays for the H P Lovecraft Historical Society.

His latest score is for that societies production of The Horror in the Museum, and it is in a word excellent. Think, Jerry Goldsmith, James Bernard, Bernard Herrmann, and Danny Elfman and that’s what you have here, a totally absorbing and inventive work that is overflowing with rich atmospheres and uneasy moods that can be icy, unnerving, foreboding and slightly quirky. But there is also an abundance of thematic material present that is not just effective but entertaining. It is I suppose an excellent example of vintage styles meeting contemporary sounds, and the mix works wonderfully.

The score can be found on Bandcamp along with a lot more of the composers scores for Film and radio, whilst your there check them all out you, House of the Gorgon for example which trust me is superb, you will be amazed at the quality of the music and the composer’s talent and his overwhelming ability to fashion such memorable and haunting music. And once you take a listen you will want to hear more and more, Highly, recommended.

It will not be long before the nights begin to get darker in fact they are already, and the phrase that we dread Trick or Treat will once again be uppermost in the minds of children of all ages. Halloween will be upon us, time to close the blinds turn out the lights and pretend we are not at home, and consume vast amounts of candy (Oh, you do it too). With Halloween comes a literal landslide of horror movies on the TV and in cinemas and being streamed online, in fact its hard sometimes to find anything else to watch apart from a horror movie and that is on a normal day. Howlin Wolf records is a label that I love, they champion new composers, with obscure titles adorning their catalogue, which for me is heaven as I like to be surprised by new talents and inventive scores and when you look at the Howlin Wolf catalogue its certainly not lacking any of these.

They are now showing the art-work for two atmospheric scores at the start of their website, both are the work of Randin Graves the first is They Live Inside Us, and the other is a collaboration with a gentleman who calls himself Slasher Dave for the movie The Witching Season. Both are interesting and entertaining works if a horror score can be deemed entertaining that is? Creepy and sinister is the order of the day with both works containing a style that is not that dissimilar to that of Alan Howarth, John Carpenter, and reminded me slightly of the style employed by director/composer Harry Bromley Davenport when he scored the 1982 sci-fi, horror Xtro. Synthetic but structured and above all supportive and effective. Being horror scores there are very few of what we would refer to as themes, but the composer does at times deploy a series of notes which he repeats, thus the music or musical sounds become haunting and because of the simplicity of the music it becomes unnerving and uncomfortable. Both scores are well worth checking out, you can order right now Howlin’ Wolf Records (howlinwolfrecords.com).  

It’s funny at Halloween we all seem to sit down and watch Horror because its October 31st, like at Christmas in the UK we watch two festive favourites, The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music? Halloween is a time for the gruesome, the gory and the scary and its’ at this time of year we turn to the likes of those Gothic Hammer films classics, Ghost stories, American International Edgar Allan Poe movies and if you are not a scaredy cat maybe things such as The Exorcist and if you don’t really care maybe some Abbot and Costello in those old black and white Universal comedy horrors. And let us not forget films such as The Lost Boys, Monster Squad, The Lady in White, Witchfinder General, Blood on Satan’s Claw, and Curse of the Crimson Altar. Just a handful of examples which can be deemed appropriate or inappropriate film fare for All Hallows Eve. If you are not keen an any of these you can always turn the news on, now that is scary, especially the guy with the tatty haircut spouting endless nonsensical chants and pretending to know what he is doing.

The Omen series I think is a collection of films that many still consider to be at the top of the horror genre chart and also the scores by Jerry Goldsmith in my opinion never age or sound cliched, out of the trilogy I have to say I liked The Final Conflict best, but more for the score than the movie, Goldsmith created an epic work for this the last in the trilogy where we see Damien grown to adulthood and being portrayed convincingly by actor Sam Neil.The Final Conflict, is an affecting soundtrack and not only because it is dark, foreboding and malevolent, but also because it has moments that were far more grandiose than the first two movies with the music leaning more towards a religious and spiritual sound. The end scene where Damien dies has a stunning and triumphant musical accompaniment. With Goldsmith employing, choir, brass, strings, and percussion which could easily be the work of Miklos Rozsa in any number of Biblical slanted epics from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Check it out on digital platforms, in fact all three Omen scores are available there.

Lalo Schifrin’s rejected score from The Exorcist is also a good soundtrack to turn to when celebrating Halloween, it is a modernistic quite Avant Garde sounding work, filled with a harsh and evil sound, apart from a quite easy going theme that pops up here and there, the movies director William Friedkin was said to have thrown the music tapes out of a window after audiences were sent packing on seeing the trailer for the movie with a music track by Schifrin underscoring it, Warner Brothers put a lot of stock in reactions from audiences when a trailer was shown, and it was deemed that is was the music that was too scary (but that was the idea surely). Friedkin, replaced the composers original score with tracks from classical composers and a short excerpt from Tubular Bells by British artist Mike Oldfield, with that piece of music now being forever associated with the film. For me, the Schifrin score is iconic because it is so effective and because it was rejected for doing what it was supposed to do. When the rejected work was issued finally on to a recording, it became apparent to many that this was an innovative, and complex, soundtrack and maybe the film’s director and the Warner Brothers studio did not understand fully how this wonderfully atmospheric and virulent sounding score would have made the already powerful film even more impacting. When, listening to it as just music it does have the ability to make one feel uneasy and unsettled. Much of the music was adapted by the composer and re-used in the later horror film The Amityville Horror, another classic.

At Halloween let us also not forget the Italian horror movie, Cinecitta has produced so many fine horror tales over the years and it was the Italian horror genre that made Barbara Steele a star. The horror movie has always been a popular genre for Italian filmmakers, and the movies contained musical scores that have over time also grown to become appreciated by collectors of soundtracks and film buffs alike. Bruno Nicolai is a composer who worked on a handful of Horrors, the most notable scores being Throne of Fire and Il Conte Dracula which he scored for Jess Franco, composers such as Carlo Rustichelli, Ennio Morricone and Fabio Frizzi have all made worthy contributions to the genre, with Frizzi I think making the genre all his own when working on films such as, City of the Living Dead, Zombie Flesh Eaters and The Beyond.

So, there is plenty musically to keep you occupied on Halloween, and if all else fails don’t forget the GDI Hammer film score series and the excellent Music from Hammer Films re-recording on Silva Screen.

Just do not answer the door, or if you get a call with someone asking, “What’s your favourite scary movie”, hang up because that’s not Sky doing market research guys.

Back to normality now, (well almost), because movies are not normal, are they? They are mostly about escapism, and fantasy allowing us to get away from the everyday world and for two hours or so going to another world, another life, to exotic locations, romantic and dangerous scenarios etc. Works for me. Cinemas are now returning to what is near normal after a harrowing and restricting two years, and with movies still available to stream it seems that the audiences are returning, which is a good thing.

The more movies that they release the more film scores we will get to hear, not all are worth listening to, but we are getting a few which are fresh and vibrant now. I have noticed that the drone like electronic noise score is taking pole position in recent months. So many new scores do not have melodies or even hints of them and the main titles have all but disappeared. So, I ask is the ART of film music as many of us seasoned collectors know it, becoming outdated or overtaken and suffocated by a plethora of clinical and unmusical synthetics? Time will tell I suppose. I will be honest and tell you I struggle to review some scores, why? Because they are un-listenable, that’s the only thing I can say, this is why in many of the soundtrack supplements I go back to past scores, to maybe inform collectors who have not heard them. I think I would rather review a past soundtrack by a composer who is no longer with us than most of the material that is being issued now. I am most probably going to be getting e mails for saying that! but I am sure there are those who agree. I am thankful for the Varese Sarabande club releases, and recently the Quartet releases of vintage Italian soundtracks, La La Land records too have released classics in the past two years as have Intrada.

And let us not forget Kronos with their Gold Series. Movie Score Media I applaud because they release new material, but it is a more traditional style of film music, there are a few exceptions, but it’s a label that I think would be sorely missed if it were not around. 

Until the next time

farewell.

SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT EXTRA.

Imagine a place that is untouched, untamed, unforgiving, and vast where some of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles take place daily. The Arctic National Wildlife refuge is situated in the north-east corner of the American State of Alaska and is said to be the wildest place left in North America. A symbol of wilderness and unspoilt land for the world to gaze at in astonishment. No one has truly ever seen it and never witnessed the miracles of nature that take place there. The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness will feature the first-ever cinematic account of this little-known place where people can experience a world untouched by time and unpolluted by man. This is a riveting documentary that is filled with wonderous sights and events that are rarely seen or spoken of.

Alex Heffes

The music for the film is by composer Alex Heffes and it is a richly thematic and haunting work, that not only supports the incredible photography and the many events that the cameramen and women have captured but also acts as an enriching and vital element of the film making process. Heffes is probably one of the most talented composers working in film and TV at this moment in time and he is easily able to adapt and tailor his musical style to each and every genre of movie that he works on.

Born in 1971 in Beaconsfield Buckinghamshire England, the composer has written numerous film scores and applied his talent to scoring just as many TV productions including several documentaries. His score for The Artic: Our Last Great Wilderness is available from Lakeshore records and is currently streaming on several digital platforms. It is a emotive and affecting work and perfectly enhances the film and its many scenarios. The composer utilising booth electronic and symphonic to create a soundtrack that is mesmerizing and wonderfully melodic.

From a documentary to a horror move Malignant, which has a extremely atmospheric score by Joseph Bishara, now I have always thought that this is a composer who is at times underrated, many saying he has been labelled as a composer of horror scores, but if this is the case, then he is one of the most accomplished composers within the horror score fraternity of Maestro.s. This recent work from him I think is one that has many attributes, it has imaginative and inventive orchestration and also there is a greater and more affecting musical persona to this than some of his other work for film such as The Conjuring etc. Malignant is a vibrant and innovative soundtrack, and one that at times does dip into a Herrmanesque style, with dark shadowy strings rising from the depths, but all the time we still hear the originality of Bishara, shining through. Icy and sinewy strings, dark and foreboding piano, percussive elements, and voice all are put into the mix, but even though at times the music is uneasy and unsettling it still has to it a thematic style. It is a score that is worth listening to and available on digital platforms. 

Directed by Eskil Vogt, The Innocents is a drama, horror, and thriller which focuses upon a bright Nordic Summer, and a group of children who when adults are not around reveal their mysterious and dark powers. Turning playtime into something that is sinister and foreboding. Music is courtesy of Pessi Levanto who has fashioned an affecting and unsettling musical score for the movie, The soundtrack is available from Movie Score Media and also on digital platforms. A subtle but effective work, that is in no way grandiose or rich in thematic properties, but nevertheless is an interesting score, I recommend that you take a listen.

A while ago I heard a preview of Hans Zimmer’s score for Dune, a much-anticipated soundtrack. I did think that the cue that was released to give us a taster Pauls Dream was quite interesting, but the first of what looks like to be a handful of soundtrack releases has hit digital platforms this weekend, and I can only say, well what can I say, ok, lets be diplomatic here shall we, its ummm, disappointing to say the least, where does Zimmer get his ideas its just so off the wall, its not music its sounds for the majority of the running time, but lets not forget that this is The Dune Sketchbook, whatever that means and if I missed something please do tell me. So, it’s one I won’t be adding to my collection any time soon, I have given this composer so many chances and nearly every time I have been disappointed. So maybe lets just move on from the so-called saviour of film music (according to his fans-who have probably never heard of Korngold, Steiner, or Newman) to something that has melodies, vibrant compositions and beautiful tone poems.

Cinderella, the Amazon Original Movie, which has music yes real music by Mychael Danna and Jessica Weiss and what sweet music it is as well, it has enchanting themes and romantic sounding interludes that are fitting for a tale filled with magic and emotion. This is a sparkling collection of dramatic, romantic, and poignant compositions which are interspersed with upbeat and entertaining pieces, and one that I listened too three times because I enjoyed it so much.

Ok, the music can be a little on the syrupy side at times filled with melancholy and heart-bursting emotive themes, but that’s what it’s all about isn’t it, a fairy tale given a reboot with a score that enhances and perfectly underlines and punctuates the storyline, with its ingratiating and touching style and sound. Go listen its wonderous and whilst there check out Danna’s contributions to the movie Onwards which is another great listen.

What if-Doctor Strange Lost His Heart not his Hands? has been released and is part four of this already popular series, music again is from Laura Karpman and is once again filled with energy and a vibrancy that is totally infectious and consuming, please do check it out, there will be a few more of these soundtracks coming from September through till October, so keep a look out on digital platforms and here on MMI for news. 

Based on the ground-breaking best-selling book by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020) follows Miranda played by Katie Holmes, who is a young widow trying to make ends meet while raising her three children and dating her boyfriend (Jerry O’Connell). A devastating storm brings an enormous challenge and a mysterious man, Bray portrayed by Josh Lucas, into Miranda’s life. Bray reignites the family’s spirit but, unbeknown to Miranda, also holds an important secret – one that will ultimately change everything. With its timeless messages of hope, compassion, and gratitude, The Secret: Dare to Dream is an inspiring and heart-warming film that shows how positive thoughts can sometimes transform our lives.

The touching musical score is by British composer George Fenton, who has written a beautifully supportive and beguiling soundtrack. It is a work filled with delicate airs and mesmerizing interludes that are overflowing with fragility that weave in and out of the storyline never overpowering but always adding, a softness, colour, poignancy, and emotion to the proceedings as his music did in movies such as Ever AfterA Cinderella Story and Shadowlands. Recommended. 

Whilst we are discussing George Fenton, cast your mind back if you will to the latter part of the 1980’s and to 1988 when the composer wrote the score for the Stephen Frears movie Dangerous Liaisons, a tale of romance and sexual intrigue set in 18th Century France. Where the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont play a dangerous game of seduction. Valmont is someone who measures success by the number of his conquests and Merteuil challenges him to seduce the soon to be married Cecile de Volanges and provide proof in writing of his success. His reward for doing so will be to spend the night with Merteuil. He has little difficulty seducing Cecile but what he really wants is to seduce Madame de Tourvel.

When Merteuil learns that he has fallen in love with her, she refuses to let him claim his reward for seducing Cecile. Fenton’s beautiful score is filled with gorgeous themes and overflowing with an  opulent atmosphere that encompasses both the  dark, and decadent that is also portrayed within the movie, it is I sadly think a score by the composer that is often forgotten as many seem to think that the soundtrack is made up of classical music from the period, however the composer fashioned a score in this style to enhance and support the various scenarios that were unfolding on screen.

The impressive cast included Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer and Keanu Reeves, Peter Capaldi and Uma Thurman. An impressive piece of cinema and a score that should be savoured more often to be fully appreciated.

 The same can also be said about another Fenton score, this time from 1984, The Company of Wolves, is an impressive movie directed by Neil Jordan, Fenton’s music is an integral and important part of the filmmaking process with his beautiful but richly dark and foreboding opening theme being in my opinion one of the composer’s best for a movie. The opening cue on the soundtrack release featuring The Message which is underlined and enhanced by Fenton’s atmospheric score.

Little girls, this seems to say. Never stop upon your way. Never trust a stranger friend.  No-one knows how it will end.  As you’re pretty, so be wise Wolves may lurk in every guise.  Now as then, ’tis simple truth.  Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth.

The score is a fusion of symphonic and electronic, the composer mixing the two mediums to great effect to create an outstandingly atmospheric work. Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) is a teenager, living in a country house in England with her family in the 1980’s,but is having reoccurring nightmares about wolves and werewolves in the Middle Ages. In her dream, her boring sister is dead and she lives with her father and her mother, but she spends lots of time with her lovely grandmother. Granny (Angela Lansbury) tells her many stories of werewolves and gives her the following advice: “- Never stray from the path in the woods, never eat a windfall apple, and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet.” One day Rosaleen while going to visit her grandmother, meets a handsome man and has a bet with him on who will arrive first at her granny’s house.

But soon things take a sinister twist in this modern day fairy-tale based upon Little Red Riding Hood. Listening to Fenton’s score recently I believe this is one of his most accomplished and ranks as one of his finest even now, it encompasses so many styles within its perimeters, dramatic, romantic, grandiose, and unsettling. Listen to the cue Liberation, which is a composition that encompasses all of these. At times the work can be a complex one, but it is still filled with thematic properties that become haunting in a good way. If you by any chance have not heard this it’s time that you did, available like Dangerous Liaisons on digital platforms, as are a few of Fenton’s scores such as, Cry Freedom, High Spirits, You Got Mail, The Crucible, 84 Charring Cross Road, Ever After, Final Analysis, We’re No Angels, Mary Reilly, Anna, and the King , the often overlooked The Fisher King, and so many more. Have a George Fenton day, why not?  

Also worth mentioning is the Caldera records release of another film score by Zbigniew Preisner this time it being the affecting soundtrack for Man of God, with the amazing vocal talents of Lisa Gerrard. Nick Foster’s atmospheric and touching score for Misha and the Wolves, which is superb. Joel P West’s pulsating and relentless music for the Marvel Studios production Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which is a new score but has its roots in the silver age.

  Surviving 9/11 has an atmospheric and subtle soundtrack by composer Jon Opstad, which enhances and supports without being intrusive or overpowering, and has to it a melancholy and sorrowful persona which is given weight by a mournful but affecting cello performance that at times is mesmerizing and emotive.

Nico Muhly has penned an interest if not rather understated score for the movie Worth, its subtle and slight sounding themes being rewarding and interesting. To the small screen for the next release from the BBC series Baptiste, which boasts a riveting and robust sounding score from composer Dominik Scherrer, the tense and uneasy sounding score is a mix of music, musical sounds and soundscape and within the context of the series worked admirably, away from the images and storylines it is I have to say a little hard to listen to but this is TV/Film music, and does its job well, augmenting, punctuating and underlining.

Take a listen enjoy the tension and soak up the dark and shadowy atmospheres. Also released is the eloquent and pastoral sounding music for Private Peaceful by Rachel Portman and the more contemporary sounding score for EST by Davide Caprelli, both soundtracks available now on Kronos Records.

The latter title is an innovative work with the composer combining synthetics with female voice at key points within the score, creating a Morricone-esque sound, there is also effective use of solo piano and layered strings throughout that create lilting and haunting themes. Combine this with upbeat tracks and more modern sounding pieces and we have a soundtrack here for everyone. Certainly, worth a listen for its inventiveness and originality.

Caprelli has also released his music for I Sogni Sospesi, on digital platforms, which is another wonderfully thematic work, again the composer turning to solo piano to weave delicate musical poems into the fabric of the score. The composer combines the melodic with the tense and the unsettling via use of electronics alongside conventional instrumentation, which is striking and effective.  

The first time I heard the music of Kathryn Bostic was from the movie Clemency which was around 2019, her latest work is from the movie Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir, which contains a score that is fragile and melodic, piano led the soundtrack is pleasing and a rewarding listen, well worth taking the time to hear this, available on digital platforms. That’s all for this time see you soon.