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SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT FORTY ONE.

Composer Joe Kraemar has written a fantastical and mysterious sounding score for the movie Emily and the Magical Journey, released on Movie Score Media this is a melodic and alluring soundtrack that is wonderfully symphonic and highly thematic. The composer utilizing every section of the orchestra to the maximum, combining rich strings with faraway sounding horns, flyaway and wistful woods and delicate and fragile musical nuances that perfectly purvey the magic and fantasy aspects of the storyline. It is one of these scores that literally oozes emotion and has to it a poignant and powerful musical persona. I have to say I do not think that there is one cue on this soundtrack that I would even think about skipping, every track is a compelling and rewarding listen, Highly recommended.  Movie Score Media have been even more industrious than they are normally and have released so many appealing and interesting soundtracks this year thus far. So, for the first part of Soundtrack supplement forty-one, I intend to focus solely upon these new releases. New releases which are all different and contain varying styles and sounds and all which are more than worthy to become part of your film music collection. 

 

Following Aurora and Nightshift, MSM once again treat us to a gorgeous release as they team up with director Yam Laranas and composer Oscar Fogelström on the release of the score for their latest collaboration, Death of a Girlfriend. The film tells the story of Alonzo (Diego Loyzaga) and Christine (AJ Raval) who fall in love with each other during their walks in the forest. However, the appearance of an elderly farmer and an obsessed warden lead to a tragedy with a Rashomon-inspired investigation as each participant has his own version to explain what happened to Christine in the woods… The score although dramatic in all the right places is also luxuriously theme led, with the composer creating rich and vibrant musical passages throughout the scores duration, it’s a score that will I know be of interest to many and is a fusion of both the conventional instrumentation and the electronic. Like the previous score there are so many great cues within it that it something that demands the listener continues to sample its delights without reaching for the skip or fast forward button. It is darkly foreboding in places and also has to it an apprehensive yet romantic air. Again this for me is an essential addition to the collection.  

Charlatan, was the official submission of Czech Republic for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category of the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021. The album which is released at the same time as the film in both Germany and the Netherlands, but precedes its release in USA and the UK. Directed by Oscar-nominated Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, the films focus is upon the life story of well-known Czech healer Jan Mikolášek portrayed by Ivan Trojan who was responsible for diagnosing and healing people using his intuition and his familiarity with herbs. As he healed not only poor but also many well-known people, including Czechoslovak President, Antonín Zápotocký, his methods got a thorough investigation by the Communist regime. The film recently won five Czech Lions and its director was nominated for the European Film Award. The score is a tense and dramatic one, with the composers Antoni Komasa-Lazarkiewicz and Mary Komasa creating not only an innovative sound but remaining inventive and fresh throughout the proceedings. This is a subtle but affecting score, which underlines and also mirrors much of what is occurring on screen. This is my kind of soundtrack, as it is in no way grandiose or sweeping, which at times I love, there are so many highly original phrases and passages with the soundtrack, that it kind of becomes something of an obsession for the listener to return to it many times to discover new sounds and the brilliance of the orchestration and the restrained quality of its lingering and sparse themes.

Twist, is a modern day reworking of the classic Charles Dickens tale Oliver Twist, the movie features Raff Law as Twist, Lena Headey as Sikes, Rita Ora as Dodge and Michael Caine as Fagin. Director Martin Owen’s movie is set in modern-day London where Twist is a parkour enthusiast tagger. Fagin is a criminal mastermind organizing a heist against one of his wrongdoers and Sikes is an enforcer who is willing to sacrifice the crew to have things her way. Their dubious adventures are underlined and supported by an action led heist score by composer Neal Athale, which features not only lilting melodies but also has great use of percussion, the composer mixing the more established sound of film music with a contemporary and upbeat collection of compositions. The cue What does Oliver See is a piece that oozes melancholy and contains a fragility that is purveyed via woods and subdued strings and it its probably true to say that the composer bases much of his more melodic material around this piece or at least extends and develops this style as the score opens up more.

I love the variety of this soundtrack, Fagin in Disguise for example is a very Yiddish sounding piece, with woods, strings and percussion creating a dance like track that shall we say would not be out of place in Fiddler on the Roof and has to it a comedic air but at the same time should be taken deadly seriously. Again, this is must for your collection.

Movie Score Media joins forces with director William Brent Bell and composer Brent Detar, releasing their fourth collaboration following Paramount’s exorcism surprise hit The Devil Inside (2012), Wer (2013) and Brahms: The Boy II (2020). Separation concentrates upon an 8-year-old girl Jenny played by Violet McGraw, who must contend with her mother’s death in a spooky house surrounded by puppets called “Grisly Kin”, based on the works of her artist father. But when her grandfather (Brian Cox) sues for custody, and babysitter Samantha (Madeline Brewer) tries to be the new woman of the house, the puppets come to life with a dark ulterior motive. Brent Detar’s atmospheric score is an all-consuming work, filled with eerie sounds and icy fragmented themes, the order of the day here is apprehension and tension, with a whole bunch of the uneasy and unsettling thrown in for good measure. Again, this is not grandiose or full on symphonic, but it does a wonderful job at creating a dark musical world to enhance and accompany the horrors that will unfold, sinewy and cold strings act as a background to a lilting piano theme, on which the composer builds his score adding choral effects that slip in and out of the proceedings, low and ominous strings too play a major part with guttural woodwind rising every now and then. Wonderfully jumpy, decidedly chilling, and superbly atmospheric and malevolent.

The next release will mark Movie Score Media’s eleventh collaboration with the highly talented and gifted composer Christopher Wong and  another score for his long-time directing partner, Victor Vu, co-written by Wong’s associates, Ian Rees and Garrett Crosby. Their latest presentation is for the Vietnamese supernatural horror Thiên Thần Hộ Mệnh (The Guardian) which tells the story of Huyen a backup singer to a successful Vietnamese pop superstar Lam Phuong. When her best friend gifts the girl with a doll called Baby Na, Huyen gets sucked into a cultlike behaviour, praising the toy for all her successes. When Lam Phuong dies of an apparent suicide and Huyen becomes a key suspect in the eyes of the police, she must uncover the secrets behind Baby Na to escape her strange and powerful hold. The score is a varied one, and has some upbeat cues in a disco vibe, that are both vocal and instrumental. The score itself as Wong’s original music is genius, with the composer utilising a rather macabre and dark variation of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, but with the Star in the title being substituted with Suicide. This is in many ways a beautiful score, as the composer realises some truly rich and luxurious sounding themes, which are performed on piano, with strings and voices to bring it to its full potential. This well worth checking out.

Directed by Hanna Maylett, Piece of My Heart deals with childcare workers and the impact that their work has on their personal lives. Social worker Rita (Lotta Lehtikari) returns to work after a suspension and  paired up with a new partner the young and inexperienced Laura (Niina Koponen). As the boundaries between work and private life begin to become obscured, things also get complicated in the dark side of society. The score by composer Pessi Levanto, is a subdued and affecting one which contains a darkly romantic heart, with the composer employing strings as the main stay of the work, at times I have to say I was reminded of the style of Ennio Morricone, the lilting and subtle thematic content of the score being emotive and poignant. There are also a handful of moments which are more shadowy and dramatic, I think that this is one of my favourite scores thus far this year, at least it is a score I will be returning to a lot. Recommended.

From Movie Score Media to another well established and respected soundtrack specialist label, Varese Sarabande, who this week announced two worthy additions to there CD club catalogue. Lionheart by Jerry Goldsmith and Knowing by Marco Beltrami.  Lionheart was originally issued in 1987, and the score was so well thought of that it was released on two long playing records, which I am glad to say I still have in my collection. As the compact disc began to become more and more popular the score was re-issued but the single CD release did not contain the entire soundtrack just a representation of it, this new edition contains all twenty-two cues from both LP record’s, and it is magnificent. The soundtrack in my opinion is one of the composers best from the 1980’s and contains the unmistakable stamp of Goldsmith throughout. A style that he returned to later in movies such as First Knight (1995) and to a degree in his unused score for Timeline (2003). Goldsmith combines sweeping symphonic passages with synthetic sounds and support to realise a sound and style that is certainly Epic.

Knowing too was originally released as a single CD, by Varèse Sarabande at the time of the film being in cinemas. This latest release of Beltrami’s atmospheric and driving, tense soundtrack, is a 2-CD Deluxe Edition and nearly doubles the playing time of the original release. It also features new liner notes by film music journalist Daniel Schweiger incorporating interviews with composer Beltrami and his collaborators, Buck Sanders and Marcus Trumpp. Well worth adding both deluxe editions to your collection.

I must again make mention of Shadow and Bone the new Netflix Series, which has a powerful and mysterious sounding score by composer Joseph Trapanese, the full soundtrack is now available on most digital platforms, so do not wait any longer go and check it out.