Welcome to Soundtrack Supplement and a Happy Easter to you all.
Set in 1883 Victorian London, Dodger is a new TV series, which is already receiving complimentary comments from both viewers and critics. The plot follows the exploits of the infamous pickpocket, the artful dodger, and Fagin’s gang as they find ingenious ways to survive their surroundings and conditions. The score is by Joel Cadbury and Will Harper and is not what one would ordinarily expect for a period drama such as this. Most of the soundtrack is quite upbeat and modern sounding with guitar solos and some rock infused performances being scattered throughout. This however does not mean that the score is not good, its something of a surprise and this is probably down to my own pre-conceived ideas about what style or what type of music is used in movies.
After the first listen I became curious and re-visited the soundtrack almost instantly, its on the second vist that I started to appreciate the music more having put out of my mind of what I thought it should sound like. Why can’t a period drama have up-beat rocky sounds to enhance it? Well, why not indeed. The score for Dodger is a mix of styles, at times we are treated to a jaunty piano solo that takes on a slightly unnerving persona although it sounds comedic as in the cue Fagin’s Waltz, which has to it a wistful almost mischievous lilt.
I cannot say that I can compare the score with anything else as it is inventive and innovative, the composers adding snippets of what sounds like a harmonica or an accordion at times and combining these with the tinkling piano solos within score which are effective. But for me it is those up-beat cues that make the score, as in Duff and Blathers, Fagin’s Gang, Picking the Pockets part 1, etc, in some ways these examples do evoke feint hints of the style of Morricone in his early days and have affiliations with the varied approach of Daniel Pemberton.
Its dramatic, haunting, and infectious in a foot tapping kind of way. Its on digital platforms now. So go take a listen.
Staying with TV and to the Netflix comedy entitled Big Bug, now this is a futuristic tale and focuses upon a time when humans are reliant upon androids to do the everyday tasks, but things go a little haywire, and the androids begin to take over. It’s like a comedy take on I Robot I suppose, in fact I’m not quite sure what it is? It’s a French production that has been picked up by Netflix and by all accounts is quite successful. The music is by Raphael Beau, who mixes light easy-going cues with apprehensive and more suspenseful tracks to create a score that is probably one of the most entertaining I have heard, because its varied and holds a few surprises along the way.
When I say easy going, I think it is a more easy listening style that is employed at times, with wordless female vocals being performed over a laid back 1960’s flavoured doo wop sound, in the opening track Reves D’Amour, which is not only appealing but becomes addictive after a couple of listens as do the other cues which are in this style.
But there are also more than enough cues that qualify for the sci-fi action category, Code C4 and Toby or not Toby being two of these. The composer fashioning pieces that are effective and original but at the same time vaguely familiar. Recommended. Available on digital platforms now.
Composer Oscar Fogelstrom has written a great score for the movie Greed, which is available now via Movie score Media on the likes of Spotify and Apple music.
I love the originality of most of this score, with other parts of the work displaying a Herrmann-esque like value and quality, it’s a soundtrack that I know you will enjoy, because it is so varied, its also a score that has enriching themes and uplifting moments that is so rare in the world of film music these days, check it out you will not be disappointed. The latest addition to the house of Marvel is the dark and sinister tale of Morbius, in which a dangerously ill Dr. Morbius who has a rare blood disorder, is determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble, and what initially appears to be a radical success soon reveals itself to be a remedy that is potentially worse than the original disease. I am very surprised this got a PG rating, but its Marvel.
The score is by Jon Ekstrand (Margarete, Horizon Line) and it’s a work that I enjoyed, I can’t say its particularly original, but it supports the storyline well and does what good movie music should do throughout, underlining and enhancing and also adding depth and atmospherics to the movie. Given the storyline it is a soundtrack that leans heavily towards the more up tempo and action laced cues, although the composer does slip in one or two moments that give the listener a break from these. Overall, it’s a serviceable score, works well in the film, but as a stand alone listen maybe not so much. Available now.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has a score by composer Joshua Carro, and it is certainly a soundtrack you should at least give more than a fleeting listen, I was surprised as I thought it would be a largely synth based work, but on the contrary it is a developed and symphonic sounding score, the composer introducing so many themes and creating numerous moods and atmospheres via his music.
At times it becomes a grandiose and powerful work, with thundering percussive elements punctuating and bolstering strings and brass, the composers commanding and effective music being commanding, mysterious, adventurous, and ingratiating. Available now on digital platforms.
Dragons Domain and BSX records have been busy again and this month’s batch of titles will not disappoint. One on the BSX label and three on Dragons Domain.
The first is The Box of Delights, which is issued on BSX. First published in 1935, it is a children’s fantasy novel written by John Masefield. Released in 2021, this production of the story was a ten-part epic audio production, featuring the music of Joe Kraemer with a brand-new arrangement of Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s The First Nowell from his Carol Symphony. This intriguing and magical story is often seen as the pre-cursor for other tales such as Narnia, Doctor Who and Harry Potter to name but a few. It concerns the magical world breaking in on everyday life, and the extraordinary existing alongside the ordinary. The score is beguiling and enchanting, and one that you should investigate, available from BSX records. THE BOX OF DELIGHTS – Original Soundtrack by Joe Kraemer | Buysoundtrax
The second release is on the Dragons Domain label and is a compilation, The Ken Thorne Collection, vol 1, consists of two scores which have not been issued before now. Ken Thorne was an English composer who had been scoring movies and TV movies since the early 1960’s.
He gained a successful career as a big band pianist during the 1940s, and later took up studying composition at Cambridge, which led to scoring films, starting out with a 1948 musical but began earnestly in the early 1960s. Thorne so impressed director Richard Lester on one of his early films that he became Lester’s composer of choice, writing the instrumental underscore for HELP!, starring The Beatles, then winning an Oscar for best adapted music for Lester’s film A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.
He also reworked the music of John Williams from Superman for Lester’s two sequels, Superman II and III. Over his career, Thorne composed, orchestrated, or conducted more than 100 feature and television movies. The two scores that are represented on this first volume of Thornes music for film are both from the 1970’s. Released in 1976, Assault on Agathon, tells the story of Interpol agent Cabot Cain played by Nico Minardos, who has been assigned to stop the mysterious Agathon (George Moussou), an insurgent who is instigating a new revolution in Greece. Directed by László Benedek and filmed on location, the movie makes the most of the Greek scenery which inspired Thorne into creating so many exciting and effective compositions for the movie. It’s a score that you will instantly become attached to.
The second score on the release is from the 1978 movie Power Play which is set in a fictional country that is ruled by a corrupt and inept government. A small group of military officers (Peter O’Toole, David Hemmings, Donald Pleasence) decide that they must overthrow the current administration. But the coup’s leader worries that there is a spy in their group and ultimately it is revealed that his suspicions are correct. Directed by Martyn Burke, whose script, co-written with Edward N. Luttwak (based on his 1968 non-fiction book, Coup D Etat-A Practical Handbook, won Best Screenplay at the Canadian Film Awards. Sadly, not all of the score has survived, which includes the main title’s theme, but we are treated to 17 cues from Thorne’s score. Well worth a listen. THE KEN THORNE COLLECTION: VOL. 1 – ASSAULT ON AGATHON / POWER PLAY | Buysoundtrax
The second Dragons Domain release is from Night Caller which has an atmospheric score from composer Richard Band, the movie focuses upon a psychic hotline worker named Clementine, who starts receiving calls from a serial killer.
The killer, James Smith, as it appears on the caller ID, loves to taunt Clementine on the phone before each murder. Soon after, Clementine begins to have visions of the grizzly deaths before he commits them. Predicting his murders before he commits them puts her into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the killer. Enlisting the aid of her invalid father and clairvoyant co-worker, they must use their unique abilities to stay one step ahead of a maniac whose unspeakable acts in the present are nothing compared to his past and future. Bands score is masterful and although this is a low budget affair the composer provides it with a classy and highly effective soundtrack, one to add to your collection. NIGHT CALLER – Original Soundtrack by Richard Band | Buysoundtrax
As is the third Dragons Domain release which is by composer Craig Safan, Courage, made its CBS broadcast debut on September 24, 1986. Based on a true story, the plot revolves around a concerned wife and mother from Queens, New York, named Marianna portrayed by Sophia Loren who, upon discovering her eldest son is addicted to illegal drugs, becomes an undercover agent for the DEA. With Marianna’s assistance, the agency busts a $3.5 billion cocaine ring, the largest since the famed French Connection arrests of 1968.
A detective named Bobby Jay played by Billy Dee Williams acts as Marianna’s liaison while her concerned husband does what he can to support his wife. Safan’s music worked well in the movie, and features an ensemble of flutes, oboe, piano, guitars, three keyboards/synths, three percussionists, four cellos, a contrabass, and a handful of South American instruments including a clay vessel flute called the ocarina, a stringed ukulele-like instrument called the charango, and a six-hole cane flute from the Andes Mountains called the quena. Inventive and innovative the music is something that you should own. COURAGE – Music From The Original Score by Craig Safan | Buysoundtrax
See you next time…