What I have noticed more and more in recent months is that there are so many new names or names I have never heard before scoring movies, and to be fair the majority of these new composers and their scores are really exciting and inventive. 2067, the movie contains a driving and dark sounding score, it is filled with robust action pieces and also has to it a sound and style that one would have expected to hear back in the 1980’s or in movies such as TOTAL RECALL and ROBOCOP. Composers, Kenneth Lampl and Kirsten Axelholm have fashioned a riveting and haunting work. With strings seeming to be the main stay of the work, with synthetics contributing much to support these and other instrumentation that is utilised. The sound achieved by the composers is an interesting and rewarding one, which begins right from the off with the opening being grand and attention grabbing, which can also be said for around ninety percent of the score, with the remainder having to it a lilting and somewhat melancholy leaning. In cues such as THE PATH TO RESOLUTION we are treated to a strident style of writing, with choir and strings combining with percussive elements and brass flourishes to create a daunting and affecting sound. This in fact could be Hans Zimmer in epic mode, the themes being simple but also effective because of the way in which they are layered, built and orchestrated. There are however lighter aspects and contributions to the score which at times reach a melodious and alluring level. This is a work that is dramatic and romantically laced both at the same time, the composers managing to balance the dark and light perfectly, it showcases sorrowful cello, bombastic brass, percussion and driving but anthem like strings, it may not be a fully symphonic work, but it is a work that at times is somewhat mesmerising, and also one that has a few surprises within it, which is demonstrated in the cue, REMNANTS OF A FORGOTTEN LIFE, this being a heart-felt and highly emotive piece. This is a score that I recommend whole heartedly.
Gordy Haab is a composer who we here at MMI think is a name to watch out for in the future, but there again saying that he is doing pretty well now. One of his recent works is for the video game, STAR WARS-SQUADRONS. As soon as one see’s the name STAR WARS, I think you become interested immediately and with Gordy Haab as composer, one just knows that this is going to be good, well, this is not just good, it is superbly outstanding.
It is obviously Williams-esque but there is far more to this than just a composer writing John Williams styled music, the work contains Haab’s own unique musical stamp, and I for one would not be sorry if this composer were to be given a STAR WARS spin off movie in the very near future, STAR WARS-SQUADRONS is a sweeping and romantic work and has to it a kind of swashbuckling and adventurous, air to it. making it exciting and nail bitingly tense in places. plus it is attractive as just music on its own, which is how I listened to it as I am not really a video gamer.
The exhilarating and thrilling theme laden work has the listener on the edge of their seat numerous times throughout it’s more than an hour duration. It is a work that I can honestly say I listened to and when it was over going straight back to the beginning to start again. The compelling and powerful soundtrack is unrelenting and commanding, take a listen to HYPERSPACE AMBUSH, rasping brass laced with sweeping strings and flyaway flutes along with booming percussion, create an energetic piece that I can only liken to the cue HERE THEY COME from the first STAR WARS movie as scored by Williams. This STAR WARS or at least a video game linked to it at its best, without John Williams being involved. Certainly, one for your collection, you will love this and return to it many times.
THEY LIVE INSIDE US, is a horror movie, it contains a score courtesy of composer Randin Graves, who has written a largely synthetic score, which I must admit did send shivers down my spine and make me feel rather uncomfortable listening on headphones. There is in certain places a similarity to the music from both FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH and HALLOWEEN, with little nuances and quirky sounds that could be from a score by Goblin or Fabio Frizzi, for me the work does evoke Italian horror movie scores from the 1970.s, such as SUSPIRIA and PROFUNDO ROSSO, which is not a negative at all, electronic scores are not really my favourite side of film music, but this one is effective as well as being highly affecting. The orchestration or the way in which the music and sounds (ie; a siren effect) are put together is inventive and entertaining, the composer creates mysterious and distressing interludes throughout that are attractively enjoyable maybe for the wrong reasons, as I know we all love to be scared at some point. Check it out for inclusion on your Halloween music list.
Staying with Horror, and going back to 1986 for the next soundtrack well the film at least, because the score will be released in November of this year for the first time. RAWHEAD REX, is an enjoyable creature-feature which is based on a short horror story by the ever-inventive Clive Barker and directed by George Pavlou. The story of RAWHEAD REX is set in the rural Ireland of the 1980’s. It focuses upon a Demon, that has been alive for millennia and trapped in the depths of hell, it is unleashed on a quiet local farming community. Remembered faintly through a pre-Christian myth, the only one that can stop Rawhead’s bloody rampage is a historian, who desperately must race against the time to stop the evil unleashing more carnage and inflicting bloody mayhem upon the vulnerable community.
The music is by composer Colin Towns who’s scores for films such as FULL CIRCLE and THE WOLVES OF WILOUGHBY CHASE are now looked upon as iconic examples of scoring. Towns is I think one of the many composers who have always created wonderful scores for both film and television but are sadly often overlooked by collectors. He is not just a composer but also a pianist, songwriter, arranger, producer, and has collaborated with many artists during his career. He has been involved with many productions for both the small and big screen, these in recent years include two popular TV series FOYLES WAR and DOC MARTIN for the ITV network. RAWHEAD REX is an accomplished score, it is in my mind everything a horror score should be, with crashing and atmospheric percussion, sinewy strings and abrupt growling brass, it has to it an otherworldly sound, which is assisted greatly by the composers use of choir and eerie voices. He also utilises organ within the work which has the desired effect of being apprehensive but at the same time manages to purvey a sense of sanctuary from the relentless chaos that the demon is inflicting upon the small, isolated community.
The composer also makes effective use of the hymn, THERE IS A GREEN HILL FAR AWAY, integrating it into the score,which again gives comfort to the listener and watching audience amidst a sea of sinister and dramatic compositions. There is also a beautiful pastoral sound to the work, so it’s a score that has everything and one I am confident will become a firm favourite, the soundtrack will be released on Silva Screen UK, in November, its one you should add to your collection, its been a long time coming but has certainly been worth the wait. Recommended.
Let’s stay with the Horror theme, shall we? Why not after all Halloween is nearly upon us, and before long Cadburys Crème eggs will be flooding the supermarket shelves once again. THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW is set in a small-town where the sheriff is contending and struggling with a failed marriage, a rebellious daughter, and a underperforming police department. He becomes involved in trying to solve the mystery of a series of brutal murders that have taken place, all of which have carried out on a night when the moon is full. The Sheriff becomes obsessed with tracking down the murderer, but as he delves deeper, he must try and convince himself that there are no such things as Werewolves, but is there? As the evidence is most convincing that these creatures are more than just folklore legends. The score by Ben Lovett,(or Lovett as he is credited here) is released on Lakeshore records, this is a classy horror soundtrack, and has to it certain quirks of orchestration and a style of composition that is a nod to the sound created by composers such as Bernard Herrmann and in later years Pino Donnagio. The soundtrack also boasts an alluring version of the song LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD performed by Valen, the original I think being recorded by Sam Sham and The Pharaohs back in the mid 1960’s. Listening to the song, makes one realise just how talented Lovett is, the sinister but thematically alluring musical arrangement adding much to the vocal performance.
The score too is inventive as well as entertaining, the Herrmann-esque style really comes to the forefront in tracks such as SECOND CRIME SCENE, and THIRD CRIME SCENE where there is an abundance of percussive elements and the composer utilises driving strings, pizzicato and brass flourishes, which are vibrant thematic and also threatening. These attributes can also be heard in SNOW HOLLOW KILLER, with nods to composer Pino Donaggio manifesting within the dark and virulent electronic support that Lovett enlists to fashion chilling and shadowy interludes. Do yourself a favour check this out, it is a classic sounding horror score for a contemporary movie. Can I also recommend the composers scores for I TRAPPED THE DEVIL and THE WIND, which are also on digital and streaming platforms such as Apple and Spotify.
Jerome Leroy’s score for CHI CHI EM EM is also another soundtrack worth taking a listen to, as is his music for KILLERS WITHIN which was released last year.
Composer Arturo Cardelus too has written an atmospheric soundtrack for BLACK BEACH which is released by Movie score Media, this is a very different style and sound from what we heard before from the composer, it is a brooding work, with dark and foreboding moods that are wonderfully employed and inventively orchestrated, well worth a listen.
BABYTEETH by Amanda Brown is also released digitally, the music is emotive and haunting, with the composer utilising piano, female voices, and strings to purvey a touching and poignant musical persona. This is just a short work, eleven minutes in total, but it is a rewarding listen.
ORIGENES SECRETOS-aka-UNKNOWN ORIGINS is a violent movie, a horror/comedy/thriller, that deals with a serial killer on the loose in Madrid. A comic book-store owner, teams up with a private detective in the hunt for the killer. The film is in Spanish and subtitled, the murders which are based upon the origin stories of various superheroes are graphic and disturbing, you have been warned. The score is a powerful one and the work of Spanish Composer, Federico Jusid. It is a commanding and appealing work which is for the most part symphonic, the composer also putting choral passages to effective use in conjunction with low and dark driving strings that are further supported via edgy and robust strings, both of these are further enhanced by brass and woods, ten out of ten for this one a must have.
For the next score I ask you to come back to 2018, it is a work I have to admit I skipped over at the time of its release, and on taking a listen again recently I have regrets about doing so. COLETTE has a beautiful score by English composer Thomas Ades, who created a highly emotive piano and string led soundtrack for the movie. All I can say about this touching and poignant soundtrack is please just listen, it is lush and opulent, lavish and haunting, with an abundance of glorious themes that literally melt one’s heart. I am sure the compact disc is deleted now, but thankfully it is available digitally. You will not be disappointed in any way it is a must have release.
Do you remember THE LEGEND OF HILL HOUSE which aired on Netflix last year I think, the music for that series was the work of the Newton Brothers, who are actually not Brothers, but I digress, they have just scored another nerve jangling horror series for Netflix in the form of THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR and I have to say it is a superb score, for a horror tale the music is surprisingly romantic and theme led, but I think that sometimes if the music for a tale such as this is gentle and subtle it makes the moments of horror and shock even more effective. I really like this score, it has so many wonderfully melodic pieces within it, the opening music faintly resembling something out of DOWNTON ABBEY because of the use of piano. But these romantic and absorbing themes lull you into a false sense of comfort, and the composers then musically pounce and terrify you. Another great work that you should own. In soundtrack supplement twenty four we go trick or treating and look at soundtracks that are sinister and chilling plus a few that make light of the occassion.