NEWS: Varese Sarabande to Release 'The Strangers: Prey at Night' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 08/03/2018 - 01:00
Varèse Sarabande will release [a.22441]The Strangers: Prey at Night – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally on March 23 and on CD April 13, 2018. The album features original music composed by [c.784]Adrian Johnston[] ([m.29615]Becoming Jane[], [m.30130]Bridesheads Revisited[]). [m.45243]The Strangers: Prey at Night[] is a reboot of Bryan Bertino's 2008 cult classic [m.29901]The Strangers[]. The movie stars Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson and Bailee Madison. A road trip to visit relatives takes a dangerous turn when a family arrives at a secluded mobile home park that's mysteriously deserted -- until three masked psychopaths show up. "I had an idea that once we reach Gatlin Lake, just as the strangers are tuning...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records & Invada Records Announce 'You Were Never Really Here' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 07/03/2018 - 01:00
Lakeshore Records and Invada Records will co-release [a.22650]You Were Never Really Here--Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[], featuring a score by Academy Award-nominated composer [c.1579]Jonny Greenwood[] ([m.48468]Phantom Thread[], [m.29944]There Will Be Blood[]). The Amazon Studios film was written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, and won awards at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix). It's the second time the Radiohead guitarist/keyboardist has collaborated with Ramsay having composed the score for [m.31623]We Need To Talk About Kevin[]. Greenwood weaves his talents on synthesizers, drum machines, recorders and guitars alongside the London Contemporary Orchestra and experimental string player...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Alexandre Desplat, Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez Honored at 90th Academy Awards

Soundtrack News - Ma, 05/03/2018 - 01:00
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the winners of [t.51555]The 90th Academy Awards[] tonight. The nominees and winners in the music categories are as follows:

Best Original Score
[m.45378]Dunkirk[], [c.237]Hans Zimmer[]
[m.48468]Phantom Thread[], [c.1579]Jonny Greenwood[]
Winner: [m.48148]The Shape of Water[], [c.752]Alexandre Desplat[]
[m.38438]Star Wars: The Last Jedi[], [c.231]John Williams[]
[m.47619]Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri[], [c.24]Carter Burwell[]

Best Original Song
"Mighty River" from [m.49883]Mudbound[], Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, [c.6577]Raphael Saadiq[] and Taura Stinson
"Mystery of Love" from [m.48798]Call Me By Your Name[], Music and Lyric by [c.1707]Sufjan...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: March 2

Soundtrack News - Za, 03/03/2018 - 01:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.1354]Benjamin Wallfisch[] ([m.48863]The Darkest Minds[]), [c.1061]Marcelo Zarvos[] ([m.51927]The Chaperone[]) and [c.18826]Adam Wiltzie[] ([m.51856]Whitney[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 20 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-02-27]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week is (with music by): [m.48613]Death Wish[] ([c.2269]Ludwig Goransson[]) and [m.46637]Red Sparrow[] ([c.151]James Newton Howard[]). We are tracking song credits for the following new theatrical releases: -[m.48613]Death Wish[] (9 songs) -[m.46637]Red Sparrow[] (10...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: ABKCO Records Announces 'Isle of Dogs' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 02/03/2018 - 01:00
ABKCO Records has set a March 23 release for the [a.22590]Isle of Dogs Soundtrack[]. Written, directed and produced by Wes Anderson, the stop-motion animated feature stars Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Akira Takayama, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Akira Ito, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Mari Natsuki, Fisher Stevens, Nijiro Murakami, Liev Schreiber and Courtney B. Vance. The soundtrack album includes Academy Award-winning composer [c.752]Alexandre Desplat[]'s original score, compositions from acclaimed Japanese films [m.45429]Seven Samurai[] and [m.51915]Drunken Angel[], The West Coast Pop Art...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Milan Records to Release 'The Insult' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 28/02/2018 - 01:00
Milan Records will release [a.22642]The Insult - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally on March 2nd. The album features the movie's original score by [c.2076]Eric Neveux[]. [m.50799]The Insult[], Lebanon's first Oscar-nominated film, was theatrically released in the U.S. on January 12, 2018. "Some of my past scores have been rather big productions, with a lot of orchestral material, pop combos, percussions, and choirs. [m.50799]The Insult[] was the exact opposite – an intimate and minimalistic production. I had full control of the music as I played it all myself and programmed all the parts; which enabled me to do some additional work on the music for the release of the soundtrack. Its simplicity reminds me of my debut as...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: 'Nostalgia' Soundtrack Released

Soundtrack News - Za, 24/02/2018 - 01:00
Varèse Sarabande will release the [a.22510]Nostalgia – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally on February 23 and on CD March 23, 2018. The album features original music composed by [c.3507]Laurent Eyquem[] ([m.38842]Momentum[], [m.35376]Winnie Mandela[]). "[Director] Mark Pellington is one of the most respected Music Video Directors in the world," said Eyquem. "He has an amazing sense of music and when we met, he already knew what he wanted and did not want. He wanted to have the score based on piano and strings. And he wanted to keep the sound as organic as possible: he wanted to be able to hear the piano's pedal, any click from the bows of the strings, any imperfection that usually we do not keep at the mix. Those...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Geoff Barrow

Film Music Magazine News - Vr, 23/02/2018 - 17:44

As sci-fi scoring reaches new realms of transfixing weirdness, perhaps no composing team is pushing the outer limits like Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury, both in the service of adult-themed genre auteur Alex Garland. Even when Barrow began his music career as one of the founding members of the alt. band Portishead, it wasn’t hard to hear a film noir vibe in such soundtrack favorite songs as “Glory Box” and “Roads.” Salisbury has a more traditionally scored road to the big screen with numerous TV documentary scores for the likes of “The Life of Mammals,” “Life in Cold Blood” and “Ocean Giants.” But put together their talent for surreal grooves with more conventional scoring, and the fusion is the sound of the experimental soundtrack future, as done for a critically acclaimed filmmaker who’s about mad science at its most meditatively profound.

Mixing the visceral with the esoteric in his writing credits for Danny Boyle’s zombie and solar apocalypses in “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine,” Garland’s directing debut on “Ex Machina” was a technologically sterile chamber piece in which two scientists find themselves seduced by a sensual avatar of artificial intelligence. “Machina’s” calculating mad science was given a spellbindingly cold score by Barrow and Salisbury, their haunting, high-tech sound drawing on the rebirth of classic 80’s synth stylings, evolving it with the calculating melody of the ghost within their state of the art gear.

Geoff and Ben

Now the composers are given a far bigger stage to play on with “Annihilation,” as an alien force steadily transforms our planet into a region of life forms both beautiful and terrifying. As a team of female scientists is sent into “Area X” to discover the origins of this weird, multi-colored force, Barrow and Salisbury create their own, eerie world of tonalities that fuse organic sound into another sonic life form. As opposed to going for the rugged adventure that might distinguish an eye-candy Hollywood approach to the material (based on Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” book trilogy), “Annihilation” takes an unexpected route thanks to the pensive approach that signifies Garland’s voice.

Given a colorful force that’s warping reality, Barrow and Salisbury create an ever-shifting wall of sound – yet one that still isn’t too far afield from the musical world that film audiences inhabit Female voices dance about eerie metallic effects, hushed strings and a humane guitar, the score building with a sense of spellbinding revelation and washes of retro electronics. In a sci-fi scoring world ever-intent on creating an utterly unearthly sound with the likes of Mica Levi’s “Under the Skin” and Johann Johannsson’s “The Arrival,” Barrow and Salisbury’s own unique synergy makes for a soundtrack that’s its own weirdly evolved animal – harmonically strange, but thematically accessible – all in service of a filmmaker who’s doing his best to regress the genre back to its philosophical glory days. It’s a twilight zone that “Annihilation’s” eerily involving tonal score hypnotizes us into entering.

When you helped start Portishead with Adrian Utley, did the band strive for a “score” sound?

No, but we’ve always been influenced by film scores. We loved the Italian gangster stuff and John Carpenter scores. Composers like John Barry influenced us as well. Adrian and I also loved Jerry Goldsmith’s work on “Planet of the Apes.”

Portishead – Adrian Utley(L) Beth Gibbons(M) and Geoff Barrow(R)

Portishead songs like “Roads,” “Scorn” and “Glory Box” have been used in movie soundtracks from the days of “Tank Girl,” “Stealing Beauty” and “The Craft.” Do you think that was because of the songs’ cinematic quality?

There were a lot of needle drop points here and there. I think it was more for the mood, really. The most recent one was in Ben Wheatley’s “High Rise, for which we did a cover of Abba’s “S.O.S.” We kind of used that song as a cry for help in the film, which worked out quite well. We get people asking us if they can use “Glory Box” for a sex scene and we just tell them “No,” because they don’t get what the song is about to begin with.

One of your first scores was for “Exit from the Gift Shop,” a fun documentary about the prankster artist Banksy.

It was on that film that I met my composing partner Ben Salisbury. We’d played soccer together, but someone we had no idea what we did for our livings! Originally they were going to use stock film library stuff. But when they found out they couldn’t, I was called in to “Gift Shop.” I knew very little about scoring, but I did understand where the music would go to what was onscreen. I learned a lot working with Ben on that movie, and I’ve been at it ever since. Ben’s got a lot of experience writing for television and films, so I’ve learned a lot from him. And because I’ve brought a lot of my own musical oddness to him, we’ve made a good team. We next did music for Alex Garland on his pitch for a Judge Dredd film. But the financers did not like what we were doing so we walked off it, saying that we didn’t want to play music that the producers didn’t like to hear on their film. The good thing Is that we released it as an album called “Drokk: Music Inspired by Mega-City One,” and it did really well.

What was your experience like with Alex and Ben on “Ex-Machina?”

It’s wall-to-wall atmosphere, and not like your typical score where it’s all blaring at you. “Ex Machina” crosses the line with sound design, where it can be like an air conditioning unit making that sound – it all goes hand in hand. Alex is very generous with sharing ideas, very open to suggestion from the whole team—to have everyone work for the film as a unit, not just departmentally. Ben and I loved doing John Carpenter-styled scoring with “Ex Machina,” as if we were scoring a film from the 80’s. Ben and I just did “Free Fire,” where it was a Lalo Schifrin kind of score. That was really fun.

How would you describe Alex’s brand of sci-fi?

Alex is a serious filmmaker. He’s been in the business for over 20 years and has got a voice and people really like. That’s because they want to see interesting science fiction, not the kind where it’s robots smashing into walls. His work is subtler, and has more depth.

Filmmaker Alex Garland

How did you want to make your minimal approach for “Annihilation” interesting?

At first we were not sure if it was interesting at all! But we knew it was to be about a journey the characters would take, knowing that something wasn’t quite right. The original “Blade Runner had that sense of growth. These days you have films where it opens up big with an amazing shot of the city. But if it doesn’t have a big battle scene in the beginning, where do you go from there? It’s like you just blew all of your marbles. With both “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation,” we hope that we got to bring across some sense of growth to both the score and the story – so that when you get to the end, you get the feeling like you’ve been taken over with something, both sonically and visually.

The female voices and metallic sampling you use in “Annihilation” certainly get you into that trance state.

Well, hopefully not to the point where the music might take you out of the film. Ben and I have always tried to stay away from “stock” scoring. If go to see a Marvel film, you kind of know what you’re gonna get. But not on “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.” Here we wanted to move away from synths, which have become the stock, go-to instruments to compose with. We wanted to go about this score in a completely different way that would make this film its own story.

What was your ensemble on “Annihilation?”

It was acoustic guitar, which I don’t really play well at all. Though we brought in far better guitar players, we ended up with mine! We also used the water phone a lot, which we tried to make tunes out of. But while I really wanted to make the score exclusively with the water phone, it has way too many limitations. Eventually we used some small string sections as well. With the choir we tried not to be too religious sounding. We ended up doing some different recording tracks to give it a more immersive sound.

Do you think there’s a trend where some composers try to “out-strange” the other in creating these utterly bizarre and alien musical environments like “Under the Skin” and “The Arrival?”

I don’t think it’s about getting “weird.” It’s more about being interesting. You think about how many years film scores have been around. I don’t know if some of these scores are helping the film or not, because I think that the audience has tuned out. It’s gotten so predictable that sometimes I don’t think that the audience can hear the music anymore.

How did you want to both be interesting for “Annihilation?”

Ben and I are literally like the alien from “The Thing.” We’ve absorbed each other. What you’d think would be by me, and what you’d think would be Ben, is now all mashed up. We do both do of each other’s stuff now. Ben brings the ability to really write, and to have that non-stop ability of bringing his musical understanding to the project with an effortless talent. As a producer, I have more of a musical overview, knowing what might work and when we might need something else.

What do you think about “Annihilation” going to Netflix overseas, while getting a theatrical release in America?

It’s a real shame for the rest of the world not to experience it in theaters. I think that the people feel that Alex has made a great film with this because it’s so subtle. I don’t understand the politics of film distribution. But I think they were wrong about how they handled it, because people are intelligent, especially when they’re fed with so much rubbish these days. I think that audiences will love “Annihilation” and “Ex Machina” equally.

You work for Alex has been about evolution. In “Ex Machina,” it’s a robot transforming in a human. And in “Annihilation,” it’s an alien force that’s transforming the earth. How do you see your and Ben’s music evolving in the way?

It’s really positive. We’re currently about to start a series. Delivering under that pressure should be interesting. We’ve gotten a few ideas and it looks like it’s working out nicely. Ben and I are both learning every day. And that’s a great thing.

Venture into Area X with Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury for “Annihilation” on Lakeshore Records HERE. Then listen to them turn a turn a robot into a real woman with “Ex-Machina” HERE before venturing to “Mega City One” HERE

A special thanks to Alexander Portillo for transcribing this interview

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Walt Disney Records Announces 'A Wrinkle in Time' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 22/02/2018 - 01:00
Walt Disney Records is set to release the digital version of the original motion picture soundtrack to Disney's [m.47706]A Wrinkle in Time[], from visionary director Ava DuVernay on March 9th as the film opens in theaters nationwide. The soundtrack was produced by DuVernay and features the end-credit song "I Believe" performed by Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum selling artists DJ Khaled featuring Demi Lovato. The song was written by Khaled, Lovato, Denisia "Blu June" Andrews and Brittany "Chi" Coney and was produced by Khaled. Both artists are embarking on a 20-date North American tour beginning February 26 in San Diego, CA. The soundtrack also includes two versions of "Flower of the Universe" performed by Sade, one of...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

February Soundtrack Picks

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 21/02/2018 - 19:38

Soundtrack Picks: “ZOMBILENNIUM” is the top soundtrack to own for February 2017


To Purchase the soundtracks from this list, click on the CD cover




Prices: $9.99 / 14.98

What is it?: Not only is Jeff Russo just about the hardest-working composer being heard on television right now with the likes of “Waco,” “Ghosted,” “Power” and “Counterpart,” but he’s also one of the most continually interesting at pushing its scoring’s outer limits. That can mean taking Carter Burwell’s approach for “Fargo” into completely new realms of portentously humorous and dramatic scoring (netting Russo two Emmy nominations and a win in the criminal process), or hearing the many insane personalities of the mutant named “Legion.” It’s in the sci-fi genre where Russo has been doing some of his most impressive work, especially when casting his ear towards musical futures where every old concept is made new again in sad, rain-filled tones or a reborn franchise’s new sense of musical discovery.

Why Should I Buy It?: Adapted by Laeta Kalogridis (“Birds of Prey”) from the first entry in Richard K. Morgan’s book series, “Altered Carbon” makes a “Matrix” like impact for Netflix, bending oft-repeated “Blade Runner”-isms, cyberpunk and bloodily gushing scenes of sex and violence into a complete new and stunning Private Dick animal. It’s a future noir show that’s just as haunting for spectacular visuals as the deeper psychological ramifications sleeved beneath the eye candy. It’s into those haunted ears that Russo goes with his meditations on virtual eternity. Given a propulsive theme graced with the voices of Ayana Haviv, Tori Letzler and Holly Sedillos, Russo’s aching electric cello, guitar and orchestra set a quasi-religious tone for the show. Percussion, eerie samples and humming are his version of an unhappy limbo where death is just a dream for a jaded populace that can clone jump on a whim. Given a hero’s who’s tortured in both body and mind by his inability to save his loved ones, Russo does much to give poignancy to this sullen bastard. Voices are the thematic, Ligety-like link that migrates through the cues with the fluidity of the human frame, strings providing a somber, subtly emotional counterpoint to the often gleefully adult, very black-humored material on screen. Using Asian-styled flute playing to create the character’s original Asian body, and his distinctly screwed-up sister. Russo’s music is an eerie, empathetic ghost in the machine. It’s a hypnotically elegiac layer of “Carbon” that I wish this had way more music on this album, especially given what could have been gleaned from ten beyond-binge-able episodes. But what’s here is a tantalizing taste for sure, distinctively abetted by “Altered’s” songs. A twisted, reverberating lullaby plays “The Patchwork Man” where Sune Rose Wagner brings techno-rock to “Let My Baby Ride,” and a “Halloween”-esque rhythm to the Katana-swinging “More Human than Human” for a character who really knows how to make an entrance. Providing a mythic end is the jangling, guitar western ode of Renee Elise Goldsberry’s “Ain’t No Grave,” a song that hits the regret of a tragedy-cloaked, ever-wandering hero on the head with the throaty impact of a six gun.

Extra Special: The bright, and mostly optimistic first TV voyage of “Star Trek” was renowned for distinctive themes that have become an indelible part of pop culture – a musical boldness that was completely lost in space for every series variation since by network brass that had as much love for melodic themes as Klingons had for tribbles. Now, the mostly noodling musical voyages since have finally reached a promised land, thanks to Paramount, which at at last allows a composer to go boldly for the franchise’s pay-platform venture with “Star Trek: Discovery.” The series itself got out to a decidedly rocky start for the first half of its insanely violent, and overly dark first season (before doing a significant course correction within the mirror universe), “Discovery” shined right off the bat by being powered by music that isn’t afraid to be music. Russo certainly captains the optimistic Federation spirit with a main orchestral theme that promises “Discovery,” an almost ironic brightness (of course topped off with a salute to the famed Alexander Courage TOS theme). It’s an undeniable warmth, and nobleness that made the season’s faulty start watchable with its theme-driven approach. If anything, Russo’s music is so good here because he’s scoring an epic “Trek” movie as opposed to any series – a domain that rejoiced in the melodic likes of Jerry Goldmsith, James Horner, Cliff Eidelman and Michael Giacchino, when the small screen versions mostly hit an anti-melodic force field, no matter the shows’ quality. “Discovery’s” music takes what’s best about that feature work with big screen sonic polish. Using strings and horns to heroic effect, Russo’s music is about the stalwart bond of characters thrust into war, with the nasty Klingons given a brooding, ethnic sound that Goldsmith pioneered from their first, jagged-headed appearance in “Star Trek – The Motion Picture.” Russo runs with that twisted, primal sound as he goes for the symphonic excitement of space battles and the mystical wonder of exploration, all with a hopefulness that’s positively O.G. OTS. Throughout “Discovery,” there’s the sense of enthusiasm that really cuts through on this album, from alien atmospheres to intimate piano and pokey synth controls, with all points leading back to the very human musical mission that Gene Roddenberry set his composers out on. The melody on constant display here truly unites the show in a way that even the episodic nature of the first three TOS seasons couldn’t do with their repetitive, budget-mandated tracking from a distinctive music library. Indeed, “Discovery” has the most musical cohesiveness of any “Trek” show. I can only hope that Russo’s truly epic scoring of “Discovery’s” terrifically redemptive episodes make for a second album on a TV pay-for voyage that I now hope goes way beyond four years.


Price: $21.99

What is it?: Firing off the last major bottle cap missile when it comes to releasing every last piece of Jerry Goldsmith’s most-requested arsenal, Intrada comes up with an ingenious solution on how to finally quench a seemingly unrecoverable holy grail in the composer’s repertoire. Sure Goldsmith had conjured the American apocalypse with the likes of “Planet of the Apes” and “Logan’s Run,” but rarely had his combination of primal eeriness, rousing patriotism and kick-ass staccato action been put to the wonderfully berserk test as it was in 1979’s “Damnation Alley.” Reteaming with director Jack Smith after his loopy black comedy score for “The Traveling Executioner,” Goldsmith also found himself behind the wheel with his “Blue Max” star George Peppard, here down to scorched earth as he pilots a giant all-terrain vehicle called The Landmaster (once a familiar site to any commuter on the 101 making the nightmarish trek to LA). His destination under irradiated magenta skies is the utopia of Albany, New York, and damned if this terrifically exciting score isn’t going to get us there.

Why Should You Buy It?: Goldsmith was certainly gaining a new audience of fans in the late 70’s, and “Damnation” isn’t to be slighted amidst the sci-fi likes of “Alien” and “Star Trek – The Motion Picture” Treating the likes of mutants, giant scorpions and killer cockroaches with epic seriousness, this also just might be Goldsmith’s most terrifically noble militaristic score outside of “Patton” as the soundtrack’s swelling timpani and brass hits the ex-military nature of its team. But amidst the desert forbidden zone this soundtrack traverses, it’s Goldsmith’s music for killer cockroaches that just might be the score’s standout, a wonderfully nightmarish, over the top attack of horns, gnarled voices and hissing, until his throttling theme comes to the rescue. Along with his unique orchestration for orchestra and electronics, there’s also a quite lovely, bucolic melody that makes you also recognize this is the composer who wrote “Lilies of the Field” and “Patch of Blue,” the score’s hope for humanity providing the rousing kind of deliverance heard in “Logan’s Run,” soaring melody that’s a reaffirmation of the human spirit against all the harsh tonalities the apocalypse can throw at it.

Extra Special: It’s exactly those ultra-70’s synth parts that have prevented “Damnation Alley” from getting the album it should have had long ago, as that electronic music was lost While that didn’t prevent Varese Sarabande from doing an impressive re-performance of “Alley’s” symphonic music on a compilation CD, Intrada has now ingeniously, and seamlessly had score restorationist Michael Matessino join the existing orchestra’s surround tracks with a spot-on keyboard re-performance by Leigh Phillips. The result of retrofitting the symphony with state of the art “old” synths is true genius in finally letting the full-on musical Landmaster reach long-denied fan ears. “Damnation” at last has found salvation, fully revealing a succinct, powerful score that showed a composer who inventively knew how to pilot a score through a post-nuke landscape like no one’s business.


Price: $14.98

What Is it?: The official soundtrack to “Goodfellas on Ice,” or at least the kneecapping skater version of it, “I, Tonya” knows that nothing captures criminal attitude like the classics. Where Martin Scorsese has always been sure to give mobsters a mix tape drawn from the hits of 50’s into the early 70’s, “I Tonya” picks up that attitude from the bad hair days of the 70’s to skate with it right through the 80’s in a colorful blur of jukebox favorites and more cleverly unusual song choices.

Why should you buy it?: Whether you’re talking about “Goodfellas” murderous R & B intent or Simon and Garfunkel’s poetic folk for nice boy Benjamin Braddock, any memorable song-driven soundtrack tells the story of its (anti) heroes. And “I, Tonya” has a doozy with a lower class trash-talking snow queen out to prove herself to the Olympic snobs. Or at least that’s the impression everyone’s had of her, as the lead off of Cliff Richard’s “Devil Woman” immediately gets across. A triumph of song storytelling, the electric guitar attitude of Bad Company’s “Shooting Star” Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” (also put to great use in last year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”) get across Tonya’s take-no-prisoners attitude on her way to the top, an inner, mom-created rage that fuels her every move in the rink. But as opposed to being painted as just a hellcat, more lyrical songs like “Romeo and Juliet” and Chris Stills’ “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” paint a far more tender picture of a little girl lost who just wants to be loved, and the pathetic romantic aspirations of her abusive husband. Where her squeaky clean rivals chose Prokofiev for their musically boring routines, leave it to Tonya to pick En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” and Heart’s “Barracuda,” hip hop and hard rock that put fire into her impossibly great moves, while projecting a big middle finger from her hand-made outfits to the stuffed shirt judges. Other album selections are terrifically ironic, from the lyrics of Supertramp’s “Goodbye Stranger” that question “the undisputed truth” to Siouxsie & the Banshee hearing Tonya as “The Passenger.” As squeaky-clean Doris Day innocently coos “Dream A Little Dream of Me,” “I Tonya’s” astounding soundtrack asks us what’s the price of being a tabloid celebrity that dragged ice-skating into the tabloid fire? Whether the tunes are deluded, or aware of her actions, all are as sharply to the point as an iron bar to the leg – if with an impact that’s way more fun.

Extra Special: Perhaps “I Tonya’s” biggest scream of rage is made by composer Peter Nashel, whose score might be brief, but certainly makes a rude impression. A smart, under-the-radar composer who’s work has graced the likes of “The Deep End,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Marco Polo,” Nashel gets some cool exposure here with his brief, but truly impactful work. “The Incident” hammers in rapid-fire metallic percussion with a growing sense of outrage as it tracks Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecapping, the rhythm and howling all evil determination and then outright panic of the criminals who couldn’t shoot straight. Nashel’s “Tonya Suite” uses a surprisingly elegant classical piano rhythm to launch into a Philip Glass-like rhythmic theme that behooves an evil ice queen, complete with organ, eerie strings and sleighbell percussion. It’s ruthless, mastermind stuff, hammering in the contrast between “Tonya’s” truth and fiction with no small sense of humor, deliciously bombastic music for an outsized, sports villain if there ever was one in the rink of public opinion.



Prices: $11.19 / $11.98

What Is it: As the composer whose gift for melody made film music appreciated the world over like never before, John Williams stands as the modern Mozart of his craft, a composer whose populist touch spans generations past and future as his energy continues unabated into his astounding 86th year. Williams understandably never fails to bring award nominations with each one – splitting the difference in 2018 with Oscar gold recognition for the latest edition of an intergalactic saga that truly put film scores on the map, and Golden Globe recognition by foreign entertainment “journalists” to a score for American reporters who put their jobs, and potentially their vocation’s freedom on the line.

Why Should You Buy It?: Though he’d long been handling blockbusters before “Star Wars,” George Lucas’ odyssey was truly the soundtrack that allowed Williams to put grand orchestral scoring on the map like never before. Thankfully the seemingly eternal Williams has remained along for the ride as the “Star Wars” saga has swung from happy ending optimism full of victorious rebels to an ever-darkening future with a skeleton crew of survivors. The latter ending is perhaps why “The Last Jedi’s” hope against all odds has made this one of the best “Star Wars” films, especially coming off of a painfully infantile “The Force Awakens,” where no one was functioning at their best capabilities. “Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson’s course correction is nothing less than astounding (in spite of dissatisfied fanboy raving), allowing Williams to create a mature score that draws its power on his ability to write one terrifically memorable theme after the other. His force of leitmotifs is the stuff that binds this score together, drawing on a wealth of heroism and villainy, and playing it somewhere in the middle of deeply flawed valor and evildoers we can sense the good in. Like Luke, Williams’ “Jedi” is brooding and intensely emotional. When Skywalker’s theme pulls Leia back from space or Yoda’s melody shows up to give his novice one last lesson, it’s like being amongst old friends, our love of the saga rushing right back in to tearful effect, or an amusing one as a gambling planet’s jive recalls a dive on Tatooine. It’s also certainly busy as Williams’ orchestrations make you feel every dip and dive of its spaceship battles and light-sabre swinging. If there’s one fault for “Jedi,” it’s that the action music is tremendously exciting, but lacking the cohesive flow of an asteroid chase or Endor forest battle, with a central melody keeping pace from beginning to end. Here, it’s all about the character themes, which certainly do the Jedi mind trick, especially in an epic choral face-off as such between Luke and his pissed protégé. That Williams will hopefully be able to finish the third “Star Wars” trilogy is astonishing in itself. That the force is really back with him and these films (despite the dreadful thought of J.J. Abrams returning to the franchise) is truly reason to rejoice beyond admiring that a man of his seasoned years can still keep delivering with an energy half his age, especially given a saga, especially for this entry that isn’t afraid to go way beyond the kid’s stuff to reach the dark side sweet spot.

Extra Special: From “Munich” to “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg has been interested in politics of the past with a resonance in today’s climate, no more so than in the battle for press freedom as depicted in “The Post.” Though far better in good intentions than as an actual movie, the suspense of publishing The Pentagon Papers in the face of presidential wrath certainly is a great opportunity for Williams to play in the real world of “the little guy” going against an Empire of government avarice. It’s territory Williams has impressively trod for Oliver Stone with “JFK” and “Nixon,” a suspenseful, humanistic sound that makes a welcome return to headline “The Post.” Though the film itself is mostly comprised of positively civil whitebread breakfast meetings, Williams relatively sparse score plays the events as if America’s liberty itself was at stake (which it arguably was). Pulsating synth rhythm and dark orchestral flourishes suggest that anyone who touches “The Papers” will meet a fatal end from Tricky Dick’s administration. “Nixon’s Order” carries a feeling of solemn gravitas, while “Mother and Daughter” shows Williams’ talent for the tenderness of piano and strings to reach the emotional heart of a relationship. In lighter moments like “The Oak Room, 1971” and “Two Martini Lunch,” Williams gets to return to his “Johnny” jazz roots, But the score’s undoubted highlight is “The Presses Roll,” Williams’ brass propels us through the printing process, the anxious orchestra turning to sweeping triumph with the publication of the vital issue, brass finally announcing itself like a Lincoln address about to happen – a yearning nobility that pays of with a vindicating “Court Decision.” Its music poignantly, and patriotically urges us to stay vigilant before the score dramatically swirls again with the film’s one truly inspired moment of becoming a prequel to “All the President’s Men.” “The Post” is stirring, important, though not self-aggrandizing “news on the march” scoring that packs the momentum of history, as well as a sense of craftiness about how to literally sneak the news out from under Nixon’s long nose.


Price: $19.95

What Is It?: If you were longing for American kiddie creature bashes like “Mad Monster Party” and “Hotel Transylvania” to have real comic bite, then a journey to France’s ghoulishly hip theme park “Zombillenium” is in order. But if that admission is unlikely until this quite wonderful, often cruelly funny (and very French) cartoon gets exported to the English language, you’ll definitely get a great sense of the cheeky enjoyment that lies within from the rambunctiously clever score by Eric Neveux.

Why should you buy it?:
Having given clever flight to the animated “A Stork’s Journey” (also on Quartet Records), while also being on live action display for his score to Lebanon’s Oscar-nominated “The Insult,” Neveux hits a new high note for this wonderfully stylized film and soundtrack. Here a greedy businessman gets his comeuppance after being killed by a vampire, then is essentially turned into Hellboy in the service of the big boss downstairs. Given a film that has fun with glitteringly handsome bloodsuckers and union difficulties in equal measure (while almost strangling a disagreeable big-nosed teacher in front of a terrified daughter’s eyes), Neveux seamlessly treads comedy and horror action with a 1950’s rockabilly attitude. The musical genre tropes delightfully abound amidst electric guitar with deathly gongs, mock sympathy violins, organ, moaning choruses and metallic samples that play the ultimate fiery furnace. Neveux also gets across an unholy carnival atmosphere with loopy calliope music and Theremin-like wailing and of course a greaser music twist on Handel’s funeral march. It’s this who-gives-a-damn damned scoring attitude that makes “Zombillenium” particularly delightful in its often transgressive humor, while also hitting the emotion of an scarily transformed dad and his orphaned daughter, somber melody getting across that he’s really, really sorry for being such a dick to get into this horned spot, especially as a chorus beats out a doomed march to the ultimate theme park sub-basement. For the big zombie versus vamp finale, Neveux lets his orchestral rhythm fly to exciting heights, the dramatic stakes zooming about with the speed of a Goth witch’s broom. Where such great horror-comedy scores like “Young Frankenstein” symphonic horror homage, Eric Neveux certainly has that spirit in his golden ticket to “Zombillenium,” paying delightful thematic homage to stalwart horror musical trademarks of the past with a hellbent for leather attitude that energizes the score with more energy than a mad scientist’s laboratory.

Extra Special: Songs also play a fun part in “Zombillenium” with Matt Bastard’s hard rocking “Rosemary” and the catchy, empowering anthem “Stand as One” that captures “Zombillenium’s” message of monster power. But perhaps no tune hits the transgressive sweet spot like Mister Modo & Ugly Mac Beer’s “Diggin’ in the Crates.” It’s definitely not the kind of safe urban tune you’re going to find on a “Hotel Frankenstein” soundtrack, a rap tune that’s sure to delight hip kids while making their parents’ mouth drops with the impact of one F-bomb after the other, which is exactly what the trickster spirit of this theme park is all about.



The most infamous ruling family next to Donald Trump’s got its back stabbing, conspiratorial laundry aired out over three seasons on Showtime, beginning in 2011. For this European co-production about Italy’s murderous clan, Cyril Morin (“The Syrian Bride,” “The Sentiment of the Flesh”) was chosen to make cruel history come alive over the twelve episodes of its first season. He delivered a vibrant, contemporarily painted tapestry that’s now collected into this sumptuous release from Editions Musicales Francois. “The Borgias” Showtime ancestor from another bloody reign was “The Tudors,” for which composer Trevor Morris used a combination of modern electronics and traditional orchestra to make Henry V come alive for the tastes of contemporary listeners – an approach powerfully expanded upon by Morin. A luxurious feeling of being masters of the Renaissance world, and doing anything to get there resounds through the music, which employs instruments of the era from hurdy-gurdys to classical guitar, viola de Gamba and wooden recorders, all creating an richly mesmerizing acoustical feeling that joins with strings and contemporary keyboards in a way that’s accurate, while pulsating with a menace that thankfully isn’t anachronistically hip for the period. Rather, it enriches “The Borgia’s” sound, which giving the family’s seat at the head of the church a dark spirituality as it relishes in the pleasures and pains of the flesh. Gorgeous, Latin chorales and organs create a melodic sense of holiness that’s increasingly taken to sinful places, sinister percussion leading to the next kill on the ascent to absolute power. Beyond conjuring its Italian settings, a strong Middle Eastern sensibility also fills “The Borgias,” making interesting use of Morin’s talent for the region in such scores as “Little Jerusalem” and “Zaytoun.” Through a succession of over 100 cues over 4 ½ hours, Morin’s score, comprised of both music used, and unheard in the show, never ceases to mesmerize as it creates a lush ever-darkening tapestry that never ceases to be relevant as composers the world over tie in today’s rulers to ancestors just as cruel and conspiratorial.


Having ravaged Alaska with a terrifying combination of metallic sampling and orchestra for the fury of an unholy polar bear in “Unnatural,” Edwin Wendler shows he’s equally adept at waging The War for Xmas in “Christmas With a Capital C” (the C standing for “Christ” of course). That the film itself is strident Christian agitprop against heathen Daniel Baldwin bringing his atheist, manger display-shattering ways to town is no reason to think that Wendler’s score is on that bandwave. For divorced from religion and relegated to pure listening pleasure, Wendler’s “Christmas” is indeed a very pleasant gift. A Vienna native with a musical bloodline firmly rooted in the orchestra (with this one very nicely performed in Prague under the watch of Prometheus contractor James Fitzpatrick), Wendler conjures a warm, sensitively reassuring score packed in lush, flute-tied themes, with just a bit of country guitars to spice the eggnog. With trouble afoot in snow-covered paradise, Wendler brings interesting, electronic effects into the mix, while also using such Christmas score stalwarts as cheerful bells, angelic voices and peppy rhythm, all in a way that recalls Tom Newman in rustic mode. Overall, it’s a score that’s nicely sedate for the jingling jingoism on screen, using just the right, light comedic touches, magical warmth and tender emotion to make his Christmas work with a Capital M, as in melody. Whatever your religious persuasion or complete lack of it, it’s nicely enchanting music pure and simple that would charm even a godless Grinch.

. DOV NON HO MAI ABITATO (Where I Have Never Lived)

Many foreign composers come to leave an indelible mark on American genre cinema, only to return to their home countries, leaving behind a mystery to their whereabouts to match any movie they’d score. In the “Where are they now?” annals, Pino Donaggio casts a particularly lush, suspensefully romantic shadow given his De Palma collaborations on “Carrie,” “Dressed To Kill” and “Blow Out” (though he’s resurfaced here and there with the decent thriller scores for “Patrick” and De Palma’s “Passion”). But if you really want to hear Donaggio return to his classic Hitchcockian heyday, then look no further than the domestic drama “Dov Non Ho Mai Abitato.” While broken hearts instead of bodies might reside within its residence, Donaggio is stalking in his most gorgeous form in years here. While “Dov” might not fly to the lavish, uber-orchestral heights of “Dressed to Kill,” that spirit is very much present as pianos tenderly lead the strings into lush anguish, his melody circling about with a sense of poignant, anguished discovery. While you’ll need to go to Donaggio’s most visceral scores for his “Psycho”-like menace, “Dov” is like a gorgeous cornucopia of his distinctive sensual sound. Gliding themes bring back imagery of museum seductions and spying on lonely housewives immediately to the ear of American fans pining for the composer’s glory days. The assured performance of the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra certainly abets this romantically suspenseful score, one that’s all about the gorgeous anguish of broken hearts as opposed to Donaggio’s talent for plunging knifes, razors or power drills into them. For with the hushed melancholy of “Dov,” Pino Donaggio is back like never before, showing a mystery continued en Italia as opposed to stopping when he left Hollywood.


It’s a musical culture clash between stone and bronze age, as played on the field of football (or soccer as we Yanks call it), quite wonderfully tag-teamed by Brit composers Harry Gregson-Williams (“Shrek”) and Tom Howe (“Professor Martson and the Wonder Women”). Williams certainly knows his way around the cute stop motion style of England’s Aardman Animation given his wackily robust scoring on “Chicken Run” and “Flushed Away,” while Howe is now making inroads to the ever-ironic realm of kid’s entertainment with the forthcoming “Charming.” Though they might be dealing with inch-high figures, Williams and Howe bring an eccentric sense of the epic here in this match off between a pathetic tribe and low-tech civilization. The zeroes-to-heroes side is embodied with primal grunts, sad sack orchestrations and daintily strumming instruments that might make you think you’re in Italy. Putting them under the iron boot is a gigantic, brass-fueled orchestra and imperious, imposing themes as loopy, cartoonish strings unite the humor. The score’s rousing climax is the big game, a competition for civilization itself that’s heard with real, emotional stakes and suspenseful excitement that could befit any live-action sports comedy. Trumpeting fanfares kick it with charge-ahead symphonic writing and a biblical chorus, with ears keenly on the melodic ball for sweeping impact. In Aardman’s annals of cheeky scores, “Early Man’s” music stands tall amidst sheep, dogs, rodents and bald human simpletons with its rousingly fun approach. Indeed, if these clay cavemen had these kind of inventive musical smarts, they wouldn’t be in their situation in the first place.


Just as John Powell changed the face of action soundtracks with his world beat for “The Bourne Identity” series, his musically hip, wackily orchestrated forays into the talking animal kingdom with the numerously distinctive likes of “Chicken Run,” “Kung Fu Panda” and any number of “Ice Age” scores have made animated soundtracks an eccentric wonderland where just about every composer tries to out-hip the other. But there’s no matching the O.G. musician who built a Noah’s Ark of ethnic rhythm and boisterous orchestrations, as “Ferdinand” continues to prove with delightful style. Taking on the legend of a bull who didn’t want to fight that’s now Oscar-nominated for Best Animated film, “Ferdinand” is virtual fiesta of Mexican-centric scoring. Powell has certainly run with a Latin beat in such adult fare as “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Knight and Day,” but there’s a particularly luxurious joy that he gives his plethora of musical piñatas here. With trumpets singing, castanet percussion clopping away like hooves and Spanish guitar strumming on top of a symphony, the red-baited “Ferdinand” might just as easily be wearing the black cape and mask of Zorro the Avenger (or occasionally the Spaghetti western sombrero of Clint Eastwood) given its boisterous heroism that positively swings into the fray. Yet given a bovine that wants nothing but peace, Powell’s score has an unusually relaxed mood through a good deal of the soundtrack, a nice sense of siesta and smelling the flowers that the often antic demands of his animation don’t allow. But there’s plenty of Powell’s trademarked humor and energy here as well, from making fun of the strides of arrogant Lipizzaner horses to the swaggering brass of Bull Olympics and the rousing orchestra that takes us to the arena, music whose drama also hears the appalling cruelty of bullfighting. All paths lead to the dizzying, twelve-minute “Madrid Finale” as Powell shows how he can charge from one escapade to the next in a way that would make Carl Stalling jealous, yet with a terrific control of melody, and thematic footwork that pulls his scores for the peppy genre together. An equal match for Michael Giacchino’s Mexican fiesta in “Coco,” “Ferdinand” is a delightful celebration of musical culture, as heard through Powell’ especially festive voice – a composer who can dance with the rhythms of cartoon scoring with the dexterity of a peaceful toreador with an approach that hits new heights in “Ferdinand.”


While I wouldn’t say that Danny Elfman has been shackled by being best known for his darkly magical and often rambunctious collaborations with Tim Burton, the composer has an equally memorable talent for drama in such Oscar-nominated scores as “Good Will Hunting” and “Milk.” But it’s likely his explorations into the real world have never reached as big of a sensually appreciative audience as when opening the red room of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movies – which now reaches it climax (as the ads have coyly exclaimed again and again) with “Fifty Shades Freed.” It’s difficult enough to play sex in a Hollywood multiplex cinema that’s mainly shied away from explicit erotica in favor of outright violence since the glory days of “Two Moon Junction” and “9 ½ Weeks” let alone to musically embody the more outré reaches of passion as depicted in these fairly restrained S & M forays. Given the delicate job of treading between pleasure and pain, Elfman wisely chose an overall romantic, if somewhat tense approach, as embodied by a theme seemingly capable of every erotic variation. “Freed” stretches his motif like never before as the series enters thriller territory with its even-darker counterpart to Christian Grey. At once brooding, tender and threatening as the sex scene or suspenseful moment calls for, Elfman’s string and piano melody is the bed, or rack, for him to lay down techno rhythms, a gauzy orchestra or lyrical violin to keep the scores interesting, especially here given the treat of real danger. With a heroine who wants an emotional connection and an impossibly rich bohunk who’s terrified of truly bonding with anyone despite the wedding ring, Elfman’s biggest accomplishment with “Freed” to get real feeling from the gloriously silly appeal of these female-centric “dirty” movies. As waves of orchestra come in to tie the whole thing together with Anastasia’s final flashbacks, the feeling is beautifully nostalgic. It’s music that could have sent a couple with more old-fashioned tastes to a straight and narrow conformist future as they reflect on their times together. And that might just be the most subversive musical message of all in these hit movies whose appeal is teasing their audience with transgressiveness – all while showing Elfman’s skill at both master, and submissive in knowing how to create thematic ties that lyrically bind, this time with true love.


By the late 60’s, studio releases were swimming in a romantic wave of French composers, among them Maurice Jarre (“Gambit”), Georges Delerue (“Anne of the Thousand Days”) and Michelle Legrand (“The Thomas Crown Affair”). What united their unique voices was a talent for lush orchestration and memorable, theme-driven scores. Few would hit the universally tearful heights of Francis Lai, whose lyrical theme for 1970’s “Love Story” (its soundtrack just out on Quartet) won an Oscar, even as his other American-financed efforts were a bit more obscure, if just as lyrically rewarding. Now France’s Music Box Records does their part to shine a beautiful light on the musician’s English-language pictures with a captivating, two-CD release of a Lai triptych. Set in England, 1969’s “3 into 2 Won’t Go” is about an unwitting love triangle between Rod Steiger’s salesman, who sets up house with his Judy Geeson’s wild child hitchhiker and an at-first oblivious wife (real-life mate Claire Bloom). Lai concentrates on a uptempo, classically-themed approach for lush strings and harpsichord-like percussion, distinguishing characters’ longing in an unhappy residence. Yet there’s a mod quality for a much more youthful, swinging London that the Geeson’s new romantic blood embodies, with the main theme’s rhythm picking up with harpsichord-like percussion, mod organ and bits of lounge jazz – a musical meeting of adults lost in a hopeless relationship and the unlikely promise being afforded to the man of the house, all three showing the composer’s romantically perceptive approach. Lai was on his home turf as a body in the Seine starts off the French / Italian international fascist conspiracy of 1969’s “House of Cards.” Cooing voices, strong cimbalom-esque percussion and threatening brass create a lovely, waltz-like melody that will drive the ever-stacking suspense. But even at its most threatening, Lai can’t help but paint Paris is lovely tones, as his use of symphony, lilting harps and keyboard exoticism brings to mind John Barry’s intrigue for “The Ipcress File.” The spirit of Lai’s own eternal theme for “A Man and a Woman” also graces the opening titles (no more so then in its lovely French performance by an unknown vocalist) , from its more classical variations for string quartet to groovier bits for the rock guitar and organ .Lai’s similar, if more poignant foray into spy vs. spy action yields a terrific score with 1970’s “The Berlin Affair,” a TV movie featuring Darren McGavin and Fritz Weaver as two operatives mixing love and murder during The Wall’s lethally cold height in the 1960’s. Roaring out of the gate with pulse-pounding brass action, Lai brings fun exoticism to the setting in a style familiar to any fan of such Cold War shows as “Mission: Impossible” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Lai comes up with two memorable themes here, one for hard-edged danger, and the other a far more romantic one that sings with regret, at one point with a female voice. With East German repression heard with taut, string suspense, what makes the score fun is its very mod sound for sitars, psychedelic organ and swinging jazz – if not in a ragingly shagadelic way. But as always with Lai, it’s the romance that makes the most impact, romantic pathos for flute and guitar giving real empathy to a world of hardened hearts. But no matter the setting of Lai’s all-too few forays into Hollywood, it’s a universal language of melody that unites these three captivating and unsung scores that are now given new vibrancy in this long-overdue album debuts, the stories behind these obscure Universal co-productions fascinatingly chronicled by foreign score specialist Gergely Hubai.


Having gone solo from the musical collective of Pale 3 alongside Tom Tykwer and Reinhold Heil after “Run Lola Run,” “Perfume” and “Cloud Atlas,” German composer Johnny Klimek has found a potent Aussie director collaborator with Greg McLean, the creator of the particularly nasty “Wolf Creek” survivalist slasher series. Having provided the visceral score for its sequel as well as the director’s Native American exorcist movie “The Darkness,” Klimek now ventures with him into the Bolivian “Jungle” that’s littered with body horror, a repertoire that for poor Daniel Radcliffe includes fire ants biting at his skin and worms burrowing from his head. But as opposed to what one might think will be a grisly cannibal movie, that fact that its true Israeli hero was on his lonesome makes this far more of a spiritual odyssey, which in turn gives Klimek a score that’s as potent for its fear as its emotion. Beginning with gentle strings and lyrical ethnic instruments that promise adventure to a young man possessed with wanderlust, Klimek’s meeting of indigenous Latin music with orchestra nicely recalls Guastavo Santaolalla’s guitar-centric work on such scores as “The Motorcycle Diaries.” But soon enough more ominous rhythms are entering the musically scenic picture, a foreboding that’s practically a warning sign to turn back. Yet proceed its young man must with a German guide who’s hiding the fact that he’s out of his element. With the kid soon enough left to fend on his own, Klimek brings in dark drumming and nerve-rending electronics, the score progressively getting more hallucinogenic with the illusions that come with absolute hunger and isolation. But through even its most nightmarish passages, Klimek doesn’t forget to let the orchestra be the guide to salvation. As intimate string and piano tenderness mix with swells of symphonic hope and the sinking, sampled feeling of throwing in the towel, Klimek’s score makes the listener truly feel the struggle for survival, and a moving, religious sense of deliverance. Really coming into his composing own in the most haunting, solitary ways in this “Jungle,” Klimek and McLean create a “Revenant” worthy quest that makes the audience feel they’ve been through green hell, and heaven.

. LE MAGNIFIQUE (500 edition)

Jazz-centric French composer Claude Bolling (“Borsalino,” “The Gypsy”) essentially got to do his version of “Casino Royale” for Jean-Paul Belmondo’s super spy for this screwball comedy, known in America as “The Man from Acapulco.” Where Burt Bacharach had The Tijuana Brass at his disposal, Bolling’s beyond zany score offers a Latin fiesta for the imagined adventures of Bob Saint, the macho alter ego of positively boring espionage novelist Francois Merlin. Transforming his lame reality into swinging, Bondian adventure down Mexico way is just the excuse that Bolling needs to delightfully jump from one style to the next, matching “Royale” for its 007 absurdity. Festive mariachi tunes join with brassy spy skullduggery as sexy lounge music and groovy Shagadelia lures the ladies, of course along with a Parisian accordion. The effect is joyously dizzying giving so many short cues, as united with hangdog Latin trumpet theme and even a classical, derring-do concerto to boot. Yet even as Bolling dexterously swings between spoof to mundanity with the height of absurdity, there are nice themes that give the stylistic escapades a sense of cohesiveness. Indeed, there’s a quite lovely, understated romantic whimsy at play in the musical contrast’s most affecting moments, especially in the love theme’s tender piano. But if all of the rapid-fire cues of the original “Magnifique” score prove to be a bit dizzying for you, Music Box Record’s two-CD release also includes the original album presentation, with longer tracks that show the more luxurious method to Boling’s spy spoof madness. It’s all a delightfully madcap score just as well suited to a French agent in Acapulco as it might be Peter Sellers in Bond get-up, or Austin Power’s in full shagadelia costuming for that matter.

. MULLY / THE RENDEVOUS (500 editions)

While Varese Sarabande puts out major Hollywood scores, some of the label’s most impressive offerings can be found in their vastly reduced run of limited edition releases, albums for under-the-radar movies that resound with their composers’ passion – two notable cases in point being “Mully” and “The Rendevous.” In the first case, the documentary about a Kenyan mogul is musically ironic in that Benjamin Wallfisch spent the better part of 2017 terrorizing children with his scores to “It” and “Annabelle: Creation.” Perhaps that’s why “Mully” is so full of rich, enervating melody that’s all about the saintly help given to street kids by a man who came from less than nothing. Having powerfully dealt with the humanitarian crises of “Bhopal’s” chemical spill in India and artistic expression breaking free of Iran’s repression in “Desert Dancer,” Wallfisch knows how to bring a common, universal voice for finding light in the midst of darkness. Avoiding making the score African-centric as such, Wallfisch softly uses piano and strings, both joining with a lush orchestra and angelic chorus. However, that doesn’t avoiding the awful reality of the children’s’ situations, as heard through gritty strings and eerie, hushed atmospheres. Like the best composers working in the emotional arena, Wallfisch knows the fine line between inspiration and manipulation, the strength of his main theme guiding Mully’s charges to the Promised Land. With “Mully,” Wallfisch captures a real spirit of melodic empathy for a deeply moving and captivating score, his theme given powerful voice through both the children’s native tongue and the beautiful title song “Love Will Be Your Shelter,” an Oscar nominee that should have been written by Wallfisch and its singer Siedah Garrett.

Having first joined forces with Jordan-born filmmaker Amin Matalqa for the tender orchestral score of “Captain Abu Raed” before venturing to hipster LA with the beyond quirky soundtrack to “Strangely in Love,” composer Austin Wintory returns once again to the director’s home turf with “The Rendevous.” Now he journeys to far sandier, and humorously adventurous locales for this Showtime treasure hunt that features the unlikely pairing of Stana Katic’s Jewess with Raza Jaffrey’s dashing Muslim government agent. It’s a bickering odd couple who’s cliffhanging pursuit for the dead sea scrolls will of course ultimately end with romantic sparks, which gives Wintory license to particularly recall Henry Mancini, a composer who certainly knew how to navigate sensual jazz and energetically romantic caper music with ethnic rhythm and an orchestra. Wintory has that West meets Middle East vibe down with style to spare for this “Rendevous.” Arabic winds join with sumptuous strings to convey the time-honored tradition of musically seeking melodically glittering treasure and lost civilization. Percussive avarice creates a wealth of scoundrels in rhythmic pursuit of our couple, a sound that also playfully expands his horizons to Spanish guitar fandangos, giving “The Rendevous” a true sense of musical discovery as the composer shows off his old school orchestral chops among some eerier effects and woozy brass, There’s also a fun John Williams-esque vibe to the score as we reach the cliff-carved destination of Petra, it etched-in-stone city familiar to any fan of “The Last Crusade.” At once dusting off theme-driven, argumentative-couple-on-the-run scores like “Charade” with the cliffhanging vigor of Indiana Jones, Wintory’s score is at once traditional and wackily off beat, It’s just the latest “Rendevous” in a collaboration where Wintory never fails to delight with his increasingly loopy sense of discovery, all while unearthing another fun homage to ancient soundtrack albums, as well as a particularly touching tribute to Matalqa’s wife that gives the soundtrack its special resonance.


Taking a stylistic 180 from helping Churchill convince Britain of the advancing storm clouds of Hitler’s evil, composer Dario Marianelli has his sweetest hour with the adventures of England’s favorite ursine. Taking up the honey trail from Nick Urata the last time we saw Paddington, Marianelli creates a lovely, utterly charming child’s eye view of the closest thing to a talking bear, Toy piano percussion and gentle melody ingeniously fills his CGI stuffing in a way that’s nicely sweet without being saccharine. Given how Paddington’s essentially Mr. Bean with fur, Marianelli accompanies his path of innocent destruction with loopy fiddles and brass. Where guitar and soft-shoe percussion is used for window cleaning, even more mischievous is the way in which Marianelli employs religious voices for an unusually attractive nun, or to convey the wonders of marmalade. Where pizzicato skullduggery and rousing chases accompany the ever-humiliated villain’s antics, “Paddington 2’s” pursuits are never too musically threatening, even taking on a waltz-like rhythm with ticking clocks to set the time. There’s an irresistible sense of joy that runs through “Paddington 2”’s score, one that doubtlessly helped this become the best-reviewed film ever on Rotten Tomatoes. But then as Marianelli has proven with the diverse likes of “Sense and Sensibility,” “Atonement” and “V for Vendetta,” thematic melody is a thing that comes with seeming ease to the composer, who’s at his magical best here. Popping in just as delightfully is the calypso duo of Tobago And d’Lime, their jazzy kettle drum rhythm urging Paddington to “Rub and Scrub” teaching him to “Love Thy Neighbor” and giving new groove to everyone’s favorite Beetlejuice standard “Jumping the Line” for the album’s finale. The Teddy bear-filled likes of “Sesame Street” should be lucky enough to get these Rasta dudes. The same can be said of children’s scores when it comes to this composer.


Whatever one thinks of the idea that “film music should be invisible,” Johnny Greenwood has certainly decided to be heard. One of the more daring composers in service of the one of the more increasingly pretentious filmmakers, Johnny Greenwood’s scores for P.T. Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” “The Master” and “Inherent Vice” weren’t exactly stitched from rapturous melody, but rather the need to say something strange for the sake of being unique. While that certainly resulted in interesting scores for an array of obsessive Anderson characters, these soundtracks often called attention to themselves in a way that yanked the viewer into the hauntingly weird music itself as opposed to watching the movie – which is the case again with Anderson’s typically confounding, if more accessible “Phantom Thread.” But while the score might be sometimes be grating in the film, it’s easily more beautifully listenable than Greenwood’s other albums. The fact that “Phantom Thread” is so ravishingly melodic in parts is certainly owed the movie’s setting of haute couture for an English fashion fetishist, who gets more out of assembling the bonds of dresses than any S & M enthusiast in the “Fifty Shades” franchise. For a man who inhabits a world of ritualistic, impeccable taste, Greenwood draws on classical music in all of its elegant varieties, from chamber to a full, ravishing complement of strings. With most of the cues centered on the intimate, Greenwood’s use of strings is often pitched to the highest, nerve-rending reaches, a piano joining in the rhythm to get across its antihero’s beyond anal-retentive personality. Listening to the weaving of one lyrically skewed piece after the next here is like attending a recital where the cellist’s bow seems ready to go out of control, a poetic approach on the edge of a nervous breakdown, yet still melodically hiding its madness. The full use of strings show Greenwood’s ability to be lovely beyond measure, providing a lush balance to the near violin-claw on a blackboard cues that speak for the film’s increasingly masochistic relationship. Though the music is dolloped over one scene after the next to the kind of confounding effect that Anderson delights in, “Phantom Thread” as an album is nothing less than ravishing, masking its lunacy in pointed refinement, even as it distracts in another medium.


Michael Kamen made his Hollywood bones on exasperated American cops wreaking mayhem in Los Angeles, establishing a muscular, melodic sound that would finally put him in Sherwood Forest to play England’s most iconic robber-hero – even if he had a flat American accent. That being besides the arrow point “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” would gift the composer with perhaps his most beloved and popular score next to “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon,” mixing derring-do with a rich sense of history. Given Yank director Kevin Reynolds’ slightly revisionist take on the material (updated with a Muslim warrior buddy and a not-so comely Maid Marian), Kamen wasn’t exactly going to go swinging about the trees previously rappelled to classic effect by Austria’s Erich Wolfgang Korngold. But then, Kamen’s gloriously entertaining scores of this type weren’t about stopping the show to launch into bold, swashbuckling music. It’s an approach as organic as Sherwood Forest, letting one melody roll into the next with music that surrounds the listener with romance, excitement and environment, a melodically dense approach that now really lets listeners get lost in those atmospheric, thematically thick woods. Of course it’s not like fans won’t recognize that Korngoldian touch in Kamen’s sense of adventure that comes swooping in and out of the two hours of score, brass trumpeting as Robin and the Merry Men dispatch the minions of the lovably snide Sheriff, whom Kamen last shoved off the Nakatomi skyscraper with celebratory jingle-bell brass. Here the tone is of Olde England. But as opposed to going for “historic” instruments, the composer with a proven taste for period films captures that spirit with his lush orchestrations. Indeed Kamen may never have been as gorgeously lyrical for a blockbuster as he was in “Robin Hood,” capturing a bucolic sense of romance in his theme that gave birth to the Oscar-nominated hit Bryan Adams tune “Everything I’ve Done, I’ve Done For You” (which you’ll have no trouble finding outside of this otherwise packed special edition). As a composer whose rock and roll background took orchestral scoring into an exciting new direction during his heyday in the 80’s and 90’s, “Robin Hood” more than ever shows how Kamen took bold new steps into with a more adult approach to time-worn material. The result is a “Robin Hood” score that gave new, thrilling voice to an action legend.


As the mournful, joyous and angry musical voice of Spike Lee, jazzman Terence Blanchard has become the de facto composer of the modern black movie experience, as chronicled by its brashest director. “Music for Film” highlights the choice cuts from this creatively incendiary collaboration by showing how surprisingly diverse it is. As much a student of the Aaron Copland Americana as he is trumpet-graced vibe of New Orleans, Blanchard’s orchestral music is distinguished by just how melodically thick it is, a solemn approach packed with the wages of sin and social oppression. It’s tragedy at its most musically stirring, whether it’s for a white criminal returning to prison after the fall of the twin towers in “25th Hour,” conveying the weight of somber history in “Malcolm X,” or making time in the drug trade with “Clockers.” Few composers have given such impassioned voice to the trumpet and the brass section as Blanchard, instruments that add to much of the selections’ soulful melancholy, casting a spell of film noir to listeners who might not be familiar with Lee’s work. Yet there’s a fun, jazz groove to be had on this excellent compilation, especially in two of Lee’s most underrated movies with the sultry sax and castanet groove of “She Hate Me’s” sexy dramedy to the wistful main theme of the commercial satire “Bamboozled.” Another impactful unreleased track is the main theme from “Chi-Raq’s,” which has a swelling sense of nationalism for the allegorical Chicago-Greek streets. But it’s likely that no Spike Lee joint had as much personal resonance to Blanchard as When the Levees Broke,” an excellent multi-part HBO documentary about the catastrophic New Orleans floods, and following government indifference that laid waste to the composer’s family. Blanchard’s use of trumpet and orchestra is hauntingly evocative, calling forth the spirit of Alex North’s Orleans-set score to “A Streetcar Named Desire,” as the music of man-made disaster ranges from jazz improv to plaintive strings. It’s some of Blanchard’s best, and most elegiac scoring that I can only hope will see a full release (along with his atypically creative action score to “Bunraku” among the many genres he can explore). But fifteen minutes of “Levees” is certainly one of the reasons to pick up Silva Screen’s memorable trip though Blanchard’s distinctive scoring, which getting an excellent impassioned performance by conductor Dirk Brosse and the Brussels Philharmonic.

CLICK on the album covers to make your hardcopy or download purchase, and find the soundtracks at these. com’s: Amazon, Intrada, iTunes and Screen Archives Entertainment

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Void Recordings to Release 'The Worthy' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Di, 20/02/2018 - 01:00
void recordings will release [a.22604]The Worthy – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally on February 23, 2018. The album features original music by composer [c.1418]Joseph Bishara[]. The post-apocalyptic thriller [m.51804]The Worthy[] was one of the largest Arabic genre film productions in the Middle East, served by an evocative score combining electronic elements with organic grit and a percussive push. The devastation on display is also reflected in emotionally wrenching string writing, channeling loss and hope along with the sense of doom in this dark vision of one possible future. "Going into this it was clear that Ali (Mostafa, director) didn't want a necessarily Middle Eastern sound though the film is of the...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Alexandre Desplat Wins at 71st BAFTA Awards

Soundtrack News - Ma, 19/02/2018 - 01:00

Earlier today, the 71st British Academy Film Awards were given out at the Royal Opera House in London. The nominees and winners in the music categories were as follows:

Original Music:
[m.45794]Blade Runner 2049[] - [c.1354]Benjamin Wallfisch[] & [c.237]Hans Zimmer[]
[m.47257]Darkest Hour[] - [c.1069]Dario Marianelli[]
[m.45378]Dunkirk[] - [c.237]Hans Zimmer[]
[m.48468]Phantom Thread[] - [c.1579]Jonny Greenwood[]
Winner: [m.48148]The Shape of Water[] - [c.752]Alexandre...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: WaterTower Music Announces 'Game Night' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 17/02/2018 - 01:00
WaterTower Music will release the [a.22566]Game Night – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally and on CD on February 16th. The album features original music by acclaimed musician and composer [c.124]Cliff Martinez[] ([m.46152]The Foreigner[], [m.31372]Drive[]). "This score may have been the biggest musical challenge of my career," said Martinez. "When it comes to comedy, I doubt I'm at the top of most directors' short list. I'm the guy you call when the film's characters are doing drugs, getting shot, stabbed, beaten or blown up –unless of course, those things are supposed to be funny." In this case, they certainly are. [m.48562]Game Night[] is a comedy that takes a fresh and unexpected approach, so Martinez was an...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Alex Gibson

Film Music Magazine News - Vr, 16/02/2018 - 22:56

If the art of composing is akin to being a general following creative orders dictated by the director, then that bigger budget leader must have a stalwart support staff who knows the specific troops need to be recruited, how said formations need to be maneuvered, what equipment is necessary to win the battle. Of the multitudes needed from positions ranging from programmers to orchestral contractors and music mixers, a vital, if often unsung rank belongs to music editor. Helping to set the tone with temporary music, taking down director’s notes, or even creating “new” music from various elements the composer’s already recorded, the editor ensures the battle will be won, or at least make it to safety in some semblance. Hence the historic accomplishment of Alex Gibson, a vital lieutenant in the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated collaboration between composer Hans Zimmer and filmmaker Christopher Nolan that now reaches its metaphoric, Oscar-nominated apex for “Dunkirk.”

Starting his career in the booming LA punk scene as the guitarist and songwriter for The Little Cripples and B People, Gibson made an electrifying scoring debut with the ragingly authentic punk soundtrack for Penelope Spheeris’ 1983 cult film “Suburbia.” After the album “Passionel” and one more score for 1988’s noir satire “From Hollywood to Deadwood,” Gibson segued into a prolific career as a music editor. With Hans Zimmer’s scores to “Point of No Return” and “I’ll Do Anything” among his first credits, Gibson worked with such composers as Elmer Bernstein (“Devil in a Blue Dress”), John Lurie (“Get Shorty”) and Mark Isham (“The Getaway”), working on any number of genres from comedy (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) to musicals (“That Thing You Do”) and political suspense (“Thirteen Days”). Now as an editor at Formosa Music Group, Gibson has established himself as a go-to guy for Hollywood action blockbusters, among them “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Mad Max Fury Road,“ the Transformers” series and the forthcoming Zimmer-scored “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” among his prolific credits.

Alex Gibson (second left) and The B People

First teaming with Christopher Nolan on the David Julyan-scored soundtracks to “Insomnia” and “The Prestige,” Gibson would turn from these flowing, suspenseful approaches to the rhythmically hard-driving sound of Hans Zimmer when the filmmaker began working with the composer on “Batman Begins.” Spanning the bat-flapping percussion and atmospheric superhero noir of “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Gibson would help chart the beyond-complex thematic dream flow of “Inception,” then take an organ-fueled spaceship through “Interstellar’s” wormhole.

With “Dunkirk,” that synergy falls to earth for the first, true time to grasp victory from utter defeat as the British army receives a last second rescue from the shores of France. Time is of the essence to Zimmer’s hypnotically rhythmic approach, as far afield from any traditional war score as one might imagine. But abetting in a composer-director partnership that’s all about defying convention is what Gibson’s partnership has been all about in this case, literally keeping track of a time-jumping structure to help Zimmer ensure musically seamless momentum. “Alex is our creative brother,” the composer enthuses, “’Dunkirk’ was mind-blowingly complicated and stretched us all to the limits of the possible. Chris made a hugely experimental film, and it takes a truly adventurous spirit like Alex to embrace what so often during the process seems to be the impossible. Sometimes the phrase ‘I couldn’t have done it without him’ is far from an exaggeration.”

While Gibson has certainly received numerous professional accolades for his work among industry peers, it’s in the sound design of “Dunkirk” that he’s truly reached above the line with an Oscar nomination for Sound Editing. Shared with Richard King, Gibson’s achievement is a first for recognizing music editing as a vital part of the entire sound process, the kind of achievement made on his dual talents for insuring both invisibility of music cutting and its maximum impact. As the general of his own troops, Gibson now reflects on a partnership that’s helped his profession take its most visible leap yet, very likely on the stage of the Dolby Theater on March 4.

You began your music career in the seminal punk wave of Los Angeles. Could you talk about that experience, and how it led to you scoring “Suburbia” for Penelope Spheeris?

Coming out of art school in the late 70’s, a group of us formed a band that got good reviews but wasn’t a big seller. It was in the arty side. I wrote most of the songs. We were playing a gig on La Brea when Penelope Spheeris approached me and asked if I would score her movie. Of course I said yes.

How did you make the transition from film scoring to music editing? And do you think starting out that way helped distinguish your approach?

I did not transition directly from scoring to music editing. I did try to make the band work. But I needed an income, so an opportunity to get into film editing came about and I took it as an assistant on “Point Break” and “After Dark, My Sweet.” It was from there that I transitioned from picture editor to music editor, because I enjoyed it more

Your initial films with Christopher Nolan were on “Insomnia” and “The Prestige,” which David Julyan scored. What were your perceptions of Christopher, and his taste in film music?


I thought Chris had his own clear likes and dislikes. He’s adventurous, and willing to take giant risks if he believes the music is working for his film.

The partnership of you, Hans and Christopher truly started with “The Dark Knight.” Was there an instant synergy there, and how did it differ from your previous music editing experiences?

The Prologue to the film with the “clowns: robbing the bank was going to dub in two days, and Hans gave Chris a piece of music that he couldn’t connect with, frankly not liking it all. He was going to just put something together from “Batman Begins.” I said I’d like a try with Hans’s new piece,
So they printed it as wide as they could and I cut away at it all night long, using the bits I liked and the ones I thought Chris would like. I totally rebuilt a new cue. It’s what’s in the movie, and that was the beginning of our process.

Hans is known for the team effort that goes into his work. How would you describe the dynamic of his process?

With his team, they can generate a lot of material. And that suits my approach perfectly.

“Inception” was an especially ambitious collaboration that truly started the heavy use of music, and time-jumping framework in your work for Chris and Hans. What was it like finding that thematic rhythm that could hold an audience’s “place” in the film?

That’s Hans’s job. He had the simple piano motif. I suppose the wacky,spaced-out Edith Piaf was a thematic element as well. Really the rhythm of the scenes is also the doing of Lee Smith, who was the picture editor. He went first, and then we danced around that.

Alex Gibson and Oscar nominated Dunkirk editor Lee Smith

“Dunkirk” stands as Christopher’s first film based on true events. Yet it’s also very much one of his movie’s with its narrative structure. What were the first explorations like into how its score would sound?”

The endless rhythmic lines came first and was examined and tested before any tunes came. We also had Elgar’s Nimrod that we turned inside out.

Tell us about your own team on “Dunkirk.”

Well, it was me, fiddling around and Ryan Rubin keeping it all together. It would have fallen apart if he weren’t involved.

What was it like to create a temporary soundtrack for “Dunkirk?”

Chris doesn’t really do temps in the traditional sense. Our temps are suites and ideas from Hans that are used to track it out. It’s actually the beginning steps of the final score, which is just the end result of that first temp.

Hans has often used rhythm as a ticking clock in his scores, but perhaps never to the all-important degree he does in “Dunkirk” to represent the limited time the troops have. How did you help in that pace?

Ryan Rubin and myself laid down these ever increasing rhythms. From there we could see what tempo each “cue” would need to be to remain in sync. Then we had to redo cues if picture changes affected it too much. As we did all that, Hans would be still writing material as we put it together. Remember, Hans hasn’t gotten picture in the last few movies with Chris. He writes to what he remembers in s screening or script. He doesn’t write synchronized cues. We put his music to picture.

What was the most challenging sequence to edit in “Dunkirk?” And would you find yourself creating score sequences from Hans’ material?

Alex and Hans

The final action scene was difficult, mostly because of where we were in that variable tempo rhythm. A lot of precise cutting was needed to keep sync and hit the action beats. We were not allowed to cheat the underlying rhythm.

How did Elgar’s “Nimrod” come into play for the score?

That was Chris’s idea early on. I then started to see how far we could get cutting it, changing the phrases and having it played 1/4 speed. Once we had disguised it to Chris’s liking, then it went in. “Nimrod” stays hidden until the very end of the movie.

Given how contentious the use of source can be in a score when it comes to determining Oscar eligibility, was there ever a worry that Elgar could knock “Dunkirk” out of the running?

Well, we thought he would not receive a nomination. We were convinced. So apparently the percentage of source to score or whatever they use to determine this, was fine and “Dunkirk” was allowed to compete in The Oscars.

Hans Zimmer and Christoper Nolan

A music editing relationship often leaves the editor out of the actual process of helping to create a score. Were you surprised in how that would differ with Hans and Christopher, especially in the case of “Dunkirk?”

No, I’m not that surprised. That’s been the process of late. Hans writes and Chris and I create the cues to picture. Then Ryan and myself do these ideas with precision (we have to follow that underlying rhythm). There were many scenes that I would work on myself, and then show Chris. Ryan was a part of that as well.

How did you work with fellow nominee Richard King in making sure that the sound effects and music would work in tandem?

Dunkirk Sound Editor Richard King

We were fortunate to start the final on the first temp. We all had material and having that time allowed us to experiment, discuss and assign the various sounds to either music or sound fx. Richard had tonal elements that sounded like music and carried many different sounds cut to the variable tempo. Boat motor idling was our main one. Those are all in sync with the rhythm, so we could go from boat to plane. Some of the fx stay in sync to our rhythm. The results were interesting for sure.

Music often plays a second seat in the final mix. Given how Christopher likes to favor the score, what extra importance does that give to your job?

Well, it certainly makes it hard to hide edits! Everything has to be properly worked out.

“Dunkirk” marks the first time a music editor has been included in the award for Sound Editing. What do you think that says about your work on the film, and the potential for music editing to become more visible to the general Oscar viewer?

I think my inclusion as a co-sound supervisor is a direct result of how Chris uses music in his films. It seems my style plays into what he wants. I don’t know about the chances of another music editor to follow this specific path because the Academy thought this was an unusual case. “Once in a lifetime,” they said. Hopefully music editors will find paths into the Oscars, because the last I listened, music was sound. We should be a part of the sound-editing award.

In many ways, “Dunkirk” is Christopher’s most popular film with both critics and audiences. Why do you think it’s hit such a popular note, especially given it’s a “historical” film? And what part do you think music and sound design plays in that?

Christopher Nolan and Kenneth Branagh making Dunkirk

I’m not sure why it was more popular, but sound (music included) plays a huge roll in his movies, and that does translate to audience approval.

How has your work for Christopher and Hans stretched you as a music editor, and where do you see the collaboration going in terms of pushing the traditional boundaries of the editor-composer-filmmaker relationship?

It has certainly given me a lot of creative input. With Chris, anything can happen. He will explore boundaries and will keep taking huge risks in his approach with music. A composer that can work in that way, following the director closely, and still pushing their capabilities, will allow the “team” to go into uncharted territory in film music.

Could you see yourself stepping back into scoring?

I think about that a lot. But having a style that gives me a lot of creative input is enough for me now.

Buy Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated score for “Dunkirk” HERE and take a walk on the wild punk side with Alex Gibson’s score to “Suburbia” HERE

Visit Alex Gibson and the score editing troops of Formosa Music HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records & Invada Records Announce 'Annihilation' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 16/02/2018 - 01:00
Lakeshore Records and Invada Records will co-release [a.22526]Annihilation--Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[], featuring a score by [c.13365]Ben Salisbury[] and [c.13366]Geoff Barrow[], worldwide. The composing partners have once again joined forces with writer and director Alex Garland ([m.118]28 Days Later[]), for the filmmaker's upcoming film from Paramount Pictures and Skydance, starring Natalie Portman and produced by Scott Rudin, Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich, and Eli Bush. Their score for Garland's Oscar nominated [m.41546]Ex Machina[] gained two World Soundtrack Awards nominations and was the 2016 Ivor Novello Award Winner for Best Original Score. The soundtrack will be released digitally in North America by Lakeshore...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Ludwig Göransson

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 15/02/2018 - 21:45

From “Ant-Man’s” groovy 60’s spy hijinks to the retro 70’s and 80’s eccentricity of “Deadpool” and “Thor Ragnarok,” Marvel Movies have certainly allowed some interesting takes on the superhero scoring standard – which today usually means a big, old-school orchestra joined at the caped hip with pop-friendly electronic rhythm. But if Marvel’s unrivaled success in their domain has come from playing a different tune, perhaps no soundtrack entry in this hit fiefdom has gone as powerfully off-field as the African sound that Swedish-born composer Ludwig Göransson has magnificently captured with “Black Panther.”

Where many attempts at musically conveying the Dark Continent have now become a clichéd singer on the ethnic drum savannah, Göransson’s soundtrack for Marvel’s most critically acclaimed film yet is the real street deal for the imagined kingdom of Wakanda and their black-suited ruler T’Challa. It’s a land, and character where ancient nobility meet high tech. Chanting voices, furious drumming and echoing wind instruments bring a raw, primal power to “Black Panther,” musical authenticity that creates a costumed, avenging animal totem on the prowl. Percussion and howling, grunting singers play action and nobility where a symphony otherwise might to thrillingly naturalistic effect. Given his Grammy-nominated production chops in the world of urban beats for the likes of Donald Glover’s Childish Gambino, Haim and Chance the Rapper, “Panther” is just at home in the world of black grooves.

But then, this is a comic book movie score after all. And Göransson knows what that audience digs by bringing on beyond-mighty orchestral excitement, creating a fusion of brass muscle, future rhythm and rich string emotion for a hybrid genre score unlike any other, melody and primal percussion joining with gee-whiz thrills that satisfy fanboys and socially conscious, authenticity demanding listeners with equal, thrilling measure. Sure “Black Panther” might not be the O.G. black superhero film or score, but it’s hard to imagine either before this landmark.

“Black Panther” hits a new high for the collaboration between Göransson and filmmaker Ryan Coogler. First meeting at UCLA, Göransson brought a muted, alternative approach to Coogler’s debut “Fruitvale Station,” an understated approach that made its depiction of police brutality all the more devastating. The simmering anger was made palpable with the triumphant punches of “Creed,” Coogler’s excellent entry in the “Rocky” franchise that brought out a new orchestral power from Göransson, allowing him to hit with Apollo’s son in a way that played a black vibe while being in the spirit of Bill Conti’s iconic score, brilliantly dancing in the ring with the new soundtrack’s take on “Gonna Fly Now.” Now Göransson fearlessly takes on another iconic pop culture figure, leaping with T’Challa and his kingdom with an assurance that makes this innovative composer to the Wakandan musical throne born.

As a kid in Sweden, what was your exposure to film scores like, and were there any scores that particularly inspired you? Could you see a future as a composer, even back then?

I probably didn’t understand at the time, because I was a small child, but Danny Elfman’s “Edward Scissorhands” really got to me emotionally. It was only when I was twelve that I truly understood that it was the music that really drew me into the movie. And that’s when I discovered film scores. I went from “Edward’ to “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and then onto the John Williams scores. When I was in high school, I got the impression that if you actually worked as a film composer, then you could get to write in all different kinds of genres. But I didn’t know how to go about getting a job like that.

Ludwig Goransson & Ryan Coogler

How did you first meet Ryan Coogler?

Ryan’s from Oakland, and we both met at the University of Southern California. I was a music major, and he was a film major. I had just moved from Sweden, and our backgrounds were extremely different. But as soon as we met, Ryan just started telling me about his favorite Swedish bands! And I was like, “How do you know about all of these Swedish artists?” So the start of our collaboration was this friendship.

Your first major score was with Ryan for “Fruitvale Station.” It’s a subtle score for a brutal instance of police brutality. Why did you choose to downplay your approach, and how do you think the film helped you establish an enduring creative relationship with Ryan?

Ryan and I had done two student movies before “Fruitvale Stations,” and both were extremely realistic. They didn’t need a lot of music. The first cut of “Fruitvale Station” was exactly the same. I told him that I didn’t think it needed any music at all. We ended up just experimenting and putting score in different spots. From the very beginning, Ryan told me how he wanted the sound of the BART train to be a character in the movie. I said, “Well, if you want that sound, let’s try to sample it and bring it into the musical world.” It ended up coming in and out of the score to make the film even more uneasy and unsettling.

Even before “Black Panther” came along, you both worked on another iconic character with Rocky Balboa for “Creed.” What was it like for you to come up with a truthful urban vibe for Apollo’s son, but yet so wonderfully integrate the Bill Conti sound as well as the song “Gonna Fly Now?”

It was difficult. Here you have this iconic music for Rocky. And now here comes a 28-year-old filmmaker and a 29 year-old composer. We were just hungry to create something new, and this story was completely different from the other “Rocky” films. Right from the very beginning, Ryan was like, “Let’s just focus on creating something new.” It wasn’t in his mind that we needed to pay musical homage, or use any of the original themes. It was a really creative way of starting that score with a blank slate like that. Then as the movie and character grew on us, it was just natural to put in some of the old, original themes, especially for Rocky and also the special moment at the very end, where Creed stands up. You really needed to give the audience a musical payoff there that they’d been waiting for.

I think a lot of people hear the “Creed” score and think that it pays homage to Bill Conti. But I think the way of using a jazz tonality language worked in a way that made the score feel fresh. So, for me, the sound that we eventually ended up with on “Creed” was nostalgic, but also new in the same way. Ryan and I were both very happy with that.

Even though you’ve been doing “serious” scores, you’ve also in the meantime done a bunch of straight-ahead comedies and TV shows like “Central Intelligence,” “We’re the Millers” and “New Girl.” Is it fun to take that “lighter” break?

I think the nature of being a film composer, is being able to move like a chameleon amongst genres. That’s one thing that I’ve always been drawn to, like in the way that I can move from producing a hip-hop album, to scoring a 30-minute sitcom. That’s two extremely different experiences as a workflow. But I’m still writing music. It’s just for different genres, and that’s the joy of my work, and why I love being a film composer. It’s being able to move around and do different stuff.

Before you were even signed on to do “Black Panther,” what was your reaction as an audience member to seeing the character first appear onscreen in “Captain America: Civil War?”

I just thought he was a badass. As soon as he came in, I just felt like the shift of the movie had changed. It was in the way he moved, and the way the Russo brothers shot him and the kinetic energy that he brought into the movie, He just lifted the film. I had no idea at the time that I was going to write his main theme or score his personality. But The Black Panther was definitely one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe before I got to do this project.

Once you got the film, what kind of research did you do for it?

I’ve worked with Ryan for almost 10 years now, and he begins by sending me the first draft of his scripts. He not only directs, but he also writes all of his movies, So when I got his initial script for “Black Panther,” I was like, “Okay, if going to do this movie justice, then I have to go to Africa to start my research there, before I can even write a single note.”

“Black Panther” is certainly one of the most authentic “African” scores I’ve heard.

I think what’s significant about T’Challa’s country of Wakanda is that it was never colonized. So what would music sound like in an African country that didn’t have Christian music influences? Essentially, we all know that all music comes from Africa. So my goal was just trying to research and discover as much “pre-colonization” music that I could. And go to places where you still had the “Griots,” which is the African term for “musician.” They come from a bloodline of musical families that go thousands of years. And being able to talk to them, and to be around them was my goal in researching the score. But at the same time, Wakanda is also the most highly advanced technological country in Africa, and the whole world. So that opens up the doors to Western classical music, modern production and this whole melting pot of music. But it was always important that the skeleton of “Black Panther’s” musical foundation be come from pre-colonization African music.

How long were you in Senegal for? And were there any kind of “Eureka!” moments where you truly got the sound of the score?

Baaba Maal

I was in Senegal for three weeks in the end of 2016. A friend of mine introduced me to this well-known, esteemed African musician named His name is Baaba Maal, I got his number, and called him a few weeks before my trip, and told him, “Hey, you don’t know who I am, but I’m a film composer working on an African superhero film, and I’d love to meet you and do some research.” Baaba invited me to come on his tour he was going to do on in Senegal and some of its smaller villages. My fiancée Serena and I bought plane tickets to Dakar, where Baaba’s assistant picked us up at the airport. After traveling for 20 hours in the car, we finally arrived at three in the morning in a little stone house, where he was sitting and waiting for the concert to start Baaba started playing at four in the morning. People had been waiting months and months for this concert. And as tired as we were, the energy he brought to that room turned it into an out-of-body experience for us. We were just mesmerized. And ever since that first moment, when I heard him for the first time, I was like, “That’s the feeling that I’m going capture in this score.”

From there we followed Baaba around for five more days, and we started to get to know his band and his musicians. He then he invited us to his house and to some amazing musicians. He let me use his home studio. And one of the instruments that really stood out to m there was the talking drum, which is the first type of communication device. You can basically say it’s the first type of telephone. It’s a drum that you put it on your shoulder and hit. You can, can basically pitch it with your arm by pressing on it in different ways. And you can “talk” with the drum. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago in every village, you always had a talking drum player. So, when the tribal leader had a message that he wanted to deliver to his tribe, he always called the talking drum player to his house, and told him, “Can you let everyone know tomorrow at 8:00 PM we’re gonna have a council meeting in the village.” Then the talking drum player goes into the middle of the village and starts playing that message, and everyone at the same time hears it, and understands exactly what’s going on, and what the message is.

The Talking Drum

So, I was talking to Baaba Maal’s talking drum player, whose name is Massamba Diop, and we decided to put together a six-person talking drum ensemble, which I recorded for a day. Something else that kept running through my head was how do you say “’T’Challa’ on the talking drum?” I asked them to play that for me on the talking drum. It’s basically three hits with different pitches. That was my “Eureka!” moment, because I knew this would be a really interesting color for T’Challa’s main theme, to be heard every time his name came up.

Another sound that comes back and forth is an instrument called the Fula flute, which comes from a tribal name. It was like its player was talking, and sometimes screaming into his flute. I got goose bumps on my arms because it sounded so mysterious, impulsive, and dark. I knew that sound would be perfect for the movie’s villain Killmonger. So I pulled the player aside and told him about Killmonger’s character, how comes from Africa and how he wants to take over Wakanda. Then the player improvised. He started screaming “Killmonger!” into the flute, and just kind of turned into this other person. I was so mesmerized. And that became Killmonger’s theme.

Unlike film scores, which have to be written, true African music is improvised, just like it’s later form of jazz. How did you want to adapt such an untamable voice into the strict nature of a movie soundtrack?

One of the biggest differences in Western classical music and African music is that “our” music isn’t considered music until it’s written down on paper. African music is someone creates a rhythm for a specific moment, say a ceremony for a king, and then the rhythm is there for everyone to play. There’s no sheet paper for it. It’s a knowledge that passes on through families, and through tradition, and through ceremonies. So essentially, all traditional African music has rhythms with a specific meaning to them. There are thousands of different rhythms that are written for a coming of age ceremony. There are thousands of rhythms that are written for confirmation ceremonies. I wanted to know how you could use that rhythm for a challenge in this film? I asked a master drummer, “Can you play me some different challenge rhythms?” He was able to match real traditional rhythms that are used for real ceremonies into the specific scenes of this movie. That authenticity was very important.

But yet, on the other end, this is a superhero movie. And superhero movies have a western orchestral tradition. How did you want to bring those worlds together here?

That was the biggest challenge of the movie. Because as soon as you start including an orchestra over African sounds and rhythms, it stops to sound African. So, how can you infuse an orchestra into the African sounds and rhythms, in way that doesn’t hurt the African mood? That was really difficult. I just kind of reconfigured my brain in the way of writing western music, where we have counterpoints, melody and harmony as a music theory. In African music, you do have counterpoints and melody, but that’s all in the percussion and rhythm. African music has 10 other polyrhythms and counter-rhythms that goes under that. So, how can you use the orchestra in that way? That’s what I was trying to do, but still keep it in a way that was big and cinematic, because that’s obviously very important to this kind of movie.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
L to R: T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)
Credit: Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

In “Civil War,” T’Challa is pretty much invincible. How did you want to make him both physically and emotionally vulnerable here?

This movie is basically about finding your identity and knowing what your purpose is. That’s a theme in the music, which I create by writing a string melody for him. I’d say that T’Challa has two themes. One is this big, brass fanfare with the talking drums that announces that this is T’Challa. It’s my “royal” theme. T’Challa also has a more emotional theme that’s a lot longer as It plays with him trying to find his way in life. There’s also an ancestral string theme that comes anytime he has any disbelief or struggles to find out who he is. A fragment of that theme is also Killmonger’s theme, which is played by the flute in a “broken” way. They’re musically connected characters with the flute and talking drum. When you put a big orchestra on top of that, it makes the whole score come together for their climactic battle.

As T’Challa is the king of Wakanda, there’s a regal, and mystical majesty to the score.

Definitely. His theme is extremely rhythmical. It’s more a rhythm than a melody, sometimes.

With your background as a producer on urban albums, how those production techniques play into this score?

It’s a big part of the score, as Killmonger is an American. He’s a very complex, strong-minded and impulsive character. So for his sound, I was really playing around with in a modern African-American production way, which is more of a hip hop, rap type of production, which I do have a lot of experience with, because I produced a bunch of rap and hip hop artists. It’s a sound that I’m very familiar with which I’ve incorporated into other film scores. It also couldn’t be better to do with an African-themed movie, because if you can break the sore down, with a lot of these rap beats, if you just change the sound, it’s African drums. So, when you come into the battles towards the end of the score, you have these crazy rhythms and patterns, just in African percussion, but then suddenly it comes in with modern hip hop production, and it doesn’t take you away from the purpose of the music. It still feels like it’s one piece, It’s really fun for me to combine an orchestra with hip hop sounds in a way that hasn’t been done before.

After “Black Panther,” you’ll be scoring another iconic avenger with Paul Kersey in Eli Roth’s remake of “Death Wish.”

Bruce Willis in Death Wish

I wasn’t familiar with “Death Wish” at first until Eli Roth called me up and asked me to score it. I was totally fascinated by the script, and watched the original movie, which has an amazing score by Herbie Hancock. So now I really wanted to do the movie! It’s such an interesting score. Herbie used these string quartet pieces in there, and there’s some crazy percussion. My score ended up feeling extremely dark. It’s an organism of itself because I was trying to create something that sounded like the really twisted part of someone’s mind. Just listening to my score alone would probably feel extremely claustrophobic, because it’s hearing a man who thinks he’s healthy, but is definitely not. He’s just going crazy. And hopefully I was able to create the sense of that with my “Death Wish” score.

What do you think your “Black Panther” score shows people about how unique a composer can be when coming from a production background like yours?

I started out very early as a musician and songwriter when I was just writing music for myself on the guitar. And then in high school, I got the opportunity to start writing for orchestras and have classical training. I wrote a piece for a symphony orchestra in Sweden in last year of high school, which kind of opened up my mind to that world. Then I started to do a lot of training in theory, and classical music. In college, I put all my time and effort into studying improvisation in jazz, and theory at one of the best colleges in Europe. Straight out of college, I had my own jazz quintet, where I wrote these crazy jazz songs. I toured all over Europe with that group. So jazz was in my background, as it is with many composers, like John Williams. So, I guess in that way, maybe I come from a different background, but I never really saw myself as an outsider.

Marvel is often very hands-on with their music. Given how unusual your approach for “Black Panther” was, were they extra watchful?

No, I couldn’t have had a better experience. Ryan and I work right from the beginning. I scored the first version of his director’s cut, which was four hours long. We didn’t use any temp music during the process. And through it all, Marvel was extremely supportive and so excited to hear something that was different like this, especially when they heard the mash-up of all these styles. From day one they were supportive of Ryan’s vision. He’s one of the most incredible geniuses I’ve had the pleasure to work with because he has such a clear vision of what he’s doing. This was the music that he envisioned.

Venture to Wakanda with Ludwig Göransson’s “Black Panther” score album on Hollywood Records, available for digital download on February 16th HERE. Take a tragic trip to “Fruitvale Station” HERE before triumphantly standing in with ring with “Creed” HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: 'Black Panther' Score Album Announced

Soundtrack News - Wo, 14/02/2018 - 01:00
Marvel Music/Hollywood Records are releasing the digital album of the [m.41692]Black Panther[] score, composed by Grammy-nominated composer and songwriter [c.2269]Ludwig Göransson[], on February 16, 2018. [m.41692]Black Panther[] marks Göransson's third collaboration with director Ryan Coogler ([m.43173]Creed[], [m.35011]Fruitvale Station[]). The Swedish-born composer wrote the original songs for [m.43173]Creed[] and has also produced albums for Childish Gambino, Haim, and Chance the Rapper. Göransson recorded the score in London with a 132-piece western classical orchestra, African percussionists and a 40-person choir. Göransson said, "After reading Ryan's first draft of the script, I quickly realized that the only way I could...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Johann Johannsson Dies at 48

Soundtrack News - Zo, 11/02/2018 - 01:00
[c.3198]Jóhann Jóhannsson[], Academy Award-nominated composer for his score for James Marsh's [m.40675]The Theory of Everything[] and Denis Villeneuve's [m.41837]Sicario[], passed away Friday, February 9 in Berlin. The cause of death is unknown. Known for his compositions that often blended electronics with classical orchestrations, Jóhannsson had come to be one of the most in-demand film composers of his generation. His other credits as a film composer include [m.35582]Prisoners[], [m.44592]Arrival[] (for which he was Golden Globe- and BAFTA-nominated), [m.46542]The Mercy[], [m.49629]Mandy[] and the upcoming [m.48862]Mary Magdalene[]. In addition to his film scores, Jóhannsson had a career as a solo musician and composed...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Academy Announces Harold Wheeler as Oscar Music Director

Soundtrack News - Za, 10/02/2018 - 01:00
Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd today announced the key members of the production team for the [m.51555]90th Oscars[], which will air live on Sunday, March 4, on ABC. [c.24090]Harold Wheeler[], music director, returns for his fifth Oscars telecast. An accomplished orchestrator, composer, conductor, record producer and arranger, Wheeler has received multiple Emmy and Tony Award nominations as well as an NAACP Theatre Award for lifetime achievement. His television credits include the "People's Choice Awards," "AFI's 100 Years…" series and 17 seasons of "Dancing with the Stars." Wheeler also composed music for two Democratic National Conventions and the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics. On Broadway, he has...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records Announces 'Altered Carbon' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 09/02/2018 - 01:00
Lakeshore Records will release [a.22514]Altered Carbon - Original Netflix Series Soundtrack[] digitally February 9, 2018. The album features original music by composer [c.3178]Jeff Russo[] ([m.50145]Star Trek: Discovery[], [m.39686]Fargo[]). In addition to the original score, the album includes three songs including a cover of the Johnny Cash standard "Ain't No Grave" performed by [m.48696]Altered Carbon[] star Renée Elise Goldsberry (Quellcrist Falconer) and Sune Rose Wagner's performance of White Zombie's "More Human Than Human". When asked about how he crafted the score for this unique futuristic universe, composer Russo said, "We wanted to play the emotional undercurrent of the story so we decided not to be too on the nose as...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws
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