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Soundtrax: Episode 2023-02
March/April, 2023

Feature Interviews:

  • Alex Heffes Meets MAFIA MAMMA

  • James Allen Roberson: Scoring HEART OF A CHAMPION

    Interviews by Randall D. Larson

    Overviews: Soundtrack Reviews

• ALMA aka THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR/F Velasquez/ Quartet
• CHAPLIN/John Barry/La-La land

• THE FACULTY/Marco Beltrami/Intrada
• FUNNY WOMAN/Nainita Desai/Sky Music
• JOE 90/Barry Gray Silva Screen
• MAYRIG/588 RUE PARADIS/Jean-Claude Petit/Music Box
• THE PORTABLE DOOR/Benjamin Speed/Lakeshore
• THE TIME MACHINE (2002)/Klaus Badelt/Varèse

  • Film & TV Music News
  • New Soundtrack News
  • Non-Film Musical Works by Film Composers
  • Film Music Books
  • Documentary Film & Soundtrack News
  • Vinyl Soundtracks
  • Video Game Music News

MAFIA MAMMA follows an insecure American woman (Toni Collette) who unexpectedly inherits her grandfather’s mafia empire in Italy. Guided by the firm’s trusted consigliere (Monica Bellucci), she hilariously defies everyone’s expectations, including her own, as the new head of the family business. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the film stars Toni Collette and features an original score composed by Alex Heffes, who previously scored RED RIDING HOOD, and MISS BALA for Hardwicke. “We wanted a fun, ‘retro Italian vibe’ for the score,” says Hardwicke. MAFIA MAMMA was released nationwide to theaters on April 14, 2023, by Bleecker Street.
Alex Heffes is a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and 3-time Ivor Novello nominated composer who has scored over 70 feature films and TV projects. His wide range of work includes scores to Kevin Macdonald’s THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, STATE OF PLAY and TOUCHING THE VOID; MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM for Justin Chadwick; the dark electronica of BLACK MIRROR (“Shut Up & Dance”); the Disney feature QUEEN OF KATWE and the mini-series A SUITABLE BOY, both for Mira Nair. Notable TV projects include the 2016 award-winning reboot of TV classic ROOTS and the Stephen King mini-series 11.22.63, produced by J.J. Abrams.
Alex has received several International Film Music Critics Association nominations, and his score to ROOTS won Best TV Score of the Year at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. In 2016 he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Watch the film’s trailer:

Q: Tell me about scoring MAFIA MAMMA. How closely did you collaborate with director Catherine Hardwicke, who you’d also worked with before?

Alex Heffes: As you say, I’d done a couple of movies with Catherine already, so she called me early before the shoot. She sent me the script and wanted me to write some music for the script, as we needed some themes for the rival families. So early on, I wrote the theme for Tony Collette’s family, the Balbanos, and then for the Romanos, we had something already to percolate in our minds by the time they were shooting. We got to see something, which was a fun way to do it.

Q: With the Italy setting and the Mafioso situation, there’s a musical style familiar with that in film music – how did you establish your musical vibe for the movie while acknowledging the Sicilian/gangster image that the film evoked?

Alex Heffes: Right, yeah. Catherine wanted to nod to that whole genre, there’s no question, and there are lots of little Easter eggs about THE GODFATHER in the movie, visually and in all sorts of ways! But I didn’t go back and watch those movies; I didn’t want to be specifically influenced but to take in the full flavor of what I remember from them. I think a lot of it has to do with the colors of the instruments that we wanted to use – all those wonderful Italian instruments: the trumpet, which is so associated with that genre, and all those fun instruments that you get in bands, like accordions, dulcimers, and mandolins. We assembled a little band with trumpets, tuba, accordion, and dulcimers. I wanted to have the two rival families to have different instruments. So, the Balbanos, Tony Collette’s family, have a trumpet theme in there, and their rivals have the tuba, which is a very low sound. Each family has their theme, so it’s like the Battle of the Brass in a way!

Two main themes were written to a script, which is always tricky, but it gives you a chance to percolate ideas. So, I had those two themes early on, and when the film came, I was able to look at them and develop them. I’d already written some music that, while it didn’t fit the picture, I’d given it to the editor, and he’d already placed it in some parts of the film, so when I first saw it, it already had some of my music on it. It’s interesting when you can take that and start developing ideas from seeing it up to picture. It’s a creative way of working, actually; there’s a bit of backward and forwards between the picture department and me, trying to feel our way for what might work.

Q: How much music did the film require from you?

Alex Heffes: It was about three-quarters of an hour of score, and there are some songs as well. I was trying to keep it light because it’s an action comedy, and the action sequences required a lot of music. It’s always fun to score action comedies because it’s like doing ballet – you must be nimble and keep it light, and even though it’s action, you must keep in mind, because it’s a comedy, it can never get too dangerous or dramatic. Keeping it sparkling and witty was fun, but it needed energy and pace. That’s one of the fun things about working in these types of movies. And with Catherine being a fun person anyway, she injects fun into everything you do!

Q: In addition to the Balbano’s theme and the Romano’s theme, what themes did you have, if any, for other characters that were prominent in the score?

Alex Heffes: There’s one character who – I don’t want to give too much of a spoiler – but he’s one of the assassins who unfortunately ends up being assassinated by the hapless Toni Collette in quite a dark way. He has a theme on a dulcimer that comes in several times. I thought about how to approach some of these dark elements because the Mafia have that undercurrent of violence and darkness inherent in it. I spent time thinking about how to keep the music from getting too dark and heavy. Even though that assassin comes to a nasty end, I’m trying to keep the palette light with him, using the dulcimer. In that action sequence, I also used a lot of Indian percussion – tablas and different percussion – not that he’s Indian. Still, I’m always looking to juxtapose interesting sounds that you might not expect with some things, like a fish-out-of-water approach, taking a sound and putting it up against something that doesn’t necessarily match and seeing what happens. That’s quite a fun experiment.

Q: I love that whole scene; I thought it worked well. The texture and tone of your music there was very engaging and a lot of fun at the same time. 

Alex Heffes: Cool!

Q: Your score was recorded by the Budapest Art Orchestra. Was this a remote session, and how did you accommodate that?

Alex Heffes: Yeah, we had quite a complicated schedule. We needed to be in different countries at the same time. Catherine was dubbing in London during the final sound mix, so I went to London from L.A., and we recorded live instruments in London for a time – we did that little band. We spent a week doing the accordion, trumpet, tuba, percussion, and drums in London. Then, to save time, we did a remote session with the orchestra in Budapest whilst I was still in London so that Catherine could be almost in the same time zone. So that was a bit of delicate balancing of time zones and schedules to get it all lined up, but the stars all lined up for us, and we got it done!

Q: The film affords a few different musical settings beyond the basic theme-and-variation. What can you tell me about some of the other musical elements that you were able to get involved with?

Alex Heffes: Trying to fit together all those elements with the orchestra is always a challenge. That’s something that people have asked me to do a lot in my career, where I’ve done hybrid scores. I’ve done lots of dramas and scores set in different parts of the world, for example, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND or MANDELLA or even A SUITABLE BOY [T.V. series], which is set in India, trying to find a creative way of fusing music from other places with the language of film music – which is orchestras, actually. So, it was interesting to take this little, crazy Sicilian band that we’ve got making the funny action music but fit that with an orchestra so that it all makes sense in the movie. I love doing that, and people have asked me to do that throughout my career, so I’m always looking for exciting ways of making those two things work rather than just being jammed together.

Q: I found your short album track, “Be the Leopard,” quite compelling. How did that cue come about?

Alex Heffes: [chuckles]: Fabrizio, the character who says that, is a very funny guy. The scene where he’s very resistant to Toni Collette coming in because he wants to inherit the crown of mob boss himself. He’s really given her the hard shoulder, and then he finally gives her some respect after she dispatches Bruno in this particularly brutal manner, and he tells her, “You’ve got to step up. You’ve got a real talent for violence. You’ve got to find your inner Leopard!” And he’s trying to teach her to roar like a leopard, and she is just a sweet person who haplessly keeps murdering people by mistake! So that was a fun cue to do. Trying to write funny music is interesting because audiences often spot funny music a mile off. You can’t just be obviously funny – you must find a little bit of a sideways way of doing it so that it’s amusing or interesting, but it’s not necessarily on the nose funny if you know what I mean. So that was one of those!

Q: How did you develop your lovely music for the vineyard sequence, which starts softly and progresses into a delicate orchestral flavoring?

Alex Heffes: I think that was a chance to have the strings do their Italian thing and give you a little bit of a moment of widescreen enjoyment, a bit like enjoying the flavor of great wine and just opening up the string section and having something a bit movie-like for a moment to remind you that you’re enjoying a film about Italy. The remarkable scenery and the food are also a big part of the movie.

Q: There are several songs place in the film. Did you have to weave your score in and around any of those when you were spotting your music, or how did you interact with them?

Alex Heffes: Yeah. The guitars and percussion used in many of those Italian songs in the ’70s are a part of the patina of what we think of as Italian music. They’re a fun texture to the film, with that slightly Retro Italian pop flavor. I guess it was handed down through the music of people like Ennio Morricone, so it was definitely – I wouldn’t say they inspired me, but I tried to work something that meshes with those and doesn’t jump out a mile so that the score can seem as if it’s all part of the same fabric of the film.

Q: You also wrote one of the songs, “Little Pinky Prelude,” and I can guess where it was used…! How did that come about?

Alex Heffes: [laughs]: Well, sometimes making music for movies is like throwing ideas at the wall, and one day I just threw that idea at the wall and showed it to Catherine, and she liked it. So, it stuck!

Q: The end credits offer some extended treatments of a couple of your themes. How did that work out?

Alex Heffes: I’ve always been a big End Credits fan, from childhood watching movies with music scored all the way through. I’m thinking – this is a different film, but something like E.T. has that amazing End Credit music that you never hear in the movie, but it’s somehow there on the credits. It’s like a way for composers to let their hair down, show off some of the ideas in the film, and send the audience out with something in their ears to remind them of what they’ve just seen. I like to pay attention to some things in the End Credits and give people something to hear as they exit the theater. Even if they won’t sit there and listen to it all in detail, it’s just fun to send people out with something.

Q: What did you find was most challenging about scoring MAFIA MAMMA?

Alex Heffes: As I mentioned earlier, funny music is challenging because you can’t be funny. The performances are all great – Toni Collette, Monica Bellucci, they’re all wonderful. Not wanting to tread on their toes, just being careful about where you put music is part of the key in a comedy, just making sure you don’t step on the jokes. I think finding that balance between being funny but also needing to be a little bit dark – the dark humor in it is something I was very aware of; that was like almost gasping because it suddenly gets somewhat out of control and violent for a moment – which is sort of the point of that genre! Trying to weave my way between those different things – and that’s what the film does so well, and that’s what Catherine wanted all along. She had this vision of how this Toni Collette figure would be this sweet, harmless person who gets put in the middle of these terrible situations, and she’s not trying to be this vicious Mafia boss. Still, it seems to come naturally to her, so the music must also support that. That’s the film’s tone, which was one of the challenging and fun things too.

Q: What’s coming up next for you that you can talk about?

Alex Heffes: Now I’m in the middle of something different. I’m doing a great crime drama with Michael Keaton, who stars and directs the movie. It’s very different but wonderful to work with Michael, and very interesting.

Filmtrax has released the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for MAFIA MAMMA.

FYI: See my previous interviews with Alex Heffes in my September 2008 Soundtrax [THE BRIDGE, THE LAST KIND OF SCOTLAND, TOUCHING THE VOID, THE PAROLE OFFICER), my March 24, 2011 column [RED RIDING HOOD], and my December 8, 2013 column [MANDELA].


James Allen Roberson is a composer, sound designer, and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, James began playing and performing violin at four years old. At thirteen, he picked up the guitar and began teaching himself songs and music theory. He also joined his high school’s orchestra, where he started to build his orchestral arranging and composition knowledge. With an early copy of Finale (music notation software program), he started arranging and composing for string quartet, string orchestra, and full orchestra. Various ensembles in Tennessee and Massachusetts later performed several of these pieces. He began studying jazz guitar with Mark Boling and classical finger-style guitar with Lawrence Long. He arranged Vivaldi’s “Summer” from the Four Seasons for electric guitar, string orchestra, and rock band. This arrangement eventually led to him being awarded a guitar scholarship to Berklee College of Music. After graduation, James moved to Los Angeles and got a job as a composer for BASE Productions. His music and sound design have appeared in various shows, and he’s worked alongside acclaimed film composer Rupert Gregson-Williams at Remote Control Productions for several years. He has written and recorded for such diverse composers as Deborah Lurie, Gerrit Wunder, Mark Isham, Christopher Willis, and Lorne Balfe before bringing his entire musical history to bear to combine modern cinematic scoring and pop production with traditional folk and Western techniques to build an authentic and unique sonic world for film characters to inhabit. 
In his most recent soundtrack to this year’s upcoming feature film Heart of a Champion, James continues to explore the versatility and emotional possibilities of the Americana sound and grounds the film with his own musical language. Despite containing its fair share of adolescent awkwardness, romance, and family drama, the score bursts with the fun and freedom of wide-open spaces and youthful adventure. In addition to the score, James also produced the songs in the film with several talented artists creating a unified musical identity from the first note to the last.

Watch the trailer for HEART OF A CHAMPION:

Q: You’ve had a long experience writing additional music, serving as arranger, composer’s assistant, technical assistant, and the like, for films as far back as 2010. How did you break in, and what did it take to bring you into the position you are now, as a composer yourself?

James Allen Roberson: In 2009, I graduated from Berkeley College of Music, and then I decided to come out to L.A. because that’s where the movies are being made, so it’s probably where the composers are hanging out. I got a job with the composer Phillip Giffin out of Palisades when I first got here. I worked with him for a while, and then I made the transition over to Remote Control Productions as a runner/intern. I did that for about a year, and then Rupert Gregson-Williams hired me, and I worked with him for five years. I went freelance in 2016 with the show SPIRIT RIDING FREE, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Being around all those different mentors taught me much about how film scores got made.

Q: What kind of experience did you get from SPIRIT RIDING FREE, the animated T.V. series you scored in 2017-19 – and how did that happen?

James Allen Roberson: A friend of mine I’d worked with at Remote Control ended up, years later, an executive over at Dreamworks Television, and he thought that my music – because I’m from Tennessee and I know a lot about banjos and fiddles and that kind of Folk/Western/Country type music – might be a good fit for this, so he asked me to submit a demo and do a pitch. This was all while I worked for Rupert, so it was just in my spare time. I was putting all that together, and someone else was hired, so I went back to just working for Rupert; then they lost that position, so I was given another chance to try and score an episode, and then they brought me on it. But what it taught me was that I felt I was good at composing and hitting deadlines and everything. Still, I knew that I was working at the edge of my ability, so I put my stuff in storage for a few months and was living in the studio and writing all day, just so I knew that I could get to a certain level, where if any crazy fastball came at me that I would be able to handle it. So, I did that from the end of 2016 until March or so of 2017, just fully hitting the mattresses, churning out about 20 minutes of music every week or so.

Q: What can you tell me about the short film you scored for Spencer Squire in 2019, TRIP’S DUPLAGE?

James Allen Roberson: That was cool. There was a different executive on the studio side at Dreamworks, Andrew Tolbert. We’d worked together on SPIRIT, and he was producing this little movie, and he called me and asked if I would compose some music for it. They wanted this kind of Alex North and old 20’s jazz stuff, and I never get to write like that, so I was delighted to come in and get some New Orleans style going on in that film. I also got to do some old Hollywood stuff, like flowing REBECCA music, like Alfred Newman.

Q: This year, you’ve returned to horses with HEART OF A CHAMPION, a touching and fun family movie. What brought you in to scoring this project?

James Allen Roberson: That was another case of knowing people. I was scoring another short film for my friend Lisandro Novillo, SURVIVING THE BIG ONE WITH HELP FROM MOM. Kind of a post-apocalyptic, gritty thing. I’d just finished that with him, and he had held a barbecue to have everyone over after the production, and his roommate, who was also a friend of mine, just pointed to me when I got there, and she said, “Hey, do you want to score a horse movie?” And it turned out her sales agent was the producer of HEART OF A CHAMPION, Miriam Elchanan. They were going to license a score and then, at the last minute, realized they couldn’t get the physical rights, so they hired me. I had about five weeks to write a whole new soundtrack as well as produce the songs. But I said yes because I had done SPIRIT, and I figured the film music language of a movie like HEART OF A CHAMPION couldn’t be too different from the plot and many of the story beats that SPIRIT had.

Q: How closely did you work with the director to establish the film’s musical requirements?

James Allen Roberson: I worked closely with Miriam, the producer. All the director’s notes were getting funneled through her. I told Miriam what I wanted to do: I wanted to use these instruments and have these sounds, and this is what I think about approaching the story. I had about five weeks, so I decided to divide the movie into fifths and said, “I’ll send you the first fifth, and if you have any notes, I’ll send you the next fifth along with accommodating your first notes.” That was how we were going to proceed because there was no time to waste. She liked it – I only got one note – I’d had some human whistles in this cue, and they didn’t like that and asked if we could make that something else, so I made it a piano.

Q: What was your instrumental palette for this score, and how did you decide on that mix?

James Allen Roberson: It’s interesting because other people have pointed out, correctly, that there is a lot of story similarity between SPIRIT RIDING FREE and HEART OF A CHAMPION, and there is, but there are also some differences. SPIRIT is animated, it’s a television show, and it’s a period piece, whereas HEART OF A CHAMPION takes place in modern-day Texas, and its live action. So, there were a few differences. I mainly used guitars, fiddles, played by Dayna Bee, who also has a song in the film, and then bass, guitar, drums, and then the odd mandolin and banjo, to give it that Western palette. But also there’s a Hohner Guitaret, which is like an electric kalimba, used for when Charlie is feeling like a fish out of water in high school or these sort of nervy moments of not fitting in. It still connects to the guitar world, but it’s a little more alien – mainly small instruments like that, but not a ton of orchestral elements until you get to the end, where things start to heat up.

Q: How would you describe your thematic design of the score and how your themes interfaced throughout the arc of the story? 

James Allen Roberson: I tried to be disciplined about that. There are only a handful of themes, but then they grow off each other. Charlie’s Theme first plays when she does this little montage, and she’s emptying her piggy bank to try to raise the money for the horse; that’s synthesizer and glockenspiel. It’s this cute little thing that gradually grows and adds fiddle and gets orchestral elements as she grows confident, and then that theme grew into a theme later that I call the Charlie and Chango theme. It just has some extra notes at the end and has a bit more of a yearning quality. That pops in during the moments when Beth and Clint are watching Charlie ride and culminates at the end of the film. There is a family theme, which I think is the first one that plays as Beth and Charlie walk out of the school. That gets a lot of airplay, and it symbolizes how this horse is bringing this broken family back together. The only other theme I can think of that got some mileage was what I’d call the “Hope” Theme, and you hear it a few times when Charlie is looking for the horse. There are a few montages based around this fifth motor with a lot of energy and excitement. That pops up a few times as well.

Q: How did you treat the scenes during the riding competition?

James Allen Roberson: A lot of mileage needed to be accounted for there. I wanted to save many of the overt Country elements for the State Finals riding competition. There were three montages over that whole scene, and I wanted it to be like, okay, now the fiddle and the heavy country guitars are coming in. It is like a different world on some levels, like everything else that has been gentle and a little bit more pop, and then we get into the country and the fiddles and banjos and everything else when we get here. And then, of course [spoiler, but you know it’s going to happen], that culminates in Charlie winning the barrel racing competition, and that is more orchestral – everything else before that is very Country and Occidental.

Q: There’s also that budding romance between Beth and Clint and that between Charlie and her school friend. Did you manage those moments differently?

James Allen Roberson: With Beth and Clint, there’s this kind of dreamy, swinging guitar moment, and the “Clint and Beth” track on the soundtrack exemplifies that, where it’s a little swingy, but just small instruments, no orchestral things, but very Western. Very Patsy Cline, almost. But then, with “Charlie and Zach,” there are some moments when it’s swingy/indie/acoustic guitar/melodica and alto glockenspiel, and that’s just a little more delicate - cute, young love. So those had a very distinct palette between those two love stories.

Q: And then what about Charlie’s bullying schoolmates? Did they deserve special treatment throughout the story, without bringing up any spoilers?

James Allen Roberson: There are little clues. We have the Hohner Guitaret, and we have some synth pulses and things like that, and that gets used more broadly with Charlie being a fish out of water in the school, but most of the time, it gets used because these bullying schoolgirls are making her feel out of place. So, their sound is very artificial and cold, unlike the rest of the fiddles and guitars. But a percussive metal sound plays whenever Madison is hatching some scheme, and you see it in the first cue when Charlie goes up to the board to solve the algebra equation. There are little moments with Madison where there’s this little percussive sound. I tried to treat that with a lot of discipline and contrast it to the warmth of the rest of the score.

Q: There are also several songs in the score – which I understand you’ve also produced. 

James Allen Roberson: Yes. The songs were a lot of fun. I thought we would try and write all the different song spots for the film. Still, I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do that on my own and score the movie, so I reached out to a lot of my old friends from Berkeley College of Music who were out here in L.A. doing work, to see if any of them had any ideas or had any songs that they thought would work. A few of them sent me some things, and I would either say it worked or it didn’t or, “Hey, this is interesting. Can we try it this way?” For the intro track, “Windswept and Wild,” I called my friend Hannah Ferber; she and her fiancé are part of this group, Idylmind. They sent me a track that I thought was really cool, but it almost sounded like a video game track – it was eight-bit and had a lot of vocal processing, drum machines, and everything. That wasn’t right for the film, but I liked its speed, energy, and innocence, so I grabbed the track. I high-passed it so that all you could hear were the vocals and the hi-hat, and I just layered up guitars, bass, drums, mandolin, and banjo and sent it over to them to see what they thought. They decided to write a new vocal track around what I did, which became “Windswept and Wild.” So that was the main song, and then the “We’ll Stay Young” track I did with Alicia Ackerman; she wrote that in a day, just based on what I told her about the film. I thought it would have been great for the beginning, but I sent it over and pitched it, and the producers thought it would maybe be better in the end because “Windswept and Wild” had a bit more energy, it was a little more up-tempo, and we ended up using that for the ending. Then the fiddle player’s song, “The Leavin’,” already existed, and that was Dayne Bee; she had already written that before, and it worked perfectly for Madison’s barrel racing because it’s about a woman who’s been hurt and is angry. We learn a bit about Madison’s past near the film’s end, so I thought that would be appropriate. And then I just produced a couple of these other tracks, “Keep on Rising” and “Hold on For the Ride,” and put them at the end of the soundtrack album.

Q: What was most challenging about composing the HEART OF A CHAMPION score?

James Allen Roberson: Just the deadline. What I found was, especially with something like the montage cue, there wasn’t an opportunity to pursue multiple paths on a cue – for instance, on something like “You Smell Like a Barn” [album track], there’s this kind of indie rock montage as they’re cleaning up the barn. There were so many ways you could go. I could have geared more country or more pop, like something like “My Horse Is Out There,” but, you have to pick something and run with it because you can’t pursue multiple avenues if you only have a few weeks to write an hour and a half of music.

Q: What’s next up for you? Where do you hope to go from here in your career – and what lessons might you share with up-and-coming film composers from your experiences thus far?

James Allen Roberson: As far as advice and experience, I certainly think that so much of this is preparation. It’s spending most of the time at the beginning of the project – or even before a project – understanding your sounds and how you want to use the sounds, and then on a project, getting a palette together, getting a language together. What is the theme or instrument of the main character, of the main idea? So much of that has an impact on what you’ll do later. Like I was saying about doing a fifth of the film every week – it got faster and faster even though there was more music to write because so many of these ideas had been fleshed out early, so gradually, it just became a piece of cake by the end of the film because all of the hard conceptual work had been done, and then what was needed after that was to write using that growing body of material. I’d definitely say that preparation is a massive part of it, whether it’s having a template or just having a reservoir of themes and ideas.

I’d love to do more live action. I’ve done a lot of animation, both principally and additionally for friends, but I’d love to do more live action like this, more films, and maybe more drama. This film, I know it’s a family film, but it bridges the gap between comedy and family drama. I’d love to do something else like that. Barry Tilley and I just helped a friend of mine, Christopher Willis, with some guitars for a comedy movie that will be coming out later this year.

Special thanks to Jeff Sanderson at Chasen PR for facilitating this interview. The soundtrack album for HEART OF A CHAMPION is available from Spotify.

Listen to the song “Windswept and Wild” from HEART OF A CHAMPION:

Overviews: Soundtrack Reviews:

ALMA aka THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR/Fernando Velasquez/Netflix digital – Quartet CD
Spanish composer Fernando Velasquez has provided a richly hewn orchestral score for this haunting 9-episode series thriller from Spain, about a teenage schoolgirl who loses her memory in a bizarre accident that kills most of her classmates and tries to unravel what happened that day and regain her identity. The series’ original music by Fernando Velázquez (THE IMPOSSIBLE, A MONSTER CALLS, THE ORPHANAGE, CRIMSON PEAK) is both delicate, unsettling, and lovely in its softer and more solemn moments. The composer crafts moments of pensive suspense and heartfelt melancholy as he musically follows Alma in her quest to recover from her wounds and regain her memory. “For THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR,” writes director Sergio G. Sánchez in his album comments (Velázquez scored the film MARROWBONE for him in 2017). “I tried to explain the roots of our mythology; the grieving process our characters go through, and their journey from light into darkness and back. How fear is only the outer layer of a Russian doll of stories that open to mystery, love, and ultimately hope… Fernando… went away and came back with a wonderful score, perfectly distilled in this album… His music ties, connects, and amplified every narrative element in a way that seems effortless in some passages, only to later soar into grandiose emotional moments.” Velázquez provides an intense, dramatic, and highly vigorous score with thick instrumental colors, beautifully orchestrated for a large orchestra and chorus, and featuring a haunting central theme. The music’s diverse substance makes for a compelling orchestral score as Velázquez brings us along on the journey of Alma to discern what happened to her and her fellow students on that fateful bus ride through the Spanish hills. Performed by the Principado de Asturias Symphony Orchestra under the composer’s baton, the soundtrack effectively supports actress Mireia Oriol as Alma. It adds a different level of emotional distress and discovery. Sample a portion of the haunting track “Sólo le pedí una cosa” (“I only asked for one thing”) from Quartet Records.

CHAPLIN/John Barry/La-La Land CD
This 1992 feature film re-creation of the life of comic genius Charlie Chaplin, stars Robert Downey Jr. who provides an excellent performance, embodying Chaplin from his humble beginnings in south London through his early days in British vaudeville, his silent movie career in America and his late masterpieces. His turbulent personal life saw four marriages and an enforced exile from the US – though he returned to receive an honorary Oscar in 1972. Downey beautifully captures the essence of Chaplin’s comic genius in Richard Attenborough’s compelling and nuanced motion picture. That alone gives the film its finest appeal, supported by a massive and outstanding supporting cast, while conveying the artistic genius, the typical womanism of the elite Hollywood star, and the long-lasting love he favored in his old age. The film also has one of John Barry’s finest scores, partly emulating elements of other recent scores, but very well conveyed here. Barry’s notable and quietly beautiful orchestral score, considered one of the late composer’s last great works for the cinema, is an integral part of this creative and thoughtful chronicling of the career of the renowned actor. “I think John has contributed an element to the movie beyond anybody’s preconception,” director Sir Richard Attenborough is quoted in the album’s liner notes. “He’s brought his own particular magic to lift the story onto another level.” Barry’s diverse and thematically rich original score, recorded at Abbey Road with the English Chamber Orchestra, centered around a wistful primary theme that often recurs across the story’s landscape. It’s the kind of graceful melodic wistfulness that Barry did so well in films like SOMEWHERE IN TIME, HIGH ROAD TO CHINA, and OUT OF AFRICA, which molds itself to your attention and imagination until you can’t shake it. “The entire score, however, is rich and diverse,” writes Jon Burlingame in the booklet’s liner notes. “From turn-of-the Century English music-hall era, through the silent-film period of the 1910s and 1920s, Barry clearly took joy in illustrating young Chaplin’s madcap antics.” In addition to Barry’s delicious score, he also interpolated several of Chaplin’s compositions, from “Smile” (most frequently quoted here) to “Limelight” and a quote from “City Lights” in a scene in Salt Lake City.
While the CHAPLIN film failed at the box office, just as Barry lost an Oscar for his score to Alan Menken’s ALADDIN, time has its rewards. As Burlingame writes in the conclusion of his notes, “Like many films of its time, it has grown in stature and is today considered one of Attenborough’s finest. As for Barry, he would score only ten more features after this one, few of them remembered today. CHAPLIN must qualify as one of his last great works for the cinema.” Absolutely. This La-La Land extended soundtrack (35 tracks, total time 78:13) is a thoroughly mesmerizing listen. Produced by Neil S. Bulk and mastered by Doug Schwartz, this CD presentation is limited to 3000 units. See La-La Land to purchase.

THE FACULTY/Marco Beltrami/Intrada CD
Intrada’s release of a premier 2-CD album of Marco Beltrami’s 1998 sci-fi horror score, THE FACULTY, has to do with teenage high school students discovering that their teachers are actually from an alien planet. They are mind-controlling parasites that rapidly begin spreading from the faculty to the student bodies, with the few who are left gathering to save the world from alien domination. Beltrami had already been recognized as a horror genre veteran from his SCREAM and MIMIC scores. He provides here a chilling, intense composition for full orchestra that provides a striking mix of suspense and aggressive action music, which tends to dominate his musical treatment here, “from entrances at different times and pitches to uncommon bowing techniques, horn glissandi, detuned instruments, and numerous other devices,” writes the label. “Rhythms are fierce, the harmonic vernacular frightening. In balance, Beltrami also offers undercurrents of music oblivious to the alien invasion, a musical calm before the storm.” In the minor-keyed “Lounge Lizards,” Beltrami opens with a motif for hero student Casey, glides near-seamlessly into the broader student body theme, then, unraveling, works itself obdurately into the raging musical chaos and action. A slow-jam rock pulse from electric guitar provides a bit of heroic relief when it comes to the final climax. The music is mainly textural, with aggressive sonic suspense and striking scares. It’s a full orchestra score with a dazzling display of forceful action music requiring the musicians to create a creepy diversity of numerous techniques with their instruments. Having expanded the original 20-track soundtrack release in 2000, Intrada now doubles the dynamic pleasure with this 43-track/90-minute 2-CD presentation which really brings the stirring and striking mood of Beltrami’s score to its fullest rich capacity, including an alternate and a demo version of two of his main themes, Casey (an excellent, pleasing motif for Hammond Organ and acoustic guitar), and “Too Cool For School (a rich, rock anthem presented in three differing versions), although these themes are often displaced by the ongoing suspense and potential mayhem of the intense anxiety of his ferocious alien fear music. Tim Greiving provides informative booklet notes. The album is recommended, especially for those in the day who always found their teachers a bit otherworldly! For more details, or to order, see Intrada

FUNNY WOMAN/Nainita Desai/Sky Music – digital.
The new Sky comedy series FUNNY WOMAN is about a young woman from Blackpool finding her comic voice in the male-dominated world of 1960s sitcoms. Bold, stylish, and courageous, Gemma Arterton stars as Barbara Parker – the force of nature who takes London by storm. Being a woman in a male environment has its own challenges. Still, as Barbara ‘finds her funny,’ she re-defines the prevailing attitude to funny women and, in the process, reinvents herself. Sky Music has released the FUNNY WOMAN (Original Music) soundtrack by Nainita Desai. The 26-track album is available on major streaming platforms. (review continues below)
Listen to Nainita Desai’s opening track, “Welcome to the Show:”
“The music is a very strong character within the show, and the entire musical world and score is rooted in the 1960s,” said Desai. “Popular musical culture exploded at the time, so there was so much to be inspired by a wealth of artists such as The Yardbirds, The Shadows, Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, and The Ronettes. I’ve never written in this musical genre before, so it was huge fun to embrace an upbeat, guitar band-based palette where I got to put my stamp on it… There’s a big nod to the music of the period but with a slight edge and modernity to spice it up. There’s also a lot of physical comedy and rhythm to Barbara, so it was a joy trying to mirror that at times with some musical clowning around. The score had to be embedded in the narrative and Barbara’s dramatic journey, but it also had to sit alongside many sync songs. So, I put together a great band of musicians who played on the score that injected a great authentic vibe into the composed tracks, one of whom included Tim Carter, the guitarist in Kasabian.” The show’s humor is very British and inspired by Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers. Desai’s music covers a number of styles in the worlds of pop and score, of which “The Plan” is a splendid example: opening with a kind of jazzy-pop kitsch, ending with a piano riff and an almost John Barry-esque romantic string element that could have come out of a Bond film of the day. (review continues below)
Listen to Nainita Desai’s track, “The Plan:”

Desai’s cornucopia of tunes, riffs, back-beats, rhythms, and the like take advantage of all manner of instruments that fit the period, offering not only the sonic style of the day but providing an amazing profusion of early ‘60s British pop. The result is not only a fascinating array of musical styles and instruments but a great menu of period pop-rock treated in a fine ‘60s flavor and sometimes in a more modernized transformation without losing the style’s original vibe or nostalgia quotient. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable soundtrack in its various period elements and musical components (which sometimes cross over delightfully). Very much recommended for your listening flavor – whether you’re a child of the ‘60s or not! The soundtrack album is available at these links. Listen to Nainita Desai’s track, “Arrival at the TV Studio:”

JOE 90/Barry Gray/Silva Screen – digital & CD
Silva Screen Records’ 8th release in their Gerry Anderson series offers us JOE 90, the 1968-69 30-episode series about the adventures of nine-year-old Joe McClaine, who has had the brain patterns of top experts downloaded into his brain by his scientist father, enabling him to become the most special agent of W.I.N. (World Intelligence Network). JOE 90 was Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s last show made primarily using their puppetry technique, ‘Supermarionation,’ featuring the music of Anderson’s go-to composer, Barry Gray (1908-1984). The album is newly compiled, mastered, and designed by the creative team at Fanderson, The Official Gerry and Sylvia Anderson Appreciation Society. “While arguably less known among Gray’s wide-ranging catalog of work with the Andersons, the composer’s music for JOE 90 is in many ways the most consistent and inventive selection he wrote,” describes Silva Screen. “Developing a theme for the new series was always the musician’s starting point, and for JOE 90, the pop charts breezed into Gray’s studio with an opening tune featuring a genuine groove. Mixing Gray’s inventive electronics with 1960s “surf rock” guitars was an inspired decision, and it’s no wonder this piece has gone on to enjoy a second life as a Northern Soul disco floor-filler.” Gray’s episode music finds the composer freed from the detached unearthly premise of CAPTAIN SCARLET (Anderson’s previous series) and given license to create a musical palette with a playful yet more mature sensibility which is amply illustrated in this 24-track collection.
Episodes begin with the title sequence (some are afforded a cold open with the title music inserted later), where we see Joe receiving the brain pattern from the BIG RAT. Gray’s musical title theme opens with a howling siren, informing us of danger and heroism to follow; the music then segues into a stirring march for electric guitar (performed by guitarist Vic Flick, known for playing the lead guitar in the James Bond Theme) and drum kit. The central theme finds its way in many of the episode cues, which provide 24 energetic tracks from 15 of the show’s 30 episodes, including the first (“The Most Special Agent,” introducing Joe and debuts the theme tune, which provides a wordless representation of his name) and the final track offers the show’s end titles. Gray makes excellent use of his small orchestra (preferring brass and percussion, as usual) along with his electric band and combo, favoring a mixture of heroic marches, elegant interpretations of the central theme, intriguing percussive treatments, and brassy suspense motifs. “Runnin’ the Gauntlet” from the episode “Colonel McClaine” is a splendid action cue for brass, woodwinds, and strings, allowing a break for a delicate interlude before resuming muscle with returning horns and trumpets over a vigorous series of high-speed percussion raps. It calms a bit and opens up the main theme in a variety of active material. The music cues range from barely over a minute to nicely extended tracks such as “Tragedy Aboard the U85 and Porto Guava” (5:57, with a satisfying mix of location music and excitement) and “A Wolf in the Fox’s Den” (6:44, a nicely varied suspense cue). Gray’s main theme is laced throughout tracks in numerous arrangements. Still, the composer leaves plenty of room for new musical elements according to the needs of the storyline and the design of the arrangements. The soundtrack is quite exciting in its performance and makes for a very likable album for listening to. Order from Silva Screen.

MAYRIG/588 RUE PARADIS/Jean-Claude Petit/Music Box Records – CD
These two striking scores from French label Music Box Records, offered on this two CD set, provide a pair of dynamic soundtracks for orchestra from Jean-Claude Petit, composed for two films of Henri Verneuil based around very similar themes. MAYRIG (1991), starring Claudia Cardinale, Omar Sharif, and Richard Berry as young Azad Zacharian (=young Henry Verneuil), is the saga of an Armenian family that immigrated to Marseilles, France after the break-up of the oppressive Ottoman Empire, adapting to their new country to the best of their ability. However, the relocation tends to put the young father, Hagop (Sharif), in conflict with his traditional Armenian family. The second film, 588 RUE PARADIS, takes place forty years later; Azad has changed his name to Pierre Zakar, making it easier for the French to pronounce and relate to. He has also become a successful playwright. Both films are titled in their English titular translations as “Mother” and serve as a single two-part film. The director’s unique passion for these projects allowed Petit to share the director’s vision with an equally enthusiastic musical treatment. Each film occupies its own CD. MAYRIG opens with a striking solo from mezzo Sonia Nigoghossian, “Délé Yaman (D’après Le Chant Traditionnel Arménien, arranged by the composer),” embodying the traditional voice of an ancestral and timeless Armenia, which melody Petit has adapted into his opening title track. For his central motif, he’s created a splendid waltz theme, played by the duduk and strings, expressing Verneuil’s boundless love for his family; both motifs embody the passions and difficulties presented in the film. Petit also provides a richly hewn choir rendering in “Vasken.” And throughout, his delicate strings offer both the struggles and passions of Verneuil’s family as their journey brings them to safety in France. The first CD offers two alternate takes of “Mayrig” and “Délé Yaman” along with a thorough program of richly passionate music.
588 RUE PARADIS also opens (and ends) with “Délé Yaman,” thus tying both segments nicely together; it’s also a slightly longer album (106 mins versus MAYRIG’s 53 mins) and a little more sophisticated in its arrangement (but both are pretty enthralling listening experiences). Beyond that, Petit introduces new motifs, including a short, vibrant theme on the piano, associated with Azad’s growing love interest (“L’expérience,” “Les photos,” and L’alphabet arménien,” along with several danceable jazz pieces for piano and strings which accompany the scenes from Pierre Zakar’s new play. Thus, the second film is a bit more modernesque in its musical substance (and, after all, Hagop is much older in this film). “Le doudouk” begins as a solo performance of the duduk, but gradually strings engage and give the cue sufficient depth. “La Mort d’Hagop” (Death of Hagop) is a solemn track for oboe and duduk as Pierre succumbs to old age, followed by the choir singing during “L’enterrement” (The Funeral). Both films are musically intriguing, both provide a bit of background source music as well, and both are quite effective scores on each one’s own merits, both offering much unique music but overall supplying a delightful mix of musical elements built around a touch of classical material (Le Disque is a fine classical rendering) with the composer’s score material. The CD comes with a 12-page booklet with liner notes by Sylvain Pfeffer in both French and English, discussing the films and their scores, with new comments by the composer on his collaboration with Verneuil. The release is limited to 500 units. Sample music tracks at MusicBox Records here

THE PORTABLE DOOR/Benjamin Speed/Lakeshore - digital
THE PORTABLE DOOR is a 2023 fantasy adventure comedy directed by Jeffrey Walker, starring Patrick Gibson, Sophie Wilde, Sam Neill, and Christoph Waltz. Directed by Jeffrey Walker (THE COMMONS, DIFFICULT PEOPLE, MODERN FAMILY, LAMBS OF GOD) from Tom Holt’s popular seven-book fantasy series, this delightful 2023 Australian film centers on Paul Carpenter (Gibson) and Sophie Pettingel (Wilde), lowly put-upon interns who begin working at the mysterious London firm J. W. Wells & Co., and become increasingly aware that their employers are anything but conventional. Charismatic villains Humphrey Wells (Waltz), the company’s CEO, and middle manager Dennis Tanner (Neill) are disrupting the world of magic by bringing modern corporate strategy to ancient magical practices, but Paul and Sophie manage to discover the true agenda of the vast corporation. The music is from Australian composer Benjamin Speed, known for 52 TUESDAYS, MONOLITH, AFTERTASTE (TV series), and EMBRACE: THE DAY. His melodically conceived score is in the fashion of high-fantasy films of late. Still, it’s undoubtedly a work of his own merits, and we will have a fine listening throughout. The score is mysterious, imaginative, suspenseful, and energetic – the composer utilizes his orchestra with a continued melodic touch, favoring fun leitmotifs, which he generates with assurance and ingenuity, providing a delightful sonic treasure from start to finish. Favoring strings, subtle brass, choir, and percussion, Speed’s melodic instrumentation offers something of a light touch for our heroes, darker material for the villains, and a thorough use of each section of the orchestra and the choir to complement the assurance that Sophie & Paul have in thwarting the criminal element in charge of J. W Wells & Co. 
Sophie is introduced with soft vocal chanting in “Sophie The Seer,” amplifying her magical abilities; Paul is initially graced with a vocalise for the male choir, and in “The Job Interview” he is given a spirited affair which runs from tentative and uncertainty. Still, in the end, Speed creates an exuberant figure as Paul learns he has gained the employment he hoped for, the music carried over with a playful mix of winds and strings. But he soon knows, with Sophie’s aid, that his bosses are disrupting the world of magic; they determine the true agenda of the vast corporation and put it upon themselves to thwart the administration’s self-serving misconduct. “Aranatural Engineers” begins hesitantly for up-and-down notes from the wind section, accompanied by a rapid but supple bowing of the violins. At the same time, a light percussive touch on the piano keys drives the tempo. Still, it rises confidently as the melody grows, and a series of whispered choral voices assume the titular band of technologists. The cue culminates in a distorted gonglike intonation, its few resonant aural rings creating wiry patterns beneath the melody of the winds. The whispered voicings recur in the next track, the theme for Christoph Waltz’s “Humphrey Wells,” which nicely identifies the character through creative instrumentation – as does “The Portable Door” theme itself, mixing spooky chords with the whispered chorus from the previous track, with hesitant modulations before the cue opens into a fuller orchestration of the title motif, favoring rapid-fire piano notes. “The Nether” (Parts 1 and 2) comprise a satisfactory two-piece treatment, quietly worrying and poised in its harmonious ending. The title of “Mr. Wells, You’re Alive!” may be a bit of a spoiler, but it encompasses a pleasant mix of dark, men’s choir and a circulatory motif from rapid bowing of the string section infused with escalating brass notes. The increasing tone of the strings and brass in “Make Your Own Door” is a glorious, epic resolution as the story nears its end, while the following “Make a Trade” offers a subtle timbre with ringing bells/gongs beneath piping winds and some sonic inserts from strings. “The Banishment of Humphrey Wells” provides a wiry opening as Wells seems to meet his match, all to the conclusive celebration of “We Did It Paul” for full orchestra and choir, while the elegant “Do You Feel the Same” bids farewell to our main heroes with a sweet outcome. The score favors short tracks in the one-to-three-minute range, but they are filled with resonant, melodic sounds and are enchanting enough to engage the listener in their arrangement from start to finish. The soundtrack album can be purchased or streamed here. Listen to a suite of Speed’s music from the soundtrack (and, after that, watch the film’s trailer, below it).

SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS/Tim Williams/MovieScore Media – digital –
CD on demand forthcoming

A group of counselors accidentally unleash a decades-old evil on the last night of summer camp. The original score from the 2022 horror feature film is directed by Eric Bloomquist and written with his brother Carson. The film stars Cara Buono, William Sadler, and Spencer List and is scored by Tim Williams (PEARL, FINDING YOU, BRIGHTBURN) and additional music for JOHN WICK 4, GET OUT, WATCHMEN, and many more). The film is based on a Bloomquist Brothers 2017 short film of the same name, in which a campfire story comes to life for a group of counselors on the last day of the summer of 1987 at Camp Briarbrook. The full-length film extends the story into feature-length; it premiered at FrightFest last August, and the film was then released theatrically this February. “Erik and Carson approached me to score their film, set in 1987,” Williams said in a statement for the MSM label. “It was both terrifying and pure adrenalized fun! To me, it wanted a classic orchestral score but infused with some subtle electronic elements and a ton of percussion.” The composer accommodates that nicely, from his eerie main title opening for gradually intoning menacing figures of dark strings, moving into repeated, threatening chords, a brief female vocalise, slithery tonalities, and a somewhat tentative piano pattern, culminating in a distinct raucous mix of aggressively churning string vortices. We’re off to a provocative and spooky start. “Peter’s Theme” derives from some of that main title material but is quite brooding for creepy string tonalities and subtle electronica phrasing, ending with the ghostly vocalise from the previous cue. “Cornfield” mixes orchestra with synths to create an unnerving tension, while “First Possession” offers a strident female vocalise combined with harsh, discordant tonalities, electronic patterns, and clamorous, percussively driven bellicosity. Williams continues to provide some unique sonic elements that effectively maintain a disquieting mood and keeps the listener/audience suitably worried. “One Night in the Woods” is more of a mellow concern, with various figures opening into the vocalise over the faintly brooding piano notes. At the same time, “Unfinished Business” restores the aggressive musicality of the earlier tracks, highly menacing from synths, walloping percussion hits, creepy clusters of strings and rough-hewn string work, distant and dark, winding electronic processes. All of this creates a continuing measure of gathering hostility that stirs up palpable insecurity in the listener. “Gilbert’s Story” is an ethereal, haunting cue comprising the recurring piano notes, supported by some low brass intonations and driving drums; it is bridged by a ferocious synth statement near the midpoint, softening into a vaporous tension and finally aided by the vocalise. Accompanied by piano and drums driving the tempo, the cue ends with the vocalise doubling in a particularly eerie fashion. “Ignition on Fire” is a forceful, percussive, and brass chord-driven cue that rages throughout the cue with blazing ferocity despite a few breaks in the pace. Things slow down with the more delicate “We’re Family” and the first half of “In The Woods” (the second half is pure adrenalin action); “This Is What You Want” mixes a hushed opening with a recurrence of the horrific material in its mid-section, and the story resolves with “Devotion, Loyalty, Eternity” and a cadence for gentle synth, piano, and strings as the film reaches its end and the characters, or most of them, reach their well-deserved moment of survival. Overall, Williams’ score for SHE CAME IN FROM THE WOODS is an excellently fashioned scare affair, with music that accounts effectively for its fear factor as well as its characters and makes for solid albeit intentionally uneasy listening. Turn the lights off and engage in its sinewy pressure and intentions alike. Listen to tracks from the film at the composers’ website here.

THE TIME MACHINE/Klaus Badelt/Varèse Sarabande - CD
2002’s THE TIME MACHINE remake was DreamWorks’ big-budget adaptation of H.G. Wells’ seminal 1895 novella. Adapted by John Logan (GLADIATOR) and directed by Simon Wells – the author’s great-grandson – it drew from the original book and George Pal’s popular 1960 film version. The movie follows the storyline reasonably accurately, although there are some differences from the beloved George Pal version, and the CGI effects add nicely to the visualization in the adaptation. The film was the first solo score for German composer Klaus Badelt, then working for Hans Zimmer. Badelt wrote a sweeping score for the film – the music is acoustic and symphonic, befitting the aesthetics of the 19th-century protagonist and the grand, romantic adventure he takes across time. The orchestra is embellished with communal-type music for Earth’s peaceful future denizens, the Eloi, and aggressive Aboriginal stylings for the terrifying Morlocks – all of it beautifully produced for a modern blockbuster. “This movie was a challenge because it’s a genre movie. It happens in the future, but it’s a very tribal, primitive future, so you have everything going on at the same time,” Badelt told this author in a 2002 interview. “I wanted to create something that sounds familiar but has elements that are new. For the choir piece heard in the Eloi village, I recorded a single voice 156 times. Then I edited a full opera choir to it, so it sounds very out of perspective, familiar, but with something wrong! I tried many times in the movie to play against it and try to come up with something new while keeping the old, traditional elements in. I wanted it to have a 19th Century flavor, of course, and then when he goes more and more into the future, I wanted to explore new worlds.” Badelt provides a richly melodic score that fits the film’s period(s) – past/present and future – and captures the year 2030 flavoring nicely. He maintains the evocative melodic structure of Guy Pearce’s Wells’ background and his hope to find a way to erase the 19th Century death of his beloved, Emma; the composer maintains the adventurous melodies of Wells’ previous era while energizing the strangeness of the world of the future.
Badelt gives each element its musical identity; the first half, mostly the past, is melodic, and then it becomes more progressive as he goes into the future. The composer has distinct musical identities for the residents of this world: the virtuous human Eloi, bestial Morlocks, and their humanoid warlord, Jeremy Irons’ Über-Morlock (“The Master/Time Machine Fight”). The track “Where Am I?” collects the world of the primitive Eloi through a cascading vocalise and a tentative woodwind sonority. At the same time, the Morlocks are given a heavy drum-driven propulsion elevated by raging strings and horns, “Morlocks Attack,” “Descending into The Morlock’s World.” Varèse Sarabande originally released Badelt’s TIME MACHINE soundtrack in a 15-track program at the time of the film. This new Deluxe Edition expands the album to 23 tracks and 76 minutes, with new liner notes by composer and author Brian Satterwhite, giving the release a substantial increase in music and narrative exploration of the score. It’s a pleasure to become reacquainted with this excellent composition.
For further details or to order, see Varèse Sarabande
Listen to Klaus Badelt’s opening theme from THE TIME MACHINE, via the composer and YouTube, from a 2019 post:


Film Music News

Hollywood Records has released its newest episode of their music docuseries & podcast – THE BIG SCORE. In this episode, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (FROZEN, COCO, WANDAVISION, BOOK OF MORMON) discuss the music behind their new Hulu series, UP HERE, the backstory to their own love story and how, as co-creators and first time Executive Producers of the show alongside the writer of TICK, TICK…BOOM! and the director of HAMILTON, they were able to incorporate music and storytelling. With the show set in the 90’s, the duo also reveals their musical inspirations including 90’s female powerhouses Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple, Billy Joel and even a little hip-hop influence bringing the character’s inner voices to life. Watch the episode or listen to the podcast here:

The Lifetime Achievement Award of the twentieth edition of SoundTrack_Cologne in France goes to Academy Award winning composer Mychael Danna. At the award ceremony on Friday, June 23rd, 2023, the acclaimed WDR Funkhausorchester Köln will perform film scores by Mychael Danna. In addition, the composer will also present a selection of his work of over 80 film scores in a career talk with film composer Mirjam Skal on Thursday, 22 June. “The most gratifying filmmaking experiences are ones that take effort to unpeel the layers surrounding the heart of the story and to find the best musical expression of that heart,” says Danna. “Those are always the film scores I am most proud of.” The Canadian-born composer graduated from the University of Toronto and today lives in Los Angeles.

Composer Laurence Rosenthal is set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 23rd edition of the World Soundtrack Awards, which takes place as the concluding event of Film Fest Gent, in Belgium, on Saturday October 21st. “I am greatly honoured by this recognition from the World Soundtrack Awards and am so much looking forward to being present for the 50th anniversary edition of Film Fest Gent,” Rosenthal said in a statement. “It has been so lovely to see appreciation of film music and the enjoyment of live film music reaching new heights in recent years. The World Soundtrack Awards has been so vital in leading the way.” The 50th edition of the festival crowns two grandmasters of the world of film music in its anniversary year. Earlier, it was announced that Italian composer Nicola Piovani will be a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award as well.

The latest STAR WARS limited mini-series is AHSOKA. The new series is officially a spin-off from THE MANDALORIAN, sharing the same timeframe as that series and its other interconnected spin-offs after the events of RETURN OF THE JEDI. AHSOKA is developed by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni for Disney+. The story takes place after the fall of the Galactic Empire, where former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy. Other cast members include Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Hayden Christensen, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Kevin Kiner, known for scoring the animated STAR WARS series THE CLONE WARS, REBELS, THE BAD BATCH, and TALES OF THE JEDI, is composing the AHSOKA series, assisted by composer David Glen Russell, whose been providing additional music for Kiner’s animated STAR WARS series as well as serving as a co-composer for several of Kiner’s TV series scores and other works big and small since the late ‘90s. AHSOKA premieres on Disney+ in August 2023, and will consist of eight episodes. Watch the latest AHSOKA trailer:

Composer David Russo returns to DC’s Batman television franchise to compose the score for the newest DC “Arrowverse” series, CW’s GOTHAM KNIGHTS. Russo began in the Batman Universe as a protégé of composer Graeme Revell (SIN CITY, THE CROW, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK), co-composing the first season of the award-winning GOTHAM with Revell. Russo became the sole composer by the second season when Revell retired. He went on to compose the series theme and first season of GOTHAM’S HBOMax spin-off, PENNYWORTH; and now he continues with the foreboding and moody musical landscape of the lawless city with his GOTHAM KNIGHTS score. In that series we begin in the wake of Bruce Wayne's death, where his adopted son Turner Hayes forges an unlikely alliance with runaways Harper and Cullen Row and criminal Duela when they are all accused of a murder, they didn’t commit by Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent. These kids attempt to clear their own names while also seeking who really killed Bruce Wayne – and they soon learn there is a larger, more nefarious force at work within Gotham City. They band together to become the Gotham Knights. The new series (not directly related to the video game of the same name) premiered on March 14th with new episodes on Tuesdays on the CW.
Watch CW’s GOTHAM KNIGHTS trailer:

Horror score specialist Joseph Bishara (THE CONJURING, ANNABELLE, MALIGNANT, THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, DARK SKIES, THE UNHOLY) is returning as the composer of the upcoming horror sequel INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR. The film marks the directorial debut of actor Patrick Wilson who also reprises his role as Josh Lambert from the first two installments, alongside Ty Simpkins, Rose Byrne, Andrew Astor, Sinclair Daniel and Hiam Abbass. The movie follows Josh and a college-aged Dalton who must go deeper into The Further than ever before to put their demons to rest once and for all, facing their family’s dark past and a host of new terrors that lurk behind the red door. Bishara has previously scored the first four installments in the INSIDIOUS series. INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR is set to be released on July 7, by Sony Pictures. – via filmmusicreporter

Mark Isham is scoring the biographical drama SHOOTING STARS (2023) directed by Chris Robinson and starring Dermot Mulroney, Wood Harris, and Caleb McLaughlin. The story revolves around the figure of LeBron James and his childhood friends, from the town of Akron (Ohio), who went on to win a national championship and forge a friendship for the rest of their lives. The film is based on the novel of the same name written by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger and is scheduled to premiere June 2 on Peacock. – via AsturScore.
In additional Isham news, the composer reports that he was invited by THE MIDI ASSOCIATION and ROLAND to perform at NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants), a huge convention established to promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. “MIDI is a computer language for music that has completely revolutionized music making since it’s invention 40 years ago,” writes Isham. “That’s how hit records can be made in one’s bedroom! Celebrating this anniversary, with MIDI synths and computers (and even a bit of trumpet!) [I was able] to show how MIDI is used by the film music community!”
Watch the video of Isham’s performance at NAMM:

Andrew Morgan Smith has scored the Western film, THE OLD WAY. Directed by Brett Donowho, the film stars Nicolas Cage as a retired gunman on a mission to find the outlaws who killed his wife. The film was theatrically released by Saban Films on January 6, 2023. Lionsgate has released the film on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, digital and on demand; special features on Blu-ray and DVD include audio commentary by the director, and of particular interest, includes a full audio commentary by the composer about creating his score, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette; and scoring session video.

XYZ Films released the horror thriller THE PARK, on North American VOD March 2nd. A tale of apocalyptic adventure and survival set within a long-abandoned amusement park, the thriller, which occurs in a world without adults, stars an amazing ensemble of young talent. It’s essentially “Lord of the Flies” in an amusement park, depicting a mysterious virus that starts killing all adults, leaving society to be governed by children living on borrowed time. After the adult population is wiped out, rival kids battle for control of an abandoned theme park. Danger lurks around every corner, and they must do whatever it takes to survive their hellish Neverland. The film is scored by Robert Allaire, a Los Angeles based composer whose work at the intersection of music and sound design has garnered accolades from LA Weekly and The New York Times. His unique style fusing orchestral strings with noisy electronics, analog synthesizers, and instruments played as they were never designed to be played, has been heard in films, video games, and over 2,000 episodes of television. Recent credits include BETTER CALL SAUL PRESENTS: SLIPPIN’ JIMMY, MGM’s STARGATE: ORIGINS, and several themes for video game League of Legends. For more details on the composer, see his website

Watch the trailer to THE PARK, via YouTube:

In the new horror thriller ORGAN TRAIL, a young Abigale Archer winds up alone in the Montana winter during the 1870s after bloodthirst bandits killed her family. She fights for her survival and to retrieve her one earthly possession, a family horse, as the gang sets its bloodthirsty target on her next. Filmed in Montana, the movie is directed by Michael Patrick Jann (DAYBREAK, POWERLESS, RENO 911!) from a script by Meg Turner. The film’s music is composed by Jherek Bischoff (LORO, THE GRAVE OF ST. ORAN, THE DEVIL MAKES THREE) and Craig Wedren (YELLOWJACKETS, RENO 911!, ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST, GLOW, POWERLESS). “As anyone who played vaguely educational video games in the ’90s will tell you, the Oregon Trail was a very dangerous place,” wrote Austen Goslin in a piece about the movie in “But in the trailer for the new frontier horror movie, ORGAN TRAIL, there’s a lot more than dysentery threatening travelers on this treacherous voyage. The movie follows a family making their way to the northwest territories when they’re overtaken by a ruthless gang of outlaws. The gang kills all but Abigale, who escapes but is lost to the wild west to survive her pursuers.” Watch the trailer below:

Marco Beltrami has been tapped to score the upcoming supernatural horror movie THE NUN 2. The sequel to 2018’s THE NUN (directed by Corin Hardy and scored by Abel Korzeniowski) is directed by Michael Chaves (THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, THE CURSE OF LA LLARONA) and stars Taissa Farmiga, Storm Reid, and Anna Popplewell. Beltrami has confirmed his involvement during a recent interview on Film Music Live. THE NUN 2 is set to be released on September 8, 2023 – via filmmusicreporter (see here for more details).

In the Netflix family fantasy adventure movie CHUPA, a teenager named Alex, while visiting family in Mexico, gains an unlikely companion when he discovers a young chupacabra hiding in his grandfather’s shed. To save the mythical creature, Alex and his cousins must embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The film is directed by Jonás Cuarón (DESIERTO, AÑO UÑA, HOMBRE TV series), and stars Demián Bichir and Christian Slater. The film is scored by composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, a Grammy and Emmy winning composer, whose career has spanned several genres of the music industry. His work for film and TV includes scores for Netflix’ GODLESS, for which he received a Primetime Emmy, his award-winning score for THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT, for which he garnered a second Emmy and first Grammy, Universal Pictures’ A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, starring Liam Neeson, and the hit TV show HACKS for HBO Max.

Based on a single chilling chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER tells the terrifying story of the merchant ship Demeter, which was chartered to carry private cargo – fifty unmarked wooden crates – from Carpathia to London. Strange events befall the doomed crew as they attempt to survive the ocean voyage, stalked each night by a merciless presence onboard the ship. When the Demeter finally arrives off the shores of England, it is a charred, derelict wreck. There is no trace of the crew. Directed by Norwegian horror virtuoso André Øvredal (SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, TROLLHUNTER), the film is based on the chapter “The Captain’s Log” of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Multi-Oscar winning composer Thomas Newman is set to score the film. The film is set to be released on August 11, 2023, by Universal Pictures.
Watch the film’s trailer:

Drum & Lace (aka Sofia Hultquist) (DICKINSON, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, NIGHT TEETH) is scoring the upcoming romantic comedy RED WHITE & ROYAL BLUE. The film is written and directed by Matthew López and stars Taylor Zakhar Perez, Nicholas Galitzine, Uma Thurman, and Stephen Fry. Based on the Casey McQuiston novel of the same name, this LGBTQ story focuses on the First Son of the United States and his rivalry with the young Prince of Wales, Henry. After causing a major uproar at the older Prince’s Brother’s wedding, the two are forced to avoid a National incident by up playing their non-existent friendship with a goodwill visit to the UK. Their rivalry soon turns into a forced friendship and then blossoms into something even more. The film is expected to premiere this year on Prime Video.


New Soundtrack News

Keanu Reeves and Director Chad Stahelski brought JOHN WICK 4 to a surprise screening at SXSW in Austin, Texas last month. This latest in the JOHN WICK agenda stars Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, and Ian McShane. In this edition, Wick (Keanu Reeves) takes on his most lethal adversaries yet in the upcoming fourth installment of the series. With the price on his head ever increasing, Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Osaka to Berlin. Featuring music by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard, the composers from all three previous JOHN WICK films, with orchestral music provided by Tim Williams. In the franchise’s latest Parabellum, Lakeshore Records released the digital JOHN WICK 4 soundtrack last March 24th. With Bates and Richard an integral part of the success of the first three installments, in number 4 they return with another masterclass in high intensity compositions that feature an array of instruments – including treated piano, mandolin, acoustic & electric guitar, bass, harmonica orchestra, synths, and found object percussion. Bates also produced songs performed by Lola Colette with Nick and Sam Wilkerson of the punk band White Reaper on drums and bass respectively, as well as tracks with In This Moment and Manon Hollander. Read Jon Burlingame’s article “How the ‘John Wick 4’ Composers Added a ‘Huge Orchestral Score’ to the Franchise’s Headbanging Rock Sound” in Variety; in addition, the track written and produced by Bates with vocals by Avant pop phenomenon and cast member Rina Sawayama, “Eye For An Eye,” was dropped digitally on March 22. Listen to the song here. The soundtrack album is available here. Watch JOHN WICK 4’s final trailer:

In related Tim Williams news, the composer recently scored GRINGA, a new dramedy starring Judy Greer, Roselyn Sanchez, and Steve Zahn. A troubled teenage girl runs away to Mexico to find the father she has never known. Together they learn that a family can be put back together, even if all they have are the missing pieces. The film premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival on March 12, opening to the internet in the US on April 21st.

Intrada has completed its latest Kickstarter film score project, a newly-recorded world premiere pair of Bernard Herrmann masterpieces – the powerful yet diverse, never-before-released full score from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 suspense thriller, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (only the “Prelude” and the cue “Cantata/The Storm Clouds” have been officially released in newly recorded versions for compilation albums). James Stewart and Doris Day headline the director’s own remake of his 1934 assassination tale. Along with it is Herrmann’s riveting score for Nicholas Ray’s 1951 snow-bound film noir, ON DANGEROUS GROUND, starring Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, and Ward Bond (a score album, mastered from acetate discs in the Bernard Herrmann collection at UC Santa Barbara with varied sound quality, was issued by FSM). Both scores, melodically and harmonically, are Herrmann at his most sensitive and beautiful; they were recorded in January 2023 with the revered William T. Stromberg on the podium, supported by Mike Ross-Trevor in the booth, and the augmented Royal Scottish National Orchestra bringing all to glorious life. The CD is available from Intrada, see here.

Chris’ Soundtrack Corner of Germany has announced three new soundtrack releases: an expanded double CD soundtrack to PIEDONE A HONG KONG, the second of four “Flatfoot” poliziotteschi-comedy films directed by Steno, and starring comedy Western star Bud Spencer (1929-2016) as Naples Police Inspector “Flatfoot” Rizzo, eschewing guns in favor of his forceful fists and propulsive palms to corral criminals in Italy and beyond. The score by Italian brothers Guido & Maurizio De Angelis crafts Rizzo’s signature theme with a penchant for flavorful, catchy melodies. Includes 101 minutes of music, incorporating the complete film score and including a number of alternate tracks and music not used in the final film.  Also available is LE ULTIME ORE DI UNA VERGINE by Daniele Patucchi – one of the lesser-known (and less frequently released on record) composers of the Italian silver age. Though this is a premiere release of the film's soundtrack, a few tracks have been released before on various library compilations of Patucchi's music; but here the label presents the score in a single package, as this Patucchi masterpiece deserves much more than having its parts scattered among various library LPs. The third release, from Piero Piccioni, is DOPO DI CHE, UCCIDE IL MASCHIO E LO DIVORA (aka MARTA), a dramatic thriller about a wealthy landowner haunted by the specter of his dead mother. Piccioni's score is an engaging mélange of original cues along with a large variety of library music or cues tracked in from other films. The repetition of motifs, textures, and full-on themes throughout the score assertively integrates the music with the drama playing out on screen.

La-La Land Records has announced three new releases for May 2nd from John Williams, Elmer Bernstein, and Alan Parker & Björn Isfält (see image).

Lakeshore Records has released a digital soundtrack to STAR TREK: PICARD SEASON 3, with music by Stephen Barton (STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER, TITANFALL 2, MYSTERIOUS PLANET, NIKO AND THE SWORD OF LIGHT, 12 MONKEYS) and Frederik Wiedmann (THE DRAGON PRINCE, BIG NATE, OCCUPATION: RAINFALL, EUREKA!, SUPERMAN: RED SON). Both composers are new to the series for this season and bring a fresh perspective to the music while seamlessly blending in classic themes creating a thrilling backdrop to the resoundingly acclaimed third season of the series. “The score to Season 3 is a throwback to the classic theatrical scores by Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner,” says Terry Matalas, the season three showrunner. “When I first sat down with Stephen, we knew that we wanted each episode to have that same cinematic feeling but include exciting new themes for our heroes as well – like the Titan suite which serves as the overture for the season. What Stephen and Freddie have delivered here is an emotional orchestral masterpiece that sweeps us into the final frontier once again!” Notes Barton: “Picard Season 3 is a love letter to one of the great legacies in film and television music, and we are all incredibly proud to present it here. The ‘Titan’ and ‘Family’ themes, and the great canon of musical ideas from the legends of Trek music of the last three decades are all explored in this score. It is a musical story about legacy, about family, and about mixing the best of the Next Generation and the next Next Generation; and we hope it takes you on an epic journey.” Wiedmann adds: “I couldn’t be more excited about this release. Working on this labor of love with all involved has been an absolute privilege. I hope the fans will enjoy the elements of nostalgia as well as new Trek music on this massive album. It was a dream come true to record our phenomenal LA orchestra for these episodes, bringing to life a huge legacy of STAR TREK themes, as well as new ones.” Purchase/Stream the soundtrack here.

THE POWER is a British science fiction drama television series developed by Raelle Tucker, Naomi Alderman, and Sarah Quintrell for Amazon Prime Video, based on Alderman's 2016 novel of the same name. The first season premiered on March 31, 2023. The series stars Toni Collette, Halle Bush, Ria Zmitrowicz, John Leguizamo. Premise: THE POWER is our world, but for one twist of nature. Suddenly, women develop a mysterious new ability to electrocute at will, leading to an extraordinary global reversal of the power balance. British Multi-instrumentalist, producer, vocalist, composer, and former M83 member Morgan Kibby, whose recent genre scores have included THE HUMAN ELEMENT, INTO THE DARK, TWO-SENTENCE HORROR STORIES, lends her multi-faceted musical background to the new series, breathing life into the score with an eclectic sonic palette of layered synthwork, vocal samples, and warm orchestrations. The 42-track soundtrack spans the series’ 10 episodes, and is punctuated throughout by Kibby’s eerie vocalizations, which come together to underscore and heighten the nuances of the dystopian story. Speaking about her work on the score, Morgan comments, “It is a rare thing when a project comes along that taps into one’s innate palette and instincts as a creator.?THE POWER, and the exceptional team I had the pleasure of working with, was exactly that.?I am so grateful for the free creative reign I was trusted with to help craft the breadth and scope of these stories.” For more details on the composer, see her website.  The soundtrack is now available via Milan Records at these links. Watch the trailer for THE POWER:

Brian Tyler has released a soundtrack album for the immersive live show Awakening. The album features the film/TV/game composer’s original music from the Wynn production and is available now on digital platforms. Awakening tells the story of a beautiful heroine and her two fellow travelers as they seek to restore beauty and love to the world. The show, which combines dramatic choreography, technology, fantastic creatures, and a custom sound system designed to highlight Tyler’s score, is currently playing at Wynn Las Vegas. Tyler’s music is grand, imposing, powerful, majestic, and epic sounding, the composer utilizing choral support to create a varied, ethereal, and sweeping soundtrack that also employs electronica to convey the many moods required. – via Jon Mansell’s MovieMusic International (see here).

In other Brian Tyler news, Back Lot Music and iam8bit have released a soundtrack album for THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE, with music by Brian Tyler and original Nintendo themes by Koji Kondo. Tyler reports in a Facebook post that the soundtrack features orchestra, choir, drums, synths, 8-bit instruments, and more: “The soundtrack contains my original SUPER MARIO BROS score with brand new themes for Mario to Princess Peach to Bowser to many more along with so many of the iconic themes of Koji Kondo!” The soundtrack is out now on digital streaming platforms from Back Lot Music; also introducing the physical collection in vinyl, CD, and even old school cassette tape formats from Iam8bit, available to preorder now (see the Vinyl section below). Read Jon Broxton’s review of the score, here. Find the soundtrack album here.

Wes Anderson’s latest film, premiering at Cannes in May and opening widely on June 23, is ASTEROID CITY, which shows the director creating a science fiction romantic comedy drama film. The film follows the transformative events that occur at an annual Junior Stargazer convention in 1955. It features an ensemble cast that has been described as “larger than most other Anderson films that are ensemble in nature.”
Alexandre Desplat, Anderson’s usual composer, is scoring the new film. Watch the trailer:

Hollywood Records has released the soundtrack to Seth MacFarlane’s THE ORVILLE: NEW HORIZONS Original Television Soundtrack, which is available now on all music streaming platforms (See here). The 72-track album features over 4½ hours of music from the Emmy-nominated sci-fi series including two brand new arrangements and original cast performances of two classic pop hits. The music for THE ORVILLE: NEW HORIZONS was composed by Joel McNeely, John Debney, Andrew Cottee, and Kevin Kaska and recorded with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the historic Newman Scoring Stage at Fox Studios. “These four composers have written the finest, most lush orchestral scores in television today. Enjoy their brilliant work. I know I do,” said Seth MacFarlane. Additionally, composer Bruce Broughton wrote and recorded a new version of his “The Orville” main title theme for this season.

Composer Max Aruj (CRAWL, LANSKY, THE ICE ROAD, THIS IS FOOTBALL; additional arrangements on TOP GUN: MAVERICK, additional music on STAR WARS: OBI-WAN KENOBI) has scored the creature-feature, THE TANK. After mysteriously inheriting an abandoned coastal property, Ben and his family accidentally unleash an ancient, long-dormant creature that terrorized the entire region – including his own ancestors – for generations. Aruj’s sound palette uses scraping metals to reflect the cold, metallic water tank where the creature lies. Using a detuned orchestra, Max’s music ebbs and flows, mimicking the slow breathing of the beast. Max comments, “The predatory nature of the creature is mostly slow, and then it strikes quickly when it attacks, and the score is the same. We mimic the slowness of the creature; when it comes time to attack is when the whole ensemble plays together.” The score was designed to reflect the monster’s environment and characteristics, sounding like an ancient orchestra. The simplicity of the motif is like an ancient chant; one could imagine when the creature attacked people 50 million years ago, they would be hearing the same score. The film had a limited theatrical release on April 21 and releases online on April 25. A soundtrack album will be forth coming but has not yet been announced. See the composer’s website here .

Deutsche Grammophon has announced the album A Symphonic Celebration, a series of new symphonic arrangements of original soundtracks from Studio Ghibli classics directed by Hayao Miyazaki (including SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE & CASTLE IN THE SKY) composed by Joe Hisaishi. The music was recorded in London by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by the composer. The album will be released digitally, on CD, Standard LP, Clear LP, Sky Blue LP & Picture disc on June 30, 2023. A first track (a new version of “Merry-Go-Round of Life” from HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE) is already available to stream/download now. -via filmmusicreporter (see for more details, here)

STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH – Season 2: Vol. 1 (Episodes 1-8) and Season 2: Vol. 2 (Episodes 9-16) digital

soundtracks have been released by Disney, with score by Emmy®-nominated composer Kevin Kiner. An entirely new episodic series created by Lucasfilm Animation, STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH debuted in May of 2021 on Disney+. First appearing in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, the five elite troopers that make up Clone Force 99 include Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Echo, and Crosshair, each with their own distinct skills and characteristics. The introduction of Omega, an eager and kind-hearted adolescent clone, presents a new kind of challenge for the eclectic family unit. The soundtracks are available from Amazon, Apple Music, and Spotify.
Listen to the track “The Sacrifice” from THE BAD BATCH Season 2 (Volume 2):

Walt Disney Records has released both digital soundtracks from Season 3 of THE MANDALORIAN, Lucasfilm’s multiple Emmy®-winning live-action series, streaming exclusively on Disney+. The digital soundtrack features musical themes by Oscar®, Grammy® and Emmy® winning composer Ludwig Göransson and score by Joseph Shirley. Göransson also produced the score. The journeys of the Mandalorian through the STAR WARS galaxy continue: once a lone bounty hunter, Din Djarin has reunited with Grogu. Meanwhile, the New Republic struggles to lead the galaxy away from its dark history. THE MANDALORIAN Season 3: Vol. 1 (Chapters 17-20) was released March 29th, with Season 3: Vol. 2 (Chapters 21-24) released April 21st. Both are available from Amazon, Apple Music, and Spotify.
Listen to the track “We Got Pirates” from THE MANDALORIAN: Season 3 (Vol. 2):

Milan Records will release the first soundtrack album for the HBO horror series THE LAST OF US. The album features the original music from the show’s first season composed by Gustavo Santaolalla (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, BABEL, THE BOOK OF LIFE, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES) & David Fleming (HILLBILLY ELEGY, THE UNFORGIVABLE, BLUE PLANET II, SOUTH OF HEAVEN). The 66-track soundtrack album for the series, which mixes songs with score, was released February 27 and is available to stream/download on Amazon and any other major digital music services. THE LAST OF US is developed by Craig Mazin & Neil Druckmann based on the hit video game and stars Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna, Murray Bartlett. The post-apocalyptic drama takes place two decades after modern civilization has been destroyed and follows a hardened survivor who is hired to smuggle a young girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone. The soundtrack is available at these sources.
- via filmmusicreporter and other sources

Bluestone Symphonics has released a soundtrack album for the sci-fi adventure SPACE WARS: QUEST FOR THE DEEPSTAR. The album features the film’s original music composed by Joel Christian Goffin (BLACK NOVEMBER, AUTOMATION, EVERYDAY MIRACLES, LOVE ADDICT). The soundtrack is now available to stream/download on all major digital music services, including Amazon. SPACE WARS: QUEST FOR THE DEEPSTAR is co-written and directed by Garo Setian and stars Michael Paré, Olivier Gruner, and Sarah French. Life is an adventure for space scavengers Kip Corman and his daughter Taylor as they navigate their ship through a universe filled with monsters, aliens, and robots in order to reach the mythical Deepstar and collect the riches within.
The film was released in select theaters on April 21, and will have a general release on VOD on May 2.
-via filmmusic reporter

Netflix has released the SHADOW AND BONE: Season 2 soundtrack with music by composer Joseph Trapanese. From the quietest, most intimate textures to grand symphonic climaxes, the series’ music continues to be a powerful accompaniment to our heroes’ bravery and selflessness, our villains’ power and corruption, and the series’ classic battle between darkness and light. A 29-track album has been released by Netflix and is available on digital platforms here. Watch the series Season 2 trailer:

Frank Ilfman’s score to director Erez Tadmor’s MATCHMAKING (2022), an entertaining and good-hearted Israeli romantic comedy that gives a light Orthodox twist to Romeo and Juliet, is available as a digital soundtrack from Bandcamp, Apple Music, Amazon, and other sources. A CD edition is reportedly forthcoming. Ilfman has also released his soundtrack to the Israeli television police procedural series MANAYEK, about an ex-cop who works for the internal police investigations unit. He is assigned to a case in which one of his oldest best friends has been implicated. Manayek premiered with Season 1 in 2020 and Season 2 in 2022, each comprising 10 episodes. The 19-track soundtrack album has been released by Tokyo Records Corporation/Papa Legba and is available from Ilfman’s Bandcamp page.

Inspired by true events, the Australian horror thriller GODLESS: THE EASTFIELD EXORCISM tells the chilling story of Lara (Georgia Eyers), a young woman tormented by haunting visions of a demonic presence both in her dreams and in her waking life. Desperate for relief, Lara and her husband Ron (Dan Ewing) turn to a ruthless self-proclaimed exorcist named Daniel (Tim Pocock) in search of spiritual healing. But what begins as a hopeful solution quickly descends into a brutal nightmare as the exorcism unleashes unspeakable horrors upon Lara’s already fragile psyche. The film is composed by Dmitri Golovko, an award-winning music composer and sound designer based in Australia. Primarily an orchestral score, Dmitri also tried to capture other unique esoteric sounds. Using a variety of recording techniques, from contact microphones to processing sounds through guitar pedals, he recorded the sounds of bowed and tapped welded metallic objects, bowed acoustic guitars, rubber mallets running across drum skins, and more to convey the sound of Lara’s ordeal. Golovko has self-released the digital soundtrack of his score which is now available via this link.

Silva Screen records presents Epic Themes III, performed by London Music Works. Finally getting well deserved recognition, trailer music demands an entirely different approach to composition, relying on a 2-minute form, in which every second counts. The finest trailer music seizes the listeners, keeps them fully immersed, bewitched and on the edge of their seats throughout. In addition to the best recent trailer music from highly sought out composers such as Thomas Bergen, Zack Hemsey, Harry Lightfoot, and Jo Blankenburg, this 15-track digital album collection also features Hans Zimmer’s glorious ‘Suite’ from PLANET EARTH II and Lorne Balfe’s ‘Theme’ from HIS DARK MATERIALS, a syncopated and angular melody, at the same time beautiful and unsettling. Released on April 21st, the album is available from SilvaScreen UK and SilvaScreenUS.

The TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS Original Series Soundtrack is available from Hollywood Records. The 19-track album features score cues by Emmy® Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and composer Ingrid Michaelson and composers/producers Gabriel Mann and Juan Ariza. In addition to the score, Michaelson wrote and recorded a new original song for the series, “Not Gone,” featured in the finale episode, as well as an exclusive cover of the Indigo Girls favorite, “Closer to Fine,” featured in the premiere episode. The series is based on Cheryl Strayed’s New York Times bestselling book of the same name. Starring Emmy Award nominee Kathryn Hahn, the 8-episode series is streaming now on Hulu. The album can he heard from Spotify and AppleMusic.

Back Lot Music has released the digital soundtrack album for the horror comedy RENFIELD, featuring the film’s original music composed by Marco Beltrami. In this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Nicholas Hoult stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Nicolas Cage); the film centers on Renfield’s attempt to quit his position of the last few centuries as Dracula’s lackey. See the streaming/download link, here. Waxwork Records will soon provide a vinyl edition.

In additional Marco Beltrami news, the composer revealed during a recent interview on Daniel Schweiger’s Film Music Live that he is teaming up with Anna Drubich (BARBARIAN, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, FEAR STREET 3: 1966) to score the upcoming JOHN WICK spinoff feature, BALLERINA. The film is directed by Len Wiseman (UNDERWORLD, TOTAL RECALL) and stars Ana de Armas, Anjelica Huston, Lance Reddick, Gabriel Byrne, Norman Reedus, Ian McShane, as well as Keanu Reeves. The action thriller follows the titular assassin (first introduced in the third John Wick installment) trained in the traditions of the Ruska Roma as she sets out to avenge her family. – via filmmusicreporter, via FilmMusicLive.

TETRIS is a 2023 biographical thriller film directed by Jon S. Baird and written by Noah Pink. The film is scored by Lorne Balfe. It is based on true events which depict the race to invent and patent the video game Tetris in the late 1980s during the Cold War. Lakeshore Records has released the film’s soundtrack. Balfe creates a taut, vintage electronic backdrop incorporating use of a classic Fairlight CMI for the historical thriller that recounts the introduction of the pioneering video game. Says Balfe: “I wanted the score to take the audience back into the era where the story was set. The 80’s was an age for major progress in politics and technology which is a key focus in the film. The music shows obvious 80’s influences throughout, which was such a delight for me personally as I consider it the golden age of music. I couldn’t have achieved this sound without enlisting the help of 80’s music legends; Phil Harding, Stephen Lipson, Roger Bolton, [and] J. J. Jeczalik. I also got the opportunity to experiment with the Fairlight CMI III on this score which was utterly nostalgic and will most certainly be appreciated by all the film music buffs out there.” Lakeshore Records has released the soundtrack album; stream it here. The Apple Original Film starring Taron Edgerton is streaming now on Apple TV+.
In additional Lorne Balfe news, Lakeshore Records announces the release of GHOSTED – Score From The Apple Original Film, with a score by Lorne. The composer’s vivid score enhances the romance, comedy, and of course the action of the rom-com thriller. Says Balfe: “What a huge pleasure it was to work with Dexter on this project. The idea for the music was to strike that delicate balance between action and romance. There is a real shift throughout the film, starting with our ‘Love Theme’ which scores Sadie and Cole’s meet cute. This quickly changes to a classic action feel as the plot thickens and we discover more about our female lead and her double life.” The Apple Original Film starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas debuted April 21 on Apple TV+.
Purchase/Stream at these links.  

WaterTower Music has released the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album from SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS by award-winning composer Christophe Beck. This action-packed super hero sequel brings even more excitement, adventure, and comedy, along with all-new realms, bigger threats, monsters, and mythical creatures to our heroes. Beck described his work on the film: “There’s a beautiful innocence to these characters alongside their heroism, and a real feeling of family in their bond, and the opportunity to capture all that in the score really lit me up. I wrote a big, bold orchestral score, in the grand tradition of classic superhero movies, with a brand-new main theme that works as a theme for both Billy Batson and the team as a whole.” The 28-track SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS original motion picture soundtrack is now available for digital purchase and streaming, here; Watertower has also issued a CD edition available from various retailers.

WaterTower Music has released the official soundtrack album for the supernatural horror movie EVIL DEAD RISE. The album features the film’s original music composed by Stephen McKeon (PILGRIMAGE, NORM OF THE NORTH, QUEEN & COUNTRY). The film follows two estranged sisters whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable. To create the music for the film, director Lee Cronin turned to composer Stephen McKeon, who previously worked with the filmmaker on 2019’s mystery-horror film, THE HOLE IN THE GROUND. McKeon, an admitted ‘huge horror fan,’ discussed his approach to the film’s soundtrack: “Lee liked the idea of something offscreen laughing and delighting at the suffering and terror of the characters, so I recorded two female vocalists performing 'taunting' sounds and vocal effects. [Lee] wanted a score that was visceral, immersive and confrontational, while still leaving room for an emotional theme. So, I began to create sounds and textures based on guitar feedback; guitar strings stretching and breaking; strings being ripped with knives and scissors; and many other weird effects. Many of these made it into the score as part of the texture and tapestry. But ultimately, for the signature, we hit upon an idea we called ‘the meat grinder.’ I spent a week creating lots of sounds using a variety of methods, but eventually, the one that worked was the result of me dragging carving knives along the strings of my beautiful grand piano and then chopping and stretching the audio into something that eventually sounded like a demonic meat grinder being revved up.” The composer also used a decidedly non-traditional approach when writing for the orchestra and female chorus that provided the music for the main body of the score. For example, one instruction for the 50-plus string players read simply, ‘Rage for 15 seconds.’ The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 15, 2023, and was released in theaters nationwide on Friday, April 21 by Warner Bros. The 20-track EVIL DEAD RISE (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) featuring the music of composer Stephen McKeon is now available for streaming, digital purchase, and also on vinyl through Waxwork Records via preorder.
Listen to the chilling main title theme for EVIL DEAD RISE:

Invada Records and Lakeshore Records have released SHARPER – the soundtrack from the Apple Original Film featuring music by Clint Mansell (BLACK SWAN, MOON, BLACK MIRROR, DOOM PATROL and TITANS [with Kevin Kiner]). Dark electronics and strings create a taught backdrop to the mysterious thriller. The Apple original film is directed by Benjamin Caron and stars Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, and John Lithgow. Purchase/Stream here.

Lakeshore Records has digitally released THE RESORT Original Series Soundtrack with music composed by Andrew Carroll (LODGE 49, SHAPE ISLAND). Carroll masterfully creates a multi-faceted soundscape from strings, brass, and emotive electronics, providing a modern backdrop with vintage overtones to the comedic thriller series. THE RESORT is a multi-generational, coming-of-age love story disguised as a fast-paced mystery about the disappointment of time. An anniversary trip puts marriage to the test when the couple finds themselves embroiled in one of the Yucatan’s most bizarre unsolved mysteries that took place 15 years prior. Says Carroll: “I pulled influence from the sweeping, romantic adventures of Ennio Morricone and John Barry; the classic noir scores of Bernard Herrmann; the mathematical minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass; and electronic textures of pioneers Tangerine Dream. I was lucky enough to have this score brought to life by some of the most brilliant string and brass players in Los Angeles. We recorded the bulk of the season in just two sessions at Evergreen Studios and East West Studios, so we were definitely pressed for time. But that time crunch brought a beautiful intensity to the music.” Purchase/Stream here.

Republic Records has released a soundtrack album for Nickelodeon’s animated series ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE. The album features music from the show’s first two seasons composed by Pat Irwin (DEXTER: NEW BLOOD, NURSE JACKIE, THE GOOD COP). The soundtrack is now available at these links. A vinyl edition is also in the works. The series revolves around an Australian wallaby as he finishes his transition to American life. The album is now available on VOD and DVD. – via filmmusicreporter

SUPERCELL is a 2023 disaster action film about a teenage boy who, to follow the footsteps of his father who was a legendary storm chaser, leaves his mother and runs away from his home to chase the wild tornados. Directed by Herbert James Winterstern (2013’s SIBERIA), the film stars Skeet Ulrich, Anne Heche, and Alec Baldwin. The score is by Corey Wallace, a former assistant to Christopher Young and known for scoring 2022’s TV Movie CURSED FRIENDS, UNSHELTERED, and CLAW. For more information, see the composer’s website. Read Jonathan Broxton’s enthusiastic review of Wallace’s SUPERCELL score at MovieMusicUK.

Sony Masterworks has released the soundtrack to the dramatic thriller ON A WING AND A PRAYER (aka While There Is Hope, 2023), composed by Brandon Roberts (MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM, CHAOS WALKING, BLACK BOX, LITTLE EVIL). The film is about the true story of the pilot of a private aircraft in 2009 who died of a heart attack, requiring Fort Myers air traffic controllers and a flight instructor from Danbury, Connecticut to teach a passenger how to fly the plane and land it. The album was released on April 10 in digital download (Amazon/Apple Music). – via AsturScore and other sources.

Kronos Records of Malta announces these three new CD releases: 1: COUNTERPLOT, Kurt Neumann’s 1959 crime drama starring Forrest Tucker, Allison Hayes, and Gerald Milton, is a small but enjoyable movie featuring an eclectic and colorful musical score from the dynamic composing team of Bert Shefter and Paul Sawtell, who provide a very rousing, adventurous orchestral score. For music samples and pre-order, see KD45. 2: The Music of Günther Kauer offers the composer’s music from two science fiction films from the late Golden Age of Cinema. MONSTROSITY is a 1963 sci-fi horror film about a rich, unscrupulous old woman’s plot with a scientist to have her brain implanted in the body of a sexy young woman. The musical score was written for a small ensemble but uses that to Kauer’s advantage by crafting a haunting little gem with a number of spooky themes; and CAPE CANAVERAL MONSTERS, a 1960 sci-fi horror film about a couple killed in an auto accident whose bodies become inhabited by extraterrestrial beings who use them to sabotage the U.S. space program. This score is a big action sci-fi score in the 60s style with a big themes and a strong rhythm section, recorded with a large orchestra. For music samples and pre-order, see KD46. 3: THE BIG CAPER, a 1957 crime-thriller film starring Rory Calhoun, who plays a deep in debt conman who tries to pull off the perfect heist, but later begins to regret his scheme. The music was written by prolific ‘50s composer Albert Glasser, best known for scoring Bert I. Gordon’s COLOSSAL MAN films and similar monster movies. Here he composes a big action score that benefits a big film of the Golden Age. For music samples and pre-order, see KD47.

Silva Screen Records has digitally released Nainita Desai’s soundtrack to the BBC One Thriller CROSSFIRE. Starring BODYGUARD and LINE OF DUTY star Keeley Hawes as Jo, this three-part high-octane drama involves Jo, who’s as her marriage is falling apart, takes her family on holiday to a tropical resort in the Canary Islands. However, she and her family are soon thrust into a battle for survival when gunmen attack the hotel. The film is a story of survival and resilience, with fearless women at the center. Nainita’s soundtrack exists in the space where sound design and orchestral score meet with the intimate and beautiful melodic motifs scattered amongst the sound waves. The music comes from within the environment. Sound effects have meaning and are part of the score. Nainita manipulates and integrates the sounds of the surroundings into the music. For Jo’s running up and down corridors she uses Keeley Hawes’s recorded breath, both for fear and as a visceral immersive up-close feeling of tension. Nainita also restrains rhythms and pulses and replaces strings with reed instruments to further deepen the experience of discomfort and disorientation. Nainita explains: “The brief for the score from the team was that they wanted the audience to ‘feel’ the score rather than ‘hear’ the score; not to push the story but to enhance the feeling that was already there; to never over dramatize the story but for the experience to be almost documentary like in places.” The album is available here. Listen to Desai’s taut and nerve-rending main title music:

Lakeshore Records announces the release of THE BIG DOOR PRIZE Season 1. The Apple TV+ original series soundtrack features music composed by Zachary Dawes and Nick Sena. The composers, on the one hand, use traditional instruments – piano, guitars, and electronics – that evoke contented small-town life, but they also reflect the monumental changes occurring to the lives within by changing the mood, incorporating effects and different instrumentation such as a musical saw and theremin. The series is streaming now on Apple TV+.
Purchase/Stream the soundtrack here.

Sony Music/Milan Records announces the release of PROFESSOR T Season 2 (Original Series Soundtrack) with music by Belgian Award-winning composer Hannes De Maeyer. The 37-track album is available now on most digital platforms. The Belgian crime drama was a hit for Channel 4, with three series running from 2015. ITV has now remade it in English starring Ben Miller. Described by The Guardian as having “an abundance of imagination and characterization,” the show follows Professor Jasper Tempest, a genius Cambridge University criminologist with OCD and an overbearing mother, as he advises the police. Listen to Hannes De Maeyer Main Theme for PROFESSOR T:

Hollywood Records has released CHEVALIER (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), with an original score by Kris Bowers. Included on the album are on-camera performance tracks produced and arranged by Michael Abels.
Inspired by the incredible story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges – the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner – Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr. in a tour de force performance) rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and her court. “The story isn’t being told because it’s a black person that existed in this time period. This is one of the greatest composers who was overlooked because he was black,” says Bowers. With Bologne’s incredible talent and charisma, some liken him to an 18th century rock star, with Michael Abels calling him “the Prince of his day.” For his part, Abels was selected to reimagine the Bologne’s limited existing music and to give the on-camera performances the cinematic attention they deserve. This is readily evident in the opening scene of the film: a violin duel between Mozart and Chevalier. Abels was also tasked with creating original works inspired by Chevalier’s remaining compositions, since most were lost after his death. From Searchlight Pictures, CHEVALIER opened in theaters April 21.

Among Fernando Velázquez’s recent scores is the music to the Spanish film MUMMIES (Momias), a 2023 English-language Spanish computer-animated comedy film directed by Juan Jesús García Galocha, in his feature directorial debut. The film follows three mummies on their journey to present-day London to search for an old ring belonging to a royal family, stolen by an ambitious archeologist. With his score for MUMMIES “the composer [provides] the project with pulsating and rich sounding compositions, that drive and underline the action on screen, but also give it support that not only ingratiates but empowers the images and the story,” writes Jon Mansell. See his comments on MovieMusicIntl. The soundtrack is now available from Watertower at these links.
Listen to Fernando Velázquez’s cue “The Unknown” from MUMMIES, via YouTube:

British composer Blair Mowat’s soundtrack to ITV’s 3-part drama series NOLLY tells the story of the inimitable Noele Gordon (known as Nolly) a TV legend and Queen of the Midlands. Written and directed by BAFTA-winners Russell T Davies (DOCTOR WHO) and Peter Hoar (IT’S A SIN, THE LAST OF US, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY), NOLLY stars Helena Bonham Carter in the title role. Mowat explains “It’s a period piece and so it felt quite fitting to take on elements of musical theatre or the lush orchestral style of classic Hollywood. Tracks such as ‘The Prime Minister’ or ‘Visiting Larry’ deliberately evoke a bygone era… Percussion is our most important instrument throughout… Drum kits and shakers are often combined with banjo, tuba, saxophone, jazz flute and soft vibes. You’ll find samba piano rhythms, Venetian violin solos, and full swing bands juxtaposed by a lush 40-piece string orchestra – yet somehow it all hangs together through the use of musical themes and variations.” For more details, see SilvaScreen.

The way over-the-top “Swissploitation” film MAD HEIDI is a wild action thriller developed entirely through crowdfunding. Directed by Johannes Hartmann & Sandro Klopfstein, the film stars Casper Van Dien, Max Rüdlinger, David Schofield, Almar G. Sato, Alice Lucy, and Kel Matsena; it boasts superb visual effects and colorful set design, a bit of tasteful nudity, gallons of wild violence, and a splendid score by Swiss musician Mario Batkovic. As a young man, he became known for exploring the sonic possibilities of the accordion, without effects or loops but through a mutually symbiotic relationship between man and instrument Batkovic began scoring films in 2010, composing music for such films as THE DNA OF DIGNITY, I AM THE TIGRESS, NEIGHBORS, DIE SCHWALBE, THE BEEKEEPER. The digital soundtrack has been released by Invada Records UK and is available from Amazon, Spotify, and Apple Music. InvadaUK is also offering a deluxe vinyl variant, limited to a pressing of only 200 copies. For more details on the composer, see his website here. The MAD HEIDI Blu-Ray is available here and from other blu-ray retailers. Watch the gentle, carnage-filled trailer [warning: contains a modicum of comedic violence] below (and below that listen to Batkvic’s main theme from MAD HEIDI):

The 2021 Argentinian sci-fi horror film VIRTUAL REALITY (Realidad Virtual), an Official Selection of the Sitges Film Festival and Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) is now available on Blu-Ray and VOD. Summary: Death and destruction reign down on a horror film’s cast and crew when murderous characters from the movie come alive. An indie film director schemes with his shady producer to make their recently completed movie a hit with the help of a mysterious artificial intelligence file. He invites his cast and crew to his house but what begins as a celebratory screening of the final cut quickly turns to a bloodbath when the movie characters, including a sword-wielding, violence-loving Celtic knight, come alive and begin to exact their revenge on the innocents. This violent and gruesome meta-horror film was directed by Hernan Findling (IMPOSSIBLE CRIMES, 2019). Directed by Hernán Findling (no relation to the film’s fictional director!), the film is scored by Eric Claus Kuschevatzky, known for composing Argentinian and Spanish films.

The Peacock Original Film PRAISE THIS is a 2023 American musical comedy film directed by Tina Gordon and starring Chloe Bailey and Anjelika Washington. Award-winning composer Jermaine Stegall (WE WILL BE MONSTERS, SENIOR YEAR, COMING 2 AMERICA, OUR STAR WARS STORIES, PROXIMITY, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: DARKEST DAWN), is a graduate of the Universal Composers Initiative. Screening now on Peacock, the story follows a young woman with dreams of being a superstar who joins an underdog Atlanta praise-team choir in the lead up to the national competition. The Original Score Album has been released from Backlot Music and is available at Amazon and other digital retailers. For more details on the composer, see his website, here.

Lakeshore Records is set to release LIASON Season 1, the Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack featuring music by award-winning composer Walter Mair (THE BRICKLAYER, THE UNFAMILIAR). Mair, no stranger to composing music for high intensity projects, masterfully weaves rich orchestrations recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Air Studios London with pulsating electronics, providing a multi-faceted backdrop to the high-stakes contemporary thriller. The first season of the series, starring Vincent Cassel and Eva Green, debuted globally on February 24. Says Mair: “From hi-impact driven action scenes to the more suspenseful love story underneath the series, the music had to span a wide range of emotions. Especially the underlying tragedy of the lead characters required a strong theme that carries us through the series. Lush orchestral themes recorded at Abbey Road and Air Studios in London were combined with throbbing beats and deep modular synth soundscapes, blended with experimental textures recorded on strings.” 
Purchase/Stream here.

Lisa Montan creates a poetic, existential score to Malou Reymann’s award-winning historical drama UNRULY (Ustyrlig). The film is inspired by actual events that occurred in the 1930’s at the women’s institution of Sprogø, Denmark, in which a strong-minded young woman is seen by authorities to be ill-mannered and promiscuous. The composer set off with a desire to translate the story of the film into sound and music by finding a space where the inner and outer meet. She did this via a unique and specific ensemble, collaborating with a handful of Sweden’s most talented artists. “The textures of the acoustic material of the woodwinds and trumpet are significant in finding locations within our bodies that serve as emotional centers,” said Montan. “I find that these wind instruments that rely on the breathe really suit the emotional landscape of this film and give the viewers the chance to, even if momentarily, experience a frequency that resonates in unison with all of us.” To accompany the Danish premiere of the film, Oona Records has released Montan’s soundtrack album on all digital platforms.

Composer Mark Tewarson has scored ASSASSIN, a pulse-pounding sci-fi action thriller starring Bruce Willis, which marks his final film performance, following his retirement last year due to aphasia. Andy Allo, Dominic Purcell, Eugenia Kuzmina, and Nomzamo Mbatha co-star. When revolutionary, experimental human drone tech falls into enemy hands, it is up to the leader of an elite C.I.A. group (Willis) and his team to draft a black-ops soldier into service to retrieve the weapons system at any cost. But when the agent is killed during a secret mission, his wife, Alexa, must take his place to bring the man responsible to justice. The soundtrack to ASSASSIN was created with modular synthesizers, strings, piano and percussion. Read my interview with Tewarson about scoring the film at MusiqueFantastique, here. The soundtrack, from Filmtrax Ltd., can be heard at these links; the album is available for purchase from Amazon, Apple Music, and Spotify.

Netflix announces the release of SHADOW AND BONE: Season 2 (Soundtrack From the Netflix Series) with music by composer Joseph Trapanese. The 29-track album is available on digital platforms here. The series premiered on March 16, only on Netflix.

Lakeshore Records Releases EMILY THE CRIMINAL – original motion picture soundtrack, scored by Nicholas Haplern. Down on her luck and saddled with debt, Emily (Aubrey Plaza) gets involved in a credit card scam that pulls her into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, ultimately leading to deadly consequences. Notes composer Halpern: “For EMILY THE CRIMINAL writer/director John Patton Ford and I discussed the idea that the score would speak to the inner emotional life of our protagonist Emily. In “Emily,” the introspective opening piece, bending drones and warped piano speak to the personal pathos and pain of her current situation. But in the next cue, “The Criminal,” aggressive drums and distorted sounds burst through, speaking to her underlying anger and latent determination. Throughout the score, defamiliarized textures and analogue pulses keep us present with her in moments of tension and fear. At the same time, emotive and ethereal musical themes with gently swelling melodies for strings and synthesizers speak to her deeper feelings of hope and longing.” The soundtrack is available here.

MY SAILOR MY LOVE is a powerful tale of a second chance at romance and the power of redemption. Klaus Härö’s beautiful film called for a melodic score, with prominent themes that evolve over a longer period and through longer musical phrases that parallel the film’s narrative. Multiple themes appear in various cues, all sharing a common core. Composer Michelino Bisceglia discussed scoring the film: “For the first time, I heard a director express the desire to work with a large score set-up that was both delicate and grand, like an iceberg in the ocean where only the top is visible. Initially, it was decided that a classical orchestra was necessary for the score. The addition of a solo piano, cello, and violin came later as the score developed and took shape.” Watch a video clip of Michelino Bisceglia score:

STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie, premieres globally on Apple TV+ on May 12th. The film, which incorporates documentary, archival, and scripted elements, recounts Fox’s extraordinary story in his own words — the improbable tale of an undersized kid from a Canadian army base who rose to the heights of stardom in 1980s Hollywood. The account of Fox’s public life, full of nostalgic thrills and cinematic gloss, unspools alongside his never-before-seen private journey, including the years that followed his diagnosis, at 29, with Parkinson’s disease. Intimate and honest, and produced with unprecedented access to Fox and his family, the film chronicles Fox’s personal and professional triumphs and travails, and explores what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease. With a mix of adventure and romance, comedy, and drama, watching the film feels like … well, like a Michael J. Fox movie. Starring: Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, features score by John Powell.

Lakeshore Records Releases LUDEN – Amazon Original Series Soundtrack. The film depicts the rise of Sonny Boy Klaus Barkowsky, who is made into a pimp by a tough prostitute and founds the ‘Nutella’ gang, which soon engages in a battle for power with an established gang. The film is scored by Julian Scherle, a German-raised, Los Angeles-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, and performer. Julian has also written music for many hit cable TV shows including the critically acclaimed series MR. ROBOT, MISSING, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, and SCREAM QUEENS (FOX).? Link to the album here. (Read my interview with Scherle about scoring MISSING in my Jan/Feb Soundtrax column, here.)

Silva Screen has released the digital soundtrack to THE GOLD, Simon Goff’s synth-filled score to the intricately crafted BBC One crime drama. The story is based on the largest heist in world history, the Brink’s-Mat robbery at Heathrow airport in 1983. Six armed robbers attempted to steal £1 million in foreign currency and ended up coming away with £26 million in gold bullion. But this isn’t the story of a heist, but of what happened next. Goff creates a dazzling, evolving sound that binds together and manipulates technology and acoustic instruments. He explains – “The initial idea for the soundtrack to THE GOLD came about after talking to director Aneil Karia about the different character lines running through the script. Just as the series dives into the grey between moral worlds in 1980’s London, I took the score as an opportunity to dive more into the grey between acoustic and electronic sound worlds. The pulsing synthesizers are a homage to the greats that pioneered the way in that era, while the broken strings represent the underbelly of high-class society and the distorted purity that it poses as… The score is meant as a third line in the narrative, allowing the direction and script atmospheric space to exist in while also propelling forward when needed. The pulses, textures, rhythms, and melodies are entwined together just as are the narratives within the storytelling. There is no clear distinction between worlds, only one that engulfs all.”
The digital album is available from Silva Screen UK and Silva Screen US.

Netflix has released NOISE, a new psychological thriller about Matt, a new dad, who relocates with his family to his childhood home where he discovers a dark family secret. The music is composed by Belgian composer Hannes De Maeyer (REBEL, PROFESSOR T, TORPEDO). The story: after moving his family into his childhood home, a man’s investigation into a local factory accident connected to his father unveils dark family secrets. The NOISE soundtrack album was recorded with 12 of Belgium’s finest string players, clarinet, bass clarinet and even features a “halldorophone” – a cello-like electronic instrument created by artist and designer Halldór Úlfarsson and designed specifically to feedback the strings, making use of the phenomena of positive feedback to incite the strings to drone. The instrument gained some recognition when composer Hildur Guðnadóttir used it for her original soundtrack to the movie JOKER and series CHERNOBYL. “We specifically chose to go for a small string instrumentation in order to highlight as many details as possible,” said De Maeyer. “I have used a lot of avant-garde techniques (slide to notes, slow bends, random notes ad libitum, ...) to give the strings/music an estranging atmosphere. Not too slippery, clean. It adds a mysterious and menacing atmosphere to the score.” The soundtrack is available at these links. Listen to the opening theme from NOISE:

Ramin Kousha has scored the Iranian drama LEILA’S BROTHERS, which premiered in Europe in 2022. The film is about Leila, now in her 40’s, who has spent her entire life caring for her parents and four brothers; a family that is constantly arguing and under pressure from various debts in the face of sanctions against Iran. While her brothers are struggling to make ends meet, Leila decides to make a plan. A digital single of the main theme was released on Amazon, Spotify, and Apple Music in early April. Listen to Kousha’s opening theme:

Hulu’s BOSTON STRANGLER is a historical crime drama film written and directed by Matt Ruskin. It is based on the true story of the Boston Strangler, the name given to the murderer of 13 women in Greater Boston during the early 1960s. The crimes were attributed to Albert DeSalvo based on his confession and DNA evidence linking him to the final victim. The murders were previously made into a fictional film, THE BOSTON STRANGLER, starring Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda, in 1968. This new film stars Keira Knightley as Loretta McLaughlin, the reporter who broke the story for the Boston Record American. Carrie Coon, Alessandro Nivola, Chris Cooper, David Dastmalchian, and Morgan Spector co-star. The soundtrack album, from BAFTA award-winning and Emmy & Ivor Novello nominated composer and producer Paul Leonard-Morgan is available to stream from Hollywood Records at these links. Leonard-Morgan’s unique cinematic style of fusing orchestra with electronica has put him in high demand as a score composer & band producer, as well as a performer and artist in his own right.
Watch the BOSTON STRANGLER official trailer:

Hans Zimmer is scoring ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET, a coming-of-age comedy drama based on the 1970 novel of the same name by Judy Blume. The film is written for the screen and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig. The film follows sixth-grader Margaret Simon and her family who move from New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey. Since one of her parents is Christian while the other is Jewish, Margaret goes on a quest to discover her religious identity. The production is set for release on April 28th.

Composer Reber Clark has scored the independent Lovecraftian horror thriller THE INNSMOUTH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS from indie director Joshua Kennedy (COWGIRLS VS. PTERODACTYLS, THE FUNGUS AMONG US, HOUSE OF GORGON, THE NIGHT OF MEDUSA, etc.). Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s immortal tale “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and filmed entirely in South Texas, the film follows young student Roberta Olmstead as she arrives in the mysterious and desolate seaside town of Innsmouth. Smelling of rotting fish and enshrouded by a constant fog, Roberta quickly notes that the place does not provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Her fellow students also seem to pay no attention to the strangely disfigured staff, the unnerving music from the town's crumbling church, or the unnatural sounds and whispers emanating from supposedly empty houses nearby. Roberta and her friends soon begin to uncover the horrendous secret of the town… The film is now showing on Amazon Prime and is also available on DVD-R from Clark’s score is available now on digital and CD from bandcamp, here.
(See my review of Clark’s score for COWGIRLS VS. PTERODACTYLS in my January-February 2021 Soundtrax column, here)

SEAL Team is Deployed on clandestine missions worldwide at a moment's notice, and knowing the toll it takes on them and their families, this series follows an elite unit of United States Navy SEALs portrayed by David Boreanaz, Max Thieriot, Jessica Paré, Neil Brown Jr., A. J. Buckley, and Toni Trucks. Seasons 5 and 6 were a departure from previous seasons in that we are now exploring consequences both physical and emotional that have been taking their toll on our main characters due to years of service. A. Patrick Rose, an Emmy-nominated television and film composer known for his work on projects such as Nashville (NBC) and Under the Dome (CBS), scores SEAL TEAM. The digital soundtrack for Seasons 5 and 6 has been released and is available here.

Sony Classical released the new record Beyond the Screen – Film Works on Piano by Rachel Portman featuring some of the composer’s most cherished film music for solo piano. The album was recorded in Berlin, with occasional accompaniment by cellist Raphaela Gromes and consists of 20 curated pieces that span Portman’s illustrious film music career, arranged to form an emotional and musical journey. The album was released digitally and physically on March 3, 2023 and is now available at these links.

Musician and filmmaker Kira Kira has released WE THE LIGHTNINGS (Original Film Soundtrack). The 5-track album was released March 10th on all digital platforms. A 10” vinyl is available from Reykjavik Record Shop (currently out of stock). The film follows Nua as she returns to her birthplace in rural Iceland, a sanctuary at the end of the road where her friends have gathered for a letting go ritual in honor of her mother’s passing. Music, performed by an ensemble of Icelandic musicians who appear in the film and play on the score, serves as the welcoming embrace that catches Nua on her arrival back home after her life has spiraled out of control. “The music I wrote for WE THE LIGHTNINGS is an act of love for that which remains with us at times of loss. So rather than lamenting what or those who have passed, I like to gently move on in the certainty that love does not die,” says Kira Kira. “I hope the music beams some sense of wonder and comfort out there.”

Ariel Marx (CANDY, SHIVA BABY, AMERICAN HORROR STORY) serves as composer and GRAMMY®-nominated Este Haim (THE WHITE LOTUS season two, MAID) is the executive music producer for the Limited Series A SMALL LIGHT. Based on an inspiring true story, Miep Gies (Bel Powley) was young, carefree and opinionated — at a time when opinions got you killed — when Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) asked her to help hide his family from the Nazis during WWII. The album’s original score from Marx will be released on Hollywood Records on May 19 on all streaming platforms; the complete A SMALL LIGHT Songs From the Limited Series Album Will Be Released on May 23. “The score has a timelessness and honesty to it, as it does not shy away from the rawness and human experience of the war. Amidst the terror, loss and bravery, there was beauty, joy and even humor — the score lives in the every day, both the ordinary and extraordinary,” said Marx. Said Haim:  “Miep’s story is one of a modern woman standing up for what is right, and that should continue to inspire all of us. I am so thrilled to be able to help bring this to life through the power of music.”


Original Works by Film Composers

Frank Ilfman’s heart-wrenching new single, The Field Where Sorrow Lives, is a tribute to the brave souls who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom. Through a delicate blend of strings, winds, piano, and choir, Ilfman captures the depth of emotion and the gravity of loss that accompanies the sacrifice of these heroes. This hauntingly beautiful hymn serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact that war and conflict can have on individuals and communities alike. With each note, Ilfman’s music draws us closer to the field where sorrow lives, allowing us to feel the weight of the sacrifices made in the name of liberty. Available now on bandcamp.

Plaza Mayor Company has released Maximilien Mathevon’s latest electro album, Water Life. “The release focuses on water in all its states – its cycle and its omnipresence in our lives,” Mathevon says. “The notion of flow particularly interested me: this idea of movement, dynamics, and transmission. I wanted to translate it musically, also by using analogies: It is found in computers, the transmission of data, information, which inspired me with electronic and technological sounds. We also find this notion of flow in speech and more precisely the idea of “flow” in hip hop in particular: this rhythmic verbal flow that I wanted to use through scratched sentences.”
The digital album is available from Apple Music and can be heard on Soundcloud. Listen to the track “Rain Dance” from Water Life:


Film Music Books

Music for Prime Time: A History of American Television Themes and Scoring
By Jon Burlingame, hardback.
Oxford University Press, March, 2023
Jon Burlingame’s revision of his 1996 volume “TV’s Biggest Hits” is a much expanded and thoroughly updated history of American television music, comprising popular themes in television scoring that have entered the discussion since its original publication 25 years ago. Burlingame covers the (largely unknown) television work of every major film composer who either started in TV or came to it later in their career. Music for Prime Time is the product of 35 years of research and more than 450 interviews with composers, orchestrators, producers, editors, and musicians active in the field. Based on, but vastly expanded and revised from, an earlier book by the same author, this wide-ranging narrative not only tells the backstory of every great TV theme but also examines the many neglected and frequently underrated orchestral and jazz compositions for television dating back to the late 1940s.
Available from the publisher here or on Amazon in hardback or on audiobook.

The Music of Basil Poledouris Paperback  
By Sergio Hardasmal (author), Alex Massana (translator), paperback.
Independently published, Feb, 2023.
This is the only book covering the complete work of the late film composer Basil Poledouris published worldwide. It includes a deep analysis on his works for film and television, as well as other important compositions for other fields. In addition to this, it also includes information of his filmography and discography, as well as various annexes paying him tribute, with special regard on the impact that his visit to Spain shortly before his death had on him and on everyone who met him, and the homage that was made in the United States in the summer of 2022.
Originally published in Spanish, an English translation is now available from Amazon.



Documentary Soundtrack News

Lakeshore Records has released the documentary BIG BEASTS from Apple TV+ digitally April 21, featuring music by Ruth Barrett (LAW & ORDER, THE TERMINAL LIST) and narrated by Tom Hiddleston. The docu explores nature’s most captivating giants, from the icy poles to the tropical jungles. Barrett’s orchestra-based compositions capture the beauty, drama and grandeur of the creatures showcased in the series.  Says Barrett: “I wanted to score this like a drama, with character themes that would really connect emotionally with the animals. The score features an amazing group of soloists and singers combined with orchestra and choir to give it an epic scale.” Purchase/Stream the album here.
Listen to Rush Barrett’s splendid track “Pacific Whales” from BIG BEASTS:

Steven Price (GRAVITY, LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, FURY, OVER THE MOON, SUICIDE SQUAD, BABY DRIVER) has composed the original score for the upcoming giant screen documentary BLUE WHALES – RETURN OF THE GIANTS. The film directed by Hugh Pearson and narrated by Andy Serkis takes viewers on a journey to explore the world of the magnificent blue whale, the largest animal on earth and a species rebounding from the brink of extinction. BLUE WHALES – RETURN OF THE GIANTS will be released in IMAX and other giant screen theaters on May 25, 2023. – via filmmusic reporter. Check out a behind-the-scenes video featuring an interview with Price and footage from the recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios, below:

Silva Screen Records has released BODY PARTS, Nainita Desai’s jaunty and playful soundtrack to the critically acclaimed documentary, featuring candid interviews with Jane Fonda, Joey Soloway, Rose McGowan, Rosanna Arquette, Alexandra Billings, David Simon. Directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and produced by Helen Hood Scheer, BODY PARTS traces the evolution of "sex" on-screen from a woman’s perspective, exposing the uncomfortable realities behind some of Hollywood’s most iconic scenes and celebrates the bold creators leading the way for change. Nainita’s soundtrack opens with playful vocals, the voices of dissent and confidence. The composer explains “The vocals embrace the spectrum of emotions, jagged and angular, sometimes innocent, seductive, and lush and at other times confident, bold, and playful, representing the voice of dissent and united front of women coming together and taking control as a singular voice in the film. The vocals sound slightly robotic where the women are perceived as being subservient without any say or control over their situation and how they are presented. I’m not using the vocals in a normal song-like way but more like an instrument with a very human quality.” Also featured are bold jazz influenced drums, performed by Ollie Howell with whom Nainita co-wrote some tracks. The drums have unpredictable rhythmic time signatures, and combined with gentle motifs, create a feeling of unease and claustrophobia, perfectly encapsulating the female actor’s experience of working on sex scenes on sets. Nainita’s music world is bold and confident, just like the women coming forward to tell their stories and experiences. The album is available from these links.

MURDER IN THE PACIFIC is a 3-episode investigative documentary miniseries presented by the BBC last March. The film explores the efforts by New Zealand authorities to discover what happened to the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed in 1985. Having recently returned from a visit to Rongelap in the Marshall Islands, whose inhabitants were suffering from the effects of nuclear testing, the ship was due to lead a protest in Auckland Harbor. However, two explosions sank the ship and killed a crew member. Subsequently, a team of young detectives embarked on an investigation that would lead them into the murky world of international crime. Bucks Records Limited has released a soundtrack for the film, composed by Raphaelle Thibaut, which is available from Amazon and other digital music sources.

Plaza Mayor Company, Ltd. has released Dalibor Grubacevic’s elegant and magisterial score from the 2021 RIVERS OF CROATIA documentary soundtrack. The digital album is available from Qobuz. This documentary was released in 2021 in Germany and France through ARTE TV, and the following year it was shown in Spain on TVEs as Rios de Croacia. The film was also bought out in Italy and Taiwan and, of course, Croatia. “I thought for two years whether to release this soundtrack, but after a long consideration, I decided to release it on the first day of Spring, that’s kind of a convenient date to release a soundtrack like this,” the composer told Soundtrax. We’re very glad he did. 
Listen to “Intro & The Drava”

PREHISTORIC PLANET has been hailed worldwide as an “utterly enchanting” (Inverse) series, one that is “astounding” (Daily Mail UK) and “stunning to watch” (Decider). The award-winning series has also been honored by the Television Critics Association Awards, Visual Effects Society Awards, Annie Awards, Hollywood Music in Media Awards and Cinema Eye Honors Awards, among others. Its second season was recently released, featuring the series theme by Hans Zimmer and Andrew Christie, and the series original score is by Zimmer, Anže Rozman, and Kara Talve of Bleeding Fingers Music. “The award-winning first season of PREHISTORIC PLANET brought dinosaurs back to life in a way global audiences had never seen before,” said Jay Hunt, creative director, Europe, Apple TV+. “Collaborating with the brilliant Jon Favreau and our fantastic partners at the BBC, we are thrilled that viewers will once again have the opportunity to be immersed in the wonders of our world as it was 66 million years ago and to experience even more weird and wonderful creatures in Season Two.” (Read my review of the first season soundtrack in my July 8, 2022 Soundtrax).
Watch the Season 2 trailer:

Michael Dean Parsons and Scott Michael Smith, composers of the docu series OBI-WAN KENOBI: A JEDI’S RETURN, have jointly scored the music for STAN LEE, an Original documentary which will debut at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival and then streaming June 16 on Disney+. Stan Lee, the beloved co-creator of dozens of Marvel characters, passed away at the end of 2018 at the age of 95. Until his death, he also made a number of fun cameos in Marvel Studios films about his comic book characters. Fans unfamiliar with the origin of their favorite superheroes soon looked forward to seeing their creator pop into the cinematic world. His last cameo was in AVENGERS: END GAME (2019), but now, Stan Lee will grace the screens once again in a documentary about his life. Watch the docu’s announcement trailer which shows a compilation of his cameos:

In the French TV documentary film, THE TRUE STORY OF PIRATES (La véritable histoire des pirates), director Stéphane Bégoin explores the real history of Caribbean pirates. The image of pirates was created by Hollywood, but is it true to reality? Thanks to new underwater and on-land excavations in Mauritius and Madagascar, as well as archival and museum research in France, Spain, England, and Canada, a group of international archaeologists and historians paints a new portrait of the world of piracy in the Indian Ocean. The docu is composed by Yannis Dumoutiers (known for HPI HAUT POTENTIEL INTELLECTUEL, LES GENTILS, and DE QUE VUELAN, VUELAN. The film soundtrack is available digitally via Amazon. See the review and sampled tracks a ways down Jon Mansell’s March Movie Music International column. If you have Vimeo, watch the docu’s trailer, here.

William Goodchild has composed Netflix’s CHIMP EMPIRE, a four-part series directed by James Reed and narrated by Mahershala Ali. The film focuses on a vast community of chimpanzees which thrives in a forest in Uganda, navigating complex social politics, family dynamics, and dangerous territory disputes. Said the composer in a Facebook post: “Fourteen months of scoring, working alongside my brilliant music team: Dan Pollard, Ed Watkins, Darryl O’Donovan, Jonathan Scott, Jean Hasse (ep 4), and the Budapest Art Orchestra and Choir conducted by Péter Pejtsik. Watch the film’s trailer:

Directed and written by Eric Bendick, the documentary film PATH OF THE PANTHER is a once-in-a-lifetime sighting that triggers a deep dive into the uncharted world of the Florida Panther. It's a race against time – to reveal the unseen natural history of an icon surviving in an ancient ecosystem. Released in February 2023, the film features a score by Kevin Matley, an award-winning film composer whose work can be heard in feature films, documentaries, and advertisements. Most notably is his recent collaboration with director Ricky Staub on the 2020 TIFF sensation CONCRETE COWBOY starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin. A soundtrack is not yet available. See more info on the film here.


Vinyl Soundtrack News

Netflix and Music on Vinyl announce the release of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT with music by BAFTA Winner and two-time Academy Award Nominee Volker Bertelmann. Available to pre-order now, the vinyl features the visceral and emotional score by Bertelmann for the anti-war epic directed by Edward Berger. The soundtrack will be available on vinyl May 5, and is currently available to stream digitally.
• LIMITED EDITION of 2000 individually numbered copies on smoke coloured vinyl
• LIMITED EDITION of 300 individually numbered copies on
green & silver marbled vinyl
• 180-gram audiophile vinyl
• Heavyweight sleeve with leather laminate finish
• Includes 4-page booklet with movie stills
Watch a video wherein composer Volker Bertelmann discusses finding the soundscape of the film:

MONDO presents a long-teased vinyl project – Natalie Holt’s Emmy®-nominated score to the incredible first season of Marvel Studio's LOKI. Featuring all 48 tracks from the complete first season soundtrack, and housed in a slipcase with artwork by Anne Benjamin, three printed inner sleeves and a TVA file folder insert. “I had an idea for the look of the sleeves, inspired by the opening credits from the TVA theme in Loki’s logo in black and white, and I’m thrilled with how Mondo and artist Anne Benjamin have taken my concept and created such epic and beautiful Loki inspired artwork,” said composer Natalie Holt. “I really hope people can turn down the lights, open their ears and enjoy interacting with this Loki vinyl set!” Pressed on three 180 Gram colored vinyl discs (also available on 180-gram black vinyl) and housed in a slipcase featuring an all-new illustration by artist Anne Benjamin. See: Mondo.

Lakeshore Releases PACHINKO – the Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack on 1x LP On Clear Vinyl & Full Color Inner Sleeve. Music by Nico Muhly, whose work for film includes scores for THE READER (2008) and KILL YOUR DARLINGS (2013), and the BBC adaptation of HOWARDS END (2017). Filled with universal themes of family, love, triumph, fate and resilience, the series, based on the New York Times bestseller, this sweeping saga chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in an indomitable quest to survive and thrive. Preorder here:

The folks at iam8bit have announced the soundtrack to the first-ever animated SUPER MARIO BROS MOVIE, music by Brian Tyler and Koji Kondo. Presented on Red & Green colored vinyl, housed in a beautiful gatefold jacket, highlighting a plethora of incredible art straight from the stellar team at Illumination.

  • Available on Red and Green Double Vinyl and 2-Disc CD Collection
  • 2CD comes in Premium 4-Panel Packaging
  • Music from The Super Mario Bros. movie
  • Featuring the song “Peaches” performed by Jack Black as Bowser

Available via Light In The Attic.

Waxwork Records in partnership with Back Lot Music has released COCAINE BEAR Original Soundtrack LP with music by Mark Mothersbaugh To make it as authentic as possible, Mothersbaugh used the instruments that created some of the most distinctive and memorable sounds of the ’80s music scene. “Once we decided we were going to let it soak a bit in an ’80s sound, I went to the warehouse where I store equipment and my old DEVO road cases full of synths,” Mothersbaugh says. “I pulled out old synths that we used on albums in the ’80s and used the same synths and a lot of the same amps and foot pedals.” The vinyl soundtrack features:

  • The Complete Score by Composer Mark Mothersbaugh
  • 180 Gram Cocaine and Crystal-Clear Colored Vinyl
  • Heavyweight Gatefold Jackets
  • Design and Layout by Matt Needle
  • 12"x12" Insert

See Waxwork

Lakeshore Records has released THE LEGEND OF VOX MACHINA, an Amazon Original Series Soundtrack LP on zoetrope picture discs w/full color gatefold, inserts & liners, featuring music by Neal Acree, Sam Riegel, Peter Habib & Mr. Fantastic. They’re rowdy, they’re ragtag, they’re misfits turned mercenaries for hire. Vox Machina is more interested in easy money and cheap ale than protecting the realm. But when the kingdom is threatened by evil, this boisterous crew realizes that they are the only ones capable of restoring justice. Based on the hit tabletop role-playing game series Critical Role, THE LEGEND OF VOX MACHINA is an animated series produced in partnership with Emmy award winning animation production company Titmouse and Amazon Studios. The series has been picked up by Amazon for three seasons. io9/Gizmodo interviewed Sam Riegel about scoring the series; the vinyl soundtrack is available via Lakeshore Records, here


Video Game Music News

SQUARE ENIX® has announced that the original soundtrack for the Action RPG Forspoken is now available for purchase through the SQUARE ENIX Store. A digital download version of the soundtrack is also available for purchase. With music by Garry Schyman and Bear McCreary, Forspoken puts players in the shoes of Frey Holland, an ordinary young woman who must harness her magical abilities to survive in a fantastical and dangerous land called Athia. Frey takes center stage in Forspoken, exploring an unknown world and facing treacherous trials to unravel the mystery behind Athia. Available from SquareEnix. Watch the Forspoken Cinematic Trailer.
More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found here. To learn more about Forspoken, visit:

TRON: Identity is a visual novel adventure following Query, a detective program that must solve an unprecedented crime in The Grid. The score is by Dan Le Sac, previously noted as part of the hip-hop duo dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip. A soundtrack was released April 14th by Disney, now available via Amazon and listenable on Spotify. Listen to the track “First Impression” on YouTube below:

This week, in partnership with our friends at Cartridge Thunder, Mondo announces the exclusive colorway for Cartridge Thunder’s VIRTUA FIGHTER original soundtrack, on vinyl for the very first time. The first title in the iconic fighting game series, VIRTUA FIGHTER invented 3D fighting games. One of Japan’s highest-grossing arcade games of all time, its porting alongside the launch of the SEGA Saturn was essential to the console’s success there. Crucial to the game’s propulsive energy, the influential soundtrack was composed by the team of Takayuki Nakamura and the voice of Kage-Maru, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, who would continue to collaborate on beloved titles like TOBAL 2, EHRGEIZ and LUMINES. This newly remastered 2XLP offers two distinct VIRTUA FIGHTER arrangements, with discs for both the arcade and SEGA Saturn releases. The full-color gatefold packaging includes six pages of liner notes with hi-res renders and a new interview with series creator Yu Suzuki.
As always, all new releases go on sale Wednesdays 12 NOON CT at

Austin Wintory has released his score to the video game Strayed Lights.  Players explore a dark and oneiric world of rampant nature and corrupted cities. Embody a tiny being of light on its path towards awakening. Fight your inner demons and restore your balance. "It's rare that one gets to embrace something pretty overtly experimental, but credit to the Embers team behind Strayed Lights from the start, that was their priority. The result isn't really like anything I've ever tried before; it's not really 'action' music, and not really 'ambient' or 'lush and pretty.' It exists at some crossroad of those, and hopefully (like the game) inspires a bit of a turn inward." The album is available from bandcamp.



Randall D. Larson was for many years publisher of CinemaScore: The Film Music Journal, senior editor for Soundtrack Magazine, and a film music columnist for Cinefantastique magazine. A specialist on horror film music, he is the author of Musique Fantastique: 100+ Years of Fantasy, Science Fiction & Horror Film Music and Music from the House of Hammer. He currently writes essays on film music and sf/horror cinema, and has written liner notes more than 300 soundtrack CD or digital releases. He can be contacted via or follow Musique Fantastique on Facebook. Follow Randall on Twitter at and