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Soundtrax: Episode 2022-10
September, 2022

Feature Interviews:

  • Documentaries & Dramedies: Catching Up With Jeff Beal
  • “Where Is He Taking Her?” Nima Fakhrara Scores LOU

    Interviews by Randall D. Larson

    Overviews: Soundtrack Reviews
    DEUS/Koutselinis/MovieScore Media, DON’T WORRY DARLING/Powell/WaterTower, GOLDSMITH AT 20th Vol. V – MUSIC FOR TV 1968-1975/La-La Land, JURASSIC WORLD PRIMAL OPS/Phillips/YouTube, MEDIEVAL/Klein/MovieScore Media, OCCHIALI NERI/Rebotini/Rough Trade,  PEARL/Bates & Williams/A24, PINOCCHIO/Silvestri/Disney, PSYCHO STORM CHASER/Bell/Howlin’ Wolf, THAI CAVE RESCUE/Wintory & Seiter/Netflix, THERE’S ALWAYS HOPE/Farley/Caldera

  • Film & TV Music News
  • New Soundtrack News
  • Original Works by Film Composers
  • Documentary Film & Soundtrack News
  • Vinyl Soundtracks
  • Game Music News & Soundtracks

Jeff Beal is one of the most prolific and respected composers working in Hollywood today. He grew up studying the trumpet in the San Francisco Bay area, where he was immersed in the sounds of the 70’s jazz, classical, rock & pop music scene. As a film composer, Beal is frequently called on to score assignments that require a unique and diverse musical approach. Jeff’s first prime time Emmy award came in 2001 for his season one theme song to MONK (2002); Beal along with composer Mychael Danna won a 2005 BMI TV Music Award for their work on Medium (2005), and Beal won another Emmy for NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING (the episode “Battleground,” 2006), a modern day homage to the iconic no-dialog Twilight Zone episode, “The Invaders.” Beal’s scores are often driven by a strong sense of melody, and frequent use of chamber size instrumentations. In a musical climate where bigger is better seems to be the pervading aesthetic, his scores are often intimate, dramatically specific, and character driven. He conducts and orchestrates his own scores, and often performs on them. He plays piano, trumpet, duduk, recorders, harmonica, percussion, rababa, oud, and French horn.
I had the opportunity recently to chat with Jeff about his recent scores and his new record label. - rdl

Q: For starters, tell me what prompted the creation of your record label, Categorical Records, and what it will promise for your music in the future?

Jeff Beal: This was an idea that my manager Fritz had. I self-released several things over the last ten years, which have been sitting in various services, and so there was that, and also, with the work I’ve been doing both as a film composer and as a concert composer, there’s quite a backlog of stuff I just want to get out there. I’m quite prolific – it’s not intentional, I don’t try to write a lot of music! There just seems to be a lot of stuff to be created, so I wanted a way to quickly self-release some of this music and have one home that’s housing a lot of the different aspects of the career. There’s also a fun aspect for this too, which is the way in which having a label creates a slightly different relationship to your listener, because you’re both the label and the artist – so I feel, especially now that things have gone so digital in terms of the way we consume music, that it’s a much more natural way to interact in a lot of ways with fans and journalists and so on, having it all be from one place. Of course not everything I do will be released this way, but a lot of stuff will, so it’s a fun thing to do.

Listen to a cue from BLACKFISH (2013), one of Jeff Beal’s first released on his new Categorical Records label, via YouTube:

Q: I understand that your focus now on the label is on concert music and soundtracks, but later you may be including releases of other composers. What do you foresee for that?

Jeff Beal: We haven’t gotten that far, to be honest with you. The whole idea, starting, was getting it up and running – but I think there’s a certain point in your life or your career where you start to think about other people who are maybe coming after you who need a little help. Or you just admire their music and you want to put something out into the world, and I’d love for this to be a place where really good music can be heard. I guess one thing that I would say about it is, the whole idea of the name is a bit of a play on words in the sense that I’m not a big believer in the sort of manufactured silos or divisions of style. For me it doesn’t matter where it comes from or what it was originally meant for, I feel like if it’s good music, that’s what speaks to me. So it’s about wanting to have a brand, having an identity for it that says, musical excellence. It’s not like the world needs more content – everybody’s a content creator, which is great, but as an artist I feel that people are known for a certain type of work, a certain level for whatever it is that I do, and it’s fun to have a place that serves as a repository for all that, and not just in my own work but for other artists I love and admire.

Q: Your most recent score as of this interview is GAMESTOP: RISE OF THE PLAYERS, which I understand has been your first release on the label. How would you describe the score’s mix of virtuosic string writing and vintage 80s synths?

The documentary chronicles the GameStop short squeeze of 2021 which saw GameStop’s stock rise over 2,500% amidst rampant volatility. This story is told mostly from the viewpoint of several value investors who participated in sharing their due diligence on social media.

Jeff Beal: I love the fact that nobody ever says you can’t combine this with that, and this was that exact kind of case. This film was about the story of the investors who decided to take on the short sellers of GAMESTOP, and decided that they were wrong and there was value there. And, of course, it became this epic kind of either mania or investor Robin Hood kind of story, they used the app Robin Hood but it was also the sense of the little guy finally getting a chance to stick it to the big, multi-billion dollar hedge fund on Wall Street. These people all found each other on the Internet, so not only is the company itself centered around technology but also the technology as a medium for how this story happened was a big metaphor. It was obvious that we wanted part of the score to evoke that sense of technology and also hearken back to the more fun 8-bit, low-res or chip sound – chip tunes or whatever you want to call it, kind of music. There’s also an operatic scale to this, the opening scene of the movie was literally temped with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which I eventually replaced with my original theme – it starts out with something that sounds like an overture to a piece of classical music or something with a string orchestra, and eventually all hell breaks loose and it becomes this dialog between these classical sounds and electronic sounds. Sometimes when you write a score you try to smooth over all the edges and make everything play nice together, and in this case I wanted them to sort of bump up against one another a little more emphatically, because that felt like the story, this David vs. Goliath kind of journey we were taking the listener on. 

Listen to the “Main Title” from GAMESTOP: RISE OF THE PLAYERS, via YouTube:

Q: I’m a huge fan of 2018’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, both the original documentary and certainly your score for it. What prompted the recent short film THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM: THE RETURN and how did you utilize music from the original film, and perhaps some new material, in supporting this wonderful update?

John and Molly Chester are followed through their successes and failures as they work to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Over the years, the desolate land they purchase begins to thrive and its transformed. This short sequel celebrates harmony and the resilience of nature.

Jeff Beal: The original film was just incredible; I’m so glad to have done that. This special, which was released back in April, is actually the precursor to what eventually is going to be a docuseries that John Chester is going to do for National Geographic and Disney. It’s very interesting because these stories are much more like hour-length mini-movies as opposed to the expansive nature of the film. But in the case of THE RETURN, we were doing two things. For people who might not have seen the movie there’s a brief recap of how he got to where he did, but then there’s these wonderful new stories of some of the characters we met in the first film – namely Emma the pig who, like all creatures great and small including humans, is nearing the end of her life, so John had to make a decision: is it time to put her out to pasture and stop breeding her? So there’s some wonderful, tense moments that happen with the characters in the film. Musically, there were a couple things that happened. I did repurpose a few cues from the first film, so those are in there, and if you recognize the score you’d probably recognize those uses. But there was also a sense in which, even more than the original film, this movie was going to go down a little more to the intimate level of the story – we were going to focus on a few simpler themes, perhaps, in the story, so in that case I would say the instrumentation got a little smaller; a little less grand. Sort of lyrical and less big sweeping orchestral music, and more intimate than the original film. I was lucky to work with some wonderful woodwind players who performed on the original score for me. That’s just kind of how it went. John’s a great storyteller, so a lot of the trick in scoring his films is knowing how to serve up what’s happening but not to push too hard, because I find a lot of what he does very moving but, like with a lot of filmmakers, if you put too much in there it doesn’t work. You have to let the audience enter the scene and discover it and feel it, so there was a lot of – I won’t call it walking on eggshells – but it was being very careful not to overdo it. That was a big part of what we were trying to do with that.

Read John Chester’s memorial to the beloved Emma the Pig, here. For more information on Apricot Lane Farms, see the website

Q: Earlier last year you scored the doc JFK REVISITED: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, along with a related shorter doc JFK: DESTINY BETRAYED, both of which reevaluated the assassination based on recently declassified material. What were the musical needs, and tone, of this revisitation of the JFK shooting?

Jeff Beal: I’m so glad you asked about this, because this is a project I just loved doing. There are two main reasons: one is that this is the second time I’ve worked with Oliver Stone and, probably because of when I grew up and the movies I saw coming of age, he’s just one of my cinematic heroes. But also, of his films, I think JFK is definitely one of my favorites. Being a musician, it’s also one of my favorite scores of all of John Williams’ work, and as you know that’s an incredible body of work. But Oliver did something so specific with the way he told that story that I loved. When Oliver and I first met about this project, we talked about that, he said if there’s any way the score can evoke the spirit of what John did in the first film, I said, “Yeah, I’m your guy! I love that score!” I didn’t want to try to recreate it, because you don’t go there, but certainly, in terms of using that as a homage for that sensibility, was wonderful and fun to do.

The film, as Oliver was originally creating it, was really only the long form. It started out in three parts but he sort of went down this rabbit hole of information… you can imagine, after fifty years and millions of pages of unclassified documents and so much research – long story short, the three-part series became a four-part series and he realized, in the rolling out of it, that he wanted to do a condensed version that could play at film festivals or theatrically. So the first thing I did was score the longer form, four-hour series, and then we condensed it down to the two-hour movie. The soundtrack that’s out is sort of a compilation of greatest hits from the four-hour series and the two-hour movie. Getting to the specifics of your question about sounds, you know I’m a trumpet player, so that was fun to do too, because I love John’s use of the trumpet in the original JFK score. There’s a way in which the trumpet can be triumphant or it could be the way I used it in HOUSE OF CARDS, it can be a little twisted or anti-hero. There’s also a way, I feel, like in JFK when it’s just the perfect sound for the mournful – a sort of ghost or an evocation of the great man that was, and also, like Oliver’s film, what could have been if he would have lived.

A big theme in the film is JFK’s foreign policy and how that was ended by his death, and a lot of his foreign policy passions were much more peaceful than the decades that followed his death, especially the Vietnam War. You can’t Monday-morning-quarterback history, but I would like to think that that might not have been the quagmire of tragedy that it was. There is also such a deep well of conspiracy – and I’m not saying that in a pejorative sense, I’m saying this is a real sense, because I think the further you go into researching this it’s quite obvious that there were many players involved in this story. So, obviously the jazz and this murky sort of noirish tone became a part of it. What John did in the original was a kind of hip, 20th Century dissonant string writing that gave you this sense of unease, I’d say, which was useful.

There are a couple cues in the project: one is the “Magic Bullet” cue, for example, which has, I wouldn’t say a direct relation to the Williams’ score, but it has some of that in the sense that it’s got this very strange rhythmic pulse to it. In John’s original score, this rhythmic beat just kept on going and it was almost like a sense of forward motion in the music that you want to stop, but it won’t let up; there’s also an unpredictability built into the writing of it. It’s the way in which unpredictability in music can be very useful in film music, be cause asymmetry as a device creates a lot of unease in the listener. When we have symmetrical patterns, we know what’s going to happen and we can ease into it – it’s like a groove. A lot of good film music is not predictable, so I would say in the case of John William’s JFK there was a lot of the score which was designed to feel like music, feel like it’s engineered. It’s a house but it’s an unpredictable house; you don’t know what’s going to happen when you open the next door, and I guess that’s what I was trying to draw on from John’s music, that sense of taking these twists and turns through a dark landscape.

Listen to the track “The Zapruder Film” from JFK REVISITED: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, via YouTube:

Q: What can you tell me about scoring SELL/BUY/DATE for director Sarah Jones, which has been on the festival circuit earlier this year, and comes to New York on October 14th. What was unique about this project and how did you arrive at the kind of music it needed?

One female comedian creates a dazzling medley of characters while taking viewers on a journey inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry, in order to better understand sex work and her own personal relationship to it.

Jeff Beal: I came in rather late to this project. Sarah is an amazing artist and performer, and this film was based on her award-winning play of the same name. A lot of times in documentaries, when you take on a difficult subject you get peoples’ attention and you hold their attention by a diversionary tactic of making it engaging or entertaining. So, in Sarah’s case, she created all these characters that she performs in the film. It’s amazing how she did it visually – I don’t want to give away the film for people, because hopefully it will be coming out on streaming soon, but there’s definitely this meta thing where there’s a film within a film, so the first layer of the score is this crazy world of Sarah’s life. My first impression of what was obviously needed musically was almost like this Nino Rota kind of sound – an almost circus-y fun, buoyant, and a little bit quirky – just that kind of energy and rhythm. A little bit of jazz, and as you go through her story we meet these characters and she delves into the hard themes of the piece – which are, basically, all the different ways in which sex has become a commodity, in terms of human costs. She made a very good distinction between women who chose that as a profession, but in her case, the main piece of the film is about women who don’t choose that as a profession, where it’s the only thing they can do. That was where the emotion was. As you start to learn some of these stories of women who have been in very difficult situations, scenes are loaded with emotion, so you don’t want to do too much, and yet just a little bit of the right music can bring you there into the emotions.

There was some of that, and also… I started doing this series called WALKER for the CW a couple of years ago. It was the furthest thing from HOUSE OF CARDS I could ever imagine to be scoring, because it’s very guitar-based, it’s Americana. It’s actually been one of the trickiest scores I’ve ever had to write, because when you’re doing HOUSE OF CARDS or JFK I’ve got the whole package of musical literature at my availability. With WALKER, I was trying to have the same emotional depth and breadth but in a very much more defined and less complicated style. It was the same way for Sarah’s film. It felt very much like that. There were some things which felt a little bit like Coldplay or those really nice, undulating guitar riffs. I’ve figured out ways, and had fun with it, of turning those ideas into dramatic cues, which is a lot like writing a jazz score. This was very similar to that. When you’re writing a jazz score you want to make it sound like it’s all improvised and it was just some people in a room, and it just happens to perfectly play the scene and address all the beats. There’s this sort of dancing element to it which I love about the way in which improvisatory gestures, if you pace them around the picture and create them in the right choreography with the scene, they create a life of their own.

Q: In 2020 you scored an excellent and moving miniseries doc, CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT. What was the process of determining the kind of music this project needed, both in its detective work and as a kind of new memorial tribute to its crew?

A four-part docuseries on the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster, unpacking an indelible moment for a generation of Americans.

Jeff Beal: The CHALLENGER documentary was new and interesting to me, and something I hadn’t done a lot of. They wanted sort of an ‘80s retro-electronic sound to the music – a little bit of the Vangelis kind of synths-as-a-palette. So that was where we started, and it was very similar to what I was just saying about jazz or WALKER or Americana scores. It’s like how do you take that world of electronic music and put it into a context where it’s telling this emotional story, a story that also feels of it’s time, and in the same way that’s entertaining and holds your interest? The filmmakers had a wonderful approach to this story, which was that they focused on the astronauts. The astronauts themselves told a big part of the tragedy. This was a point in NASA’s history where, finally, they got the memo – I mean, you look at Mission Control back in 1963 and it’s a room full of white guys, and to our eyes now that’s very strange – that’s not America. And certainly in 1980 that was not America. The crew of the Challenger was amazingly diverse. Not in a tokenism sense at all – they were all brilliant scientists and all sorts of people. The Challenger was also an incredibly tragic event because there was a civilian on board: Christa McAuliffe, who was also a teacher. So that was another layer – obviously she’s the person that we all know about, if you were alive when that happened, but as we meet these individual astronauts, they each have cool stories as well. One astronaut I loved so much, Ronald McNair, he was African American, and he was also a jazz saxophone player, and he was going to play saxophone in space. He was working with Jean Michel Jarre, Maurice Jarre’s son, they were going to jam: he was going to play in space and they were going to do this concert [see details on the planned performance, here]. So there were all these cool little detours. Then, very much like JFK, there was sort of a conspiracy element to it as well. It was also a public relations event, and the pressure to get this thing launched, unfortunately, created a perfect storm where the science and the engineers were being pushed beyond their level of comfort, and people let it happen. They saw the warning signs of what was going to happen, from an engineering point of view, and they rolled the dice. And they didn’t win.

Listen to “Opening Credits” from CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT via YouTube:

I’m fascinated by these kind of stories, because they involve failure. They involve, in a way, the best that we can be – we can send a spacecraft into space, isn’t that incredible?! – but they also encompass this real truth of human foibles. So, to me, there’s so much drama in that. It’s like a sobering visit in a safe space, because you’re watching a movie, or in this case a documentary – so it did happen. But it’s a chance, I would suppose, to perhaps revisit some of the lessons of history, in hindsight, and to try to remind ourselves just how important some of these values are, like truth and scientific rigor, and all these sort of things. Unfortunately, we’re living in an age where those kind of values are even more politicized than they were back then, and that’s a tipping point in terms of a society when things don’t follow the hard facts of science. When you try to make policy on something other than that you can dig yourself some big holes. I think the reason we love these types of stories is that we have some sort of cathartic experience living through these things again in drama.

Listen to electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre’s “Last Rendez-Vous (Ron’s Piece),” which would have been the first song played and recorded in space, with astronaut Ronald McNair playing saxophone. After the Challenger disaster, Jarre recorded the song with Grammy-winning jazz musician Kirk Whalum playing McNair’s saxophone part.

Watch the trailer for CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT

Q: As well as documentary projects, you also scored the rather twisted comedy/drama thriller BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY. How did you get involved in this film and what kind of music did it need?

A woman takes advantage of her growing celebrity status when the police and the public think her dead husband is just missing.

Jeff Beal: This was so fun. I was the second composer hired, and it was definitely a tricky musical brief. Allison Janney plays Sue Buttons, this housewife who is basically very miserable. Her husband is obviously unfaithful to her and she’s just trying to put up a pretty face. But she turns out to be very manipulative in the story; she catches her husband having an affair, he has a heart attack and dies, and she decides to hide his body and claim he’s missing. Why? Because she sees it as a way to become famous. She takes tragedy and piles on this whole other layer – which I think the idea is so topical – that is “if I do something outrageous enough maybe people will notice me.” We think about it on the Internet and social media now: “how can I be famous? It doesn’t matter what I do, it doesn’t matter why, but how can I have that spotlight?” It plays to our basest human weaknesses, I would say. But it’s a comedy! Thank God for Allison Janney because she does it with so much honesty and deadpan evil, and yet with this twinkle in her eye! My decision – and I auditioned for the job – was to make it as if she was completely clueless as to how bad she was. I had to believe strongly in this thesis with villains – I felt the same way about Kevin Spacey’s character in HOUSE OF CARDS; when you’re scoring a good villain you don’t want to condemn them, you want to speak from their truth. They’re celebrating their own whatever it is! In Frank Underwood’s case it was like a Machiavellian politician, while in Sue Button’s case it’s just the sad but slightly twisted manipulator, but completely confident and totally immoral with what she’s doing. She’s already crossed that line. So it was super fun. It’s an eclectic score – it’s sort of funny: here’s Nino Rota again! I can’t escape him! But there’s a total homage to Nina Rota, especially in the first theme. And in this case, it’s obviously an American story – we don’t know what city we’re in but it’s kind of in the middle of the country somewhere, and you may think, oh, this is twangy. So I thought it can be twangy but it need some spin that’s strange. So I used what would be an Americana palette for Sue’s theme, but I wrote it as if Nino Rota was scoring one of Fellini’s comedies. I felt like that gave me the strange combo platter that fit that film. The director was Tate Taylor, who’s a wonderful filmmaker – he did a film I love a lot called THE HELP. I met him some years ago, a wonderful guy. It was strange, because it was the score I was writing right when COVID was happening, and it was the last job I had any in-person meetings on for about two-and-a-half years.

Listen to the opening theme, “Sue’s Birthday,”  from BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY, via YouTube:

Q: Your most recent project was the dramedy film starring Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor – RAYMOND & RAY. It premiered earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, and comes to theaters next month. What can you say about this project and anything else coming up that you can talk about?

Jeff Beal: This was super fun because Ethan Hawke’s character in the film is actually a jazz trumpet player, so I got to write and perform some things that Ethan eventually plays on set. It’s a story of Ethan and Ewan who are half-brothers digging the grave for their father who’s just died, with whom both had a bad relationship, and this was his last wish. One of the central scenes in the movie is Ethan who, instead of giving a eulogy for his dad, picks up this trumpet and plays a lone solo at this grave, which was quite thrilling to see it filmed, and Ethan did a great job of learning the timing of what I played. It’s also very much a jazz score, so I got back into that Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Chet Baker kind of world for that.

I have another film which also premiered at Toronto: a new documentary for Gabriela Cowperthwaite, for whom I scored BLACKFISH. This is called THE GRAB, which just premiered in Toronto. And I’ve just started a new film that Frank Marshall is directing about the journalist Dan Rather. Frank’s more well-known as a producer with Steven Spielberg for many years, but he’s also done quite a bit of directing – he did that Bee Gee’s documentary a while ago, and I’m enjoying working with him. And the other thing I’d like to mention is this recording of concert music which I released a few months ago, called the Paper Lined Shack, and we hopefully have a few more concerts coming up in the Fall for this. This was a collection of a song cycle with Hilà Plitmann, and also a string quartet which I wrote. A completely non-film side of my music but it’s fun to have that out in the wild!

Special thanks to Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf of Wild Kat PR for facilitating this interview, and to Jeff Beal for taking the time out to chat with me about these latest projects. My previous interviews with Jeff about his film scores can be read here: Soundtrax: Scoring BLACKFISH (Jan. 2014 column) and Soundtrax: Music for THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM And Other Documentary Scores (June-July 2019 column)

Follow Jeff Beal’s Categorical Records on Facebook and Instagram. So far his scores to BLACKFISH, HE’S WAY MORE FAMOUS THAN YOU, and GAMESTOP: RISE OF THE PLAYERS are available. For further information on the composer, see his website at


About Nima Fakhrara: Iranian-born composer Nima Fakhrara has honed his craft for nearly twenty years by scoring more than 100 feature films, multiple AAA game franchises and international television shows, as well as crafting commercial music for boutique brands. This massive body of work led acclaimed director Anna Forester to tap Nima as composer for Bad Robot’s latest feature film LOU (2022, starring Academy Award winner Allison Janney).
His unique blend of East-meets-West and command of striking, sonic textures and timbres led gaming legend David Cage to select him to compose the music for 2018’s wildly successful and critically acclaimed DETROIT BECOME HUMAN and the latest edition to the STAR WARS video game franchise ECLIPSE. Other gaming credits include WARHAMMER: SPACE MARINES 2, RESIDENT EVIL: REVELATIONS 2 and 1979 REVOLUTION.
The urgency and dark emotion of Nima’s music is well-suited for dramatic action and horror films as well, leading him to work with Golden Globe winner Hany Abu Assad and horror legend Kevin Williamson (SCREAM) on their films THE COURIER and SICK, respectively. Other notable credits: Jonathan Millott and Cary Murnion’s modern cult-classic BECKY, John Stalberg’s CRYPTO, and the final Wes Craven production THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS.
Fakhrara has always been drawn to singular sounds and while studying the art of instrument making, he discovered the instrument library of iconoclastic composer Harry Partch via GRAMMY-winning guitarist and professor John Schneider. This would prove very influential, reminding him to resist constraint by convention, be it cultural or mechanical. He has since constructed several of his own instruments with the Partch instrument methods, using the original schematics while adding his own modifications. If Fakhrara can’t find the instruments to produce the sounds inside his head, he literally builds them.
Nima is the founder of Zoo Creatives and The Farm with studios located in Los Angeles, New York, Connecticut, and Madrid. With an immense body of work beneath him and an insatiable desire to further his craft, Nima Fakhrara is poised to keep climbing ever higher in the world of composition for film, TV, and video games.

About LOU: A storm rages. A young girl is kidnapped. Her mother (Jurnee Smollett) teams up with Lou, the mysterious woman next door (Allison Janney), to pursue the kidnapper – a journey that tests their limits and exposes shocking secrets from their pasts. This is Netflix’s LOU – produced by Bad Robot, which begins streaming on September 23rd. For this upcoming cat-and-mouse, action-thriller film, Nima created a score rich in unconventional instrumentation utilizing a small ensemble, including a string quartet – a minimalist approach with maximalist production to create music that may keep viewers on the edge of your seats.

Watch the trailer for LOU:

Q: How did you become involved in LOU and what kind of ideas did director Anna Foerster provide as far as the kind of musical palette they were looking for?

Nima Fakhrara: This was a very interesting project. I came onto it a little bit later than I usually do. What was refreshing about that was that they wanted to hear unconventionality and whatever I wanted to present, musically, and what my vocabulary would have been for the movie. The score was more about figuring out what the extreme feelings were, so when we would discuss a scene it was more about how we wanted the audience to feel at that moment rather than saying “We’ll go ahead and use some pads” and leave it on my end. That’s how the musical colors came about.

Q: An ongoing motif you have across the film. starting at the beginning, is a kind of soft choir intonation, infused with a variety of tonalities and guitar and string fragments that create a kind of tense sonority. How did you come up with this and how have you developed it throughout the film?

Nima Fakhrara: Lou is a very complicated character who doesn’t talk much. There is a lot of backstory that we see on the screen without any sort of verbalized commentary. A lot of those elements are telling you the story of who Lou is and what she’s gone through in the past. The voices represent the characters that she’s had interactions with in her life; it’s everything that has happened in her past and has come forward to the present. We start the movie with her being near the end of her journey so we’re kind of back-peddling through out this whole thing as we learn more about her. Metaphorically, it’s all splashes of waves – information about who she is. There’s a lot of those wave factors with the orchestra, with bowed guitars and things that create those kind of crashes of information. The vocals as well do a lot of heavy lifting in this score.

Q: Besides Lou, How have you treated the other characters, as we gradually get to know them through the course of the story?

Nima Fakhrara: Phillip is basically very much of a wounded character. I scored Phillip from the sense of what is going on in his mind as things are moving forward, because he’s a complicated one as well. You hear a lot of electronics in his world and you hear a lot of bendy stuff. The electronics are very obscure so you can’t technically see what they are; you can hear them but it’s very complex. We wanted to make sure that it was very obscure in that sense. For Vee, the girl, and Hannah, her mother, they wanted it to feel like something simple we remember as our childhood memories, which is conveyed through these twinkly bells and twinkly pianos, but they are run through a lot of processing and tape, and things like that to make it sound like it’s coming from a completely different world, even though it’s the same emotional connections as an audience that we had with those twinkly bells.

Q: I understand you used some tape-scratch elements to create the ‘80s sound you were looking for. How did you achieve this and how did you use it to provide the unique sound you were looking for in this film?

Nima Fakhrara: The movie takes place in the ‘80s, but I didn’t want the score to necessarily feel like the ‘80s, compositionally and musically. So I recorded everything onto cassette; everything first went into a cassette player and was recorded into a multi-track player before it went into my computer, and then it started being manipulated. Sometimes, though, it was being manipulated as it was being recorded. There were a lot of these tape-over-tape recordings, I’d re-record them multiple times to get this idea of an old tape or an old melody being played. We are dealing with a lot of memories in this, and those memories most of the times were multiple recordings. There are vocals that I did for that – I sang a little bit in there and then those were probably recorded a dozen or more times over each other. That allowed us to convey the idea of the memories; the sound is very raw, and that’s how we achieved the story’s timeline and how the cassettes came into play.

Q: There’s some very heavy action moments throughout the film, how did you treat these musically across the arc of the story?

Nima Fakhrara: The action in the movie is based on the fact that Lou is in control of a lot of the situations when she gets into them, especially within that action world. She’s calculated but at the same time very much of an improviser as she goes through the story. I wanted it to feel very raw, so they are all created with basses and guitars being struck by hammered dulcimer hammers. They’re not all amplified, so you get these very cool, hammer-like effects of things being struck, which gave these moments a cool, visceral sound. That’s what you hear under fist fights, and the like. The percussive elements were very interesting, because we’re also dealing with a lot of rain throughout the movie, and I had to be aware of that as well, and articulate the percussive momentum during the rain.

Q: There’s a significant moment involving a government agency where you have some powerful electronic elements on top of the chorus elements. What can you tell me about developing this musical moment, and what do some of the percussive sounds represent?

Nima Fakhrara: When that happens it’s a very big shifting point. Visually it changes, too, so I wanted it to feel very powerful and very much a complete change of the world that we’re getting into. The electronics are pretty much created by Euro Racks that I have here in the studio, and they are all performed. I very much like performing each part. Some of the synthesized sounds came from a company called Folktek, which creates performance-based synthesizers, and a lot of that is being played from synths. It’s a very organic score, even though it has a lot of electronics being manipulated progressively, even if it’s synthesized.

Q: Were you able to use live players and choir to record this score?

Nima Fakhrara: Yes. I was able to do three days of sessions, which was pretty awesome. I got to record at Village Studios with choir, and we did a couple string sessions as well as a smaller ensemble which I used for particular elements of the score. It was a trio of bass strings, so it started with a detuned viola, a detuned cello, and a secondary cello that was detuned even further. And then we did a bigger ensemble with an oddly-shaped as well as oddly-partnered up kind of instrumentation as well.

Q: What’s been most challenging, interesting, or rewarding for you about scoring LOU?

Nima Fakhrara: LOU was a very special project to me because it was one of those projects that I wanted to be pretty much alone and isolated while I wrote it. I scored it in a farmhouse in Connecticut, during New England wintertime. I was essentially in the same circumstances that Lou was undergoing as far as the rain and the weather was concerned! So I was by myself for about two-and-a-half months to score this, and I had my team back in L.A. to manage what I was recording. It was extremely rewarding to be able to do that. This was a very special project for me, and a special sound that I’m very proud of. That was the hardest part, to get that specific sound to fit the picture.

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

Nima Fakhrara: I have BECKY 2 coming up. It’s a little bit wilder than the first movie. If you remember the score from the last one, it was very crazy. I wrote an operatic aria for this with a soprano and a bass singer, so it’s pretty wild! I’m also working with my awesome friend John Stalberg on one of his films; I did CRYPTO for him in 2019. And currently I’m working on five movies, some with amazing new collaborators, and then the video game world is another monster by itself that keeps me busy!

Special thanks to Andrew Krop and Yefan Zhang of White Bear PR for facilitating this interview, and of course to Nima Fakhrara for an engaging discussion on his music.

For more details on the composer, see his website
Nima’s soundtrack album for LOU is available at these links.

See my companion interview with Nima about scoring recent horror films at MusiqueFantastique.

See my 2015 interview with Nima about scoring THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPH and various other genre scores at Soundtrax.


Overviews: Recently Released Soundtracks

DEUS/John Koutselinis/MovieScore Media, digital
This 2022 sci-fi feature film is directed by Steve Stone, starring Claudia Black (FARSCAPE, PITCH BLACK, THE NEVERS), David O’Hara (TRYING, POLDARK, WHITECHAPEL), Lisa Eichhorn (THE VANISHING, LAW & ORDER) and Phil Davis (VIEWPOINT, SILENT WITNESS). It’s about a mysterious black sphere  discovered in the orbit of Mars, and The Achilles is sent to investigate. After the bedraggled six-person crew wake from eight months hibernation, the Sphere is transmitting a single word in every Earth language ever known – Deus. Says composer John Koutselinis: “The score… calls to describe a dark and dystopian reality, humanity on its final days, the search for the unknown, and a challenging question put to the viewer of a great ethical dilemma. As such, the tone is also dark, atonal, somber, distorted, frightful at places, powerful, action driven, but also religious and pensive. This score on its most part is electronic, with very few orchestral and choral parts, and I was very excited to explore the seemingly endless world that synthesizers offer to a composer.” The score begins with “The Vision,” a low tone supporting an impassioned vocal wailing, which is gradually overcome by a wash of synthetic sound, waves of a dark vocalise and disturbing sonic textures amidst random percussive beats that suggest something of a very ominous portend. The second track, “Singularity,” proffers a soft three-note piano motif that grows incrementally more pronounced, joined by light strings and winds, until its gentleness is also overwhelmed by a wave of organic fusion, trundling waves of sound that escalate into an apotheosis and then suddenly dissipate, leaving the piano and strings softly in quietude once more. The score concludes with “Ulph’s Sacrifice,” opening with a tranquil assemblage of layered wavelike sounds out of which emerge elevating brassy synths as waves of sonic texture ebb and flow and gradually disperse into silence, overtaken by soft female choir, intoning together in the wordless song and then dissolving. These three tracks are unified in their branching tonalities and mysterious beauty; while what divides them between start and finish is a more difficult listen, apart from its associated film, as layers of, initially, soft choral voice emerge as if from some cathedral ensemble, developing into much harsher electronica measures, tonalities, brutal rolling chords and spreading choir intonations (“The Journey into the Unknown”). Nearly all of the succeeding eleven tracks are made of harsh percussive slams, choral vocalizations, electronic pads, tones, dissonances, and cadences cultivating disturbing treatments and swelling chord growths, bolstering the sense of danger and vulnerability in the midst of cold space through successive tracks like “Catharsis,” “On The Sphere,” “Self Destruction,” “Obtaining The Core,” and “The Detonation,” broken only by the reverie of “Paradise” midway through. It’s a brilliant manner of treating the nature of the black sphere – almost an antithesis of Kubrick’s mix of sonic classicism and avant garde choral resonance in 2001. It’s a difficult listen but emerging through it into the grace of “Ulph’s Sacrifice” is a kind of journey’s end of its own. For more information on the composer, see his website The digital soundtrack is available from MovieScoreMedia and can be listened to on the links posted at the MSM website.
Listen to “Singularity” from DEUS, via YouTube:

DON’T WORRY DARLING/John Powell/WaterTower Music - digital
DON’T WORRY DARLING is a 2022 American psychological thriller film directed by Olivia Wilde about a young, happy couple in the 1950s, living in the seemingly perfect company town of Victory, California, which has been created and paid for by the mysterious company for which Jack works. Curiosity about the nature of her husband’s work on the secret “Victory Project” begins to consume Alice. Cracks then begin to form in their utopian life as her investigation into the project raises tensions within the community. When it came to score composition, composer Powell first viewed the assemblage without any sound, only the dialogue. Director Olivia Wilde remembers: “Then he said to me, ‘This movie is more romantic than you are letting it be. Let the score be something that sweeps our hearts away. He said that if we played with something more romantic, and used percussion to feel like a heartbeat… by bringing in the world of the orchestra he made it much more emotionally impactful.” Writing in an online review, Dan Skip Allen noted that “the thing that drives this story forward is the score by John Powell… [which] is masterful in its subtlety and precise nature. It uses odd sounds to reflect the odd circumstances and the world these characters find themselves in.” Powell’s score is highly romantic, briefly, but then becomes much more tremendously tenuous, reflecting the cracks in the couple’s relationship almost literally with percussive echoes, whispering voices (“Trolly to HQ”, which then opens into a massive choral climax), and strangely configured treatments. The suggestion of slowing and quickening heartbeats is made through the semblance of crackling sound elements and backwards recording (“In the Bedroom,” “Keeping House”), wavering, “bent” string performances (“Margaret’s Flashback”), warbly synth tonalities, shimmering voicings, weird female choruses and slashing string chords (“Waking Up to An Ever-Decreasing World”), and so on. The whole middle section of the film, devoid of sweeping romantic music, is akin to a sonic nightmare, a variable orientation of strange and majorly contorted musical elements. There’s a bit of a respite in the smooth violin renderings of “Whose World Is It?” even if the strings for a moment or three sound like something out of a horror film; “Sorties & Delusions” come together like old fashioned radio interference driven by blocks of pizzicato and morse-code; the sinewy and desultory measures of “Dinner Party Fallout” are increased by an uneasy wavering static in treatment, despite some elegant Herrmannesque string lines midway through, changing into siren-like bowing joined by a ghostly, hungry choir; “Catechisms & Catheters” mix reverse choral elements with sinuous violin strains, bits of backwards percussion, brutal motor sounds and soft breathing; and of course everything eventually tumbles, inharmoniously, down the “Rabbit Hole” in a dismal pattern of falling sonic patterns. There’s a brief bit of calm harmony with “All for You Alice” but that doesn’t last long as rumbles and reverberations return with “Bunny’s Wise Words,” and the 8:18 minute “Victory Chase” is a landscape of treated vocalise of all manners, driven by brass intonations and a quick-step pattern of drum beats emerging into a conflagration of rolling percussion, wild string bowing, chanting choir, slowing for a brief solo for sticks, and resuming anew with all manner of rising, quickening circulatory vocalise, howls of brass, amongst a variety of receding mixes and further choral matter, culminating in a rather normal “End Credits” sequence which returns to a somewhat unconvincing romantic flavor again. This score is absolutely weird, even diabolical in a deliciously appealing way, and admirably fascinating to listen to. A masterwork of delightful weirdness.
The album is available from these links.
Listen to the track “Dinner Party Fallout” from DON’T WORRY DARLING, via YouTube:

GOLDSMITH AT 20th Vol. V – MUSIC FOR TELEVISION 1968-1975/La-La Land Records - CD
La-La Land’s 600th release is a new 2-CD collection of classic Jerry Goldsmith television music composed for 20th Century Fox, which brings back some out-of-print favorites while also debuting previously unreleased music, with a total of 76 tracks and more than 2 hours of music, this collection offers a suburb listening experience. This volume showcases Goldsmith’s original television work at Fox between the years 1968 to 1975. He never “wrote down” for television, and while these tracks have smaller ensembles and treatments than his feature film work, they are exceedingly colorful and heartfelt, demonstrating the composer’s versatility and engagement with the broadcast medium. Premiering for the first time on this release are largely expanded presentations of ANNA AND THE KING (CBS, 1972) and A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (NBC, 1974), both previously presented in shorter form on the 2004 Varèse Sarabande Jerry Goldsmith At 20th Century Fox box set), and the world premiere of music from the TV pilots ONLY IN AMERICA and PRUDENCE AND THE CHIEF, as well as tracks from the ROOM 222 series and failed NICK QUARRY would-be pilot. ANNA AND THE KING was also a failed sitcom, a non-musical adaptation of the film of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical play THE KING AND I; Yul Brynner had starred in the musical and, being so identified in the role, agreed to play the King in the TV series, but the show had low ratings and cancelled after just 13 episodes. Goldsmith’s score is thoroughly wonderful, avoiding any musical reference to Rodgers & Hammerstein, he crafts a delightful and quite infectious main theme for flute and oboe supported by Oriental-styled percussion. The 20 tracks of mostly short length that follow provide a variety of delicious sonic confections with ethnic flavoring to fit the scenario and setting. A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN was a delicate period drama for which Goldsmith offered an intimate, poignant score, favoring strings, woodwinds, and soft piano and harp elements. Like ANNA AND THE KING, it was a failed drama that NBC never gave a chance, cutting 15 minutes out and abandoning it in an unfavorable timeslot. NICK QUARRY is an unusual entity in that it is a 15-minute presentation offered as consideration for an hour-long detective series somewhat based on Frank Sinatra’s 1967 film TONY ROME. The four tracks of the score are energetic and enthusiastic jazzy detective music for a small ensemble of brass supplemented by drum-kit, organ, and flutes. It’s wonderful stuff, too bad it didn’t survive to get a full season’s worth of such music! ONLY IN AMERICA starred Chaim Topol (of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF fame) in a family drama set in lower east Manhattan. Goldsmith’s lively, klezmer-heavy music emphasized appropriate ethnic music and is quite nice, but like NICK QUARRY it never aired. ABC’s 1969 Emmy-winning comedy-drama series ROOM 222 depicted life and politics in an extremely racially diverse high school in urban Los Angeles. Goldsmith’s enthused main theme, played by a recorder augmented by acoustic guitars, electric bass, drums, and a percussion device called a vibraslap (a modern version of the instrumental jawbone); this ensemble recorded a gentle melody that suggested the dramatic nature of the ongoing storyline. PRUDENCE AND THE CHIEF was a 1970 TV pilot about a young widow who takes her two children and mother and opens a school in the untamed West and immediately comes into conflict with the local Indians who were here first; mixed reviews resulted in ABC declining to bring the show to series. Goldsmith’s snappy music here is not unlike his pop Western movie scores of the 1960s, adding a contemporary edge with electric guitar, keyboards, and rhythm section to his standard orchestra configuration. The 1975 TV movie A GIRL NAMED SOONER was also a period drama about a young girl living in the hills of Indiana who is abandoned by her family, raised by a bootlegging old woman, and made the ward of a childless couple. Scored with a 40-piece orchestra with a nod toward Americana music, the score is soft and sentimental, but instrumentally and melodically evocative, its 6 tracks quite affecting, and this time the film was a hit, the must-watched TV program of its week. The 2-CD album, produced by Mike Matessino and Neil S. Bulk and restored and mastered by Chris Malone, includes in-depth and very informative liner notes by writer Jon Burlingame. This release is limited to 2000 units, and is most highly recommended. It’s pristine Goldsmith from the small screen.

The latest of numerous video games based on the Jurassic Park/World franchise available in iOS and Android mobile game, Jurassic World Primal Ops is an action-adventure game viewed from a top-down perspective, developed by Behaviour Interactive and officially released on June 30, 2022. The game play pits the player who traverses North America rescuing dinosaurs from poachers, mercenaries, and science research. Video game composer extraordinaire Winifred Phillips has composed an exciting score for the game; unfortunately this score has not had the opportunity for a commercial release, but highlights of the game’s music were posted in late August to YouTube (link below). This is a full-on action score that breathes with the exotic sounds of the jungle and the excitement and danger of the creatures that roam within it. “In the films and the TV series, action sequences were very intense, but relatively short,” Winifred told me in an interview about scoring this game. “If the characters didn’t get away quickly, they’d meet a grisly end, so that necessitated concisely written bursts of intense music in the films and TV series. These music bursts were effective in supporting the frenzy of life-or-death moments. In sharp contrast, the PRIMAL OPS video game was structured as one long action sequence. I’d need to approach the score with the same beefy action-driven sound that typifies the rest of the franchise, but also find a way to sustain this energy level for much longer than had been attempted in the TV and film projects.” This extended compositional technique is evident in the music samples available on this score (see below), and also makes for an enthused listen away from the game itself. After an opening thematic bridge of her main theme, the score exudes with plenty of action gravitas as dinosaurs pose danger; the brassy orchestral material given clacking percussion, harsh electric guitar chords, and a few melodic lines from piano, strings & winds and calmness arrives, and the music spreads into various elements of gameplay including environment, strength, escape, travel and travail and the like. The main theme is a thunderous adventure motif tinged by punchy brass attacks and an on-rushing tempo of haste in the midst of Jurassic danger, bridged by a slower tempo of horns before resuming the previous determination. It makes for a pleasing listen on its own while effectively embracing the gameplay with a spirited momentum and drive. One may hope that a soundtrack release may preserve her score’s rich musical configuration for thorough listening sometime in the future.
For more information on Winifred Phillips’ score for this game, see my interview with her at
To sample Winifred’s score, watch this track of her main theme:

For more music samples, watch this 8-minute highlight video of her score with gameplay images (and some game fx):

MEDIEVAL/Philip Klein/MovieScore Media – digital
This expansive score from Philip Klein (THE LAST FULL MEASURE, PIG, WISH DRAGON) is a 2022 historical action drama directed by Petr Jákl and starring Ben Foster, Matthew Goode and Michael Caine. It tells of fifteenth century Czech icon and warlord Jan Žižka, who defeated armies of the Teutonic Order and the Holy Roman Empire. With a budget of K?500 million ($20.3 million), MEDIEVAL is the most expensive Czech film ever made. “Despite being a film overflowing with brutality and death, our guiding light was always finding the heart of each character’s journey in the story, especially Žižka’s evolving relationship with Katherine,” Klein wrote of his music for this film. “The score is heavily thematic, twisting themes inside out of each other as the storylines mature. Given the sprawling nature and time period of the film, I relied heavily on solo voice and strings, multiple choirs and the orchestra all recorded in the Czech Republic.” Klein’s score has a continual presence and captivation which makes for a fine listen apart from its film. Musical elements convey the brutalization of Medieval warfare with low, curving tonalities and somber edges, fitting the time period. To sonically surround the listener, Klein recorded much of his percussion elements underwater using a contact microphone, while his brass players were positioned in the round. “This opened up the more tender and tragic moments to fully capitalize on the beautiful performances of our soloists, choirs and orchestra,” remarked Klein, “allowing them to truly soar” during heroic moments like “Saving the Boy,” which escalates with choir, drums, and advancing surges of the full orchestra. A romantic element is provided through the gentle melodies of “Did You Love Her?” (director Jákl admitted that although he tried to be faithful to the facts, he did not consider them as important as the overall impression, especially as many facts of Žižka’s early life are not fully known or are disputed by historians – thus the love story was added). “Mistakes of Men” renders a dour descent of strings, vocalise, and a consistent mood of impassioned regret. The dramatic largess of music in “Rock and Flame” creates an especially provocative battle sequence with gongs, rough-edged tonalities, nasal period woodwinds, and a growing, downward siren-like howl dappled by wood, percussions, and heavy preponderance of dark musical elements growing into a massive discord that ultimately softens and draws to a close with the solo voice protruding through diminishing elements of stridency. A similar track is “Blood and Water,” also a very poignant and reflective treatise that culminates in low bongs amidst an influx of dark timbres and ambiences. Choir offers a measure of sympathy in “A Good Death,” opening up with a sorrowful pattern from a string choir supporting a lament from the strident bowing of a solo violin.
For more details, to sample the music and/or to order, see MovieScore Media.
Listen to “Warrior of God (Main Theme)” from WARRIOR, via YouTube:

OCCHIALI NERI (Dark Glasses)/Arnaud Rebotini/Digital, vinyl,
CD from various labels
Dario Argento returns to something close to form with this intriguing giallo thriller. The film stars Ilenia Pastorelli as Diana, an Italian escort who is attacked and blinded by a serial killer in an attempted murder. While escaping the attack by car, she meets a young Chinese boy named Chin (Andrea Zhang) who assists her in her lack of sight. OCCHIALI NERI is not a perfect film, as many critics have pointed out, but I quite enjoyed watching it all the same. It’s not as much of a visual spectacle as the films of Argento’s heyday, and there are a few sequences that just don’t seem to work but the cast does a good job, and French techno composer Arnaud Rebotini (best known as a member of Parisian electroclash duo Black Strobe) working with Argento for the first time, provides a very potent electronic score with an onrushing propulsive syncopated groove that recollects some of the director’s earlier scores of Simonetti and Goblin. In addition to playing a supporting role as a health care worker who helps Diana adjust to her blindness, Dario’s daughter Asia Argento was also an associate producer on the project, and was instrumental in convincing Rebotini to compose the film’s soundtrack (replacing an originally planned Daft Punk after that band’s disbandment). “When I learned that I was going to compose the soundtrack for the next Dario Argento, I immediately thought of the music of Goblin and Claudio Simonetti who have composed close to ten films under the direction of the Italian maestro,” said the composer in a statement. “I obviously had the bells of SUSPIRIA in mind, the introductory sequence of PROFONDO ROSSO, of his gothic organ, or of course the electronic sounds of TENEBRE. I composed an entirely electronic soundtrack, mixing dark themes and sequences with more pop music. As Goblin did with funk and disco, I added a more personal touch with more contemporary sounds coming from electro and techno. For this soundtrack, I wanted to follow the tradition of the classic giallo while trying to bring a personal and modern vision.” Rebotini opens the score with a title track just under 6-minutes in length, which immediately launches into a powerful propulsion of chiming synths and digital percussion, very much in the giallo vein and yet something entirely his own; this theme recurs frequently in various forms to identify the would-be killer as he returns again and again to attempt completion of his murder of Diana.
Listen to the main theme from OCCHIALI NERI via You Tube:

“L’Ospedale” (The Hospital) is a somber keyboard tonality echoing Diana’s feelings as she recuperates from her attack and subsequent blindness. “Inseguimento Notturno” (Night Pursuit) is a propulsive thumping rhythm synth for the high-speed vehicle chase of the killer in pursuit of Diana, resulting in the car crash that blinds her and kills the parents of the Chinese boy; “Il Morto di Rita” and “Il Corpo di Rita” are quite sympathetic measures that lend a bit of grief about the demise of this character (this event does not occur sequentially as their album tracks might suggest; in fact the soundtrack is not always in film order; perhaps more of a listening order); the former opens with cumulative synth tones that grow stronger and finally emerge with a harsh, buzzing sound that quickly cuts off, much as Ruth’s life has; the latter track occurs when Diana and Chin, attempting to flee from the killer into some off-road woodland, come across Ruth’s body. “Matteo Ridipinge Il Furgone” (Matteo Repaints The Van), which occurs just early in the film as the killer (Andrea Gherpelli) repaints his van to avoid suspicion after his first onscreen murder, is a short but effective cue for ringing metallic percussion over a running synth pattern, nicely worrisome. “Serpenti e Cacciatori” (Snakes and Hunters” is the disturbing music when Diane and Chin, hiding in the woodland from Matteo, step into a nest of water snakes; a propulsive drum beat and guitar-like plucks from synth that underlies a series of echoed metallic hits, ringing shimmers, buzzing whorls, electronic blasts, and various other eerie sounds and sonic shivers; it’s a very effective and catchy cue. Emerging from the woodland, Diane and Chin emerge into a ranch with a large Kennel, accompanied by “Il Canile” with echoing dark keyboard notes and light synth tones and gathering clusters of high notes; “Diana Da Sola Nel Bosco” (Diana Alone In The Woods) extends a spooky corpus of tubular bell-like synth structures heard when Chin gets lost in the woods and Diana, blind, is left on her own to try and hide from the killer; the following track, “La Solitudine di Daina” (The Solitude of Diana), with ringing synth pads, tones, and echoes continues to follow her difficult progression as she enters the Kennel and the killer’s house alone, quietly creeping to avoid the whereabouts of the killer. Track 13, “Un’Eclissi Su Roma” (An Eclipse Over Rome) is from the opening of the film were Diana wears dark glasses in order to observe a solar eclipse, a scene that anticipates her coming blindness; it’s a soft placement of prolonged synth pads, soon joined by the same kind of sharp synth notes we will later hear in “The Solitude of Diana” and the Eclipse track’s placement here works nicely as a listening sequence. “Una Serata Buia “ (A Dark Evening) submits a return to the smooth, light synth renderings of the Eclipse at the films’ start, with a choir of synth pads and sequences (softly heard beneath dialog) as Diana bids adieu to Chin in the airport as he is united with a relative; as Diana hugs Nero, the seeing-eye German Shepherd who has been her companion since her blindness, saying “You’re the only friend I have left,” the music fades out, reopening with a reprise of the opening title track for the film’s end credits.
I found Arnaud Rebotini’s score to OCCHIALI NERI to be a very good one, nicely reflective and reminiscent of Goblin’s music for the Argento of old, yet an excellent work from Rebotini on his own; an enjoyable score both in its film and on its own, effectively sequenced. The digital soundtrack is available through the usual sources; a vinyl edition will be available in limited editions from (currently on pre-order) and Mondo, and a CD is purported to be available from RoughTide in the UK and FYE and ImportCDs in the US where they are available for pre-order (the latter has announced release dates of Sept 30 (Vinyl) and October 21st (CD).
Listen to OCCHIALI NERI the opening/closing track “Un’Eclissi Su Roma” via YouTube:

PEARL/Tyler Bates & Timothy Williams/A24 Music - digital
For Ti West’s grindhouse delight X, which takes place in 1979 as a group of young filmmakers rent a secluded farmhouse in rural Texas in order to make an adult film, only to find the leering interest of their elderly and reclusive hosts turns violent as night falls, composer Tyler Bates joined forces with singer/songwriter musician Chelsea Joy Wolfe for a darkly ambient score with themes developing largely around voice blended with synthesizers. For West’s prequel film, PEARL tells the backstory on how Pearl (Mia Goth, who also played her in X [as well as one of the young filmmakers]) became the person she was in X (half of the reclusive elderly couple). Trapped on her family’s isolated farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and overbearing watch of her devout mother. Lusting for a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl finds her ambitions, temptations, and repressions all colliding in this stunning, technicolor-inspired origin story of X’s iconic villain. The score embraces the musical landscape of 1918 Texas, where Pearl was young and vibrant… and handy with both pitchfork or axe when necessary. We also get to know that the name of the alligator Pearl and her husband kept as a “pet” in their lake in X is named “Theda” (clearly an allusion to 1900s silent film vamp Theda Bara). Scoring the film along with Tim Williams, Bate’s lead orchestrator and conductor on his larger scores, the music is fully orchestral, recorded and highly sonorous, performed with a live 68-person orchestra, presenting the period and the young, vivacious Pearl in all her youthful glory. “In the style of mid-century melodramas,” said director Ti West in a statement, “Tyler Bates fashioned a sweeping, shrieking, strings-based score that lets the viewer know from the opening credits that Pearl will not be a subdued or quiet film. I said to him, ‘let’s do a romantic, melodramatic, old-school score for this movie…’ The score is very much one of the film’s central characters, and that was important.” Said the composers, “We knew that the music would be based in an ‘Old Hollywood’ approach, which stylistically is something we both love to do. This was a rare opportunity to write a lyrical score where the main theme permeates the music throughout the myriad emotional and psychological dynamics from beginning to end.” The main theme, opening and closing the soundtrack and making appearances throughout when appropriate, is a euphoric Herrmanesque/Vertigo-esque rhapsodic and blissfully surging melody which is profoundly moving and sets off this sequel to X on uncommon but delightfully fascinating ground. The score retains its buoyantly positive tone for the first nine or so tracks, before things turn a bit darker. Later we even have a delightful yet critical period ditty with “Hot House Rag,” heard when Pearl auditions for a dance troupe.  (review continues below)
Listen to the “Main Title” from PEARL, via YouTube:

(Some minor spoilers may follow): The music gets a little more tense with “Alligator Egg,” with darker low tonalities and some suspenseful violin measures, ending in a severely assertive termination for percussion and violins. The following track, “The Whole World Is Gonna Know My Name,” alludes to Pearl via sobering string tones that, near the tracks mid-point, rally into shivering propulsion with low, snarling brasses, wild cadences of tympani, and a growing sense of determined retaliation, ending in a chilling accumulation of very angry chords while retaining that classic orchestral sensibility in its sound. This is, after all, a story of murder and the development of a murderess, and the score gets increasingly pronounced and driven, with filigrees of winds darting among blaring brass statements. When Pearl is rejected from the dance audition, the distinctive Herrmannesque cue “We’re Looking For Something Different” clearly paints her mood  with growing steps of disconsolate and bitter brass and winds; the slow measures of “I Should Probably Get Going” emphasize her resentment; eerie, discouraged violin figures open into drum-driven slashes of strings, low howls of brass, as Pearl absconds with “A Bicycle And An Axe” to make amends, while the conclusive “The Tableau” greets husband Howard as he returns from the war in a cue that begins with somnambulant dismay and resolves with a warm acceptance as their union is renewed, for goodness or badness, while “I’m So Happy You’re Home” concludes the story with a rapturous, soaring melodic resolve of Bates & Williams’ main theme. In it’s range, perspective, and dramatic construction and effectiveness, I’m adding PEARL to my list of the year’s best scores.
We’ll see where the story goes in the forthcoming MaXXXine, Ti West’s intended third film of the X horror franchise with Mia Goth reprising one of her two roles in X. We don’t know yet which one.
For related information, see my interview with Tyler Bates on scoring PEARL’s predecessor, X, at musiquefantastique.
Listen to the track “The Whole World Is Gonna Know My Name” via YouTube:

PINOCCHIO/Alan Silvestri/Walt Disney Records – digital
Walt Disney Records has released a music & song soundtrack to Robert Zemeckis’ live-action & CGI remake of PINOCCHIO, featuring the score by the director’s long-time collaborator Alan Silvestri and a variety of new and old songs. The film apparently received mixed to negative critical response upon it’s Sept. 8th streaming release on Disney+, but I can acknowledge vigorously that Alan Silvestri has provided an exciting and compassionate lyrical score which serves the Pinocchio legend quite well. For his background score, he’s used the songs as a resource, along with an accordion motif to evoke a bit of Old World Italy for Geppetto’s shop. Silvestri explained, “Even though the film takes place at a much earlier time in history, I didn’t feel that we had to limit ourselves to period music. In a film like this, with these big action sequences, there’s a great range of musical needs, a lot of music that had to be written. But it really comes back to the emotional arc of the characters. These were very emotional scenes and adventures and things happening that are timeless and universal – friendship and danger, mystery and fantasy, all these things. So, the film seemed to really be able to take and handle a tremendous musical range.” (review continues below)
Listen to the “Main Title” from Alan Silvestri’s PINOCCHIO, via YouTube:

Ten of the tracks are songs: five loaded at the beginning of the album, and three more scattered throughout the score playlist (two nicely sung by Tom Hanks, as Geppetto). But it’s Silvestri’s score that I’m focusing on here, and I find this to be a splendidly delightful effervescent score that captures the essence of the Pinocchio story and legend. The composer gives it a number of woodwind-focused cues, appropriate for a wooden boy, supported by strings and the occasional soft brass accompaniment. Pinocchio’s emerging into a real boy is enthusiastically introduced by “He’s Alive,” “Am I Real,” and “I Can Talk And So Can You,” the latter of which ends confidently with a sturdy brass tenacity. “Off To School” provides a sympathetic, lonely accordion, opening into strings and winds, where “Famous” is lent a kind of a languid scherzo that introduced red fox “Honest” John, whose eyes are on the wooden boy without strings. The music here follows the fox’s attempts to steal Pinocchio away to wicked Stromboli’s marionette show. Heavy brass gestures are conflated by woodwind elements and sinewy strings as the gaiety of where the track started becomes a wash of brass signatures opening into a quick cartoon dance of rapid fire strings, more turbulent horn activity, completing the cycle with a return to the manic scherzo that it began with. “Sabina’s Waltz” is thirty-seconds of delightful dance as Stromboli’s marionette puppet sidetracks Pinocchio in order for her boss to imprison him in a bird cage; “This Will Be Your Home” emanates with multiple circulations of danger from brass, rolling drum fills, and sympathetic winds after Stromboli re-captures an escaped Pinocchio among the boys smuggled onto Pleasure Island; the cue goes through a variety of solo elements as it softly resolves.
“I Wonder Where Everybody Is” opens for a shimmering tonality soon overcome by a thickly paced arrangement for full orchestra heard as Jiminy Cricket arrives at Pleasure Island to discover the boys are being turned into donkeys to be sent into servitude by Stromboli’s vapor creatures; the brasses and strings signify with strong movements the dilemma he’s in; the aggressive music continues in the following cue, “Somebody Help Me” when Jiminy hid in a pool hall only to find Pinocchio is halfway to becoming a donkey as well. This is followed by the gentle sympathetic strains of “He Sold His Clocks To Find Me” as donkey-eared/donkey-tailed Pinocchio and Jiminy escape Pleasure Island and wind their way home, only to find that Geppetto and his prize clocks are all gone, sailing the sea in search of Pinocchio. A final hazard from a ravaging sharklike sea monster (“Monstro Attacks,” large expansions of brass and drums, energized by string choir and flailing winds) bars their progress until the savage fish swallows them both, where they are reunited and sneezed out of Monstro’s gullet back into the sea and relative safety, the music enthused with a victorious reprise of the main theme. There’s still a few elements of danger in the film’s final moments, and then Silvestri ties it off with a warm heraldic and melodic finish. Overall it’s a fun score. Silvestri’s music hits all the right tones to give PINOCCHIO what it needs in terms of frantic action, fairy-tale wonder, fantastic escapades, and compassionate characters who win in the end, and the soundtrack provides an enjoyable listening adventure.
Listen to the track “Famous” from Alan Silvestri’s PINOCCHIO, via YouTube:

The soundtrack is now available for listening/purchasing on Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify and other digital music retailers.

PSYCHO STORM CHASER/Andrew Scott Bell/Howlin’ Wolf Records – CD
Howlin’ Wolf Records presents Andrew Scott Bell’s score for PSYCHO STORM CHASER, a film about a serial killer (Dr. Carl) who uses the cover of catastrophic storms as both inspiration and disguise for his crimes. This is a low-budget but nicely mounted and presented horror film directed by Buz Wallick (TWINSANITY). It’s an interesting, if somewhat predictable, slasher horror film with the unusual setting of a massive storm in a coastal peninsula in which a nurse must stay behind to treat a comatose patient, rather than evacuate. That puts her, and the patient’s sister, the homeowner, in danger from the titular serial killer. The cast does a good job and production quality is very good, belaying its low-budget considerations, and it possesses an overall lack of abundant gore effects, which is kind of a nice change. Director Buz Wallick stated that he wanted “the storm as imposing and scary a villain as Dr. Carl himself, and that could only be achieved through sound design and score… We wanted this to be a throwback ‘90s movie and to actually have melody and themes – an unfortunate rarity in today’s horror/thriller films.” Bell (HOME SWEET HOME, ROCKET, WITNESS INFECTION, the forthcoming WINNIE-THE-POOH: BLOOD AND HONEY) provides a first-rate orchestral horror score. From the first two tracks (“Who’s There,” “You Will Be a Lesson”) he conveys an ominous portent fulfilled with a rage of orchestral cataclysm as the killer pronounces the statement occupying track two’s title, which segues into a sympathetic choir and violin resolution. The most prominent and effective instruments are the live cello solos of Kimberly Kistler, which are the score’s most prominent and flavorful element; while the select violin, cello, choral, and piano parts performed and recorded by the composer offer unique and unnerving enhancements to the soundtrack. The groaning cello parts are particularly unsettling, as are percussive piano and the clacking drumming coming from a variety of means. The music shifts between ominous environmental dangers (“The Storm is Coming,” “Storm Warning,” “Preparing the House,” “So it Begins/Bridge Closed,” “Mother Nature Herself”) each one potent in its orchestral prowess and sense of peril, with the respite of the pastoral “Morning on the Brody Peninsula” offering brief comfort from acoustic guitar and gentle strings, at least until Dr. Carl shows up. Then the music turns deliciously wicked and pleasingly discomforting as the film shifts into slasher mode and our Psychotic Weather Man braves the storm himself and renders justice upon those foolish enough not to have vacated the peninsula before the storm made its landfall.
The score is very effectively built around solidly provocative themes associated with three of the story elements: “Madness,” “Deadly,” “Stalking,” (Carl), “Love,” “Morning,” “Preparation,” “Death,” “Chasing,” (the heroes/heroines) and “Approach,” “Storm & Ostinato” (The Storm) which effectively build and ebb like the growing maneuvers of the tempest, its eye, and its ultimate dissipation, along with several lives among the citizenry of Brody Peninsula. The track progression nicely weaves between panicky cues (“The Psycho Storm Arrives 2nd half,” “We Should Probably Talk This Out,” “Get Out of My House,” “No Screaming Until the End”), weather predicaments (“The Eye of the Storm,” driven by a that clacking percussion, becomes a worrying chase cue when the storm’s calm eye prompts the killer’s dangerous chase through the house), and evocative character moments (and the soothing string and piano cadences of “Sitting With Hannah” and “Life is Too Short,” for example) and eventual respite (“Storm’s Over,” “Breakfast”). In addition to the 28 score tracks, the composer has added 9 CD exclusive bonus tracks, some with brief commentary from the composer. The package includes a 28-page booklet that includes a note from the film’s director, liner notes by writer and executive album producer John Mansell, and a superbly detailed track analysis of the score by fellow composer/orchestrator/UnderScore podcaster Marty Brueggemann. An excellent release in all respects from its packaging, extras, and fine musical score. I’m very much eager to see what the composer brings us next. I hear it may involve a dangerous taste of… honey.
See more details or to order at Howlin’WolfRecords.

THAI CAVE RESCUE/Wintory & Seiter/Netflix Music - digital
Austin Wintory and Thai-American composer Susie Benchasil Seiter have jointly co-composed the score to Netflix’s recently released (Sept. 22) 6-episode limited series THAI CAVE RESCUE. The series, directed by Kevin Tancharoen and Nattawut Poonpiriya, is based on the true events of June and July 2018 to rescue twelve members of the Wild Boars youth football team and their assistant coach who, on June 23, 2018, became trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non (Great Cave of the Sleeping Lady) cave system when heavy rainfall partially flooded the cave system, blocking their way out and trapping them deep within. While there have been a number of films produced concerning the events, THAI CAVE RESCUE is the only production that was granted access to the members of the Wild Boars and features their perspectives of their ordeal. In a joint statement from co-composers Seiter and Wintory, they said, “This show was a dream in so many ways. The goal was to create something deeply authentic in its handling of Thai traditional music, yet merged with a lush and emotional orchestral palette. We spent a solid year learning and experimenting together, to create a blend that feels fresh and hopefully quite unique. The show’s capturing of this incredible true story was a daily source of inspiration, motivation and pretty hefty amount of tears. Beyond that, it was a beautiful culmination of a multi-decade friendship and collaboration between the two of us.” (review continues below)
Listen to the title track, “The Legend of Tham Luang” from THAI CAVE RESCUE, via YouTube:

Crafting ethnic instruments and tones with universal melodic treatments configures the landscape and setting of the rescue and also portrays the trapped would-be cavers with a reflection of the worldwide concern and hope of rescue. The score begins with Thai instruments – percussions, winds, low horns – setting the landscape and personality of the characters, with “The Legend of Tham Luang” reflecting the name of the cave system and the Thai legend of the long-haired sleeping princess whose slumbering silhouette suggests the contours of the mountain range in which the cave was formed. Track 2, “The Wild Boars,” introduces us to the members, aged 11-16, of the junior football team while Track 3, “The Princess,” suggests the song of the sleeping lady, its timbre becoming infused with echoed ringing, plucked strings, and eerie, reflective textures modified by clacking sticks and gentle hand drumming as we pass from legend to reality as they enter the cave. From this point the score adds Western musical instrumentation supplemented by a few ethnic touches, indicating the universal human toll that is soon to follow with “Flooding” (tense violins over very soft pizzicato and bells, adding in a rhythmic guitar-based riff with drums, ending in wiry flute figures and the chanting of young men), “Are We Trapped Here?” (violins gathering nervously as the boys and their coach realize the predicament they are in); “The Way Out” (hopeful string figures over percussion, the music turned despondently as those hopes are dashed), and “Nine Days Without Food” (bleak percussive clusters, solo modern violin emphasizing their jeopardy).
(review continues below)
Listen to the track “Flooding” from THAI CAVE RESCUE, via YouTube:
“The Rescue Begins” serves a bit of hope as the group’s entrapment is recognized and the active extraction commences after determining the safest option (the cue offers a cadence of strings, ethnic instruments, percussion and ringing bells sounding quite like an ethnic dance), and from this point the mix of Thai and Western instruments is nicely integrated as the story moves from those trapped to the international cadre of experts designating a rescue plan. The process took eighteen days (June 23 – July 10) until the boys were rescued through the cavern’s floodwaters; the score here reflects the tension, teamwork, dive training, and courage of rescuers dedicated to this rescue (one of the rescuers, Thai Nav SEAL Saman Kunan, tragically died when his oxygen ran out midway through the flooded cavern; a second died the following year from a blood infection acquired during the rescue op). “The Courage to Endure,” track 19, suggests both the determination and the resolution the operation demanded of the rescuers as well as the entrapped team members and their coach as they struggle to rescue (or be rescued) during potentially worsening monsoons. The soundtrack offers 26 tracks which convey the story of the remarkable rescue, which is both a tribute to the endurance of all involved and a captivating musical exploration on its own. The music was recorded in Bangkok, Thailand with an assembly of musicians playing ethnic Thai instruments, and orchestral performances recorded in Macedonia with the FAMES Skopje Studio Orchestra. The digital soundtrack is very highly recommended, and is available from these links as well as Wintory’s Bandcamp page.
Listen to the track “The Courage to Endure” from THAI CAVE RESCUE, via YouTube:

THERE’S ALWAYS HOPE/Guy Farley/Caldera - CD
Caldera Records presents Guy Farley’s score for the 2021 motion picture THERE’S ALWAYS HOPE, directed by Tim Lewiston. Hope is a woman and the film is a comedy drama in which she travels to Portugal in an attempt to orchestrate a reconciliation between her parents after her father discovers his wife has had an affair with a colleague. Farley’s score begins and ends with a new rendition of the song “The Windmills of Your Mind” – music composed by Michel Legrand for 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair, English lyrics written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, sung in the movie by Noel Harrison (sung here by jazz singer Jo Harrop). Farley provides a richly decorated romantic score for light strings, piano, percussion, saxophones, with guitars and bass, and alto and soprano saxophone. It lends a predominantly melodic tone throughout the score, creating themes for the major characters –father Jonathan (Colm Meany; sophisticated and academic, elegant piano of course), mother Samantha (Kate Ashfield; demur and soothing, flowing strings; merging both characters in “Sam & Jonathan and spontaneous and stimulating in “Luke & Samantha”), daughter Hope (Hannah Chinn; derivation of Jonathan’s theme: fragrant and a little antiquated), and affair paramour Luke (John Light; insistent and overly self-assured; percussive beats somewhat reflective of a Bach prelude, as the composer told Stephen Eicke in his liner notes) – as well as reflections of the “Windmills” melody recurring ephemerally throughout the film as underscore. There are a few variances and cues for additional characters, and no single theme overstays its welcome but rather emerges with a sense of beauty and compassion in nearly every presentation, with the exception of Luke who clearly remains the antagonist of the story. The penultimate track, “The Boat,” is fun and festive in contrast to the more luxurious emotions of the other themes; it opens with a pleasing fast-moving jazzy piano, bass, and drum-kit treatment with improvised scat singing from British jazz singer Ayala Moore, morphing into a soft riff of strings, brushed cymbal, and piano providing a gentle groove slowing at the end for wistful piano and strings alone, as Sam’s violin motif and Jonathan’s piano motif fully reunite as all ends well.
For more information, see Caldera Records


Film Music News

Acclaimed composer and song-writer Alan Menken was moved and speechless after a magic ride of concert festivities that culminated with standing ovations by Viennese audiences, while he received the Max Steiner Achievement Award by the City of Vienna. The award was handed to Alan by Viennese City Councilor Peter Hanke and Hollywood in Vienna Founder Sandra Tomek. The ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Michael Kosarin and musical performers led by Broadway’s Susan Egan and Adam Jacobs performed during a brilliant and elegant concert in Menken’s honor. “Over the years I received many awards, but my stay in Vienna and this very special night are truly magical for me. It’s a huge honor which fills me with pride to now be associated with Max Steiner, the father of film music. I love Vienna. Thanks Sandra [Tomek],” said the emotional awardee. Alan Menken Photo © Jürgen Hammerschmid
Watch a video (German language announcer) of Alan Menken receiving his award at Hollywood In Vienna:

Alexandre Desplat is set to score next year’s live action adaptation of BARBIE, starring Margot Robbie in the title role and Ryan Gosling as Ken. The film is Desplat’s second with director Greta Gerwig, following LITTLE WOMEN in 2019. The film will serve as the first live-action film adaptation after a number of computer-animated direct-to-video and streaming television films of the Mattel doll character. BARBIE is scheduled to be released in the United States on July 21, 2023 by Warner Bros. Pictures. In other Desplat news, he has begun writing music and original songs for GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO, which has been a long time coming due to extensive stop-motion animation work. This film premieres on Netflix this December. Del Toro recently released a “Behind the Craft” video in which he takes viewers inside the stop-motion magic behind his whimsical Pinocchio movie – watch it on YouTube here. But first, watch Netflix’s teaser trailer, released last July, below:

1899 is an upcoming German epic period mystery-horror 8-episode streaming television series set to premiere on Netflix in late 2022. The series follows a group of European migrants who leave London on a steamship to start new lives in New York City; but when they encounter another migrant ship adrift on the open sea, their journey begins to turn into a nightmare. The series is being scored by composer Ben Frost, an Australia- born musician based in Reykjavík Iceland best known, in film and television circles, for scoring RAISED BY WOLVES, DARK, FORTITUDE, FROST, IN HER SKIN, and the Palme dOr nominated SLEEPING BEAUTY. For more details on the composer see his website

Marco Beltrami and frequent collaborators Buck Sanders and Brandon Roberts have jointly composed music for PANTHEON, a new sci-fi animated series for AMC+. The show’s voice talent includes Daniel Dae Kim, Paul Dano, Rosemarie DeWitt, Katie Chang, and others. Based on the short stories by Ken Liu in The Apocalypse Triptych, the series focuses on Maddie (Chang), a bullied teen who receives mysterious help from someone online. The stranger is soon revealed to be her recently deceased father, David (Kim), whose consciousness has been uploaded to the Cloud following an experimental destructive brain scan. David is the first of a new kind of being: an “Uploaded Intelligence” or “UI,” but he will not be the last, as a global conspiracy unfolds that threatens to trigger a new kind of world war. “I’m very excited to finally share this incredibly innovative show from creator Craig Silverstein,” Marco Beltrami wrote in an Instagram post. “The score was completely electronically scored based on sounds created by Buck, who really did a great job capturing the feel of the show.” The series premiered September 1st on AMC+ and runs for 8 episodes.
Watch the film’s trailer:

Nainita Desai has scored the music for the tense BBC1 action thriller CROSSFIRE. Sunbathing on her hotel room balcony while on a dream holiday with her family and friends, Jo’s (Keeley Hawes/LINE OF DUTY) world is turned upside down when shots ring out across the complex. Gunmen, out for revenge, have, in an instant, turned a slice of paradise into a terrifying heart-breaking hell. A story of survival and resilience, CROSSFIRE is an edge-of-your-seat thriller yet also emotional, intimate, and relatable. CROSSFIRE premiered in the UK on September 20th on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. For more details about the series, see

John Williams has scored Steven Spielberg’s THE FABELMANS, a coming-of-age semi-autobiography loosely based on Spielberg’s early life, as told through an original story of the fictional Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker. The film is dedicated to the memories of Spielberg’s real-life parents Leah Adler and Arnold Spielberg. The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2022, where it won the People’s Choice Award; it is scheduled for a limited theatrical release in the United States on November 11, 2022, before expanding wide on November 23, from Universal Pictures. This film marks Williams’ 29th film collaboration with Spielberg. On June 23, 2022, Williams revealed that this and the fifth INDIANA JONES film may be the last two films he will score before retirement.

STRANGE WORLD is an upcoming computer-animated science-fiction action adventure film which is the 61st animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The film follows the Clades, a legendary family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest and most crucial mission – to explore mysterious planets inhabited by surreal lifeforms. The film features the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, and Dennis Quaid. Henry Jackman (THE GRAY MAN, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, JUMANJI 2017 & 2019, KONG: SKULL ISLAND, Disney’s BIG  HERO 6) has been announced as the movie’s composer. The film is set to be theatrically released in the United States on November 23, 2022.
Watch the film’s teaser trailer:

DISENCHANTED is an upcoming live-action/animated musical fantasy romantic comedy film written and directed by Adam Shankman (HAIRSPRAY, THE WEDDING PLANNER) as a sequel to the 2007 film ENCHANTED. Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, and Idina Menzel reprise their roles from the first film. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz return as the film’s songwriters, and Menken again composing the score; their work on ENCHANTED garnered three Academy Award nominations. The story takes place ten years after her happily ever after, with Giselle questioning her happiness and inadvertently turning the lives of those in the real world and Andalasia upside down in the process. Wishing that their lives were the perfect fairy tale, the spell backfires, with Giselle rushing to save her family and her homeland of the Kingdom of Andalasia before the clock strikes midnight. The film is scheduled to premiere exclusively on Disney+ on November 24, 2022 (Thanksgiving day).

Inspired by the 2019 animated film ABOMINABLE, a ten-episode series from DreamWorks Animation Television and serving as a follow up to the feature film, titled ABOMINABLE AND THE INVISIBLE CITY, will be available to stream in its entirety on Hulu and Peacock starting on October 5. From the synopsis: “Through Everest the yeti, Yi, Jin, and Peng know that there’s a whole magical world out there, and now it’s even closer than they think. When they discover that their surroundings are teeming with magical creatures in need of their help, the kids will set out on extraordinary and heartfelt adventures throughout their city and beyond.” George Shaw is scoring the series. Watch the trailer:

The second season of FATE: THE WINX SAGA premiered Friday Sept. 16th. The series is a live-action reimagining of the 2004-2019 Italian animated series WINX CLUB from Iginio Straffi, following the coming-of-age journey of five fairies attending Alfea, a magical boarding school in the Otherworld where they must learn to master their powers while navigating love, rivalries, deception, and monsters that threaten their very existence. Continuing on from the first season, Alfea’s students must protect Solaria from powerful enemies who may already be within the school, while Bloom struggles to control her powers. The music is composed by Anne Nikitin, who scored the first season. See my interview with Anne about scoring that season at MusiqueFantastique.

Bryce Dessner (C’MON C’MON) has been hired to compose the score for Zach Braff’s upcoming drama A GOOD PERSON, starring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman. The film follows Allison (Pugh), whose life falls apart following her involvement in a fatal accident; years later she forms an unlikely relationship with her would-be father-in-law. Film is to be released in March 24, 2023.

Directed by Mani Haghighi, SUBTRACTION is a thriller about a married couple who believe they meet their doppelgangers in Tehran. The film has been scored by Ramin Kousha (SHARKNADO, LEILA’S BROTHERS, SUN CHILDREN, RADIOFLASH).

Brian Tyler is returning to the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise scoring FAST X, his seventh film in the series. Directed by Louis Leterrier, FAST X is the sequel to F9 (2021), serving as the tenth main installment, and the eleventh overall film in the FAST & FURIOUS franchise. FAST X is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 19, 2023 by Universal Pictures; a further sequel is already scheduled for release in February 2024.

SMILE is an upcoming American supernatural horror film written and directed by Parker Finn in his feature film debut, based on his 2020 short film Laura Hasn’t Slept. The movie is about a doctor who, after witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. As an overwhelming terror begins taking over her life, Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality. The film has been scored by Multiple award winning, Chilean born composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer, who is based in Montreal, Canada. The composer is known for scoring UTOPIA, BLACK MIRROR, THE THIRD DAY, and THE WHITE LOTUS. SMILE had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 22, 2022, followed by screenings at Beyond Fest on September 27. It is scheduled to be released in theaters on September 30, 2022, by Paramount Pictures.

Daniel Hart (THE GREEN KNIGHT, A GHOST STORY, PETER PAN AND WENDY) is scoring the forthcoming horror vampire limited television series INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, based on the iconic novel by Anne Rice, which was made into a feature film in 1994. The series stars Sam Reid as the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, Jacob Anderson as his lover and protégé Louis de Pointe du Lac, Bailey Bass as the child vampire Claudia, and Assad Zaman as Rashid. The series follows Rice’s epic story of love, blood, and the perils of immortality, as told by de Pointe du Lac to the journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian). The series is set to premiere on AMC and AMC+ on October 2, 2022.

M3GAN, a forthcoming sci-fi thriller from Gerard Johnstone, is being scored by Anthony Willis (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN). The story follows Gemma (Allison Williams), a brilliant roboticist at a toy company who uses artificial intelligence to develop M3GAN, a life-like doll programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Naturally, the doll that begins to take on a disturbing life of its own. The film is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States by Universal Pictures on January 13, 2023.

Daniel James Chan (DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, SUPERGIRL, EMERGENCE) announced he has scored the new QUANTUM LEAP series. “I loved the original series growing up, so being a small part of that expanding world is special,” he said in a Twitter tweet. The series premiered Sept. 19th on NBC and streams on Peacock.

“It’s overly simplistic to say that Edward Berger’s ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT reclaims that classic anti-war work for Germany, but it’s not entirely inaccurate,” writes Steve Pond in a review for “Berger’s unflinching adaptation comes more than 90 years after Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel shocked a battered and increasingly nationalistic Germany by depicting the brutality of sending young men off to be butchered in World War I foxholes…” The film has been scored by composer Volker Bertelmann (who often goes by Hauschka). Pond notes that while it “can scarcely be called music, [it] is all the better for it: The sound is an aural attack, with sharp, staccato drumbeats punctuating some scenes and a trio of huge, foreboding chords (think of it as an industrial-rock version of the Dies Irae) hanging over others.” Directed by Edward Berger, the film stars Daniel Brühl, Albrecht Schuch, Sebastian Hülk, and debuts in the USA on Netflix on October 28.

Dave Palmer (BEGINNERS, LOUDERMILK, THIS SURFING LIFE: BIG WAVE GUARDIANS) has scored THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER, Peter Farrelly’s biographical coming-of-age action comedy film based on a true story. In order to show support for his neighborhood friends serving in Vietnam, Chickie Donohue (Zac Efron) decides to do something totally outrageous: travel to the frontline by himself to bring the soldiers a little piece of home – their favorite can of American beer. However, what started as a well-meaning journey quickly turns into the adventure of a lifetime as Chickie confronts the reality of this controversial war and his reunions with his childhood buddies thrust him into the complexities and responsibilities of adulthood, not to mention friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice. The film premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, and will be released in select theaters and on Apple TV+ on September 30, 2022.

Drum & Lace (Sofia Hultquist) and Ian Hultquist have written the music for ROSALINE, a romantic comedy that puts a spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Having worked previously on DICKINSON, Ian and Sofia’s musical palette translated easily to ROSALINE. The sound can be described as “Baroque-Pop,” using antique renaissance instruments such as harp, harpsichord, lute, period flutes and wooden recorders. The pair found a way to mix orchestral and synth instruments while staying true to the quintessential story of Shakespeare; Sofia’s vocals can also be heard within the score. The film uses cover songs diegetically, having the actors perform them on screen with a unique early-2000s influence. This classic love story is told from the perspective of Juliet’s cousin Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever), who just happens to be Romeo’s recent ex-girlfriend. Crushed when Romeo (Kyle Allen) dumps her after meeting Juliet (Isabela Merced), sharp but idealistic Rosaline schemes to foil the famous romance and win back her guy. The film premieres on October 14 on Hulu and internationally on Disney+ and Star+.

Milan Records & Sony Music have released the soundtrack to REBEL, composed by (Hannes De Maeyer. Co-produced by studios in Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, the film had its world premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival and shortly thereafter hit theatres in Europe. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s audacious action film, about brothers going to Syria and being forced to fight for ISIS, is a fierce attack on the senses. Belgian composer Hannes De Maeyer (known for his epic score to TORPEDO & the British remake of crime drama PROFESSOR T) who worked on the project for two years. Hannes also just completed the score to the 2nd season of the UK remake of PROFESSOR T, starring Ben Miller, which is currently airing on ITV (4 episodes to go) and will come to PBS shortly. Hannes also composed the score to IMMENHOF - THE GREAT PROMISE, the sequel to the extremely popular German franchise IMMENHOF; the second feature was released in German cinemas May this year. Read more details in the review posted at Cineuropa.


New Soundtrack News

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER, is based on the novel The Lord of the Rings and its appendices by J. R. R. Tolkien. Developed by showrunners J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay for the streaming service Prime Video, the epic drama series is set thousands of years before Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the Second Age of Middle-earth, and follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-Earth. Amazon Content Services has released a soundtrack album featuring the original music from the first season’s second episode (entitled “Adrift”) composed by Bear McCreary. A full soundtrack album featuring Howard Shore’s main title theme and selections of McCreary’s music from Season 1 was released earlier this month, also available from Amazon and other digital music outlets. In addition, soundtracks for each of the individual episodes are also being released, with five available on Amazon so far.

Each year, Belgium’s Film Fest Gent puts film music and composers in the spotlight with an album release. This time around, Film Fest Gent is proud to present the new album Mark Isham: Music for Film. Guest of honor at the 2022 World Soundtrack Awards, Mark Isham has been one of the most versatile film composers of the past four decades. Released during the 49th edition of Film Fest Gent in October 2022 and licensed to Silva Screen Records, the album Mark Isham: Music for Film is the 17th album in Film Fest Gent’s continuing series of annual film music albums, containing new studio recordings with Brussels Philharmonic and Dirk Brossé that give some of the world’s greatest scores an extended afterlife beyond the films. For more details, see Film Fest Gent’s announcement, here.

The “Main Titles Themes (Episodes 1-3)” from ANDOR are now available digitally from Walt Disney Records. The streaming series’ score is composed by Emmy®-winning and three-time Academy Award® nominated composer, pianist, and producer Nicholas Britell (DON’T LOOK UP, SUCCESSION, CRUELLA.) The digital album consists of three tracks, main title themes from each of the first three episodes of the series (Episode 1: 1:17 mins; Episode 2: 0:49 mins; Episode 3: 0:39 mins). The STAR WARS spin-off ANDOR series, which premiered Sept. 21st with the first three episodes streaming on Disney+, explores a new perspective from the STAR WARS galaxy, focusing on Cassian Andor’s journey to discover the difference he can make. The series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. Listen to the 3-track “Main Title Themes” digital album on Spotify, listen or download from Amazon.
Listen to the Main Theme from Episode 1, via YouTube:

Hollywood Records has released the SHE-HULK Attorney At Law Vol. 1 soundtrack album, featuring the original music from the first four episodes of the show composed by Amie Doherty. As revealed in an interview at the SHE-HULK L.A. premiere, reported by murphysmultiverse, Doherty “talked about how she took inspiration from classics like ALLY MCBEAL and THE GOOD WIFE series for how to create a unique soundtrack for this Disney+ series. She wanted to bring something unique to it as she had to balance the many sides of this project.” A single containing Doherty’s main theme was previously released last month; a second volume containing composer’s music from episodes 5-9 is expected to come out after the season finale on October 13. The superhero action-adventure-comedy series follows Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), a lawyer who becomes the green She-Hulk after getting accidentally cross-contaminated with her cousin, The Hulk’s, blood. The series streams on Disney+. - via filmmusicreporter and other sources
Listen to Amie Doherty’s SHE-HULK main theme, via YouTube:

Milan Records will release Colin Stetson’s original score for the horror comedy THE MENU, directed by Mark Mylod and starring Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy. The film comes out via Searchlight Pictures in mid November.

Alexandre Desplat’s score for Stephen Frears’ THE LOST KING, to premier on October 7, will be released by Lakeshore Records. The film stars Harry Lloyd, Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan and tells of an amateur historian who defies the stodgy academic establishment in her efforts to find King Richard III’s remains, which were lost for over 500 years.

Digitmovies of Italy has announced an expanded CD of Bruno Nicolai’s score to Jess Franco’s IL CONTE DRACULA (1970; Count Dracula), starring Christopher Lee in the title role. The film was released in theaters in 1970, but it wasn’t until 1982 that Edipan released a LP record (CS 2013) containing twenty stereo tracks selected by the author. In 1994 that same material was released on CD (CDS 2502). “Thanks to the stereo master tapes of the original recording session, ten unpublished tracks were discovered, which bring the running time of the CD up to 64:44 minutes,” notes Digitmovies in their announcement. “Dramatic music takes turns with classical music. This edition is a new chapter in the ever growing discography of Bruno Nicolai, a musician much loved by his fans all over the world.” More details including release date will be forthcoming from

On September 2 Lakeshore Records has digitally released ONE OF US IS LYING – Original Series Soundtrack: Season 1, featuring music by Ian Hultquist. Based on Karen M. McManus’s #1 New York Times best-selling novel, ONE OF US IS LYING is the story of what happens when five high schoolers walk into detention and only four make it out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. Says Hultquist: “I became so attached to these characters by the end of the season, I was fully ready to join up as a member of Murder Club! We really got to pay homage to the John Hughes films of the 80’s while diving into a twisting story full of secrets, backstabbing, and high school drama.” The vintage electronic score maintains an underlying aura of menace as it reflects the twisting plot and interrelationships found in the dark high school drama. Season one is streaming now on Peacock. The mystery drama pits a brain, an athlete, a princess, a criminal, and a “basket case” who walk into detention – but only the first four make it out alive. Purchase Link:   

Varèse Sarabande’s September 2022 CD Club title is RUDY, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition), with music composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith. This 24-track Deluxe Edition CD is available now, and is also available for digital download and streaming. RUDY is the 1993 true-life story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin), an undersized grinder whose quixotic dream to play Notre Dame Fighting Irish football came true for a few brief plays in 1975. Varèse Sarabande released the Rudy soundtrack in 1993 in a 37-minute program; this new Deluxe Edition expands the sequence to 67 minutes, including the film’s a cappella recordings of the classic “Hike, Notre Dame!” and “Notre Dame Victory March.” Liner notes by Tim Greiving feature new interview material with Rudy, Pizzo, Anspaugh and Astin – as well as NOPE composer Michael Abels, who worked at the sessions – and archival comments by Goldsmith and contractor JoAnn Kane. This one time pressing of the CD is limited to 3,000 copies. Additionally, Varèse Sarabande is releasing their first ever CD Club merchandise item: a limited-edition unisex Cardinal Red t-shirt that features the CD Club logo on the front and original artwork on the back. Printed on Gildan heavy cotton shirts, they are limited to 300 pieces total. Purchase the album here.

La-La Land Records and Sony Pictures Television has released a deluxe 2-CD album of the original score to the fifth season of Netflix’s Original Series COBRA KAI. Composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson (SING IT!, SON OF ZORN) are an indelible part of the COBRA KAI universe and they return in full-force for the stunning all-new fifth season, turning loose yet another astounding musical soundscape for the unstoppable COBRA KAI saga, capturing all the powerhouse action, drama and heart that are the hallmarks of this phenomenal series. Produced by the composers, this deluxe 2- CD release features the fifth season’s knockout musical highlights, along with thirteen bonus tracks exclusive to this CD release and not available on any other format (such as digital). Art Design is by Dan Goldwasser.

LA BREA is a science fiction drama television series that premiered on NBC on September 28, 2021. The series, produced by Keshet Studios and Universal Television, is created and executive produced by David Appelbaum. In November 2021, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered this September 27th. Summary: When a massive sinkhole mysteriously opens in Los Angeles, it tears a family in half, separating mother and son from father and daughter. When part of the family find themselves in an unexplainable primeval world, alongside a disparate group of strangers, they must work to survive and uncover the mystery of where they are and if there is a way back home. LA BREA has been scored by Emmy-nominated composer James S. Levine, best known for creating ground breaking scores to hit television series such as NIP/TUCK, THE CLOSER, GLEE, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, BLOODLINE, ROYAL PAINS, and THE BLACKLIST. The LA BREA digital soundtrack is available at these links.
Watch the trailer for LA BREA Season 2:

Hollywood Records has released Daniel Pemberton’s soundtrack to the suspense thriller SEE HOW THEY RUN, directed by Tom George. The film takes place in the 1950s, where a sleazy American Hollywood film director visiting London sets out to adapt a popular stage play into a film, but things go off the rails when the director is murdered. World-weary Inspector Stoppard and rookie Police Constable Stalker find themselves in the midst of a puzzling Agatha Christie-style whodunnit. Pemberton’s score aptly captures the spirit of 1950s London where the comedy mystery of SEE HOW THEY RUN unfolds. Looking to compose an ‘unexpected and unusual’ score, Pemberton pulled out all the stops in creating the sounds of the era without being too literal. Incorporated into the 70-piece orchestra are vintage banjoes, interesting drum and rhythmic textures. Also featured in the score is the iconic “Mrs. Mills piano” housed at Abbey Road Studios and famously known as the piano in The Beatles’ “Lady Madonna,” “Penny Lane” and “With A Little Help From My Friends” to bring in a vaudeville, honkytonk sound. The soundtrack album is now available digitally from these links.

In additional Daniel Pemberton news, he’s scored ENOLA HOLMES 2, sequel to the film he scored in 2020. The new mystery film is also based on the young adult fiction series of the same name by Nancy Springer. Serving as a sequel to the 2020 film the film stars Millie Bobby Brown, reprising her role as Enola Holmes and Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes, with Louis Partridge, Adeel Akhtar, Susie Wokoma, and Helena Bonham Carter also reprising their supporting roles, while Sharon Duncan-Brewster, David Thewlis, and Hannah Dodd are added as new cast members. ENOLA HOLMES 2 is scheduled to be released on 4 November 2022, by Netflix.

On October 7, 2022, Silva Screen Records will digitally release Music From the Terminator Movies, featuring score highlights from composers Brad Fiedel, Marco Beltrami, Danny Elfman, Lorne Balfe and Tom Holkenborg.
Scoring for the TERMINATOR franchise has come full circle and with this new album, London Music Works curates its musical journey. The album follows the scores chronologically, from Fiedel’s pre-MIDI age synth clash between human and machine; Beltrami’s predominantly orchestral backdrop in TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES; Elfman’s TERMINATOR: SALVATION which morphs into a sensual man-machine contrast; Balfe’s TERMINATOR: GENISYS picks the vintage synth sound of TERMINATOR 2, while creating his own soundscaping; and Holkenborg’s TERMINATOR: DARK FATE pays respect to Brad Fiedel and his iconic 1984 theme. To order, see SilvaScreenUSA.

Ben Lovett has been signed as the composer on the forthcoming HELLRAISER remake. The film is directed by David Bruckner, for whom Lovett has scored THE NIGHT HOUSE and THE RITUAL. Serving as a new adaptation of Clive Barker’s 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart (which was the basis for Barker’s 1987 film HELLRAISER), Bruckner’s film is a reboot of the titular franchise and the eleventh installment overall. The film stars Odessa A’zion, Jamie Clayton (as a uniquely female Pinhead), Brandon Flynn, Goran Višnji?, and Drew Starkey. The film premieres on October 7th on Hulu and the soundtrack album releases the same day from Lakeshore Records. Listen to a short preview of Lovett’s HELLRAISER score via YouTube:

The soundtrack album for the historical epic THE WOMAN KING features the film’s original score composed by Academy Award nominee Terence Blanchard, as well as vocal contributions from South African producer, composer & singer Lebo M and Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves. Also included is the original song “Keep Rising” by Jessy Wilson featuring Benin singer Angélique Kidjo (already out now as a digital single). The film is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and tells the true story of the Agojie, the all-female military regiment charged with protecting the embattled African Kingdom of Dahomey. – via filmmusicreporter and other sources. Read Jon Burlingame’s article about Blanchard’s score in “How ‘The Woman King’ Score Honors the Language of the Dahomey Warriors Through Chants and Songs” at Variety.

Giovanni Rotondo has scored the music to FORBEARANCE, a drama directed by Lana Read and starring Vernon Wells, Paul Logan, Travis Hancock, and Jennifer Inks. After a sudden terminal cancer diagnosis, a teacher and her factory worker husband work to save their marriage from the teetering edge of divorce. The film was released on Aug 30, 2022, and the soundtrack is now available at these links. Other recent credits for the composer include BEBE A.I. (UK) - starring Amanda Abdington, DARK DESIRE (Mexico), streaming on Netflix, and THE KING AND THE MASTER BUILDER (UK) - starring Sir Ian McKellen

Kronos Records wants to alert customers that two of its notable titles are close to running out of print, and will soon be out of print. The CD soundtracks include IL GIOVANE GARIBALDI by Carlo Rustichelli and SALOMÉ by Egisto Macchi (2 CD set). See Kronos Records (two other albums shown on its home page have already sold out).

George Kallis has released the soundtrack album for the romantic drama AFTER EVER HAPPY, the sequel film to FIRST LOVE and AFTER WE FELL. The album features the film’s original music composed by Kallis (CLIFFS OF FREEDOM, THE LAST WARRIOR, FIRST LOVE, THE BLACK PRINCE, 93 DAYS). The soundtrack is currently available via Spotify and AppleMusic.

Coming soon on CD from Éric Demarsan is the original score from the mini-series event NOTRE-DAME, THE PART OF THE FIRE (2022) via Music Box Records; the mini-series directed by Hervé Hadmar will be available on Netflix on October 19, 2022. This limited series takes place during the night that Notre-Dame burned. While the previous 2022 feature film NOTRE DAME BRÛLE (Notre Dame On Fire) took an overall dramatic presentation of the emergency, this series is more intimate, following the story of the night of April 15, 2019 in Notre-Dame Cathedral alongside firefighters and the impact that it had on different characters across France; on individual firefighters. “As the Paris firefighters try to stop the flames from spreading in the Cathedral, the show also follows characters being put through the wringer – they will have to fight each other, love each other, come across each other, hate each other, smile at or help each other – so that, in the end, they may have a chance to start all over again” – Netflix. The soundtrack from the series NOTRE-DAME will be available on CD in October 2022. The mini-series is the eighth collaboration between director Hadmar and composer Demarsan.
Watch the film’s trailer, in French with English subtitles:

Also available soon from the same label is JACK MIMOUN: LES SECRETS DE VAL VERDE (Jack Mimoun: Secrets Of Val Verde), composed by Mathieu Lamboley and set for October 2022 release on CD. Also forthcoming from Music Box Records are NETCHA ESTEV IS BACK (YOU ONLY DIE TWICE) composed by Claude Bolling, an enhanced and remastered edition; and KING OF PATAGONIA composed by Raymond Alessandrini (remastered and limited edition to 300 copies), and DRIVING MADELEINE (2022; Une belle course) composed by Philippe Rombi, in which Madeleine leaves her small suburban house to join a nursing home on the other side of Paris. A taxi driver comes to pick her and in no hurry to arrive, Madeleine asks the driver to go through places of the capital, which have counted in her life. DRIVING MADELEINE hit theaters in France on September 21, 2022.

Plaza Mayor announces the 2020 drama DAMP SEASON, composed by Keju Luo (see Spotify) and the thriller DAEMON MIND in which a neuroscientist creates a device which frees her inner Daemon allowing her to seek a terrible vengeance upon her enemies, directed by Jason Fité and composed & arranged by Marco Werba. Watch a short clip from the recording sessions of DAEMON MIND at Forum Studios in Rome:

In additional Werba news, Marco’s music from the film score of the Italian historical sports drama LA GRANDE GUERRA DEL SALENTO (The Great War Of Salento), which opened last May in Italy, is available on CD from Soul Trade Music Publishing Group, available from Amazon, Spotify, and elsewhere. As the world slowly licks the wounds of World War II, in Salento another war is continuing between the inhabitants of two villages, Supersano and Ruffano. The rivalry between the football teams is the rivalry between two men, the presidents of the teams.

Japanese label CinemaKAN announces a 3CD box set HANZO THE RAZOR Music Collection, featuring music from the film series by Kunihiko Murai, Isao Tomita, and Hideakira Sakurai, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the films. Hanzo the Razor is a fictional character featured in the trilogy of Japanese chanbara (samurai cinema) films of the same name starring Shintaro Katsu as the title character. Until now, only a part of the music has been recorded on compilations and single records, but the music of Katsu’s dark hero trilogy is now available in a complete CD-box for the first and last time. “Murai, Tomita, and Sakurai performed a storm of jazz, funk, and prog for this movie,” writes the label. “It’s a must-have album that includes the theme song by Mops and a phantom unused sound source!” So far it to be available through ArkSquare only.

Quartet Records has released three new CDs by Fernando Velázquez. The first is from the sci-fi drama series ALMA (aka THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR), in which a Alma, after losing her memory in a bizarre accident that kills most of her classmates, tries to unravel what happened that day and regain her identity. The composer provides an intense, dramatic and highly vigorous score with thick orchestral colors, beautifully orchestrated for large orchestra and chorus, and featuring a haunting main theme. The second CD is one of the very first scores by Velázquez, composed right after THE ORPHANAGE in 2007: SAVAGE GRACE, a bizarre film directed by Tom Kallin and starring Academy Award winners Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmaine; it tells the true dramatization of the shocking Barbara Daly Baekeland murder case, which happened in a posh London flat in 1972; the album was never released at the time, in part due to a problematic recording which had to be produced quickly for budget reasons. Quartet decided to record it again, respecting the original orchestrations, with the Basque National Orchestra under the baton of the composer. The music is intensely romantic and bittersweet, with echoes of impressionism and jazz. The third album is Viento, not a soundtrack but an album of classical works composed by Velázquez. For more details, see Quartet Records.

Directed by Natalie Kennedy in her feature film debut, BLANK is 2022 sci-fi thriller about a desperate writer who signs up for a fully A.I. operated retreat to cure her writer’s block, but when an unforeseen software glitch occurs, she gets trapped inside her unit with an unstable android and no communication with the outside world. The film has been scored by Aryhnn Descy (THE TOMBS, NINE NIGHTS, EYE FOR AN EYE), a French/South African composer and pianist who divides her time between London and LA. She has written music for feature films, shorts, documentaries, the stage as well as for orchestra and a variety of solo instruments. The film’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack has been released by Plaza Mayor, available via Spotify.
Watch the BLANK trailer:

New releases from MovieScore Media include their first score by Belgian composer Steve Willaert, whose music for the family adventure film ZEPPOS – HET MERCATORSPOOR (The Mercator Trail) is an entertaining and exciting score with a lot of variations between “awe and wonder” fantasy/sci-fi style themes, thrilling action cues and great thematic writing. For details and to hear music tracks, see MovieScoreMedia. Also from MSM is THE STRANGER IN OUR BED, composed by Ian Arber for the 2022 thriller feature film directed by Giles Alderson about a happily married woman who leaves her husband for a lover who mysteriously disappears. “The score has haunting melodic themes performed by a traditional string ensemble in combination with modern analogue synths and mysterious piano motifs to create the film’s enigmatic world,” explains the composer. “While the score begins with a melodic, romantic but mysterious tone, it progressively evolves to pulsating horror tones, and subsequently grows into a more traditional hybrid instrumentation to fully convey the sense of mystery which climaxes in the second half of the film.” See details here.

Film Music Reporter informs us that Trevor Rabin will return as composer of Disney+ adventure series NATIONAL TREASURE: EDGE OF HISTORY, starring Lisette Olivera, Catherine Zeta Jones & Jake Austin Walker. The adventure drama is told from the point of view of a young heroine in search of answers about her family who embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to uncover the truth about the past and save a lost Pan-American treasure. Rabin has previously scored both the original 2004 NATIONAL TREASURE movie and its 2007 sequel NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS. NATIONAL TREASURE: EDGE OF HISTORY is expected to premiere in late 2022 or early 2023 on Disney+. See more details at FMR here.

Invada Records and Lakeshore Records are set to release BLONDE – Soundtrack From The Netflix Film featuring music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis digitally on September 28. The film, based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, was written and directed by Andrew Dominik and stars Ana de Armas. BLONDE boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. Cave and Ellis reflect on the making of the score: “Working with Andrew Dominik is always a challenging, but ultimately mind-blowing experience. Creating the score for this terrifying and complex reimagining of the Marilyn Monroe story was no different and, as always, it was a complete privilege to work with him. The darkest of films with a gorgeous spiritual score.”

Silva Screen Records is releasing, on Sept. 30, the DOCTOR WHO SERIES 13 - FLUX (Original Television Soundtrack) composed by Segun Akinola. This three CD set features the score for FLUX spread across two CDs, plus a bonus disc of the New Years’ Day special REVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS. Debuting at Halloween 2021, FLUX was the first DOCTOR WHO series in 36 years to tell one complete story across its entirety, rather than self-contained episodes; Jodie Whittaker returned for her third and final season in the title role. Pre-order now from Silva Screen

This fall, Universal Pictures proudly presents “the first romantic comedy from a major studio about two gay men maybe, possibly, probably, stumbling towards love. Maybe. They’re both very busy.” From the ferocious comic mind of Billy Eichner and the hitmaking brilliance of filmmakers Nicholas Stoller and Judd Apatow, comes BROS, a smart, swoony, and heartfelt comedy about finding sex, love and romance amidst the madness. Starring Billy Eichner, BROS is directed by Nicholas Stoller from his screenplay with Eichner. The music is composed by Marc Shaiman the movie releases September 30, 2022.

Lakeshore Records has released POSER – Original Motion Picture Score with music by Adam Robl and Shawn Sutta. Starring Sylvie Mix as Lennon Gates, who yearns for access to the inner sanctum of the underground music scene in Columbus, Ohio, which fuels inspiration for her own musical ambitions...and a growing sense of misdirected identity, leading her down a path of dark obsession. “What we sought to achieve with this score was to project Lennon’s view of this underground art scene she so deeply desires to be a part of,” said the composers. “So, while all the local artist performances act as a setting and place, the score is being used to represent how Lennon is absorbing her environment in an elevated manner. We felt a classical foundation best represented that… As she reckons with her demons, the score transitions to a more haunting soundscape: classical harmonies are blended with analog synths and a rich palette of unconventional instruments, as the evocative vocal (by singer-songwriter Gabriela Ferrer) continues to lead audiences down an unraveling path.” The soundtrack is now available at these links.

Italy’s Beat Records, in collaboration with Universal Music Publishing, presents the expanded version of the original motion picture soundtrack of the movie AMORE MIO AIUTAMI (1969, Help Me, My Love), directed by Alberto Sordi with music by immortal Maestro Piero Piccioni. The album features the original tracklist of the 1969 vinyl, the bonus tracks included in GDM’s 2007 release on CD, and for the first time ever almost 15 minutes of unreleased material, here available for the first time. The CD is a double jewel case featuring a 12 pages illustrated booklet, liner notes and mastering by Claudio Fuiano, artwork edited by Daniele De Gemini. Limited Edition, See details at BeatRecords. The label also announces the soundtrack for DELITTO IN FORMULA UNO (1984, Crime in Formula One) starring Cuban actor Tomas Milian, and which features the music score of Fabio Frizzi. The discovery, in a studio of the Maestro, of various tapes containing the original recording session, it has been possible to make three records: the CD, a 12” 180 gram black vinyl, and a stylish vinyl colored by 7” single. Pre-orders available; release date Oct. 10th. See details at BeatRecords.

Millennium Media has announced the release of THE ENFORCER (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by Giorgio Giampà. The film is about a mob enforcer who has to sacrifice everything to save a young girl he has befriended from his femme fatale boss who is involved in cybersex trafficking. Composed primarily in the jungle of Guatemala where he was working on a reforestation project, Giampà worked for six intense weeks to create the score. The music takes a trip in the deep world of distortion and bass frequencies, fitting the thrilling, action-packed nature of the film. “The score needed to sweat pure and straight forward violence. Being a very pacifistic person, I had a lot of fun working on it and playing this musical character,” says Giampà. “The musical material needed to be reduced to an extremely rude minimalism with very few moments of breath. It was interesting to look for the more brutal sounds.” The 14-track album is now available at these links.

CYBERPUNK: EDGERUNNERS is a 2022 Polish–Japanese cyberpunk web anime series based on the video game Cyberpunk 2077 by CD Projekt Red. The series was animated by Studio Trigger under the supervision of CD Projekt and premiered on Netflix in September 2022. Set in the Cyberpunk universe created by Mike Pondsmith, the series tells a standalone, 10-episode story about a street kid trying to survive in Night City – a technology and body modification-obsessed city of the future. Having everything to lose, he stays alive by becoming an edgerunner – a mercenary outlaw also known as a cyberpunk. The anime serves as a prequel to the game and takes place about a year before the events of Cyberpunk 2077. Akira Yamaoka (known for composing music for several video games in the SILENT HILL series by Konami, among other games) scores the series, which is also known for its use of songs; a score soundtrack is set to be forthcoming; in the meantime, Lakeshore Records has released a new song album, Cyberpunk 2077: Radio, Vol. 2, which sees artists taking on fictional personas of themselves as if they’re making music in the year 2077. It is available at these links.


Original Works by Film Composers

The Rose of Sonora is galloping to a concert hall near you. The origin of the concerto began after violin virtuoso Holly Mulcahy’s impassioned plea in a social media post: “If there was an epic Western soundtrack style violin concerto, I’d be all over it.” Award-winning film composer George S. Clinton (AUSTIN POWERS films, MORTAL KOMBAT 1 & 2, and the Emmy Award winning BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE) answered the call and composed a violin concerto about a heroine named Rose in the Wild West. The composition was written for solo violin, symphony orchestra, and male chorus in the style of an epic Western film score. For the solo violin, Clinton and Mulcahy merged both traditional fiddle and classic violin techniques to reflect Rose’s voice. As a concerto in five movements, each scene in The Rose of Sonora tells a part of Rose’s story. “There are no images,” explained Clinton, “just a text description of each scene projected above the orchestra before it is played. The audience then creates their own mental movie as they listen.” Upcoming Performances: October 15 - Idaho Falls Symphony – Idaho Falls, ID; January 20 - Flagstaff Symphony – Flagstaff, AZ; March 12 – Grand Junction Symphony – Grand Junction, CO; May 21 – Brevard Symphony – Brevard, NC.
For more information on The Rose of Sonora, visit /

Award-winning composer Darius Holbert’s work has been showcased in a number of high profile works including FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY, AMC’s BETTER CALL SAUL, ABC’s GREY’S ANATOMY, and MAKING A SCENE with James Franco. On top of his work in film and television, Darius has recently composed and directed an experimental concert work titled, An American Requiem: Elegy for the West. An artistic commentary on our current social climate, the piece offers Holbert’s musical vision of a ‘societal death and rebirth’ which is exhibited through his take on the venerable Requiem funeral mass music that is typically performed by traditional Catholic church communities. “I wrote this on and off over the last five years in between my film scoring work, completing the last sections of this piece during the COVID-19 pandemic, and amidst the Black Lives Matter protests,” Holbert wrote on his website about this work. “We see a lost nation in the throes of late-stage capitalism; an experiment that nobody thought would work in the first place... Composing this music has been an antidote for me. I’ve tried to thread through these movements musical ideas that acknowledge our hope to finally fulfill the promises made by the mythic American dream.” Each movement is accompanied by a visual element, using music and video to build empathy and momentum for a better future. With the inclusion of iconic American instruments and sounds including a distorted Fender Rhodes, a steam train whistle, an overdriven electric bass, and a baseball slapping into a glove; Holbert brings together a seamless blend of pain and growth. Read more details about the composition and consider purchasing the album from Holbert’s website.


Documentary Soundtrack News

EDGE OF THE EARTH is a 2022 HBO documentary television miniseries that follows four different extreme sports expeditions undertaken by elite athletes. The outdoor sports highlighted are snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, and surfing. Everywhere the athletes go, they witness the impact of climate change and industry on the landscape and society. Tyler Strickland has composed the miniseries score; he is best known for providing the scores for acclaimed documentaries such as Rashida Jones’s HOT GIRLS WANTED, CNN’s FRESH DRESSED, and Netflix’s AUDRIE & DAISY. Read an interview with Strickland on his process of scoring EDGE OF THE EARTH on ProductionHub. Watch the series trailer:

DANTE explores the riveting life and times of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and his soaring masterpiece The Divine Comedy – inarguably one of the greatest artistic achievements in the history of literature. The PBS documentary by Ric Burns dives into the riveting life and times of the poem’s maker – into the politics and culture of the late middle ages – into the birth of the Italian language – into the birth of humanism itself. Brian Keane has scored the feature doc. Keane has also recently scored YANKEES-DODGERS: AN UNCIVIL WAR, a documentary about the late ‘70s world series rivalry between the Yankees and the Dodgers, premiered on September 27 on ESPN.

MovieScore Media has release the documentary WOLF, scored by Dutch composer Mathijs Kieboom, which celebrates the return of wolves to The Netherlands. This is rather special, since the wolf disappeared from The Netherlands 150 years ago, so the importance of this for the country’s nature is significant. “I’ve interpreted the music as a choreography between three characters: our leading man “Scout” (the young wolf we follow on his journey), Mother Nature (the character that is always present and who can be both comforting and dangerous), and finally we have Mankind. Scout’s Theme is a very melodic theme that is mainly presented to us by low instruments: cello, viola, alto flute and bass flute... Mother Earth isn’t presented to us with a melody but with a tone, an instrument: the Cristal Baschet. For me, this instrument represents Mother Earth. Finally we have mankind, not played as a melody, not by a specific instrument, but told with structure, with repetition and technologically advanced instruments. No natural flow, but pulse.” For more details and sample music, see MSM.
Listen to the track “Meet The Pack” from WOLF:

Directed by acclaimed journalist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David France (WELCOME TO CHECHNYA), The HBO Original Documentary HOW TO SURVIVE A PANDEMIC takes an inside look at the historic, multi-national race to research, develop, regulate, and roll out COVID-19 vaccines in the war against the coronavirus pandemic. This documentary began filming in early 2020 as the largest public health effort in history got underway and followed those efforts over the next 18 months, exploring in real time the hard work and collaboration of health agencies worldwide, as well as the political and moral failures of governments to act impartially and equitably. Composer Osei Essed (AMEND: THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA, FAREWELL AMOR, FRAGMENTS OF PARADISE) has scored the documentary feature, which is now showing on HBO Max.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG’S BLACK & BLUES offers an intimate and revealing look at the world-changing musician, presented through a lens of archival footage and never-before-heard home recordings and personal conversations. This definitive documentary, directed by Sacha Jenkins, honors Armstrong’s legacy as a founding father of jazz, one of the first internationally known and beloved stars, and a cultural ambassador of the United States. The film shows how Armstrong’s own life spans the shift from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, and how he became a lightning rod figure in that turbulent era. The film’s score tracks have been composed by Terence Blanchard. The film premiered on September 28, 2022 at the Aspen Film Festival, with its streaming release set for October 28th on Apple-TV on October 28th.

From rising star and Emmy-nominated composer, Amanda Jones (NAOMI, SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE, ADVENTURE TIME: DISTANT LANDS), comes the fresh and inventive sounds of SUPER/NATURAL. The Berklee College of Music alum likened the scoring process to writing an album. Of note is how she used her songwriting background to create a voice and personality for the various species in this eye-opening series from Executive Producer James Cameron and narrated by Academy Award-winner, Benedict Cumberbatch. The doc utilizes the latest scientific innovations and filmmaking technology to reveal the secret powers and super-senses of the world’s most extraordinary animals, inviting viewers to see and hear beyond normal human perception to experience the natural world as a specific species does. In the same way that Nat Geo is pushing boundaries visually, Amanda has upped the sonic game as well. What sets it apart is that not only does it work perfectly as the voice of the various animal characters, but can stand alone as an ambient music piece. Hollywood Records has release the digital soundtrack album; the series premiered September 21 on Disney+; the soundtrack is now available at these links.

MovieScore Media’s documentary label, Reality Bytes, has released Hummie Mann’s score for THE AUTOMAT. Starring Ron Barrett, Mel Brooks, and Lorraine Diehl, the doc centers on the vending machine popularized in the 20th century that offered fresh cooked meals in a commissary-style eatery. In addition to Mann’s score, the jazzy album also features the Mel Brooks song “(Nothing Like the Coffee) At the Automat.” A CD version is to be released by Quartet Records.

Miguel d’Oliveira has scored the documentary INTO IRAQ, in which Michael Palin embarks on an epic, revelatory journey through Iraq, one of the most dangerous and complex countries in the world. Following the Tigris river for over 1,000 miles, from its source in eastern Turkey to the Persian Gulf, Michael wants to discover what life is like for the 40 million people who live in Iraq. It’s one of the very few parts of the world he hasn’t visited, but he’s been fascinated by it since he was a child. Iraq is often called the ‘cradle of civilization’ and Michael wants to explore the country’s past as well as its troubled present. The film premiered in the UK on Channel 7. No word yet on a US release.

The HBO (BBC2 in UK) documentary ESCAPE FROM KABUL features never-before-seen archival footage of the historic confrontation at Kabul airport, from the U.S. withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan through the subsequent evacuation of Afghan citizens after the Taliban seized the city. Composer David Schweitzer has scored the doc, noting in a Facebook post that “It’s an intense film with some upsetting scenes but an important piece of television from director Jamie Roberts (FOUR HOURS AT THE CAPITOL, RISE OF THE MURDOCH DYNASTY) and producer Dan Reed (LEAVING NEVERLAND).” It is now showing on HBO.



Vinyl Soundtrack News

Four Flies Records announces the first-ever compilation of Enzo Minuti’s library music – Music On Canvas. Selected Library Music Works (1971-1984) in black vinyl LP or on digital download. “While still unknown to many today, Enzo Minuti (1927-2000), aka Ezy Minus, left his unique mark on the kaleidoscopic world of Italian library music,” writes the label. “One of the most versatile, skilled and authentic figures in the Bolognese music scene of the mid- to late 20th century, Minuti was a multi-instrumentalist, composer, music producer and recording studio manager, as well as a painter, etcher and graphic artist. He devoted his life to music (especially jazz, a genre that has enjoyed a long tradition in the city of Bologna), so much so that even his visual art was inspired by music.”
The record album is available from Four Flies directly or via their bandcamp page, see links here.

Varèse Sarabande has announced their 2022 Record Store Day Black Friday titles: THE COWBOYS – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition), with music by John Williams; MIMIC – Music From the Dimension Score, with music by Marco Beltrami; DEATH BECOMES HER – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition), with music by Alan Silvestri. These Varèse Sarabande Records titles will be available on November 25 at thousands of independent record stores. For a list of participating stores and more information about these special LPs, visit

Lakeshore Records is set to release the ROBIN ROBIN Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on full color picture disc and inner sleeve November 18 featuring music by The Bookshop Band (aka Ben Please and Beth Porter). The duo’s sublimely evocative, lighthearted songs are integral to the wondrous stop-motion world created by the multi award-winning and independent British production company Aardman (SHAUN THE SHEEP, WALLACE AND GROMIT, CHICKEN RUN). The film’s directors, Dan Ojari and Mikey Please also co-wrote the songs. ROBIN ROBIN will stream on Netflix; HMV will carry the vinyl album exclusively in the UK. Synopsis: When her egg fortuitously rolls into a rubbish dump, Robin is raised by a loving family of mice. As she grows up, her differences become more apparent. Robin sets off on the heist to end all heists to prove to her family that she can be a really good mouse – but ends up discovering who she really is. Preorder the album here.

Quartet Records has released four new soundtracks on vinyl: BANANAS (1971) composed by Marvin Hamlisch, the second film directed by Woody Allen, a crazy comedy about a bumbling New Yorker who is dumped by his activist girlfriend and travels to a tiny Latin American nation where he becomes involved in its latest rebellion. This limited LP edition features all the music written by Hamlisch for the film in beautiful, pristine stereo. INGHILTERRA NUDA by Piero Piccioni, and directed by Vittorio De Sisti, the film was inspired by the same concept as European mondo movies, but applied to British culture. The score features the mixture of cool tunes that one would expect from a mondo – especially from Piccioni, who scored relatively few titles in this genre. Celebrating the Jerry Fielding centenary, Quartet presents the first-ever LP release of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA (1974), an iconic masterpiece starring Warren Oates and Isela Vega and one of the composer’s most celebrated collaborations with his usual partner, Sam Peckinpah. The somewhat dark, harsh, cool Mexican flavor and bittersweet colors of Fielding’s score are the perfect match for this unusual tale of violence, death and revenge. And finally there’s another Jerry Fielding score, the first commercial LP edition of SCORPIO, one of the most celebrated collaborations between the composer and Michael Winner. This CIA thriller gave Fielding the opportunity to create a haunting Parisian melody, which he then surrounds with his trademark complex motifs, aggressive rhythms, and electrifying action cues, all done in his unique voice and avant-garde style. Fielding had prepared an LP for United Artists Records in 1973, but it was ultimately aborted. It was finally released in 1978 within the Elmer Bernstein Film Music Collection in a limited print run, omitting any images from the film. For this edition, Quartet had access to the original, mint-condition album master in beautiful stereo.
For details, see Quartet Records.


Video Game Music News

Bear McCreary has scored the upcoming action-adventure game God Of War Ragnarök, developed by Santa Monica Studio. It is scheduled to be released worldwide by Sony Interactive Entertainment on November 9, 2022, for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. It will be the ninth installment chronologically in the God of War series, and the sequel to 2018’s God of War. Serving as the finale to the Norse era of the series, the game will cover Ragnarök, a series of events that bring about the end of days, and depicts the deaths of some of the Norse gods, as foretold in the previous game after Kratos killed the Æsir god Baldur. McCreary’s score for the 2018 God Of War game won the BAFTA Games Award, the International Film Music Critics Award (IFMCA), and numerous other awards and nominations. Watch the new game’s State of Play Story Trailer, released Sept. 13:

Phoenix Labs has announced the release of Dauntless, Vol. 3 (Original Game Soundtrack) with music by composer Cris Velasco, available now on major digital platforms. The Dauntless community became a part of the soundtrack by sending recordings of themselves doing chants, which Velasco incorporated into the new Main Theme “I Am Dauntless.” Said Velasco, “We wanted the theme to be highly melodic and memorable. With over 30 million players worldwide, it was also a great chance to use the Dauntless community as an element. We asked them to lend their literal voices into the recording of the new Main Theme. It was so much fun to see the excitement and passion in all the submissions. Everyone that sang the new chant is included in the recording… As Dauntless is a growing and evolving game, you’ll hear the addition of world percussion, gamelan, pipe organs, Bulgarian choirs, and even synths. We recorded a 100-piece orchestra and choir and just went full-on action-adventure with it, maintaining the old melody but using it in different ways that just really bring a sense of excitement into it.”
Take a look behind the process of creating the new Main Theme “I Am Dauntless:”

ReelMusicBlog reports that Mark Griskey’s score for the 2004 video game Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II – The Sith Lords is getting a digital release.

Brendan Angelides has composed the music for the upcoming game Assassin’s Creed® Mirage. In the ninth century CE, Baghdad is at its height, leading the world in science, art, innovation, and commerce. Amid its bustling urban landscape, a conflicted young orphan with a tragic past must navigate the streets to survive. Experience the story of Basim in Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Angelides has also scored the game’s cinematic world premiere announce trailer, which launched Sept. 10th – watch it below:

Lakeshore Records & Invada Records are set to release the official soundtrack 2XLP vinyl edition for the video game Battlefield 2024 on November 4. The game score has been composed by two-time Grammy Award winners Hildur Gudnadóttir & Sam Slater. The game’s will be available on double LP on “Rising Tides (Blue With White Burst)” vinyl, gatefold sleeve and full color inner sleeves will be released in the Americas via Lakeshore Records, and the rest of the world on Invada Records. Invada’s comes on “Hazard Zone Green with Blue Splatter.” See Lakeshore Records preorder link for the Americas, Invada Records preorder link for rest of the world.
A digital Battlefield 2042 soundtrack was previously released and is available from Amazon, Spotify, and other streaming/download sources.

Alex Moukala announces that he is officially composing the soundtrack for the fantasy game, Second Stone: The Legend Of The Hidden World. Developed by Skyward Entertainment, the announcement trailer (watch below – includes Moukala’s music and vocalise by Suzi Hunter) shows some of the gameplay and abilities that can be unlocked in this upcoming adventure RPG. Players will step into the shoes of a fearless young hero and set forth on an epic journey where they will traverse through a dark parallel world to understand their true purpose.

Emperia Records is a new music label which has just released the ambient soundtrack by Min He for the video game IN NIGHTMARE. Min He is a 3X HMMA-nominated composer based in Los Angeles. An alumna of the ASCAP Film-Scoring Workshop, Min graduated from the Scoring for Motion Picture and Television program at University of Southern California. She has composed music for a wide variety of feature films, TV shows, animations, commercials and video games. IN NIGHTMARE brings players into a chilling dreamworld of whimsy and horror as they experience the story of a young child escaping his harsh reality and entering a nightmare. Solve puzzles and engage in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with the horrors that seek to trap players in the nightmare. The game is available for purchase now on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5; the digital soundtrack album is now available from these links.

Former video game composer Chance Thomas (he’s been composing music for video games, film, and television since 1996 and has now retired from film music) is working on a detailed autobiography which sounds to be a fascinating read. “This book will take you across the jagged peaks and valleys of an achievable music career,” Thomas writes on his website. “It explores many of the fascinating titles I’ve worked on, including The Lord of the Rings Online, King Kong, The Settlers, DOTA 2, Warhammer, Dungeons & Dragons, Avatar and many more. Each chapter reveals details about connecting with key people, pursuing projects, negotiating contracts, composing and producing scores – all the challenges, successes, failures, and funny stories that bring the experiences to vivid life. Plus a few chapters about my personal history for color and perspective. Think of this as a career guidebook wrapped around a personal retrospective; a professional how-to manual woven into a memoir. Sample some of the book and check for pre-orders at

Mari & Bayu: The Road Home is a cooperative 2D ant-venture in which players help Mari to get back home and find her brother Tom, after going astray in the world. The game has been scored by Dan Wakefield, an English video game sound designer and composer based in Oslo, Norway who has been involved in the Norwegian indie game scene in early 2014. A soundtrack was released a few months ago on the composer’s Wakefield Records label – have a listen on Spotify or Amazon. See the composer’s website for more details. Listen to the Mari & Bayu Reveal Trailer Theme:


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 articles on film music and sf/horror cinema, and has written liner notes more than 300 soundtrack CDs. He can be contacted via or follow Musique Fantastique on Facebook.

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Special thanks to Benjamin Michael Joffe for copyediting assistance.