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Soundtrax Episode 2018-8
December 10, 2018


Feature Interview:

  • David Buckley’s Unique Take on PAPILLON 2018
  • Game Scoring with Winifred Phillips:

Soundtrack Reviews:
AN ACTOR PREPARES (Morales/Lakeshore), THE BREAK Season 2 (Ragot/RTBF), CLASS (Mowat/Silva Screen), DYNASTIES (Merrison & Slater/Silva Screen), FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (Howard/Water Tower) & THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS (Howard/Walt Disney), IN LOVE AND WAR (Hoffmann/MovieScore Media), THE JADE PENDANT (Dern/MovieScore Media), L’ISOLA (Morricone/Retro), MADE IN CHINA NAPOLETANO (Werba/Rosetta), MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT (Balfe/La-La Land) & JACK RYAN S1 (Djawadi/La-La Land), A PRIVATE WAR (Salinas/Varese Sarabande), RENAISSANCE (Dodd/Music Box Records), DE SUPERJHEMP RETÖRNS (Raffel/Raffel), VALLEY OF SHADOWS (Preisner/Caldera).

Soundtrack, Vinyl, & Game Music News

“My score tries to play a counterpoint to this darkness, and while there are a couple of somber cues, I tried to stay away from anything melodramatic and, wherever I could, play a restrained emotion, or shattered beauty.” – David Buckley

Born in England, Emmy-nominated composer David Buckley’s first involvement with film music was a cathedral choirboy performing on Peter Gabriel’s score for Martin Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. He continued his musical education at Cambridge University. In 2006, David moved to Los Angeles where he began collaborating with Harry Gregson-Williams on film scores, including SHREK THE THIRD, FLUSHED AWAY, THE NUMBER 23 and GONE BABY GONE. He has also written additional music for films such as WONDER WOMAN, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, FIFTY SHADES DARKER, FIFTY SHADES FREED, BIG EYES, WINTER’S TALE and AMERICAN HUSTLE, and his music was featured in David O’Russell’s JOY. David was honored as a ‘Brit to Watch’ by BAFTA and has been the recipient of numerous BMI awards.
His recent film scoring credits include JASON BOURNE directed by Paul Greengrass and THE NICE GUYS for Shane Black and Joel Silver. Previous scores include the Joel Schumacher-directed thrillers TRESPASS and BLOOD CREEK, Ben Affleck’s crime drama THE TOWN, director Taylor Hackford’s action feature PARKER, and Rob Minkoff’s fantasy adventure THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM.
For television, David composed music for the hit Scott Free/CBS drama series THE GOOD WIFE and is currently scoring its spinoff and sequel, THE GOOD FIGHT (for which he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Title Music). He was also the composer for MERCY STREET for PBS, BRAINDEAD for CBS and THE GIFTED for Marvel/FOX, currently in its second season. Buckley has also written music for a number of video games, including the Warner Bros/Rocksteady game BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT and CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS for which he received a TEC Award. Buckley recently scored the animated feature ARCTIC JUSTICE, which is currently in release in Europe.


Q: Was it difficult to begin writing your score for PAPILLON in view of the renown of the Jerry Goldsmith score from the original film?

David Buckley: I had concerns because of the large and impressive shadow Goldsmith has left. I know a few people who have scored remakes of Goldsmith-scored originals and I think there’s this sense of inadequacy you can feel even before you’ve written your first notes. I’m a little too young to remember the original PAPILLON when it came out, so the first thing to do was watch the film and listen to the score and just get a sense of things, knowing that both are highly regarded, if not revered. So I got up to speed and had conversations with the director and producers, and it became very clear that they had no desire for me to reference anything from the first film. I’ve read that people sometimes get frustrated when a really famous theme from an old score is not incorporated in a remake, but I don’t really know the answer to that. But in the context of this remake I knew that the filmmakers saw no requirement to go down that path, and frankly nor did I.

Q: As you began to discuss the score with the filmmakers, what were your initial thoughts about what the music needed to be?

David Buckley: At one point the director, Michael Noer, had actually considered having no score at all. He’s a Danish director; I’d seen a couple of his other movies and they have music but it’s very sparsely used, (in a way a lot of European films tend to have less music than American films), but he was suggesting there could be none in this remake! But soon into the editing process, it was agreed that a score was needed, so the next conversations were about what the score should or shouldn’t be doing. There’s a lot of on-screen brutality and gore in the remake, but there was never a need for me to over-reference that in my music. If anything, my score tries to play a counterpoint to this darkness, and while there are a couple of somber cues, I tried to stay away from anything melodramatic and, wherever I could, play a restrained emotion, or shattered beauty.

Q: I’ve found your use of choir provides a uniquely spiritual dimension that isn’t necessarily tied to a particular belief but it’s kind of referring to the human condition that Papillon’s been going through.

David Buckley: Choral music is where it all started for me; I began my musical education as a cathedral choirboy in Wells Cathedral in the United Kingdom. I’ve used choirs in scores before but never as overtly as this. The genesis was, while watching an early cut, my ear was taken by a bit of temp music they laid over the end credits which was some Gregorian chant from the Requiem Mass. So we had a whole conversation about using that sonority, or my spin on that sonority, earlier in the score and actually making it thematic? There was a general nodding of heads. The director heard the choir as adding a sort of innocence, or that it could have even been the type of music Papillon listened to as a child. For me, even though Papillon wasn’t a man of Christian faith, he is a man with faith in himself and in humanity, so I see the story as quasi-religious and there’s clearly a lot of symbolism – blood mingled with water, cleansing of souls, etc. When I use text (most of the choral music is wordless, so as not to distract), it’s actually some lyrics that my wife wrote. They are French and secular and I think they add a spiritual dimension while not being liturgical. What particularly pleased me about using a choir in this score was that I felt it was adding something that wasn’t on screen, and I think it’s always a privilege when you’re allowed to do things like that.

Q: You’ve said that you consider your PAPILLON score to be your “closest thing to an art score.” How would you define the term and how did that apply to what you were doing with PAPILLON?

David Buckley: I think some of what I’ve just described about the choir is part of that. Whenever I approach a project, I ask myself, “What exactly am I being hired for? What is the job?” When we spotted the film it was very precise; we discussed “where do we want music, where do we not want music?” And in no instance was it really about simply emulating what was on screen, where the music is essentially confined to observing the mechanics of the drama. Here, I think I was able to transcend those mechanics, and that’s what I mean by an art score. It’s asserting itself not necessarily in an overly dramatic way but it’s bringing something to the table that is more than just technical or functional and often not on screen.

Q: In that regard, to what extent does the PAPILLON score serve as its own character and presence in the story rather than the more traditional role of score as commentary and driving the story and its tension?

David Buckley: It is an understated score but there was a time when it was even more understated, and there was a growing sense that a few areas should be injected with a little more pace and sound a little less ethereal. As soon as you get the ‘pace’ comment, panic can set it, and one can fall into the old traps of ostinato strings and pounding cinematic percussion. Knowing I wanted to avoid this approach, I decided to have some fun, and hired an acoustic guitarist to record, but rather than playing in a traditional way, he was doing lots of patting and hitting of the instrument. Likewise, I had the string players tap the back of the bow on the strings to get this organic rhythmic sound that gives a sense of propulsion. A friend of mine plays a trumpet in a very weird kind of way, creating effects and reverberations, and he’ll also sing through the mouthpiece, which gives a very eerie and hard-to-place sound, but it too had momentum. Another instrument I used in the score was the viola da gamba, a 17th century instrument, which has no right to be there as it evokes a world that predates the original story by 300 years or so! But I liked the sonority; it has emotion but is somewhat vibrato-less, so it doesn’t have that overly romantic feel a solo cello or viola might have. It’s a little starker, and it takes a little more interpretation for a listener to decide how they feel. So the score started to form as this unusual collection of instruments, or standard instruments played in an unusual way. In addition to these more unique and intimate instruments, I had 40 strings providing some of the more emotional moments throughout the film.

Q: Are you using any electronics in this score?

David Buckley: Absolutely none – having said which, it’s probably best to define what I consider to be electronic. There are lots of sounds (voices, percussion, metals, flutes, etc.) that I recorded in my studio and then treated in different reverb spaces. One of those spaces was where I recorded the choir, in Wells Cathedral, which has a glorious, natural reverb. That allowed me, back in my studio, to throw anything I had recorded into that space, sometimes in an extreme way. So that process might be considered electronic – but I guess all scores are electronic in a sense, in that they start life as real players in a real room and end up in a digital environment in which someone will add some trickery in post-production; and that’s really the extent to which my score uses any electronics. The reverbs are a little more extreme, but there’s no synthesis and there’s no electronic samples. I was happy for things to sound manipulated and a little foreign or esoteric, but I didn’t want anything to have a digital or synthetic quality, as that didn’t make sense for this film.

Recording the choir in the 13th century Chapter House in Wells Cathedral. This choir has been in existence in the cathedral since the year 909. “It was with this choir, in this very Chapter House, where I first fell in love with film and film music when recording the soundtrack to THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST as a choirboy back in the late 80’s,” Buckley said.

Q: Some of the vocal tracks on the album – particularly like “Bande Noir” and “Tabac d’Espagne,” are highly unusual and provocative – how did these tracks come about?

David Buckley: “Bande Noir” was used during an escape scene towards the end of the film. Papillon & co. are running through a humid, rain-drenched jungle at night with danger all around them, so I wanted to add some menace to the scene. I used panpipes and South-American flutes in an almost percussive way and then recorded myself singing (I think that’s the word!) a tribal-ish kind of chant and then finally added some percussion I had lying around the studio, a lot of which was broken which I think added to the sense of danger. “Tabac d’Espagne” is used in the scene where Papillon is hallucinating in solitary confinement; it’s almost psychedelic in its treatment of sound. Here again I had a lot of strange and unusual music layers, and I needed to collaborate with the filmmakers and make sure I wasn’t pushing too hard, so some layers were stripped back, while other layers were featured more.

Q: Looking back on the score from a year later now, how would you assess the experience and what it’s meant to you.

David Buckley: It meant a lot to me to get the film in the first place. I think I’m perceived to be a little more mainstream than some of the others I know were considered for the film, so I was thrilled the film makers were willing to take a chance on me and then showed unwavering faith throughout the scoring process. So in that respect it was a very happy experience. However, the film had a very limited release so not many people saw it and the reviews were not that favorable. It’s heartbreaking to put blood, sweat, and tears into a project for it hardly to be seen or heard. We always knew it was going to be a challenge – I think remakes are tough in general, and with a remake of a classic, people are going to be suspicious, and they are going to be tough on you. It’s still to come out in a few territories so maybe it has a chance of gaining a little more attention and recognition when that happens.

Special thanks to Chandler Poling and Adrianna Perez of White Bear PR for facilitating this interview. For more information on David Buckley see his website at

Sample, purchase, or stream the PAPILLON soundtrack:
Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, Amazon, Google


“Knowing that the possibility of combat was never far away, I kept the exploration music dark and suspenseful. When combat triggered action music to begin, I made sure that the action music shared the same dark tone as the exploration tracks, while supporting the frenetic shooter gameplay”

Interactive Achievement Award-winning composer Winifred Phillips has been called a “superstar of video game music” by Music Connection Magazine. She has more than 13 years of experience in the game industry and a long list of video game credits that include titles from five of the biggest franchises in gaming: ASSASSIN’S CREED, LITTLEBIGPLANET, TOTAL WAR, GOD OF WAR, and THE SIMS. Phillips began playing piano at the age of five, and grew up loving film and game music. She began her career as a composer for the National Public Radio drama series Radio Tales. Her work for NPR earned her an International Radio Festivals Award. Breaking into the game industry with the blockbuster video game GOD OF WAR, Phillips quickly rose in prominence to become one of the most accomplished and respected composers in the game industry today. –website bio
Having interviewed her many years ago for Cinescape in 2005, and in my June, 2008 column here at BuySoundtrax, and covering her work many times during the intervening years, I’m pleased to chat with her again regarding her latest game score, now in the world of Virtual Reality gaming - rdl

Q: Your latest game score is for the dystopian science fiction VR, SCRAPER: First Strike. What can you tell us about this game and its concept?

Winifred Phillips: SCRAPER: First Strike features a large-scale science fiction narrative for VR, with full-featured shooter mechanics and lots of opportunities for roleplaying and exploration gameplay. As such, it is especially ambitious for a virtual reality game. It’s on the leading edge in terms of size and scope for a game designed specifically for VR. The game is also set in a completely original futuristic world that Jim Ivon of Labrodex Studios built from the ground up as the basis of a planned franchise. Jim collaborated with top science-fiction writer Ryder Windham (author of numerous official novels in the Star Wars universe), who wrote an engaging prequel novel that fleshes out the fictional world of the SCRAPER franchise. As a result, the richly-detailed SCRAPER universe presents both a fascinating narrative journey for players, and plenty of heart-thumping action. The game is developed for popular VR platforms such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Playstation VR, and Windows Mixed Reality devices, available for purchase via the Steam store
and the Playstation store.

Q: When you first sat down to develop this score, after briefing or spotting with the game producers, what is your technique to begin fashioning the score and figuring out where themes will go and where gameplay will require more interactive action riffing?

Winifred Phillips: In our initial conversations, Jim and I talked a lot about the needs of both exploration and combat gameplay. While composing the music, I kept in mind that during the quieter sections of the game, the music would need to set a futuristic tone while facilitating concentration and decision-making. Knowing that the possibility of combat was never far away, I kept the exploration music dark and suspenseful. When combat triggered action music to begin, I made sure that the action music shared the same dark tone as the exploration tracks, while supporting the frenetic shooter gameplay and providing players with the right levels of excitement for the different types of enemy engagement.

Q: What is your musical palette for this game score?

Winifred Phillips: At the core of the game is its high-tech environment and the looming menace of the game’s robotic enemies. I focused a lot of the musical palette on an electronic soundscape appropriate to the science-fiction setting, punctuated with driving rhythm and orchestral textures that support the action and give the arrangement warmth and heft.

Q: What is the overall mood of the game, and what player interactions prompt tense, suspenseful material and what prompts more sweeping or aggressive sonic measures?

Winifred Phillips: I found the setting for SCRAPER: First Strike to be really inspiring. On the one hand, the story focuses on a desperate band of resistance fighters facing off against merciless enemies. The odds are stacked sharply against our heroes, and all this lends itself to gritty musical textures and rhythms that evoke the aggression and determination of insurgents. On the other hand, the world of the game to be incredibly high-tech. Players can clearly see that the city they’re exploring is a pretty utopian place – unfortunately, it transitioned from welcoming to hostile in the very recent past. I wanted to convey this musically, so I juxtaposed lots of futuristic sounds and textures against the grim undercurrents of danger and struggle. It was interesting and creatively inspiring work for me as a game composer!

Q: How does your score contrast the environmental/landscape motifs with the muscular action music for the shooting sequences?

Winifred Phillips: When the player is engaging in more explorative play, I let the glittering futurism of the setting inform the musical palette, while exploring dark harmonic structures and themes underneath. During action, I pushed sharply into more visceral rhythm and orchestration, while still interweaving high-tech sounds and patterns to keep the music firmly rooted in the game’s sci-fi setting.   

Q: Your opening theme on the soundtrack album is a tremendously powerful opener that really bristles with strength and dynamic authority. How and when is that theme used in the game? What inspired this particular theme?

Winifred Phillips: This piece of music first appears during the game’s opening sequence, when players board a dropship that takes them to Reactor Building 3, where they begin the mission to drive out the robots that have taken over the city. It’s a pretty spectacular beginning for the game, as it allows players to glide high over the city of New Austin and see the awesome megacity spread out below them. While most of the game places players in anxious combat sequences and tense exploration, this opening sequence was an opportunity to let players appreciate the extent of mankind’s future accomplishments. I wanted the music to convey that idea as heroically as possible, so that players would understand what they were fighting for.

Q: In a score like this, what elements of a game are most important for you to hit, musically, and how do you prepare your music for the variety of ways it needs to shift in tone and tempo based on the player’s interaction?

Winifred Phillips: There are lots of different ways that music can respond to player choices. The musical score focused on alerting players to differing gameplay mechanics, and shifting the musical momentum accordingly. For instance, within the realm of exploration gameplay I composed lots of tracks with contrasting energy levels, so that the music could be implemented in ways that complement the urgency of objectives during the game’s missions. Likewise, I made sure that the combat music conveyed a fairly wide spectrum of anxiety and aggression, making players feel empowered and heroic in some action sequences, while frantic and anxious in others.

Q: Your previous score was for the arcade-based “VR experience,” THE HAUNTED GRAVEYARD last Halloween. What are the main differences in your musical or technical approach when scoring this kind of “VR” adventure versus scoring a VR game like SCRAPER or a “regular” game like ASSASSIN’S CREED LIBERATION or GOD OF WAR?

Winifred Phillips: THE HAUNTED GRAVEYARD was a really fun project for me. It’s an interactive experience that the developers Holospark designed to feel like a theme-park attraction with a Halloween atmosphere. As such, composing the music felt like creating the musical score for a Disney ride. This made it dramatically different from an action-driven VR project like SCRAPER: First Strike, or even one of my traditional game projects like ASSASSIN’S CREED LIBERATION or GOD OF WAR.

Q: With that in mind, how would you describe the score for THE HAUNTED GRAVEYARD and what it needed to accomplish?

Winifred Phillips: Since people walking through the graveyard have time to absorb what they are hearing and seeing without lots of distractions, I concentrated on lyricism, with an emphasis on melodic lines. I wanted people exploring the graveyard to feel a sense of eerie grandeur. The experience isn’t really designed to frighten people (although there are a few fun scares). Instead, the graveyard is meant to evoke a great sense of awe and wonder, with a sense of gothic romanticism running through it. I focused on conveying those elements in the structure of the musical score.

Q: Your award-winning book A Composer’s Guide to Game Music has been highly successful in serving as an instruction-manual for would-be game composers or gamers who just want to learn more about the art and science of video game music. What prompted you to write the book and what lessons did you want to convey to its audience?

Winifred Phillips: When I wrote A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, I was responding to a lack of book-length resources aimed specifically at composers in the field of video games. At the time, there were lots of books designed for general game-audio experts, but those focused much of their time on sound design issues, and they all tended to emphasize technical concerns pertaining to software tools and equipment. What I really wanted to do was write a book that put creative issues on an equal footing with technical concerns, focusing exclusively on subjects of importance to video game composers. I also wanted to make sure that I conveyed my own enthusiasm for game music composition, and why I believe that it’s a fantastic opportunity for composers to challenge themselves and create really unique music. I’m very glad that so many game composers have enjoyed my book!  I’m also gratified that my book has contributed to the game audio community’s general understanding of how video game music functions and what music can contribute to game design as a whole.

Q: When putting together a soundtrack album of one of your scores, how do you work with your producer Winnie Waldron in selecting cues and formatting them for a digital or CD album that both represents the score and serves up a terrific listening experience?

Winifred Phillips: Preparing a soundtrack album for a game is always fascinating work!  My award-winning music producer Winnie Waldron works with me throughout music production for all my projects, making sure that quality targets are met and that the music serves the best interests of the game in terms of both function and aesthetics. During the preparation of the soundtrack album, we both concentrate on ways to structure the music so that it best expresses the experience that’s conveyed during the game. While game music is often structured to be non-linear and interactive, a soundtrack is by nature a linear listening experience, so the music has to be adapted to that format. I try to shape the music in the soundtrack so that it captures the energy of gameplay and builds into crescendos that reflect the emotion of important in-game events.

“I’m excited about the future of virtual reality technology and development. A new wave of untethered devices are making their way to retail, allowing VR gamers to enter virtual worlds without having to deal with cumbersome cables and high-powered PCs. As the technology evolves, I think these untethered devices will become more capable with each new generation.”

Q: With the recent changes in the VR environment for games, what do you see for the coming future as far as more immersive video game technology [how close are we to READY PLAYER ONE?!] and what is coming in the future for video game music? 

Winifred Phillips: While I don’t think we’re close to READY PLAYER ONE, I’m excited about the future of virtual reality technology and development. A new wave of untethered devices are making their way to retail, allowing VR gamers to enter virtual worlds without having to deal with cumbersome cables and high-powered PCs. As the technology evolves, I think these untethered devices will become more capable with each new generation. Meanwhile, tethered devices will push the boundaries of visual fidelity and immersion. While I think there will always be a place for traditional gaming, I’m very enthusiastic about VR, and I think it will open up new opportunities for game music. The immersive qualities of virtual reality contribute to more intense gaming experiences, and that’s tremendously inspiring for game composers!

For more information on the composer, see her website at
Sample her music at

Watch the trailer for SCRAPER: First Strike:


Recommended New Soundtracks

AN ACTOR PREPARES/Tony Morales/Lakeshore - digital
In AN ACTOR PREPARES, Jeremy Irons plays Atticus Smith, a famous but notorious actor who, after a near-death experience, must drive cross-country to his favorite daughter’s wedding with his estranged son, Adam (Jack Huston), who once testified against him. More than enduring the journey, Adam and Atticus must survive one another. The score, composed by Tony Morales (HATFIELDS & McCOYS [co-composed with John Debney, Emmy-nominated score], FASTBALL, ELENA OF AVALOR [Emmy-nominated score], IN YOUR EYES, WISH MAN), is a lively accompaniment that follows the emotional dynamic between the unrestrained father and estranged son in this unconventional indie comedy. “My approach, and what I felt that the film called for, was a score that set the tone of the film rather than a score in a traditional sense,” Morales described. “It works more like a song would over traditional underscore.” While Atticus is associated with a reverberant acoustic guitar melody, soft-spoken and gentle for the rough-hewn character, the balance of the score is catchy with a likable and engaging melody line for guitars, piano, and violins, suited to the unusual road trip during which father and son find their common ground. “AN ACTOR PREPARES is a pop score at its core,” said Morales. “The ensemble is that of a rock band: guitar, bass, drums. For added texture, I used a string quartet for cues that needed a little more emotion as well as electric and acoustic guitar textures to build padding to keep the tone warm.” It’s a very pleasing score full of warmth that reflects the humanity of the characters as they find their way back to one another. It’s a very short score made up mostly of short cues under a minute in length – about 15 minutes of music in total, but that duration seems fine for what the score is and what it does, and it makes for a very pleasing listen on its own.

THE BREAK (LA TRÊVE – “The Truce”) Season 2/Eloi Ragot/
RTBF - digital

Eloi Ragot (aka Eloi Ragotagain) is an award-winning film composer, musician and sound-designer. THE BREAK (LA TRÊVE, “The Truce”) is a French-language “Belgian Noir” crime drama television series that debuted on RTBF's La Une in 2016 which won the Best French-Speaking Series Award at the Series Mania Festival 2016. The series streams on Netflix in the USA, UK, Canada, and other regions). Ragot’s score for Season 1 is available in the USA on Apple Music and other digital platforms; his soundtrack for Season 2 is dark and pervasive, reflective and bleak, textural and tonal – all of which applies well to the noirish tone of the show and gives it a cool, shadowy atmosphere. The main detective character, Yoann Peeters, is the primary focus of the story, and the score captures his largely impassive perspective with a variety of synthesized music and musique concrète. “To me, the series’ soundtrack is this intense and immersive element that pushes the viewer on the other side of the screen and makes him feel whatever Yoann Peeters sees and thinks,” Ragot explained. “The sound of the score itself is rather unique as I designed most of the electronic sounds and instruments myself. In particular for Season 2, I used several processing techniques with samples containing cries of animals or disturbing sounds such as broken neon lights or chalks on a chalkboard.” There’s a captivating strength in the score’s disturbing sonic structure, which is both texturally interesting with granular electronica occupying much of tracks like “Bottom of the Pool” and “On the Other Side,” while more traditionally orchestral measures are presented reflectively, in odd meters, and/or descending into burbling electronica and back out again – “Lost Souls,” “The Bastin Brothers,” or the jazzy drum-and-bass vibe of “Tino & Claudine” and of “Graffiti” affords a bit more urban affability in their presentation. Meanwhile, the gentle piano and strings of “Love Triangle” provides the only real warmth the score – or Peeters – will achieve. It’s a carefully crafted construction of dark tones, shadowy grit, and indefinable reflections that makes for a rather engrossing, if generally somber, listening experience.
Stream sample tracks or download cues from the second season soundtrack from THE BREAK here.
For more information on the composer, see

CLASS/Blair Mowat/Silva Screen – cd, digital, vinyl
The science fiction/drama series CLASS, spinning out of the world of DOCTOR WHO and written by acclaimed YA author Patrick Ness, made its debut on BBC3 in 2016 for a single season. The eight-part series centered on Coal Hill School in Shoreditch, a location which has been a part of the DOCTOR WHO Universe since the very beginning. BAFTA nominated composer Blair Mowat has composed well over a hundred scores for film, theatre and television, with clients ranging from the English National Ballet and The Royal Shakespeare Company to the likes of the BBC and Channel 4. The CD soundtrack contains 43 tracks totaling 80 minutes of music across the show. Both CD and LP editions are available with an optional bonus CD of 46 additional score cues. Mowatt seems to take after Murray Gold in his melodic-based orchestral material for CLASS. Mowat is very familiar with DOCTOR WHO’s musical legacy and kept that in mind as he developed his own sonic signature for the CLASS Series, noting in an online interview for that “I felt very comfortable on what the existing musical universe of DOCTOR WHO was, and how/why we should subvert it. I knew that we should have melodic Easter eggs and references to the parent show but that sonically it should feel very different. A lot of that was achieved by using unusual and distinctive sounding instrument combinations – for example Quill’s music often features electric cello and musical saw. In general I used a lot of solo instruments rather than the big orchestral sound DOCTOR WHO has.” The result being that the soundtrack album has a unique variety on its tracks, ranging from aggressive orchestral material to rather abrasive rock and roll (“Dragon Attack”), epic rock (“Strands From the Rift”), elegant classicism (“Reflections”), emotive music for substantive character-building arcs (“Charlies Angry/Charlies Winning”), and poignantly reflective (“April’s Past,” “All Species Say That,” “This Form I Wear”), as well as Mowat’s ability to generate some epic hybrid action material when a climax or a surge to victory needs to build into a massive crescendo (“Gathering Strength,” “Heavy Pedal,” “Rescue,” “Quill vs. Lore,” and the choir-inflected “I Am War Itself”). These latter tracks possess a great heroic dynamic which is very pleasing. The hybrid design works very well, although some tracks are left to be comprised of pure, powerfully-textured electronica (“Asteroid,” “Angry Enough to Kill”). Mowat’s dark, sinewy theme for “The Shadow Kin,” the main invasive aliens of the series, is delightfully villainous, performed on a custom amplified single string bowed instrument which created the strident, low, sinewy vibrato “shings” that make up their malevolent theme.
In its variety Mowat keeps his music interesting and active, supporting the range of the Whovian spinoff’s stories and challenges. There is no up-front title theme for “CLASS” – the show’s main title sequence uses licensed song, a shortened version of “Up All Night” by British popstar Alex Clare, as its opening title signature, but Mowat does include a 25-second section of one of his anthemic climactic moments to serve as the show’s brief end title music.
Silva Screen will release the soundtrack on CD as well as digital download and streaming on December 7th, with a limited edition vinyl edition coming up on January 4th, 2019. For purchasing options, see silvascreen

DYNASTIES/Benji Merrison & Will Slater/Silva Screen – cd & digital
BBC nature documentaries have a reputation not only for their breathtaking photography, but for their immersive musical scores as well. From George Fenton’s THE BLUE PLANET and PLANET EARTH to Hans Zimmer & Co.’s BLUE PLANET II and PLANET EARTH II and many more, the BBC’s nature shows have held the bar for remarkably beautiful images and music. Their latest series is the five-part DYNASTIES, premiering on January 19th on BBC America which explores the lives of five vulnerable or endangered species known to form enduring populations – families, leaders and heroes – from the animal kingdom. Presented by Sir David Attenborough and produced over a period of four years, the big theme of the series is allowing the animals space. Throughout the series and in every episode, except the Antarctic, long shots show the encroachment of the human population. While the trailers for the new series have featured the unique vocals of electropop singer Ruelle from her digital album “Game of Survival,” the song does not actually appear in the series itself. The score is the work of Benji Merrison and Will Slater, who turn in an elegant and commanding score that is presented across two discs on the album. Merrison is an award winning composer providing bespoke music for film and television. His distinctive musical voice is in high demand and he has scored music for hundreds of projects across film, television, installations and events. Slater has been composing for television for close to 20 years and his extensive CV includes PLANET EARTH LIVE, AFRICA, SHARK, and this Spring’s ONE STRANGE ROCK. Their main theme for DYNASTIES, introduced in “Main Title” is a majestic composition written in a popular style: that of a languid string melody in low baritone register played above a fast-moving stream of marcato strings  - but nonetheless a rich, emotive, and powerful opening.  After this introduction the music is divided into the series chapters – Chimpanzee, Emperor (penguin), Lion, Painted Wolves (African wild dog), and Tiger, with different music geared to each segment, ranging from delicate to familial to aggressive and ferocious as the narrative demands. With 47 tracks and an even two hours of music this is a splendid accompaniment to these unique animal families and a fascinating musical excursion across plains, forests, ice, and snow. The DYNASTIES soundtrack is available to stream & download now; on December 14th it will also be released on CD. For more details, see silvascreen.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD/James Newton Howard/Water Tower – cd + digital
THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS/James Newton Howard/Disney – cd + digital
These two new fantasy scores by James Newton Howard are as magical and mythic as the films to which they belong. The first is the sequel to the J.K. Rowling-scripted FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, which Howard scored in 2016. The new FANTASTIC BEASTS score closely follows Howard’s music from its predecessor film, as it should, being that CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is a direct continuation of the former. Newt’s theme and others from the first film are brought into the sequel (as well, a brief quotation from John Williams’ Hedwig’s Theme from HARRY POTTER opens both FANTASTIC BEASTS scores, in brief, making the immediate connection with the Harry Potter world, before Howard launches into his own material for these new films set much earlier in the Wizarding World timeline). THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is perhaps a bit darker in its musical characteristics, as is suitable to the new storyline. It’s also got a lot of energy – Howard’s action music is terrifically orchestrated and propelled (from the rousing opener, “The Thestral Chase,” to the finale of the conclusion, “Restoring Your Name,” and much in between). The use of large choir along with his orchestra in many of these sequences is additionally powerful and often epic. With the young Albus Dumbledore being a character in this film, Newton gives him an elegant theme of his own, perhaps suggestive more of the wizard he will grow into than the younger version here, but it’s a welcome motif all the same. Leta Lestrange, who is a significant character in CRIMES, also has her own delicate and moody theme. A captivating full reprise of the “Crimes of Grindelwald” theme concludes the score over the End Titles in a very pleasing manner. The album concludes with three solo piano performances by Howard that were offered by Disney as downloads prior to the film and score’s release (“Dumbledore’s Theme,” “Leta’s Theme,” and the “Main Theme.”).
Listen to the opening cue from CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD, “The Thestril Chase:”

The second film in discussion here is a costumed fantasy, based on the Marius Petipa ballet and the E.T.A. Hoffman short story that became the basis for the ballet (by way of Alexandre Dumas’ story adapted from Hoffman). With THE NUTCRACKER, Howard’s score being derived from the ballet naturally brings with it the classic strains of Tchaikovsky, which are sprinkled throughout the film score but offer plenty of room for Howard’s original material, which has at least as much presence as Tchaikovsky does in the scheme of the score (the soundtrack album reserves a four-minute track comprising an abridged version of “The Nutcracker Suite” proper, adapted and performed by pianist Lang Lang; there is also an original song performed by superstar Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo that concludes the album). But there’s plenty of delicate and vigorous JNH music to be had, such as the energetic action cues “The Polichinelles” and “The Waterfall” which are both very broadly scored for full orchestra and plenty of sonic muscle. The mix of original scoring and ballet music makes for an interesting juxtaposition and compatibility alike, and Howard’s mix of large orchestra and choir is quite pleasing.

IN LOVE AND WAR/Robin Hoffmann/MovieScore Media – digital 
Coinciding with the film’s release in Danish cinemas on November 15, MovieScore Media joins the celebrations about the 100th anniversary of ending World War I by issuing German composer Robin Hoffmann’s music for the Danish romantic drama, IN LOVE & WAR. Co-written and directed by Kaspar Torstig and based on a true story, the film tells of a Danish soldier escaping from the hell of war to return to his beloved wife and son. “The idea for the music for IN LOVE & WAR was to follow a quite traditional approach and exclusively use the sound of acoustic instruments,” said Hoffmann. “I paired a large symphony orchestra with four solo string players to cover the complete emotional range of the movie between very intimate situations and grand cinematic scenes. In spite of not using any synthesized sounds at all, the unusual ways the players were asked to play their instruments is supposed to occasionally create the illusion of synthetic textures and moving soundscapes. The score weaves around a main theme portraying the bond of the protagonist family. This theme keeps reappearing throughout the score in many different emotional stages to correlate with the quite dramatic shifts of this relationship happening in the movie.” The multiple threads of Hoffmann’s score weave an exemplary soundtrack that evokes the characters and their interactions throughout the movie’s journey, reflecting the harrowing travail bolstered by the soldier’s intent desire to reach home and family. The heavy-string resonance of the main theme is reflected against the tenuous high-end piano notes of the love theme, which is also reprised in moments along the soldier’s journey. It’s a very likable work with a strident mix of sinewy cello chords in the lower measures counterpointed against higher register violins; the timbre emerging finally into the light at the end of the journey in a tense and ultimately jubilant climax in the 10-minute finale, “I’m Right Here.” Hoffmann’s End Credits retraces his journey in shorter fashion and makes an excellent musical summary of the score’s components. Danish actress/singer Rosalinde Mynster (who has a role in the film) sings the main theme, “Sig Naermer Tiden” (Time Is Approaching) in Danish as the main titles begin, and again in a short reprise after the End Titles.
For more information on the composer and his score, see moviescoremedia
View a video featuring a suite from the score:

THE JADE PENDANT/Anne-Kathrin Dern/MovieScore Media - digital
Another compelling love story comes from MovieScore Media with Anne-Kathrin Dern’s beautiful score for 2017’s THE JADE PENDANT. Directed by Po-Chih Leong (HONG KONG 1941, IMMORTALITY), the film tells a tragic love story set against the lynching of 18 Chinese immigrants in 1871Los Angeles. Based on harrowing true events, the characters find themselves in a conflict raging between Asian and American values, a central concept that is reflected in the score. As composer Dern explains, a symphonic approach was the only way to score such a moving story: “THE JADE PENDANT is a score that relies heavily on traditional film scoring values: lyrical themes and sweeping orchestrations. These are paired with both traditional Chinese influences and Americana to represent the immigrants in the New World. While highly dramatic at times, the score also has elegant romantic influences as well as strong action sequences.” MSM’s CD selects the best 50 minutes of this massive, 90-minute score. Dern is quite adept at mixing gentle, affecting harmonic melodies with powerful, active orchestral maneuvers, and the score is at once striking and impressive. The music is a mix of thematic interplay as well as the compelling combination of ethnic instrumentation merged within the sound of the orchestra. The score’s main theme is introduced in the first cue, “Peony,” and is reprised several times throughout the score. “Chop Suey” lends a somewhat playful flavor with its Americana-styled whimsy wafting out of an Asian-flavored instrumentation. Aside from this theme and the very poignant “Do You Have Any Regrets,” the orchestral music tends to be predominantly harmonic and tonal, with subtle melodies, allowing a pleasing but often somber structure to prelude and cover the film’s more dramatic moments. The vocalise that is used in “Almost Like Home,” and especially to punctuate the second halves of “You’ll Be Proud of Me,” “You Gave Me Everything,” and “Do You Have Any Regrets” adds a significant flavor to the cues; the same un-named vocalist performs “Sailor’s Lament,” which concludes the album with a very disconsolate poignancy.
For more information on the composer and her score, see moviescoremedia
View MSM’s video, featuring a suite from the score

L’ISOLA/Ennio Morricone/Retro – cd
From the Solisti e Orchestra del Cinema Italiano, the adept Italian digital recording combo that released notably authentic reproductions of such unreleased Morricone scores as DANGER: DIABOLIQUE as well as compilations like Morricone Tarantino, The Dollars Trilogy, and Rare & Unreleased Soundtracks From The 60s & 70s (all from Retro Recording Arts of Italy), we have the first album of music from the 2012 Italian TV crime thriller L’ISOLA. Joined by musician EverKent, the ensemble has “done their best to reproduce the original music of Ennio Morricone and to make up for the lack of an official soundtrack release,” according to the album booklet, and for the most part they’ve done a pretty good job. Their synthetic reproductions aren’t top-end digital samples and the tell-tale signs of synthesizers are sometimes fairly obvious (especially in the solo trumpet passages early in the score) but apart from that the presentation serves the music well. This is a complete score, with 2 CDs of 25/27 tracks each and a 24-page English-language booklet containing film and score notes as well as track-by-track comments by Morricone website’s webmaster Didier Thunus. As a crime thriller about members of the Italian Coast Guard tracking down criminals who are endangering the Italian seas through illegal drilling of methane hydrates from the seabed [can you say that five times fast?], this is an infrequently melodic score, focusing  more on moods, suspense sequences, and action accompaniment, although there is a delicious romantic theme that runs throughout the score. A few motifs reflect familiar favorites – one of the score’s most provocative tracks, “Tema secondo - versione 1,” contains an interactive riff that is reminiscent of the tense, underlying 3-note riff beneath the guitar in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST’s “Harmonica,” while “Indagine versione 1” and “Indagine versione 3” both feature strident piano figures that are in the style of CITTA’ VIOLENTA’s “Rito Violenta” or REVOLVER’s “Insequimento E Fuga” or “Rapimento,” and these are welcome new interpretations. To avoid too much repetition of cues that were used re-used frequently in the series, the album has been sequenced to be “compatible with both the narrative arc and the listening pleasure.” As with the ensemble’s noteworthy DANGER: DIABOLIK recording, this is a quite satisfying and valid recording.
The 2-CD set is available from amazon.US, amazon.UK, and Music Box Records of France.
Listen to a suite of the music:

MADE IN CHINA NAPOLETANO/Marco Werba/Rosetta – cd
Known for his sumptuous orchestral scores (GIALLO, ZOO, IN MY STEPS aka Seguimi), Spanish-born Italian film composer Marco Werba has had the chance to lighten it up and score this comedic adventure, about a struggling shopkeeper trying to keep afloat amidst the prevalence of a successful rival. Werba’s score, which includes a trio of themes by additional music composers Megan McDuffee, Thomas Gualtieri, and Filippo Del Moro, is both lighthearted and effectively straightforward, playing against the comedy while providing a lighthearted musical approach. In all its parts, MADE IN CHINA NAPOLETANO is a pleasing and varied score; “Le Fidanzata Cinese/Tema d’amore Cinese” is an elegant love theme built around an Asian musical style, robust in its gentle sympathetic melody, while Werba’s title theme, “Tema Made in China” (associated with the proud shopkeeper), is a stalwart and confident martial motif with more of a Neapolitan tarantella-esque flavor. “Contrabbando” is a bristling action/tension motif organized around fastly-stroked violins and bass guitar that really drives a powerful riff forward. “La Corsa” (“The Race”) is a rather brusque acoustic guitar & drum rhythm piece over a predominant ‘house” beat. Of the guest composers, Gualtieri’s “Mistero Grottesco” (Mystery Grotesque) is a pensive suspense motif if somewhat tiresomely redundant in its form; “Elisa” by composer/music producer/sound engineer Filippo Del Moro is a compelling sultry saxophone jazz piece, and McDuffee’s “Mad Mandolin Chase” contributes a great vibe to a couple of scenes in the film. All of these primary themes or motifs capture the mood and vitality of the story and most of Werba’s are treated to different arrangements as the story carries on. It makes a fun listen on disc; Rosetta’s package includes an 8-page booklet featuring short notes in English and Spanish, and a page of notes by Werba about the score.

La-La Land – cd

Ramin Djawadi/La-La Land - cd

A pair of new espionage thrillers are featured in these two soundtracks from La-La Land Records. Lorne Balfe, fresh off of the massive science fiction action thriller PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING, has scored the new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie in muscular fashion, and the label has given the score a lavish 2-CD treatment featuring 32 tracks of large-form symphonic action material with plenty of Lalo Schifrin’s original M:I theme included orchestrally throughout. Balfe has provided a sturdy motif of his own in simple two- and three-note chord progressions around which his active orchestrations pulse and rotate and weave, building a powerhouse rhythm that keeps the energy high and the action propulsive and moving forward. Balfe’s action material is brawny and pulsating as well, maintaining a high-energy level to which formidable incursions of various elements from Schifrin’s themes emerge triumphantly. The release serves up nearly two hours’ worth of confident action/thriller/adventure film music and contains exclusive bonus tracks that are not available on the digital download version. CD booklet contains brief comments by director Christopher McQuarrie.
Premiering a month-and-a-half after M:I FALLOUT, Amazon Video has turned out an interesting first season debut of JACK RYAN, bringing Tom Clancy’s intrepid CIA agent to the small screen for the first time. Ramin Djawadi, who’d scored the first PACIFIC RIM film as well as the massive GAME OF THRONES saga, returns to action thriller television with the kind of straightforward muscle music he’d brought to PRISON BREAK and PERSON OF INTEREST. The album begins with the show’s very short title motif, little more than a piano and drum riff, actually (on the album it’s extended to 56 seconds), but the series’ actual main theme is a personable melody for Ryan (piano introduction, then strings playing a mid-tempo tune over a kind of fast shuffle beat from drums), which is quite nice. There are a few other motifs or themes (the first season’s main terrorist villain, Suleiman, and his family are associated with an exotic middle-eastern vibe, heard here in “Suleiman’s Scars,” which is a nice, sympathetic piece of music with a lovely exotic Yemeni tone). A number of other cues are definite standouts (“Price of Freedom” begins with a forlorn piano melody beneath the sinewy nasal tonality of a Persian ney [flute] before seguing into a Western orchestra playing an elegiac melody, the two musical elements merging together in, perhaps, mutual sympathy; the heartfelt poignancy of flutes in “Heart of Hanin” and “The Long Way Round;” the tension of “A Sarin Requirement” as it develops from irregular percussion beats and bleak piano notes into a massive choir of horrific, heavy organ chords; the reclusive mix of strings and flutes in “Abandonment,” and the severe sorrow manifest in “Plight of the Refugees); though much of the action is felt through effective, if generic, percussive material. A careful listening, however, will likely find enough to be of interest in the midst of it all.
For more details on each of these releases, follow these links: M:I Fallout, Tom Clancy.

A PRIVATE WAR/H. Scott Salinas/Varese Sarabande – cd
Based on the true story of Marie Colvin, one of the most formidable American war correspondents of our time, A PRIVATE WAR is an impassioned biographical drama directed by former documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman (CITY OF GHOSTS, CARTEL LAND). Rosamund Pike give an intense performance as Colvin. The soundtrack is composed by H. Scott Salinas (THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK, THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN, numerous documentaries and additional music for HBO’s THE NEWS ROOM, etc.) and offers up a kind of introspective, immersive psychological portrait of Colvin through tonal interplay and ambiance for mostly solo violin, acoustic guitar, and low, orbiting synth patterns. It’s a very textural score that takes an unremitting psychological viewpoint of Colvin’s wartime experiences, conveyed entirely from her perspective and with the abrasive nature of the PTSD that began to affect her. “If you hear the score I think a lot of people will say: ‘What the heck is that?’” said Salinas in an article published in Variety.
 “We recorded a lot of natural instruments like flutes and then played them at half speed or even quarter speed so a flute that would [normally] sound like a chirpy bird suddenly sounds like its underwater and strange … I would describe it as a little bit otherworldly.”  “The End Is Near,” for example, creates a haunting apprehension out of a variety of synthetic sonic structures escalating below a constant strum of strident bass chords, intoning like a futile metronome of inescapable destiny, while “Bombs” created a pervasive sonic miasma of found sound and elaborate synthesis, out of which finally pours a flow of raw, drained emotion conveyed via a string ensemble, closely miked and sonorous until it fades away and allows the faint sound of continuous booms to occupy the track till its close. “Eulogy” offers a semblance of sympathy to emerge from the painful experiences, but even these more fluid moments of poignancy are processed with a psychological tonality that dampens their pathos with a prickly, sinewy characteristic that laces even the more elegant tracks like “The Final Broadcast” with the rugged grain of despondency. The album concludes gracefully and thoughtfully with a song written and performed by Annie Lennox, and produced by Salinas, “Requiem for a Private War.” Lennox had known Colvin and the song serves as an elegy and tribute to her (Colvin was killed while covering the war in Syria in 2012). (That aforementioned Varietyarticle also explained how Lennox wrote the song, how she sung it, and what is unique about it. Worth a read.)

RENAISSANCE/Nicholas Dodd/Music Box Records – cd
Nicholas Dodd is best known as an orchestrator conductor of concert and film music, noted for his work with David Arnold and Mychael Danna, and he’s been quite active at that since the mid-1990s. His effectiveness at giving their work its full-blooded orchestral authority has been honed by that experience. He’s composed a couple of scores, of which 2006’s animated futuristic crime noir RENAISSANCE was the first. The story takes place in 2054 Paris, a dystopian labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded, and in which the city's largest company, Avalon, insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export, youth and beauty. Within this milieu, and featuring the voices of Daniel Craig, Romola Garai, and Ian Holm, an Avalon scientist is kidnapped, a jaded police captain is assigned to find her, and a whole mess of subterfuge and underworld crime is uncovered.
Dodd’s dark and sensual score is energetic, elegant, mysterious, and seething in ominous power as it enhances the film’s animated environment and noir sound design. “Dodd’s score for RENAISSANCE is full of haunting beauty and overwhelming danger,” writes Daniel Schweiger in his in-depth liner notes. “The emotions intertwine for a score that’s unabashedly melodic and dense in its sound.” Most prominent is a threatening, marching ostinato for growing brass and string figures that represents the Avalon enterprise in all of its dastardly corporate enmity and corruption, along with a number of action tracks made of delicately controlled fury, such as the wildly orchestrated “We've Found Him;” in contrast, “Karas Fight” is scored with suspended tonalities and exuding whispers of misty textures that make way for a group of plodding brasses to pass between them, arrogantly. “Ilona and Karas Run” electrified the climactic moments, which wind down into the softness of string patterns and vocalise for the conclusive “Memories Forgotten,” wherein the Avalon theme is dissolved by the purity of the film’s undulating, rhythmic love theme for strings, piano, and voice. Recorded at Air Studios, Hampstead, London, using the Philharmonia Orchestra, and mastered by Christopher Hénault of Art & Son Studio), the album maintains a marvelous purity of sound  as it takes its menacing journey across the soundscape. Originally released on a 17-track CD in France in 2006, this expanded reissue from MBR weighs in at 31 tracks, which is virtually the complete score plus two Parisian club source cues as bonuses. All in all an excellent package with which to appreciate and enjoy a superlative composition and performance of compelling melodic noir.

DE SUPERJHEMP RETÖRNS/Felix Raffel/Raffel - digital
German composer Felix Raffel (winner of the prestigious Jerry Goldsmith Award in 2010 for his orchestral score for THE BOY WHO WOULDN'T KILL at the Film Music Festival Úbeda, Spain) has self-released an epic orchestral score to Luxembourg’s current superhero hit DE SUPERJHEMP RETÖRNS. The film tells the story of a superhero in midlife crisis, who must face his greatest fear, his family, to save his small country from cosmic annihilation. The story is set in Luxembourg and is based on the hit comic book series De Superjhemp by Lucien Czuga and Roger Leiner. Raffel provides an impressive symphonic score, an album full of epic, classic-Hollywood-style and classical music traditions that accompany “De Superjhemp” during his crazy adventures. Released digitally by the composer, the album is thoroughly engaging, providing a terrific superhero anthem as its main theme and with sophisticated classicisms roaming throughout the score providing the perfect foil for the superhero’s antics. Raffel’s sturdy main theme is given a number of variations, from heroically anthemic (“Flying Montage,” “Victory”) and reflectively poignant (“Letterbox,” “Coronation”) to a nice power ballad, “C'mon Superjhemp,” sung by Johanna Morsch, which, along with a second beguiling pop song performed by Emily Fröhling, concludes the album). Raffel’s orchestrations are constantly stimulating and effective, especially in the action cue in “Fight on the Roof.” I found the album thoroughly delightful and appealing; Raffel’s thematic arrangements are excellent and the album on its own makes for a very enjoyable listen. I’d stand up and air-conduct the orchestra to this music except I don’t know the French, German, or Luxembourgish words for “Louder!”
Stream, sample tracks or purchase the album here.
Listen to the main theme via youtube:

Caldera Records of Germany presents their latest release, the atmospheric and provocative score for the 2017 Norwegian motion picture VALLEY OF SHADOWS (“’Skyggenes dal”), directed by Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen, featuring music by Zbigniew Preisner (Kie?lowski’s THREE COLORS, THE SECRET GARDEN).
“More of a dark mood piece than a conventional horror film, this atmospheric Nordic fable tips its hat to Peter and the Wolf in a dense woodland setting seemingly suspended between dreamscape and unnerving reality,” wrote David Rooney of the film in The Hollywood Reporter. The film “washes over you, in which a boy gets lost in his nightmares, perhaps learning that the monster all children fear is a force to be protected.”
Born in Bielsko-Bia?a in 1955, Zbigniew Preisner has been composing music in his native Poland since the early 1980s. He is best-known for his work with Polish director Krzysztof Kie?lowski on his epic THREE COLORS trilogy. His collaboration with Gulbrandsen on VALLEY OF SHADOWS introduced him to some new concepts, as the score combines electronic and symphonic elements, augmented by the voice of Lisa Gerrard who appears in two striking tracks; as well, an 18-minute long passage entitled “Odyssey” that underscores the moments as the main character in the film finds something he cannot comprehend with an almost continuous frightful sonority. This is a beautifully lyrical and mesmerizing work which is as sonically enchanting as it is haunting. The music’s dark and menacing fabric manages to be creepy but evocative, deliriously compelling and yet dangerously foreboding. A very engrossing listen. This 28th CD-release of Caldera Records features a detailed booklet-text by Gergely Hubai and elegant artwork by Luis Miguel Rojas. The CD was produced by Stephan Eicke and John Elborg.
See Caldera Records.


News: Forthcoming Soundtracks & Film Music News

Nominations for the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced Dec. 6th. Here are the music nominations:

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

  • Marco Beltrami (A QUIET PLACE)
  • Alexandre Desplat (ISLE OF DOGS)
  • Ludwig Göransson (BLACK PANTHER)
  • Justin Hurwitz (FIRST MAN)

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  • All the Stars (BLACK PANTHER)
  • Girl in the Movies (DUMPLIN’)
  • Requiem For a Private War (A PRIVATE WAR)
  • Revelation’ (BOY ERASED)
  • Shallow (A STAR IS BORN)


On the 50th anniversary of Sergio Leone’s great Western masterpiece ONCE UPON A TIME THE WEST, with its iconic soundtrack music by Ennio Morricone, in collaboration with Universal Music Publishing Ricordi Italia, Beat Records of Italy presents the 50-year edition of the soundtrack CD. An accurate remastering by Claudio Fuiano and Daniel Winkler corrected a few formal imprecisions of the previous editions as well as some minor stereophonic flaws. This special edition is dedicated to Franco De Gemini, who performed the harmonica for the score and who passed away five years ago. Moreover, the entire recording sessions of the score were discovered – more than three hours of music – including studio chatter from which has been extracted a small recording of Franco’s voice while he is conducting sound tests to find the best sound for his harmonica in a particular scene. This bonus track is included at the end of the album as a memorial to this great harmonica artisan, a sonic cameo as a small witness to his industriousness. Limited to only 500 copies, the CD comes in a jewel case with a richly-illustrated, 24-page booklet featuring liner notes by Daniele De Gemini current manager of Beat Records and son of the late Franco De Gemini. For more information see beatrecords_it.

La-La Land Records has announced an astonishing collection of multiple-CD deluxe sets, including two box sets, for its December releases – a holiday soundtrack gift of five significant limited editions releases that can only be described as must-haves for soundtrack collectors: HARRY POTTER: The John Williams Soundtrack Collection is a 7-CD box set containing John Williams’ newly-remastered, restored, and expanded scores for the first three films in the HARRY POTTER series: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE (2001), HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2002) and HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004). BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA: Limited Edition 3-CD Set is a remastered and expanded re-issue of acclaimed composer Wojciech Kilar’s original score to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 feature film. David Arnold’s second James Bond score, 1999’s THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, gets the deluxe treatment in this remastered and expanded 2-CD re-issue of the original motion picture score. SCHINDLER’S LIST – 25th ANNIVERSARY SOUNDTRACK: LIMITED EDITION2-CD SET is presented in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the landmark Steven Spielberg film. This release of John Williams’ Oscar-winning score showcases the original soundtrack assembly, sourced from the original 1993 release’s 24-karat gold Ultimate Masterdisc digital master on Disc One, while Disc Two contains previously unreleased tracks.

Moving back several decades, the label also presents LAND OF THE GIANTS – 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Collection: Limited Edition, a deluxe 4-CD box set of original music from the classic Irwin Allen 1960’s sci-fi/fantasy television series. Much of the music in this collection has been unreleased for 50 years, making its world premiere with this release.

In addition, the label announces their third title in the Universal Pictures Film Music Heritage Collection: John Cacavas’ and Lalo Schifrin’s scores to AIRPORT ’77 and THE CONCORDE… AIRPORT ’79.

Two new scores by Ian Honeyman have been released as digital soundtracks: AN INTERVIEW WITH GOD, a psychological drama/thriller starring Brenton Thwaites and Oscar nominee David Strathairn about  an up-and-coming journalist who finds his world and faith increasingly challenged when he's granted the interview of a lifetime - with someone who claims to be God; and his score for the German TV terrorism thriller, SEED OF TERROR (Saat Des Terrors), starring Crispin Glover and Navid Negahban. The former accommodates some very interesting string arrangements and piano interplay; the latter is a very dramatically textured score with some evocative Middle Eastern motifs. Both have been released by HSI Records, and are available on amazon (Interview, Seed), and other download services.
Sample a cue from the latter score on SoundCloud:

Ryan Shore is scoring Disney’s STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES, a series of short animated films that recently debuted on the “Star Wars Kids” YouTube channel and website. Using stylized animation, the series of shorts recount key scenes from the saga and will continue until the release of Episode IX. The shorts feature audio from the original films, plus Shore’s original scores. Shore also shored the previous animated micro-series STAR WARS: FORCES OF DESTINY which debuted in 2017, focusing on vignettes about the female characters of the franchise, which probably put him in good favor to score GALAXY OF ADVENTURES. (Read my interview with Ryan about scoring FORCES OF DESTINY here).

One of the most sought-after Jerry Goldsmith horror/science fiction scores makes its long-awaited world premiere courtesy of Intrada (who we’ve already been thanking for finally releasing his DAMNATION ALLEY score last year). THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD (1975), directed by J. Lee Thompson, scripted by Max Ehrlich from his own novel, starring Michael Sarrazin, Jennifer O’Neill, and Margot Kidder, is about a college professor who begins to have recurring dreams about a past life he once lived. As he investigates the dreams he is drawn to his  wife from that previous life, while unable to avoid becoming romantically involved with the young girl who is or was his daughter… The score is an effective mix of electronic keyboards and full orchestra. “Shades of complex multi-piano and string complexities of the forthcoming COMA and meld of electronics becoming full orchestra timbre of LOGAN’S RUN both find their origins in PETER PROUD,” writes the label. “Goldsmith anchors with a main theme introduced from the outset by a chamber-sized string ensemble with liberal electronics to establish an other-worldly dream-like tone mingled with impending terror.” Intrada located the score’s master tapes (complete, and with music not used in the finished film), allowing them to produce the complete score to one of Goldsmith’s last remaining unreleased film soundtracks. Detailed notes by Jeff Bond and layout prepared by Kay Marshall enhance this important release.
Also from Intrada this week is a reissue of Christopher Young’s soundtrack for the 1989 horror thriller, HIDER IN THE HOUSE. The content is identical to their original release in 1990 but it’s available for those who missed out on it 28 years ago.
See Intrada

Nord-Ouest Films has released a soundtrack album for the French drama AMANDA. The album features the film’s original music composed by Emmy Award nominee Anton Sanko (RABBIT HOLE, THE POSSESSION, OUIJA, BIG LOVE, THE SEAGULL). AMANDA follows a young man who finds himself in charge of his seven-year old niece after his sister is brutally killed. The drama premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival and was released to French theaters in November; no word yet on a domestic release. The soundtrack is available via amazon
and other digital music markets.
-via filmmusicreporter

George Shaw has composed an awesome science fiction short called THE 716th which is currently running on Amazon Prime as part of their Film Festival Stars. The short, directed by Andrew Bowen (ALONG THE WAY), is a “wildly fun, sci-fi adventure short film about a pair of unlikely heroes: two insubordinate non-automated combat medics and their admirably brave but poorly conceived, at times comical attempt to rescue a pair of injured infantry soldiers” on the warzone planet below. As Shaw puts it, “It’s M.A.S.H in space meets GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!” Amazon Prime members can (and should!) watch the short on US Amazon Prime Video or UK Amazon Prime Video. A soundtrack of Shaw’s score for THE 716th will be available on Dec 10th – it can be pre-ordered via amazon or through his Bandcamp page. And while you’re at his Bandcamp page check out his soundtrack for the third season of the “postmodern metafictional murder-mystery reality web series” that premiered in 2016 on YouTube Premium, ESCAPE FROM REALITY. All three season’s scores are available for digital purchase and they are well worth investigating.

New interviews posted to my Musique Fantastique web site:

  • An Interview with John Paesano: Scoring THE MAZE RUNNER Saga. We also discuss Paesano’s scores for SALVATION, THE PHOENIX INCIDENT, and DreamWorks’ DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK!). Here.
  • Scoring Valve’s ARTIFACT: An Interview with composer/sound designer Tim Larkin, who discusses scoring the just-released immersive digital card game ARTIFACT, set in the richly imaginative world of Dota 2. Here.


In the new horror comedy SLICE, a string of pizza delivery boy murders terrorizes a small town. Two survivors – played by the wonderful Zazie Beetz and rapper Chance the Rapper in his film debut –set out to solve the mystery. SLICE is the first feature film directed by Austin Vesely, who has previously worked on music videos for Chance the Rapper. The film’s original soundtrack (“inspired by ’80s horror films and analogue synths” according to The Vinyl Factory) is the work of composers Ludwig Göransson (BLACK PANTHER, CREED, TV’s COMMUNITY) and Nathan Mathew David who crafted scores for DEADLY CLASS and THE LAST WORD. Lakeshore Records will dish up the SLICE soundtrack in two tasty formats – a digital soundtrack available fresh right now [Download/Listen] but, if you can keep your hunger under control until Wednesday when it finishes cooking, you can get the soundtrack on a 12″ pizza-sized picture disc. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl, this fun limited edition vinyl release, housed in a cool faux pizza box, has been designed by Lakeshore’s art director John Bergin. This special edition all-you-can-hear soundtrack can be ordered, while supplies last, at Mondo online.
Got a moment?  Take a slice and watch the SLICE trailer:

Speaking of Ludwig Göransson, Sony Music has released his score to CREED II, returning him to the ROCKY spinoff franchise. “In CREED II, Creed is now at the peak of his career. He is facing big responsibilities and decisions that will affect not only him but also his family,” Göransson explained. “When I wrote the score for CREED II, I continued on my journey from the first CREED. The themes that were more youthful three years ago now had to mature into a more serious musical language.  It was also a huge honor to write a theme for one of the most popular antagonists in film history, the Drago family.”

The original motion picture soundtrack for MARY POPPINS RETURNS is available from Walt Disney Records.  The album features all-new original songs by Tony Award® and GRAMMY® winning composer Marc Shaiman (HAIRSPRAY, SISTER ACT, Stephen King’s MISERY) and Tony winner and three-time Emmy® nominee co-lyricist Scott Wittman (HAIRSPRAY, SMASH). Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman write the music and lyrics for the original 1964 MARY POPPINS; Irwin Kostal adapted and conducted the score. The Sherman brothers had a profound impact on Marc Shaiman's career as both a composer and songwriter. “The movie and the soundtrack were everything to me as a child and taught me everything I know about film scoring,” he says. “The songs from MARY POPPINS are, in a word, perfect. The music and the lyrics are perfectly joined and have such a wonderful, sparkling yet emotional, feeling to them, so it's quite a bar to even aspire to come close to.” Because the script is an integral part of any musical, the duo was brought on board to write the music and lyrics when the script was being written, allowing the score to function dramatically from its inception.  Shaiman and Wittman crafted nine original songs, each one with a soulful quality that helps advance the plot and enhance the characters. “We didn't stray too far from the sounds of the first movie,” adds Shaiman. “We wanted it to feel like we were picking up where the last film ended.”

Lakeshore Records has digitally released Nicholas Britell’s score for IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, with a vinyl version forthcoming. It’s Britell’s second collaboration with writer/director Barry Jenkins and the follow up to his Academy Award-nominated score for MOONLIGHT. Britell brings his limitless creativity to the themes of love and injustice anchoring the film and creates a score sublimely straddling the worlds of classical and jazz. The sound ranges from lush to uncompromisingly experimental, thoroughly inhabiting the film to striking and unforgettable effect. Says Britell: “It was a truly special experience to collaborate with Barry on IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. Together, we explored a sonic landscape filled with brass and strings, while also venturing into some quite extreme experimentation. I'm always fascinated by the mysteries of scoring a film. As Barry and I worked together, we discovered certain sounds which we felt deeply resonated with the story.” 
In other Britell news, Decca Records will release a soundtrack album of Britell’s score to VICE, a new political comedy from Adam McKay.

Fans of the Netflix hit series TRAVELERS will appreciate the release of the Season 2 soundtrack, featuring score by series composer, Adam Lastiwka. The album will be released digitally on December 14 via Lakeshore Records, the same day as the show’s Season 3 premiere date on Netflix. Sample some of the tracks here. For more information on Adam Lastiwka and the TRAVELERS music, see musique fantastique.

Also, Lakeshore welcomes a newcomer to their composer roster through the release of Gavin Brivik’s score to the Blumhouse horror film now showing on Netflix, CAM. The webcam horror film stars THE HANDMAID’S TALE’s Madeline Brewer and has to do with a cam girl with a growing fan base who sets out to find the mysterious lookalike who has taken over her account and restore her own identity.
Read the background story about the score at and find the download on amazon.

Varèse Sarabande celebrated its fortieth anniversary last month with the release of Varèse Sarabande: 40 Years Of Great Film Music 1978-2018 with a  2 CD set and 2 LP set available to retailers. Special bundles featuring limited edition merchandise are also available exclusively from the label’s web site – for details on each bundle, see and/or

Released on Nov. 30th, Varèse Sarabande presents The Dave Grusin Premiere Collection which consists of four previously unreleased treasures from the Sony Pictures vaults. For a limited time purchase, the label offers a 3-CD bundle featuring four Dave Grusin scores: the 1979 Al Pacino courtroom drama AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, Sydney Pollack’s 1981 drama ABSENCE OF MALICE which stars Paul Newman, Sally Field, and Melinda Dillon and 1976’s satirical murder mystery, MURDER BY DEATH coupled with score from the 1971 Robert Mulligan film THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, which also featured the Randy Newman main/end title credit song, “Let Me Go,” which appears during key moments in the film. All three discs are available as a bundle for a special price before they are released for sale separately on January 4th. See here.

Music Box Records announces Gabriel Yared’s THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, newly remastered and expanded into a 2-CD set. The package will include a 12-page CD booklet with French and English liner notes by Yared; additionally, the first 60 copies purchased directly from their online store will be autographed by the composer (offer limited to 1 autographed copy by customer). Autographs are available while supplies last and are not guaranteed.
Also from Music Box is a remastered 2-CD edition of all three of Ennio Morricone’s LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (IL VIZIETTO) soundtracks. Writer Nicolas Magenham supplies liner notes in the album’s 12-page CD booklet.
Order now at

Lorne Balfe has scored the Sundance Now! hit series, THE CRY. Previously airing in the UK, American fans can now hear Lorne’s score in the context of the mini-series starring Jenna Coleman (DOCTOR WHO, VICTORIA). “The highlight of this score is each motif is carefully crafted and played and leaves an echo. The drama in the music always has something extra, a revolt.” – Soundtrack Dreams

Theodore Shapiro’s latest score is for the thriller DESTROYER, starring Nicole Kitman, which reunites the composer with visionary director Karyn Kusama (THE INVITATION, GIRLFIGHT, JENNIFER’S BODY).  The film is about a police detective (Kidman) who reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace. “The music for DESTROYER comes first and foremost out of the character of Detective Erin Bell,” Shapiro said. “Guided by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi’s superb script, and through extensive conversations with Karyn Kusama, we as a team began to wrestle with how to give a musical language to this profoundly complicated female protagonist. I wrote an hour of music before Karyn started shooting the film.  So unlike the more typical sequence, in which the film is shot first and then the composer starts writing, Karyn had a library of original music to help inspire her during production, and then incorporate into the film as she edited.” The soundtrack is out digitally from Lakeshore.

Brian Tyler’s latest work is scoring the fantasy comedy film WHAT MEN WANT, a gender-swapped version of Mel Gibson’s 2000 comedy film, WHAT WOMEN WANT. The film stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Taraji P. Henson, and Pete Davidson and is directed by Adam Shankman (THE WEDDING PLANNER, HAIRSPRAY). It is scheduled for release on February 8. Tyler will also join composer Breton Vivian to score the upcoming romantic drama FIVE FEET APART, scheduled for release in March 2019 by Lionsgate.  The psychological horror film ESCAPE ROOM, directed by Adam Robitel (THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION, INSIDIOUS: THE LASY KEY), opens on January 4th, scored by Tyler and John Carey (watch the film’s creepy trailer on youtube). Sony Classical will release the soundtrack on CD on January 11.

MovieScore Media’s latest soundtrack release continues the label’s tradition of releasing inspiring sports documentary scores, this time with a focus on Liverpool Football Club legend Steven Gerrard. MAKE US DREAM features original interviews with both family members and team mates, and the filmmakers had unprecedented access into chronicling Gerrard’s mercurial career. The score is composed by Roger Goula (IDENTICALS, TIGER HOUSE, THE FRANKENSTEIN CHRONICLES), who explained his approach to the film: “I knew the music for this film had to portray his status carrying big triumph themes, but with a twist to embrace all the nuances that belong to the character.” See more details at moviescoremedia.
View a trailer featuring some of the score here

MovieScore Media has also announced a soundtrack release for the 2017 drama MEGAN LEAVEY, with a score composed by Mark Isham. The soundtrack has been digitally on December 7 (click here to download the album and check out audio samples). A CD version is in the works from Quartet Records. [Related: see my interview with Mark Isham about his scoring of MEGAN LEAVEY from my July  2017 column.]
-via filmmusicreporter

Quartet Records and NRK Television present a holiday treat: a 2-CD set featuring composer Henrik Skram’s original score to the 2016 acclaimed Norwegian TV series SNØFALL (Snowfall), a fantasy Christmas tale about courage, friendship, and the search for belonging. Talented young Norwegian composer Skram (90 MINUTES, BALLET BOYS, TORDENSKJOLD & KOLD) provides a warm, charming, massive orchestral tour-de-force performed by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under the baton of Matt Dunkley, in a score full of fantasy, tender melodies, and impeccably tasteful writing. Skram won his second Golden Screen Award for his work on this series score.
For details, see quartet

On Dec. 14, Silva Screen will release the soundtrack to the 1984 TV film THE BOX OF DELIGHTS, by Roger Limb & the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Based on the classic 1935 children's novel by John Masefield, the story follows the exploits of a young boy who finds himself drawn into a world of magic and danger when he encounters an old Punch and Judy man. Composer Limb, a specialist in electronic music famous for working with The BBC Radiophonic Workshop on his DOCTOR WHO music, but whose range actually extended much further than science-fiction. For more details see silvascreen

Veteran Italian film music soundtrack producer Claudio Fuiano has launched his new record label, CFSoundtracks, with his home base on Facebook. After an inaugural release of Ruggero Cini’s scores to the superhero comedies I FANTASTICI 3 SUPERMAN/3 SUPERMEN A TOKIO, the label’s second release is a special deluxe 3-CD set containing Piero Piccioni’s masterful score FUMO DI LONDRA (alias “Thank You Very Much!”). Co-produced by Fuiano and Daniele De Gemini of Beat Records, the three-disc set will contain Piccioni’s complete soundtrack for the iconic comedy film which was the directorial debut of popular Italian actor Alberto Sordi. The CD will be available on December 10th from Beat Records. Beat also announces the release of a rare soundtrack from Francesco de Masi from 1972, his beautiful score for I FAMILIARI DELLE VITTIME NON SARANNO AVVERTITI (aka CRIME BOSS), directed by Alberto De Martino. Remastered from the four-inch master news newly discovered, this will be the score’s first appearance on CD.

Composer Jerome Leroy will release four new soundtracks over the next few months. His delicate and atmospheric score to the Asian ghost story THE HOUSEMAID, which has been out as a digital release for some time courtesy of Milan Records, will soon get a physical release by Spanish label Rosetta Soundtrack. By the end of the year, Leroy plans to self-release the soundtracks to the short animated films YUANFEN and DEAR ALICE, which he scored earlier this year. Leroy also hopes to release the soundtrack from KILLERS WITHIN, a fantasy/action/thriller that he worked on late last year. Leroy routines makes digital soundtracks, complete with liner notes, of his scores that are then available on his website.

Deutsche Grammophon will release a digital soundtrack album for the HBO and RAI original series MY BRILLIANT FRIEND. The album features the original music from the show’s first season composed by Max Richter (THE LEFTOVERS, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, HOSTILES). See Amazon for download.
- via filmmusicreporter

Kronos Records of Malta has announced its three new releases for December: NON LASCIAMOCI PIÙ was an Italian television series broadcast on Rai 1, consisting of two seasons in 1999 and 2001. The music of both seasons was composed by celebrated Italian giallo composer Fabio Frizzi. MAD MACBETH (2017, aka RIMISHERIM) is a collaboration of the composing duo Salvatore Sangiovanni and Susan Jean Dibona, who have created a musical landscape that is the stuff of nightmares, then dreams, then nightmare again. Macbeth meets Mad Max! Finally, Kronos announces the CD version of the 2018 historical romantic drama soundtrack, OMA MAA, which MovieScore Media recently released in digital format. The film is a heartfelt love story taking place in the post-war reconstruction of Finland, from the end of the war in 1945 until the country’s hostin g of the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952; the music is by Finnish composer Pessi Levanto.
Each of the CDs are limited to 300 copies.

New Japanese soundtracks releases, reported by ARK SOUNDTRACK SQUARE:
The complete original soundtrack from the classic historical samurai film in 1978. Also contains soundtrack from the TV drama edition. 
The world premiere release of two original soundtracks from Toei's '70s Action films Sonny Chiba.
* Joe Hisaishi presents MUSIC FUTURE III, a third album of his "Music Future" concert series in 2017.
* KAZOKU IRO: RAILWAYS OUR DEPARTURES by Harumi Fuki. Soundtrack from the human drama movie
Original soundtrack to the 2018 TV anime miniseries.

* TAKARAJIMA (TREASURE ISLAND) (Columbia Sound Treasure Series) (2CD) by Kentaro Haneda.
Complete Original Soundtrack from TV anime TREASURE ISLAND aired in 1978-1979.
* MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM NT by Hiroyuki Sawano. Original soundtrack to MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM NT, arriving in Nov. 20, 2018.
* SEGO-DON (SAIGO-DON) (NHK Epic Drama) by Harumi Fuki. The fourth original soundtrack from NHK Epic Drama series - best selection and unreleased tracks.
* DOROKEI: KEISHI-CHO SOSA SANKA by Hideakira Kimura. Original Soundtrack from the 2018 TV police drama.
* KEMONO NI NARENAI WATASHI-TACHI by Yoshihisa Hirano. Original Soundtrack from TV drama in 2018.
* PEACE MAKER: KUROGANE (2CD) by Ryosuke Nakanishi. 2-disc original soundtrack to theatrical anime, Parts 1 and 2

Quartet Records has announced an amazing bundle of seven special titles to wrap up its superlative list of 2018 soundtrack releases. Of particular note are these two genre favorites: a new digital recording of Bernard Herrmann’s complete score to THE BRIDE WORE BLACK, in honor of the 50th anniversary of François Truffaut’s esteemed Hitchcockian thriller, with Fernando Velázquez conducting The Basque National Orchestra; and a remastered 35th-anniversary, 2-CD expanded edition of Arthur B. Rubinstein’s celebrated score to John Badham’s WARGAMES.

In addition to these genre releases, Quartet’s end-of-the-year releases include: 2-CD expanded edition of Nino Rota’s score for Fellini’s 8½, 2-CD set of Jerome Moross’ classic Western film score, THE BIG COUNTRY, 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition of Ennio Morricone’s beloved score to CINEMA PARADISO, 30th Anniversary Premiere Edition of Bernardo Bonezzi’s score for the iconic Spanish comedy WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN in both CD and vinyl editions, and a 4-CD set/world premiere release of Antón García Abril’s music for the TV documentary series EL HOMBRE Y LA TIERRA (Man and Earth).
These releases are available now. For much more detail, see quartetrecords 


Film Music on Vinyl

FYE stores present a pair of exclusive vinyl special editions of the songtrack album of DEADPOOL 2, featuring a choice of two unique cover images, one showing the character of Domino (Zazie Beetz) , the other showing Cabel here (Josh Brolin). Click on either link for more details.

WaterTower Music is pleased to announce vinyl releases of the soundtrack to the second season of HBO’s WESTWORLD. Fans can choose from multiple vinyl configurations, including a 29-track triple vinyl complete collection, a 13-track single vinyl option, or one of two 13-track collectable limited edition pieces: a Shogun (green vinyl) version or The Raj (orange-black swirl) version. The soundtrack features the music of multi-Grammy® and Emmy® Award-nominated composer Ramin Djawadi (JACK RYAN, GAME OF THRONES), and is comprised of the most powerful musical moments of Season 2. The album includes Djawadi’s iconic WESTWORLD theme, his original compositions from the show, and his renowned versions of popular songs created for the show. In addition to its vinyl release, WESTWORLD Season 2 is also now available digitally for streaming and as a 2-CD set. 

Mondo is honored to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s BATMAN with an expanded 2XLP soundtrack release. Danny Elfman’s score is a career-defining, monumental achievement in film music. Reissue produced by Neil S. Bulk and features cues never before released on vinyl. Mondo has this score available in two versions - a 2XLP limited-edition of only 2,000 copies, plus a remastered single LP pressed on 180 Gram Black and Purple Split colored vinyl (also available on 180 Gram Black vinyl). Artwork by Kilian Eng.

Sumthing Else Music Works and Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. have released the vinyl soundtrack release for KONAMI’s action game SUPER BOMBERMAN R, allowing Bomberman’s bright, catchy themes can finally be enjoyed on vinyl, presented in a beautifully crafted, full-color gatefold. Composer Seima Iwahashi of Elements Garden brings us the latest soundtrack in the beloved BOMBERMAN franchise. The album also includes the “Hero” theme song featuring lyrics by Rucca. The SUPER BOMBERMAN R original soundtrack is now available from Sumthin’'s new direct-to-consumer merchandise store as well as Amazon.
For more information on SUPER BOMBERMAN R, visit the official website


Game Score News

With BATTLEFIELD V, Johan Soderqvist and Patrick Andren continue their legacy of the Battlefield video game score.  Since BATTLEFIELD V score was announced this summer, fans have requested for and waited for this album, released in partnership with EA Games.  Released ahead of the game launch on November 20, the soundtrack is available now worldwide.

Ron Wasserman (POWER RANGERS, THE THUNDERMANS) has scored the video game THE NOTHING, a cyberpunk, open-world RPG set in Los Angeles in the year 2108. Listen to a 48-minute soundtrack sampler on youtube. More information on the game, including samples of the score-in-progress from last May, see

The popular AUDIOSHIELD VR music/rhythm game has commissioned Winifred Phillips to create a brand-new theme song to go along with a big content update that's now available on Steam. “I’m very pleased to share this video showing AUDIOSHIELD gameplay that’s being triggered by my AUDIOSHIELD theme,” Winifred posted on her linked-in page on Nov 28th. “AUDIOSHIELD uses procedural generation to analyze music and shape gameplay around it, so it was especially inspiring for me to compose the optimal track to trigger the virtual reality game’s music algorithm in the most exciting ways possible.” AUDIOSHIELD was developed by Dylan Fitterer (creator of AUDIOSURF), and Winifred’s theme music has also been released in a new update for AUDIOSURF 2. For more details on what AUDIOSHIELD is and does, see steam.
Listen to her Audioshield theme here:

Lakeshore Records in partnership with EA Games will release the score to COMMAND & CONQUER: RIVALS, featuring a score by Grammy Nominated and two-time BAFTA-winning Composer Austin Wintory. This album will release on December 7 on Lakeshore Records.
The COMMAND & CONQUER: RIVALS game is now available on Android and iOS


Randall D. Larson was for many years senior editor for Soundtrack Magazine, publisher of CinemaScore: The Film Music Journal, and a film music columnist for Cinefantastique magazine. A specialist on horror film music, he is the author of Musique Fantastique: A Survey of Film Music in the Fantastic Cinema and Music from the House of Hammer. He currently writes articles on film music and sf/horror cinema, and has written liner notes for nearly 300 soundtrack CDs.
Special thanks to Benjamin Michael Joffe for copyediting assistance.

Randall can be contacted at