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Soundtrax Episode 2019-1
March 01, 2019


Feature Interview:

  • Scoring Horror with Joseph Bishara
  • Catching up with Richard Band
  • Sharon Farber:
    From the Scoring Stage to the Concert Hall

SNAPSHOTS: Soundtrack Reviews:
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL (Holkenborg/Milan), ALL IS TRUE (Doyle/Sony), AMUNDSEN (Söderqvist/MovieScore Media), AQUAMAN (R Gregson-Williams/WaterTower), ARCTIC (Trapanese/Sony), THE BABY (Fried/Caldera ), THE BRIDE WORE BLACK (Herrmann/Quartet),         HARRY POTTER: The John Williams Collection (La-La Land), INFORMER (Eshkeri/Silva Screen), LAS LEYES DE LA TERMODINAMICA (Velzaquez/Quartet), THE LIVING DEAD GIRL/DRACULA’S FIANCÉE (d’Aram/Omega), THE LEGO® MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (Mothersbaugh/WaterTower), SCRAPER: FIRST STRIKE (Phillips/Steam), THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY (Russo/Lakeshore), VICE PRINCIPALS (Stephens/Waxwork), LE VISIONNAIRE (Pearce/MovieScore Media), WHAT MEN WANT (Tyler/Lakeshore)

Soundtrack, Vinyl, & Game Music News

Since his first creepy score in 1998, composer Joseph Bishara has been musically drawn to sinister, modern ghost and horror movies. Out of his thirty feature film scores to date, all but three have maximized audience anxiety and unease within the horror genre. Bishara’s harmonic integration of multifaceted tone and texture have found ferocious favor in fear films, from franchises like THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS movies of James Wan and his team, to Adam Gierasch’s NIGHT OF THE DEMONS and “Trick” episode of TALES OF HALLOWEEN, among others. These are high quality, high intensity scare movies, and it’s been a pleasure to speak to Joseph Bishara about his approach to scoring the modern macabre music he’s been exceling at.

Q: In terms of contemporary supernaturally-based horror films, you’ve established an effective musical style which has really amped up the tension and scare factor of these movies. What do you think has given you such a powerful inclination to write such affecting music for the genre?

Joseph Bishara: It’s hard to say but it’s always felt like a very natural fit for me. It seems to be the natural language. It’s there with very little resistance for me.

Q: Do you feel that music has a greater responsibility to aid in an audience’s suspension of disbelief and keep their senses more on edge than in, say, an action movie, drama, or a mystery thriller?

Joseph Bishara: I’m sure anyone who’s making any of those other genre films you mentioned are going to feel most definitely that they need that music to be very effective, whatever they’re trying to communicate – it just so happens that in a horror film we’re communicating fear very often, and the different angles and ways to get to that fear. Nonetheless, it’s inherent to the drama that that seems to be an important thing to bring out. I don’t think about it consciously very much, it’s just naturally a part of the language.

Q: What’s your process of creating new musical sounds and textures, and how do you go about developing that with the budgets and deadlines you are given?

Joseph Bishara: All of that factors into it, but really the seed of it is I just start hearing it, and that can come as anything. It can be as simple as a single note or an instrument or a voicing or a frequency range or a melody or a texture, or anything else. But whatever I start hearing, it’s just a matter of listening, paying attention to it, and discovering what makes up that sound. Then I’ll derive the palette of how to translate that as best I can. From there it’s a matter of filtering through all the obvious practical and technical considerations, the budget, the schedule, what do we actually have to work with, what can we do with it, and then the process takes over at that point.

Q: Do you work mainly at the computer?

Joseph Bishara: A lot of these characteristic sounds aren’t found in the computer for me, so I do a lot of writing away from the computer. I have a workstation where there is no computer, it’s a drafting table where I can place the layout and big score pages and just develop it. I like to write away from picture and away from the computer and just think about the process. That’s where I can do the best listening within, in order to pull the kernels of things out, and then ultimately it’ll all get recorded and live in the computer and get processed and assembled and built from there.

Q: When you’re scoring a sequel film such as INSIDIOUS 2 or 3, THE CONJURING 2, or a spin-off such as ANNABELLE, do you retain specific motifs and sound designs from the first film to use in those sequels or spin-offs to retain musical continuity? And do you ever use musical effects from your motivic tool box that were developed for one film or franchise into another?

Joseph Bishara: My motivic toolbox is not something that’s just universally built into, I don’t think, at least not consciously. It is a matter more of looking at “What is this, what is this translating into?” and then seeing… I think of it more as building a new toolbox for each film, based on its needs and all the aspects of it. As far as carrying over into sequels, it’s sort of like developing a different dialect of the same language.

Q: You recently scored THE PRODIGY, which will be released in a couple of weeks. I believe this is the first time you’ve worked with writer-director Nicholas McCarthy. What brought you into this film and how did you work with McCarthy to establish its musical needs?

Joseph Bishara: I met Nick back when he was directing AT THE DEVILS DOOR [2014]. His editor was a very good friend of mine, and they brought me in to show me a cut of the film and to get feedback on the film itself. Nick had been already carrying on with that and we just kept in touch and he approached me for THE PRODIGY. As far as developing the score, that one also happened very organically. There’s a particular piece of music in the film that needed to be written before shooting happened, so that was my first entry into it. I had read the script and we talked a bit about the characters and how this piece of music would fit into it. So that was written before they were even shooting.

Q: How would you describe your thematic or motivic architecture for this score, supporting both the mother/son interaction and the supernatural force that has a hold on him while mom tries to solve the mystery?

Joseph Bishara: There’s a spiritual aspect to this film that really drove the push of it, for me. There’s a facet of it relating to multi-life patterns that I saw in that, which spoke to me as being conceptually the core of this film, and that spoke in different ways through all the characters.

Q: What do you think are some of the milestones of your career so far, in terms of scores that challenged you or were especially rewarding?

Joseph Bishara: Off the bat, the first INSIDIOUS comes first to mind. So many elements came together with the whole making of that film and relationships that have come to it and from it, so that was a pretty special experience all around. The creative flow was all very natural and free and expressive.

Q: You were also a cast member – you played the demon in that film. How did that interact then with your developing the score after experiencing it from the inside?

Joseph Bishara: I had already started writing before we began shooting that, so I had a chance to think about and process it, and then let that render in the background while we were shooting. That was my first experience to be in creature makeup with a musical notepad to sketch ideas while sitting around the makeup room waiting for shots. It was an interesting process to be able to look at that and then hear the direction, not just from a director talking to you about score, but to literally hear the direction within a scene about what’s happening and what he’s paying attention to and what’s important within that scene. There’s a different level of information available there for sure.

Q: What can you tell me about scoring THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, a film in the popular weeping woman legend of Latin American folklore? It’s been a subgenre that I’ve been following for some time and I find that concept really interesting. This new take looks like it will be very powerful.

Joseph Bishara: I really like the film. Lots of people know of this character. While working on it, so many people I spoke to about this character of La Llorona have either heard about it, knew about it, or were tormented with it growing up, so it’s interesting to have that reflected back to me while I was working on it; how much the legend of this character has already held for so many people that I’ve spoken to. It’s not something that someone just wrote last year, this is something that has deeply terrified people for a long time.

Q: You’re also working on BODY CAM, for Malik Vitthal. Is there anything you can say about where you’re going with this particular score?

Joseph Bishara: I’m right in the middle of it, and so far it’s very smooth. It’s just developing and speaking a musical language, really, but it’s a cool movie with a nice feel. There are a lot of wet streets at night and I’m having a good time working with those textures.

The soundtrack album for THE PRODIGY has been released on CD by Sony Masterworks.
For more information about the composer and to sample some of his music, see his website at


Richard Band has been a consistent figure in science fiction and horror cinema film music for more than forty years, from his early work in LASERBLAST (a synth score co-composed with Joel Goldsmith, Jerry’s son) and THE DAY TIME ENDED (a fully orchestral score). Band’s film musical career began to take off with scores like PARASITE, HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN, RE-ANIMATOR, and FROM BEYOND, becoming a genre favorite despite his ongoing association with low-budget, but highly creative, productions, often working with his brother, Charles Band, at Full Moon Features and related ventures. After interviewing Band for another project, we chatted about some of his latest and forthcoming scores. Our conversation is presented below. - rdl

Q: You’ve been a mainstay in science fiction and horror movie music for more than forty years – and you’re still out there. What can you tell me about one of your latest films, EXORCISM AT 60,000 FEET? That sounds interesting!

Richard Band: Yes – it’s another wacky and very funny film! I did that last year, and it’s exactly what its title suggests – or you could say SNAKES ON A PLANE only with exorcisms instead of snakes! It’s a crazy comedy with some crazy characters and I think if it finds its audience it can do really well, because it’s really out there. It’s a lot of fun. It all comes down to whether it gets halfway decent and intelligent distribution. I just saw a private cast and crew screening about three weeks ago, and it plays well.

The other film I’m really looking forward to is coming out in June, theatrically, is NIGHTMARE CINEMA, and that’s going to be really good. It’s an anthology like THE TWILIGHT ZONE movie, produced by Mick Garris. There are five movies in one, basically. I scored Mick’s episode, called “Dead,” and I also got to work with Joe Dante and scored his episode, “Mirari,” which is really cool. I also did the titles and all the interstitial stuff, so I was the lead composer. I did three out of the five episodes in the movie, and that turned out really well. I’m hoping, again, that it finds the right audience. And of course the fact that it’s Mick Garris – he was the creator of the MASTERS OF HORROR series as well as a lot of other big films – should bode well for the film’s getting some attention.

Q: Was that a digital score, or a hybrid?

Richard Band: Oh, it’s a hybrid – mostly electronic but I brought in some live instruments. It sounds good. There are three other composers involved [Kyle Newmaster, Aldo Shllaku, and J.G. Thirlwell], and they did the other episodes. Everybody did a great job. I’m hoping that film goes well. Mick’s got a lot of good and big people involved in this movie.

Q: You were also involved in the recent PUPPETMASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH, which Fabio Frizzi scored – how did that come about?

Richard Band: The producer of that film, Dallas Sonnier, he called me one day and he says “Everybody knows PUPPET MASTER, the movie, and everybody knows PUPPET MASTER, the music, and they’re inseparable. We’ve got to have you do a new title sequence for our movie.” So he hired me to do music for the main title sequence – Fabio had done a PUPPET MASTER-ish take off on my original theme, which I think he did a really good job on, by the way – and that was that. They actually ended up using my music for the end title because they wound up doing something different for the main titles. That movie definitely takes a different slant from the PUPPET MASTER movies that I had done. It’s interesting; for the first five hundred PUPPET MASTER movies [laughs], even though the puppets did terrible things, I always considered them the good guys; but in this one they’re definitely not the good guys, so that’s the real difference in this movie from the others.

Q: What was your take on the theme for this movie versus your treatment in the earlier films?

Richard Band: While I still used the main elements of the famous PUPPET MASTER theme, I put a different slant on it here. I did a couple of different versions of the theme, actually. In one of my versions I put in a choir doing a German chant, because the story leans much more heavily on the German aspect of the puppets, from a negative standpoint – not that the Nazis are to be shown from a good standpoint! – but the standpoint is that the puppets in this one are definitely bad. So I’m still utilizing the theme but in just a very different way, a more militaristic way. 

Q: What kind of musical palette did you have for this version of your theme?

Richard Band: They didn’t have the budget for a real orchestra, but basically the main difference really was my utilizing the choir for certain things. I’m not sure if they used the one with the choir or not, but personally I like that one best. They’re actually singing words in German. The whole feel of it is much more militaristic, let’s put it that way. If the choir version wasn’t used [it was not - rdl], maybe I’ll put it out as a separate piece for the audience.

Q: Now I hear you’ll also be scoring something very special coming up, which is your brother’s completion of David Allen’s THE PRIMEVALS, left unfinished after Allen’s premature death in 1999.

Richard Band: Yes. The unfinished David Allen stop-motion animation film THE PRIMEVALS will finally be finished this year! That was one of his life-long projects that literally has been 40 years in the making, and it’s finally being completed. [An indiegogo campaign was launched in December but failed to fully fund the project’s flexible goal, but the project is being continued by Charles Band and Full Moon Prods.] The fellow who inherited all his stuff and worked with him [Chris Endicott] has taken over things, and that’s going to be a really great project. Hopefully I’ll be starting to score that in July of this year.


Sharon Farber, originally from Israel, has received critical acclaim as a composer in the film and television world as well as that of the concert world. A member of the Motion Picture Academy with four Emmy nominations from her television scores, Sharon brings the influence of her Middle Eastern heritage as well as her extensive knowledge of classical and Western music to her composing talents. Among her recent films is the 2016 thriller CHILDREN OF THE FALL, which juggles the fine line between drama and horror, with a strong social and political commentary. A nod to 1970’s horror movies, CHILDREN OF THE FALL spills new blood into the Israeli Horror genre. In the following interview we discuss her music for CHILDREN OF THE FALL and several other recent and notable works in a variety of genres and venues.

Q: CHILDREN OF THE FALL (2016) is not only a horror thriller but has an interesting historical component to it. What can you tell me about the film and how you got involved in it?

Sharon Farber: The lead actor, Aki Avni, is a very good friend of mine, and he introduced me to the director, Eitan Gafny, who asked me to score the film. This is an Israeli film, although it has American actor Michael Ironside, and it speaks both English and Hebrew. The director’s wife, Yafit Shalev, is the producer, and she’s also starring in the film. It was really a great collaboration with everyone. The film takes place in 1973 and is about a holocaust survivor who lives in a Kibbutz in Israel. He has a grudge against people who disrespect the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, and begins to slaughter those people he feels are not respecting it. One English girl, the daughter of an Israeli man, played by Noa Maiman, comes to volunteer in that Kibbutz. She meets the director who’s in charge of the volunteers (Aki Avni) and they begin to have a relationship. But when he feels she isn’t fulfilling his expectations, he becomes torn between his anger and love towards her. The dynamic between the two of them focuses on if he will or won’t include her in his murder spree.

Q: It sounds like that’s a really interesting context in which to set a horror film. How did you approach composing a score for this film?

Sharon Farber: Rather than composing leitmotifs for each character, I went for a main melody which was orchestrated in different ways. I felt that the connection between the two characters is so important in the way they share their heritage and their love for Israel. The main melody, which is solemn and melancholy, expresses that. Later their relationship falls apart and the romance becomes dark and poignant. At the end, after several attempts to kill her, she eventually wins the battle against him which I scored with a victorious theme with distorted guitar on top of the orchestra. The main melody then comes back in a very dark but poignant way.

The director wanted a big orchestral sound, which was created at my studio – we can get remarkably good orchestral sounds these days with digital samples. In terms of the music, it was scored like a thriller/horror film. It wasn’t “Israeli” music, because for those locations they used source music; I got the freedom to bring Hollywood to this film and create a big, scary sound as well as dark and beautiful music.

Q: How did you treat the darker elements, such as creating anxiety and supporting the violence of the murders?

Sharon Farber: That was a combination of creating some really cold, disturbing sounds through orchestral writing and generating some modern synth sounds. There’s a point where a young boy is in love with the main female character, and then the killer comes after him; we have these flutes in the top end piping very, very fast, becoming almost a screeching sound, which are counterpointed against the cellos and the basses on the bottom, going from a very suspenseful dark melodic line into a very fast-paced staccato, with a lot of weird sounds in between. There was a temp track on the film but with the director’s blessing, I stayed completely away from that. Eitan was very open to everything that I suggested, and the temp track was pretty much ignored, because it was a kind of an ‘80s sound, and we wanted something that was timelier. Apart from the source music, I did create an atmosphere for the Kibbutz with some harmonica and guitar, but most of the music was orchestral, combined with various textures.

Q: What was most challenging for you about scoring this film?

Sharon Farber: I think it was just creating this frantic anxiety all the time, and on the other hand bringing in a melody that would capture the essence of the relationships between the two main leads. That essence is very dark but it’s also very poignant, because you feel some sympathy for the killer due to his background, his horrific time during the Holocaust and what he’s been through in general. I mostly treated this as a real horror film, because there are so many horrific moments, but I felt there was the need for some poignancy for both characters, especially the woman, because it’s really about her trying to come to grips with everything that’s going on with this country that she loves so much. Eitan said to me that “It takes place in Israel, but this is also a universal story.” Thus, I was looking to create more of a universal sound to it. I look forward to working with Eitan again; this was truly a pleasure.

Q: Another film you scored that has a story rooted in Middle Eastern history is THE DOVE FLYER (2013). Would you tell me a bit about this film and its score?

Sharon Farber: THE DOVE FLYER takes place in Iraq, although the film was shot in Israel. It’s based on the true story of author Eli Amir, and it portrays the expulsion of the Iraqi Jews from Iraq in the 1950s. They were falsely blamed to have betrayed the government and they would be hung in the center square; it was a horrible time and it led eventually, to their expulsion. The most ancient Jewish community in the world ceased to exist as a result.

As happened on CHILDREN OF THE FALL, I didn’t meet the director of THE DOVE FLYER, Nisim Dayan, until the film was totally completed and I went to Israel for the premiere after I’d scored it. I worked with music supervisor Alex Claude, and he talked to me about what they needed in terms of score. Alex introduced me to an instrument that is now pretty well known, the kamanche, which is a Middle Eastern “violin” that, played right, brings about an amazing, soulful, and very unique sound. It was a real pleasure scoring this movie, because it enabled me to record different instruments that I love and collaborate with some extraordinary musicians.  This score was a combination of digital orchestra and live instruments and it truly captures the Middle Eastern sound of the region.

I was looking for a kamanche player and eventually I found a wonderful musician at UCLA who’s from Iran, Payam Yousef. As you know, Iran and Israel do not have any diplomatic relationships and there is constant tension between the two countries. However, it’s remarkable how music bridges these gaps. It wasn’t an issue at all for me and Payam, and we had the best collaboration. It was wonderful. As well as the kamanche, I used oud, duduk, and frame drums. Interestingly enough this was very easy for me, because I’m from Israel and Israel is such a fusion of cultures, that even if you don’t realize it and you don’t listen to records of certain kind of music, it’s all around you on the radio or from the neighbors. Composing a score that needed these kinds of sounds and instrumentation was very natural for me – it was simply in my system. I also had the privilege of singing on the score. I remember when I went to my engineer, Oren Hadar, to record it. He asked me, “How do you do that? How do you make all these little wavering ornaments in your voice?” I simply replied, “I don’t know, it just comes natural, because I’m accustomed to hearing it.” In fact, and to my surprise, the director loved that so much that the first scenes of the film are my solo voice only, and later it’s combined with everything else.

A few years ago the Alliance for Women Film Composers put together a wonderful concert of female composers, presenting some exceptional friends who are extremely talented and unique. I felt that this was an opportunity to showcase different sides of my music. I started with action music from CHILDREN OF THE FALL, continued into a lush melody from WHEN NIETZSCHE WEPT (2007), and ended with the final scene from THE DOVE FLYER. I called Payam and asked if he wanted to perform this piece. He wasn’t available, but he recommended a friend who performed at the concert and who also recommended a phenomenal oud player. They both gave the audience a stellar performance with the orchestra, including some unbelievable improvisation on the melody! We’ve stayed friends, and I worked with him later again. We, musicians, simply want to make good music; we don’t care that we’re from countries that don’t really agree within each other, to say the least; I look forward to working with all these great musicians again in the near future.


“I believe that as artists, we have the immense privilege to create a meaningful mark that might, even in a small way, make a difference. May we one day come to realize that we are all one and learn to live together in harmony.”


Q: AZIMUTH (2017) also has a historical background, taking place during the Six-Day war. It sounds almost like a take on HELL IN THE PACIFIC with the two characters from opposing sides stuck in a remote area and they have to deal with one other.

Sharon Farber: Almost, but different! AZIMUTH takes place at the end of the 1967 war, and it’s about an Israeli soldier and an Egyptian soldier.  Amazingly enough, the Israeli soldier was played by an Israeli actor, Yiftach Klein, and the Egyptian soldier is played by an Egyptian actor, Sammy Sheik, who lives here in Los Angeles. The writer and director, Mike Burstyn, is a very well-known actor, singer, and Broadway star and a dear friend. His parents established the Yiddish Theater in the ‘20s, so he’s been on stage since he was three years old. This was his first film as director, and a script he wanted to bring to life for years. The movie portrays the struggle of two soldiers who are stuck in a deserted UN structure in the middle of the Sinai desert. The Israeli knows that the war is over, but the Egyptian soldier doesn’t want to believe it. There is one jeep, and they both try to get to it in order to escape. To do so, they try to kill each other throughout the whole film but eventually they realize they have no choice – if they want to get out alive they have to cooperate. This was the director’s intention of bringing hope at the end of this film to say, we need to work together for a better future for our children. Remarkably, the fathers of both actors fought in the Six-Day war! The film was done very fast, and I only had about ten days to score it. It was quite a challenge!

Q: How did you approach the difference between those two characters, musically?

Sharon Farber: For Sammy I had a melody that was played on oud, harp, and also kamanche – I fell in love with that instrument so I had to use it again! Yiftach, the Israeli soldier, had a more Western, somewhat Israeli-styled melody, because he goes back in memories to where he was a kid in Israel. He had a lovely flute theme, while Sammy’s melody was intertwined with Middle Eastern sounds and instrumentation. The kamanche took the main melody. My husband, who’s a percussionist, played some dumbek and frame drums on the score. For the beginning, where Sammy’s character is trying to figure out what’s happened and looking for his fellow soldiers in the hot sun in the desert, I used a lot of strings playing a very harsh sound; and then I added a bit of piano – three sparse, lonely notes – to reflect his circumstances and isolation on the battlefield. At the end, after they fight and they’re both totally exhausted and wounded, there’s a point where Sammy can shoot Yiftach, but he doesn’t. Yiftach pays him back by getting into the jeep – he can just drive off and escape the desert, but he waits for Sammy. You see a tear on Sammy’s face because he’s been sure he’s going to be shot dead, but then he realizes that Yiftach is waiting for him to get into the jeep and they’re both going to survive – there’s this really dark mix of bass and cello when he’s trying to get up from where he is, wounded. What Mike wanted before this scene was a rumble feeling, full of tension, fear, exhaustion, and desperation; he wanted it to feel like the earth is boiling, so there was a lot of rumble underneath and at one point we pulled the other instruments out and left only the rumble and it just worked beautifully. It was such a pleasure to write music for this film that spoke of cooperation and working together.

Q: Your music both played the action of the film as well as that underlying spirit of shared humanity.

Sharon Farber: Yes. I think we should live and let live, whatever you believe. As you know I also write concert music, and I have a piece called “Ashkina” which means “love” in Turkish. It was commissioned years ago and it’s been performed frequently. It’s written for choir, small orchestra, and three ethnic instruments. The main player on those performances is Omar Faruk Tekbilek – he’s an outstanding musician, and plays every Middle Eastern instrument that you can think of, masterfully. Omar is from Turkey, he’s Muslim, his manager is Israeli and we’ve all became such great friends, he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met, so spiritual and focused on love and peace. A true example of a beautiful and soulful musician and human being. Music unites us in the most inspiring way.

Listen to an excerpt of Sharon Farber’s “Ashkina” concert piece on youtube here

Q: You’re now preparing to score a pair of supernatural fantasy films involving a character called Jemiyah Jones, with JEMIYAH JONES & THE KINGDOM OF NIR and JEMIYAH JONES & THE VAMPYRE GHOST SHIP for Aegis Films

Sharon Farber: Yes, I’m looking forward to the JEMIYAH JONES film series because these movies tell the remarkable, heroic, and magical adventures of a young girl – it’s kind of a combination of THE MUMMY with INDIANA JONES with WONDER WOMAN! They’re based on a book by Arianna Eisenberg, who is also producing the films, and she’s brilliant. I couldn’t stop reading the script from the first moment she sent it to me and we’ve become dear friends. She’s an incredible writer!

Q: You’ve also begun scoring another fantasy, A GOLDEN HEART. I understand this began as a short film, and will later be updated into a feature.

Sharon Farber: Exactly. A GOLDEN HEART is based on a book that I loved as a child, actually – it’s about a boy who’s searching for a special golden flower that will cure his mother of sickness. That’s the concept of the short film, and the writer-director, Alon Juwal, has done a great job. They’ve just completed the short, and they are starting with the festival circuit, while working on developing the long version of the movie. I’m signed both for the short and the feature. I don’t get a lot of chances to do shorts, but I loved what the director did there, and I’m excited about scoring the feature, not only because I know it’ll be a beautiful film, but also because he’s planning on having an orchestra perform it.

Q: This is kind of a fairytale-ish fantasy, isn’t it?

Sharon Farber: Yes, it’s this boy searching for a cure for his ill mother. In the film he finds a special entity called a Silla, which is from Inuit mythology, meaning a “spirit of the earth the wind and sky.” The Silla is in the form of another boy who is pretty much the same age as the first boy and is helping the kid on his journey. They have some challenges, some sweet moments, and some hard moments along the way.

Q: How did you score the short and what did you use musically to enhance the fantasy elements of the story?

Sharon Farber: Luckily I worked with a director that pretty much knew what he wanted to hear, and that was a big help because that doesn’t always happen. Although he gave me freedom to create something special, he was, at the same time, very clear regarding the vision of what he wanted.  He used some temp tracks that were in the style to guide me. I had the main theme done and I developed the rest out of that main melody. I used variations and also some musical ornaments when we had a lighter tone, but it was also very magical. The beginning is spiritual and space-oriented, and the film itself has magical and soulful overtone.

 Q: Is this also a digital orchestra in the score?
Sharon Farber: Yes, it’s all MIDI.

Q: It’s really got a nice texture and sounds very ethereal and real.

Sharon Farber: When I score something with digital instruments I think a lot about how the real instrument works and how it’s played. If it’s a string instrument I would think about the bowing, I would think about the phrasing. If it’s a gentle melodic line, for example, the violins won’t just go in forcefully, it’s something that is developed; you start with an up-bow and then you go to a down-bow, and you have to think about that when you’re writing for virtual instruments. It’s the same with woodwinds – you have to think of the players: if it was a real orchestra, they need to breathe. Sometimes with young composers who use MIDI I hear a four-minute clarinet line without any space for breathing! This is the power of orchestration, because you have to think of the actual playing – It makes a real difference when you hear the final result in the MIDI track. If it’s well thought-out and it’s well mixed it can be very convincing, as you know! That’s one of the things that I’m very meticulous about, to make sure that I think about the actual instrument and how would the players play if they were here. Orchestration wise, I learned so much from my mentor, Shirley Walker – she was so detailed and smart in her orchestration!

Q: What are your thoughts as how you might expand your score into the larger canvas for the feature film?

Sharon Farber: I think I’ll definitely use elements from my score for the short, because I’m very proud of what I did there and the director loves it. But I won’t know exactly until I see the feature film. When you see it, sometimes you take a different approach, because now you have the bigger scope and a longer time to develop and work with the themes. Assuming that the director continues with the spiritual and very inspiring journey, I will probably come up with a few more elements to describe and convey that.

Q: How did you treat the supernatural elements of the Silla?

Sharon Farber: I used some ethereal sounds, as well as women’s choir, singing a ghostly sound, and then it goes to this beautiful resonance [plays cue for me].

Q: It’s very enchanting music. You have this supernatural being, but it’s not a scary thing at all, it’s definitely almost angelic.

Sharon Farber: Yes, it’s a being that is here to help. It’s not here to threaten.

Q: You’ve also recently done a score for a film called PLANTED, for Amity Zamora…

Sharon Farber: PLANTED is an Israeli feature about a family that is being shattered by the son, who has become quadriplegic. He’s probably in his ‘20s, and he can’t speak or move any part of his body. He has a Filipino caretaker, who loves and takes care of him, but the mom has had it and she wants to put him in an institution. The film is the story of the relationship between the mother, father, siblings and the son, and how they arrive at the beginning of recovery for the family.

Amity didn’t want anything that was really sad, he was looking for a score that described the anger and frustration of the mom – her life has become a wreck. She had her time to grieve and now all is left is this huge burden. My predicament was finding out how to capture that musically. What I wound up doing was to use a lot of distorted guitars, along with some other kinds of guitars and piano in places. It’s not too orchestral; there are some scenes that do have a small ensemble. For example, there’s a touching sequence where the mom takes her son in his wheelchair to the house of the woman her husband has been cheating with; she rings the bell and walks away, leaving the son in his wheelchair at the door. But the caretaker sees the whole thing and she takes him back to the house. That sequence is just a few minutes but it’s more orchestral than anywhere else in the film; I used an almost staccato motif for the piano to represent the emotional chaos inside of her. I have completed the score and the film is in the final stages of post-production now.

Q: And what about your cello concerto? Can you tell me something about that?

Sharon Farber: Bestemming (“Destination” in Dutch) is a concerto for cello, orchestra, and narrator that was commissioned by cellist Ruslan Birykov and the Glendale Philharmonic. In 2013, I met a man who forever changed my life. Curt Lowens, a Holocaust survivor and a hero of the Dutch resistance, showed me and many others what the courage of an individual really means. This remarkable man inspired me in ways that will forever affect my life and I feel blessed to have known him. Curt fled Berlin with his parents on the eve of Kristallnacht. He ended up in Holland, where at the young age of 14, he joined the Dutch Resistance and saved 150 Jewish children. Then, in a courageous act of heroism, he rescued two downed American airmen – later receiving a commendation from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

I knew that I had to set Curt’s story to music, so that his voice, along with the many other fading voices of Holocaust survivors would never be forgotten. The narration was written Richard Stellar, Beth Wernick and myself. The concerto portrays Curt’s story in a musically cinematic way, with a constant dialogue between the narrator, cellist, and the orchestra. Bestemming was premiered in 2014, with Curt Lowens giving the final performance of his life (he had been an actor) as the narrator at Temple of the Arts at the SABAN theater in Beverly Hills. Curt passed away in 2017. To see the concerto please visit:

I believe that as artists, we have the immense privilege to create a meaningful mark that might, even in a small way, make a difference. May we one day come to realize that we are all one and learn to live together in harmony. 

For more information and samples of Sharon’s music, see her website here.


Snapshots: Recently Released Soundtracks

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL/Tom Holkenborg/Milan Records – cd & vinyl
Based on the Japanese manga series “Gunnm” by Yukito Kishiro, the Robert Rodriguez-directed, James Cameron-produced/co-written ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL stirs up futuristic cyberpunk action in the hopes of kick-starting a new film franchise. Set in the 26th century, ALITA tells of a female cyborg that is discovered in a scrapyard by a scientist. With no memory of her previous life except her deadly martial-arts training, the woman becomes a bounty hunter, tracking down criminals. With a powerful orchestral score by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL), the film’s musical universe provides a sense of delicacy that favorably identifies the petite Alita while simultaneously suggesting her drive and fighting prowess. Except where needed for moments of challenging action, Holkenborg frequently allows the score to soften and give the character a curious depth, particularly in “What’s Your Dream,” a harmonic progression of choir-enhanced strings that embodies both Alita’s spirit as she tries to regain her memories as well as the intriguing mystique of the storyline; while “Double Identity” and “The Warrior Within” recognize her fighting abilities and intensity in battle. The contrast in range, tempo, and texture between the lovely main theme in all its variations, the deep, primitive chorus associated with the primary villain, Grewiska, and the hybrid mix of progressive action rhythms make this score a highly evocative and articulate one on CD, culminating in the sheer magnificence of its climactic resolution in “Raising the Sword.”  The album concludes with “Motorball,” which appears to be a collection of pieces heard in the motorball game scenes in the film.

ALL IS TRUE/Patrick Doyle/Sony Music - cd
Scottish composer Patrick Doyle rejoins director Kenneth Branagh for an interesting variation on his frequent Shakespearean excursions, here playing the bard himself in a sensitive examination of the final days in the life of the renowned playwright. “I have the great fortune of a long-standing working relationship with Kenneth Branagh, which has been a huge pleasure and very fruitful,” Doyle said. “Kenneth kindly asked me to score the picture, ALL IS TRUE, and I readily agreed. I loved the script and, of course, with the knowledge that Ken and Judy [Dench] would be playing William and Anne, I knew it would be electric and historic. The schedule was very tight and I was sent the rushes every day, composing hot on the heels of the cut. This included two songs written to Shakespeare's words… these songs formed the foundation for the thematic development of the score. It is always a privilege to have the opportunity to set music to William Shakespeare’s words. He has been a constant inspiration to composers through the ages and I am no exception.” The string-based score is delicate, reflective, and somewhat despondent in tonality, appropriately so for the film’s storyline and treatment, with a primary theme of elegant wistfulness, often paired against solemn arpeggios of piano. The score proceeds in a languid, peaceful tempo that reflects the deliberate pacing of Branagh’s direction. Doyle finds a graceful beauty in the tale’s unhappiness and creates respectful nobility in Shakespeare’s character in these final days.

AMUNDSEN/Johan Söderqvist/MovieScore Media - digital
MSM has released the soundtrack to Norway’s historical epic AMUNDSEN, which tells the story of the Norwegian polar explorer. “The director Espen Sandberg had a vision for the music – to create a whole new aural world for the South Pole, a place that was as unknown to the people at that time as Mars or Jupiter,” said Söderqvist. “We wanted it to feel like we’re arriving to a whole new world, a new universe. We recorded many different crazy things but in the end we really liked the sound of Indian native flutes being blown (or more like screamed into) through a wonderful new Russian electronic voice/breath processor called “The Pipe.” Together with heavily distorted ambiences & drums, this became the signature sound of the film.” The score is thoroughly compelling, evoking the hostility of the environment in a fresh and invigorating manner, with ringing sonorities and long, sustained tonalities. Söderqvist conveys a depth of tension throughout the score, bringing to life the dangerous expeditions Amundsen undertook, celebrating his triumphs in a glorious melodic upsurge in “He’s Alive,” mourning his death (while participating in a rescue mission for the airship Italia in 1928, an incident dramatized in 1969’s THE RED TENT) in “He’s Dead,” and honoring his legacy in “Epilogue – Dream of the North Pole.”
More details at moviescore media
Listen to a suite from the score here on Youtube.

AQUAMAN/ Rupert Gregson-Williams/WaterTower Music - digital
Rupert Gregson-Williams follows up his thrilling WONDER WOMAN score from 2017 with this powerful and evocative score for James Wan’s interpretation of another longstanding DC superhero character. AQUAMAN is a score that soars and dives and swims gracefully and powerfully amidst waves of orchestral and electronic orchestration. “Writing the themes for the different characters was awesome,” Gregson-Williams said. “Arthur Curry has such a strong character—he’s a real rock star—so I felt he deserved a big melody. He gets to rock out for certain intense moments too. Orm is Atlantean, and the score I wrote for Atlantis is in big contrast to the score for the surface world, epic and glorious. Black Manta inspired a more industrial, electronic feel. And, of course, there’s romance—two in fact!” AQUAMAN is a thematically rich score, with, in addition to the Arthur/Aquaman variances, includes an appropriately regal orchestral-and-choir theme for Atlantis itself, a percussive and raging, synth-heavy chordal progression for the villain Black Manta while other bad-guy Orm has a theme a little more in the Atlantean flavor, given the character’s heritage, but both themes interplay as the characters pair up against Aquaman. There is also a gentle theme for Arthur’s family which owes something of its concept to Arthur’s own theme. It’s a powerful score, albeit not especially ground breaking, but it serves its purpose well and I found it to be a pleasing presentation both within and apart from the film.
In contrast to Rupert-Williams’ music, there’s also a powerful discordant cue written at director Wan’s request by noted horror film composer Joseph Bishara (who’s scored Wan’s INSIDIOUS and THE CONJURING franchises), for the film’s “Kingdom of The Trench” sequence – essentially the movie’s moment of horror. Bishara created the score out of a sizeable orchestral ensemble, favoring a flowing “watery” sound that gives the dissonant measures an intriguing fluidity which of course fits very well within the film’s structural environment. The soundtrack album also includes a pair of specially-written songs forced upon the movie, which are average and mostly unnecessary, except in commercial terms for the studio. Skylar Grey’s “Everything I Need” is pretty enough, presented in both film and album versions, but rapper Pitbull’s “Ocean to Ocean,” featuring Rhea and owing an awful lot to Toto’s “Africa” which it samples repetitively, is best dispensed with, in my opinion.

ARCTIC/Joseph Trapanese/Sony - cd
Like many films about the rugged Arctic or its down-under cousin the Antarctic, Joseph Trapanese begins by evoking a bleak environment of cold isolation, which appropriately sets the scene for Joe Penna’s drama of a man stranded in the wake of an airplane crash who must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive. “Director Joe Penna was a wonderful creative partner in helping me invent a unique soundtrack for ARCTIC,” said Trapanese.  “We used choirs of bass flutes, Wagner tubas, and low strings to evoke the power of the landscape, and explored electronic techniques like convolution, re-amplification, and tape varispeed to bring organic, familiar sounds into the frozen environment of the film.”  The resultant score is effectively atmospheric, lending a subtle but omnipresent and dour mood to the story as it progresses, punctuated by moments of percussive drama and violence. On its own, Trapanese’s score provides a sonic journey which is quite engaging, fashioning an evocative extended tone poem for the dangerous Arctic environment, making for a quite stimulating listen.

THE BABY/Gerald Fried/Caldera - cd
Caldera Records presents the first of hopefully a number of previously unreleased scores by Gerald Fried – who is best known as one of the cadre of brilliant STAR TREK TOS composers but who was a prolific Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning (for ROOTS, which he scored the bulk of) composer of B-movies throughout the 1950s and ‘60s (including scoring Stanley Kubrick’s first four feature films). THE BABY, from 1973, directed by journeyman filmmaker Ted Post, is a dramatic thriller/semi psychological horror movie about a social worker who investigates the eccentric, psychedelic Wadsworth Family, consisting of a mother, two daughters, and a menacing adult son with the apparent mental capacity of an infant. Central to the score is a single, strikingly provocative melodic main theme played on cello and on woodwinds and contrasted against a number of sonic colors in its journey through the film; set against this pleasing melody is a chiming music box motif played by a celeste and the use of percussive rattles which are both associated with the titular adult infant. Gradually, the score takes on an unsettling creepiness as the story descends into stranger and more dangerous sonic ground, while remaining a captivating listen throughout. The interaction between the cello and violin – played by renowned musicians Edgar Lustgarten and Anatole Kominsky, respectively – is especially striking here in suggesting the psychological struggles of the main characters. The 46-year old music tracks are nicely remastered, preserving a fine sound despite the inherent smallness of the performing ensemble. This 29th CD-release of Caldera Records features a page of notes by producer Stephan Eicke and the late David Fuller, who championed Fried’s unrecognized work for many years, mastering and preserving many of Fried’s  scores for private release on the composer’s behalf. As usual, Caldera’s disc concludes with an audio commentary, moderated by Eicke, with Fried about his score (example: “To me the violin and the cello struggling to get all these notes out was an auditory replica of the people on the screen struggling to get out of their ghastly neuroses”).
For more details, see caldera.

THE BRIDE WORE BLACK/Bernard Herrmann/Quartet Records - cd
Bernard Herrmann’s THE BRIDE WORE BLACK, the second of his two collaborations with François Truffaut (FAHRENHEIT 451 was the first), has never had a proper soundtrack release, and locating the 1968 score’s complete original elements has proven unsuccessful for many labels. In order to properly present the full score on CD, Quartet arranged to have the entire orchestral score newly recorded, including nearly 20 minutes of music not used in the film’s final edit. The recording, performed by the Basque National Orchestra and conducted by film composer Fernardo Velazquez, is nothing short of magnificent, and the opportunity to hear this Hitchcockian film score in its full glory, authentically reconstructed by Rubén Villar, in state-of-the-art sound is truly a treasure. A 24-page booklet includes extensive liner notes by Frank K. DeWald, who discusses film and score as well as providing a track-by-track analysis. One of the year’s best soundtrack releases, the score is classic Herrmann, 50 minutes of pristine Benny, and an essential must-have for any thorough soundtrack collection.

HARRY POTTER: The John Williams Collection/La-La Land – cd
Another of the many outstanding soundtrack treasures issued by specialty labels over the Christmas holidays, La-La Land’s John Williams Collection is a 7-CD box set containing 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). The expansive presentation of these three scores adds a welcome new dimension to the music, as a myriad of fresh nuances and arrangements and previously unreleased treatments of themes and battle music and variations upon variations enliven and make fresh these enchanting scores. This deluxe presentation is composer-approved and contains a bounty of previously unreleased music, featuring a total running time of just under eight hours. In addition to the three film scores, the set includes the complete “Children’s Suite for Orchestra,” which Williams composed based on his SORCERER’S STONE score to serve as a concert suite, and mostly recorded during that film’s recording sessions. Comprised of “miniature” movements based on various thematic ideas, some but not all of the tracks were included in the first soundtrack CD (in addition to or in lieu of film versions of some of those cues). The full concert suite is a highlight of the first album on this set, presenting an alternate presentation of the score’s primary ideas.
Produced, assembled, and mastered by Mike Matessino, the package also contains a wealth of documentation, also written by Matessino. Each film score has its own thick booklet (36/24/24 pages respectively) outlining the development of that score and its thematic construction in detail, and the box set itself has a 44-page booklet covering the history of the franchise, notes from John Williams, and technical notes on each of the CDs. Listening to this recording is an opportunity to thoroughly invest oneself in the magical, musical world of Williams wizardry and spend a season exploring the wonder these Hogwart’s harmonies have to offer.
For more details and sample tracks, see lalaland.

INFORMER/Ilan Eshkeri/Silva Screen - digital
Raza, a young second generation British-Pakistani man from East London, is coerced by Gabe, a Counter-Terrorism Officer, into informing for him. As the central counter-terrorism investigation heats up, the stakes for each of the characters, their families and relationships, get higher and higher. Ilan Eshkeri’s score to this BBC’s character-driven thriller is made up of repeating lines of melodies performed by individual instruments. This reflects the dynamic of the characters in the show, as they weave in and out of each other’s lives with their own agendas. The album comprises five stand-alone pieces of music, each track presented as a complete piece, variations fluently expressed so that the listener can unravel the elements of the main piece. Eshkeri’s score, which favors piano over winds and strings, is a fascinating presentation, mixing elegance with tension, allowing each separate piece to fully develop but also contrast with the other pieces to result in an intriguing theme and variation for the character’s journey through the story. The music features sonorous melisma by Daisy Chute, former member of the classical cross over vocal quartet All Angels. It is performed by Sinfonia Nord and conducted by Atli Örvarsson.
For more details, see silvascreenusa.

LAS LEYES DE LA TERMODINAMICA/Fernando Velazquez/Quartet - cd
I really appreciate Quartet Records for, among other fine soundtracks, keeping us up with the splendid work of composer Fernando Velázquez, whose film scores continue to impress and amaze. 2018’s LAS LEYES DE LA TERMODINAMICA (The Laws of Thermodynamics) is a Spanish comedy film from director Mateo Gil about a neurotic scientist who tries to balance his love story with a famous top model with his obsession that the Laws of Thermodynamics rule their relation. “The style of the film—part documentary and part fiction—was a very special challenge for Fernando Velázquez,” wrote Quartet Records in their very apt description of the score. “He gave his score a kind of romantic and impressionistic color, almost Deleruesque, with delicate orchestration and a beautiful, flowing leitmotif that unfolds slowly throughout the entire score. The music is performed by The Basque Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the composer.” This is a very fine melodic work built around a pleasing and passionate theme, which grows and develops until reaching its fullest treatment in the powerfully climaxing “Forzando la Realidad” (“Forcing Reality”). It’s breezy but also intense, impassioned, and cultured (note the elegant “Teoria de la Relatividad”/“Theory of Relativity”). A nicely dramatic interpretation can be heard in “Irreversibilidad” (“Irreversibilidad”), which starts with a splendid lounge-styled variation for piano, flute, and percussion before seguing into an onrushing sense of imminent chaos and vacancy, which is mirrored in the disconsolate impressions of “La Entropia Es Imparable” (“Entropy Is Unstoppable”) and “Muerte Termica del Universo” (“Thermal Death of the Universe”). The score’s mixture of engaging melody, fluid orchestrations, and pleasing sonic encounters makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen on CD, while subtle development and drive nicely engages with the film’s story arc, providing an appealing wash of strings and piano lyricism that flows across the dramatic narrative. The scientific Maguffin of the story (the whole entropy connection) maintains its presence in Velázquez’s serious and sophisticated approach to the score, which is far more refined that most romcon scores we hear these days. It’s both an emotive delight and a considered, thoughtful musical expression; it is a score that will deserve repeated listening just for the pleasure of the music’s dramatic sensitivity and emotional delight.
Sample some of the tracks at quartetrecords

France’s Omega Productions continues to salvage obscure French horror film scores with this latest release (their previous releases have included Daniel J. White’s score for Jean Rollin’s LE LAC DES MORTS VIVANTS (1981, ZOMBIE LAKE) and Paul Piot & Michel Roy’s IL ÉTAIT UNE FOIS LE DIABLE (1985, DEVIL STORY), among others. This new release is Volume 5 in their series, and is a return to the dark, surreal, and sensual poetry of Jean Rollin’s art house horror, with Philippe d’Aram’s music for LA MORTE VIVANTE (1982; THE LIVING DEAD GIRL and LA FIANCÉE DE DRACULA (2002; DRACULA’S FIANCÉE). The tracks come from d’Aram’s own original master tapes, newly remastered, and the album presents on CD the complete scores to both films for the first time. These movies are two of eight that d’Aram scored for the eclectic director; both have a variety of instrumentation, textures, and techniques that suit Rollin’s frequently mesmerizing and provocative directorial style, but each also provide an interesting contrast in approach from a twenty-year difference; 1982’s LA MORTE VIVANTE is by degrees more austere that 2002’s LA FIANCÉE, which features an expansive use of synthesizers to enhance the percussion and string, although both scores feature melancholic violin and piano soloing. LA MORTE VIVANTE consists almost entirely of stark, close-miked solo performances, which gain a haunting potency due to their severe lack of harmony and accompaniment. The exceptions in this score include the eerie synth track (“La proie” [The Prey]) and a trio of source cues associated with a scene in a local pub (two of which are presumably unused alternates) are quite catchy – one (“Le petit bal” [The Little Ball]) is a traditional accordion piece, the second (“Le petit bal rock;” used in the film) puts the accordion in with a small rock combo, with the third (“Le petit bal slow”) is a gorgeous piece of prog rock guitar soloing over bass and drums).
D’Aram’s musical approach both serves and contrasts against Rollin’s sensuous imagery and his characters’ sexuality, providing in DRACULA’S FIANCÉE a lush wash of synth choirs throughout; elsewhere real voices cry out in conflict (FIANCÉE’s “L’attaque”) or in haunting cadence (FIANCÉE’s “La Vampire et Triboulet”). The sonic richness of FIANCÉE, compared to the more pervasive austerity of LA MORTE VIVANTE, suit it to more frequent listening, but both scores accomplish in their own way a severe style of mood, atmosphere, alluring beauty, and sustained dread. Omega’s welcome release of these scores in their persuasive fullness on CD includes a 16-page booklet with notes in French and English by the composer. The CD is a limited edition of 500 copies.
Samples and preorder at

THE LEGO® MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART/ Mark Mothersbaugh/WaterTower Music – cd & digital
In addition to a song soundtrack, WaterTower Music has released a digital 34-track score album for THE LEGO® MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, featuring the music by Mark Mothersbaugh. The new CGI-animated movie reunites the heroes of Bricksburg in an all new action-packed adventure to save their beloved city. Mothersbaugh’s history of scoring animated films (CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, TV’s RUGRATS, and of course the first LEGO® MOVIE in 2014) sees him returning to form in this new film, which is even more as musically chaotic as the first one. The composer is required to adroitly follow the story’s fast-paced wit and zaniness, soaring epic gestures and poppy electronic house beats, frequently shifting gears from wild orchestrational calisthenics to tender poignancies to claustrophobic full-speed cadences within the same few moments. The first film had its earworm song, “Everything is Awesome” (which had reappeared instrumentally in Mothersbaugh’s score in a few places), and THE SECOND PART has its own titled earworm, craftily and blatantly titled “Catchy Song.” Mothersbaugh also uses that one orchestrally, as it exudes out of the dramatic opening track, “Your Sister,” but it doesn’t seem to appear as often elsewhere in the score. It’s a capable score, but for all the necessary mayhem of its musical machinations and the dexterity with which Mothersbaugh follows the anarchic antics of the storyline, the sonic pandemonium eventually becomes too much and many listeners may opt out for some comfortable silence after too much noisy turmoil. At least I did.
(The CD version of the soundtrack is available as an on-demand CDR when ordered from Amazon).

SCRAPER: FIRST STRIKE/Winifred Phillips/Steam - digital
Winifred’s score for this sci-fi VR shooter game from Labrodex Studios is tremendously engaging with a persuasive anthemic main theme that energizes the listening experience as much as the in-game experience. The music is in the Zimmeresque heroic theme over fast marcado strings style, but Winifred enhances it with enough unique orchestral ornamentation to make it thoroughly her own, giving it pace, thrust, propulsion – and a heroic heart. The music develops across the soundtrack’s 13 tracks with an urgent impetus, while a variety of percussive, growling synths, and other textures keep the push interesting and evocative. There are also some subdued tracks that carry a prolonged tension. I can imagine how effective this music would be during gameplay, but it’s also thoroughly appealing on its own. SCRAPER: FIRST STRIKE is the first episode of a planned five-part VR sci-tech shooter with RPG and exploration elements. It will take the player on a journey through a new IP with fully developed characters, story arcs, and a world filled with unique and exciting environments. It was just named as one of the Top 10 Most Wanted PlayStation VR games by The full soundtrack is available via the Steam website (app & membership required)
Some cues have been posted to youtube (start with “Save Humanity,” here).

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY/Jeff Russo/Lakeshore – digital
Jeff Russo gives this new Netflix super-powered/dysfunctional-family-group series an appropriately quirky and fun underscore. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, based on the Dark Horse graphic novels created and written by Gerard Way, begins with the unexpected birth of forty-three infants which are all born on the same day to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by reclusive billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves and grow up together under his tutelage as he trains and prepares his adopted children to someday save the world. Having split apart and now rejoined upon the death of their “father,” the reunited family once again begins to come apart due to their divergent personalities and super-powered abilities, not to mention the imminent threat of global apocalypse. Lakeshore’s digital soundtrack features music from the first season (happily, Netflix recently renewed the show for a second) and it’s a provocative set of tracks, from the birth of the 43 through the climactic emergence of Ellen Page’s Vanya character into the entity, the White Violin. Russo’s score has a lot of competition in the episodes from a variety of pop songs spread, rather effectively, I will admit, across the arc of the season’s ten episodes, and thankfully we have this album to appreciate fifteen of the score’s most provocative and interesting tracks. The series doesn’t use a signature theme, as such, although the track “The Umbrella Academy” is unquestionably the album’s best piece of music, and one of its longest at 5:27. It begins with a delicate violin solo (the score uses violin fluently, which refers to the Vanya character, who is a violinist and the focus of the first season’s main story arc) and then morphs into a propulsive, rhythmic rock violin piece which ducks out to allow a lyrical string section to soar into a smooth, melodic passage, which progresses into a harp, violin, and cello trio, and finally emerges into a concerto-like piece for harp, solo violin, and string ensemble which then returns, as if retracing its steps, back to the arena rock section and finally culminating with the original solo violin – a cohesive and complete piece of music on its own and a thoroughly pleasing track. Some of the characters have their own themes, some of the characters share themes with another, others aren’t yet associated with a recurring piece of music. Robert Sheehan’s troubled Klaus is given an unsettled, roaming motif, while bounty hunters Hazel (Cameron Britton) and Cha-Cha (Mary J. Blige) are accompanied by a flavorful but menacing cadence of tension and barely-contained violence; but Britton has a secondary theme, a dainty and flirtatious waltz melody used when he becomes enamored with Donut shop waitress Agnes (Sheila McCarthy). “Dancing” is a wonderful, lyrical melody for piano and violin used during a tender scene for Luther (Tom Hopper) and Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) that neither will remember, and “Apocalypse” takes a bit of the violin’s rock rhythm from the title track and creates this climactic for the season’s major dramatic pinnacle. Both series and soundtrack are eagerly recommended.
The soundtrack album is available for streaming or downloading, here.

WHAT MEN WANT/Brian Tyler/Lakeshore – digital
Coming off of CRAZY RICH ASIANS not too long before scoring this fantasy-comedy – in which Taraji P. Henson plays a female sports agent who has been constantly boxed out by her male colleagues until she gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts (kind of a reversal of the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy, WHAT WOMEN WANT – Brian Tyler gives WHAT MEN WANT a similar but differently-flavored score rooted in popular jazz – 1970s style, in this case. “This was more of a soloistic type of thing within a jazz idiom,” Tyler told me about his approach to WHAT MEN WANT. “It also goes into a lot of funk and throwback soul music that’s really from the ‘70s as well as a bit of throwback to the 1990s in the style of the music. We weren’t going for the traditional orchestral Hollywood score, this has a different twist on it, a very different vibe, musically.” [see interview here]
This approach gives the film a progressive forward motion and an active urban vibe appropriate to the environment in which the story plays out. Quieter moments like “Rooftops,” “Father and Daughter,” the reflective “Apologies and Epiphanies,” “Ali,” “Ali and Jamal,” and the very dour “Downfall” and “Betrayed” comprise gentler, more sensuous or pensive accompaniment. “Boom” and “Getting in Deeper” are very articulate orchestral jazz/rhythm pieces that proffer some intricate soloing, as “Back Stabbing Bitches” does in a funkier idiom. “The NBA Draft” is an especially provocative cue with a powerful melodic through-line, of which “The Offer” is a short reprise. “Battle Royale” begins slowly with reverberant Fender Rhodes and percussion but churns into an infectious rhythm section instrumental piece with some wonderful sax playing and perhaps a touch of rocking Rio. “Overslept” is a dizzying drum-and-bass jazz piece, while “Open Your Inner Portal (Facebook Shaman)” postulated a bit of strange, nightmarish, quasi- raga. “Reconciliation” is a delicate movement for piano that resolves the primary storyline, and the conclusive “Goodnight my Friends” is a delicious piano and jazz duet that wafts alluringly into the night and the movie’s fade to black. A careful listen will reveal that many of these tracks aren’t standalone instrumental pieces but are connected thematically in a purposeful manner, conveying meaning and comment on the characters and the arc of the story. All in all it’s a quite good score housing some thoroughly invested compositions and dynamic performances from an orchestrally-enhanced rhythm section
Watch Brian’s fun video from the recording session “Boom” on youtube, in which he races through the ensemble taking his turn playing Fender Strat, Harmony bass, Fender Rhodes, TAMA drums, and timbales at near break neck-speed.

LE VISIONNAIRE/Andrew Pearce/MovieScore Media (digital) and Quartet Records (CD forthcoming)
MovieScore Media continues to exemplify the preservation of not just film and television music, but media music in any format. This score from Andrew Pearce (DARK CORNERS, the French drama series PETITS SECRETS ENTRE VOISINS, and his ambitious orchestral piece Cinema Symphony, which MSM released in 2008) was composed for the Maison Yves Rocher, a museum in La Gacilly, Brittany dedicated to the founder of the famed cosmetics company. The music, inspired by the landscape, architecture, and focus of the museum, had its beginning when Pearce was asked to score four short films that play in each room of the Maison as customers walk through them and learn the story of Yves Rocher and the process of creating Rocher cosmetics. Later Pearce expanded those orchestral pieces into the full, extended composition presented here. “The score is an eclectic mix of styles and textures; sometimes small and intimate, but also epic and wondrous,” he described. Powerfully and sensitively performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic and Chorus, the composition is an impressive harmonic delight, from the fragility of the solo piano that opens the album with “Daybreak,” introducing Pearce’s captivating melodic theme, through the introduction of choir and additional instruments like the familial beauty of cello and choir in “Father and Son” and the emotive energy of “The Genius Suite,” which makes its own miniature soundtrack with its array of shifting contours, central waltz-like elegance, and dramatically active final movement. The music emerges finally in the wondrous evocation of “To the Future,” the reflective paean of “Feminine Beauty” and the final gathering of full orchestra and choir with “Success At Last,” an impassioned tribute to achievement that carries a touch of Goldsmithian vitality with its joyful, leaping brass choruses. Pearce’s mastery of orchestration is well in evidence throughout, crafting stimulating interactive harmonies and textures that are continuously appealing.
This highly, highly recommended album concludes with the infectious wisp of nostalgic piano jazz that will surely get your toe tapping, “La Maison Stomp,” which at only 40 seconds, begs for a fuller presentation, but is a delightful treat all the same. Along with the orchestral score, the album also features a chamber suite arranged from the score for violin and piano, performed by Miriam Kramer and Ben Dawson, which translates the majesty of the full symphonic presentation into the charming intimacy of the duet, perhaps performed for you during a private gathering on the veranda overlooking the lush greenery and reflective lake of Maison Yves Rocher.
Watch MSM’s video featuring a suite from the score on youtube.

VICE PRINCIPALS Seasons 1 & 2/Joseph Stephens/Waxwork Records – vinyl
With 64 tracks across four LP sides, Waxwork’s release of the music from multi-instrumentalist composer/songwriter Joseph Stephens (EASTBOUND AND DOWN, OBSERVE AND REPORT, THE LEGACY OF A WHITETAIL DEER HUNTER) for the original HBO series is a marvelously eclectic work that continually refreshes and reinvents itself. This affectionate and striking ‘80s influenced synth-driven electronic soundtrack is dark and droning, melodic and fun, breezy as well as moody. “This score is both an homage to the soundtrack of my youth as well as an exploration into the inner depths of the everyman,” said Stephens. The VICE PRINCIPALS score literally offers something new in every cue (which would actually make a nifty commercial jingle for the album [you heard it here first]); you’ll find a forest of fresh flavors in each new track. Shades of classic John Carpenter (“Enemy’s Enemy”) resonate through quirky rhythms that wouldn’t be out of place in the best John Hughes movie. A bit of Carpenteresque Blaxploitation seems to stare brashly at the listener in “Conspire.” A soft conflagration of rapid-fire synth keyboard notes abounds in “Payday Drinks.” A burbling discussion of soft, mellotronesque arpeggios rise to an occasion over the growling menace of Carpenteresque bass synth in “Bleachers” and, elsewhere, dark moog chords drone beneath “stove-pot lid” percussion in “Silver of Tongue.” You’ll find a rousing battle of the marching band drum section in “Goner.” “Morning After” is all lush guitars and twangy synth with a Hawaiian flavor. “Dark Supper” enjoys evocations of early Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. The synth-and-woodblock rhythm of “Popcorn” could have come from any ‘80s vintage drive-in movie, which revs into a cool keyboard interaction. “Walk Like A Bitch” conveys the lovely melody of video game arcades. Enjoy the metallic car crash sonics that underlay the melody in “Crazy Abbott.” A few recurring themes anchor the score: Gamby’s Theme, a bluesy mix of electric bass, jangly close-miked metallic percussion, and a high-end whistling theme from synth; the “Epic Theme,” a suitably and progressively anthemic treatise for synth and percussion; and the tuba-driven “Sneaky Theme” which is just that.
The vinyl album includes the complete series music on 180 gram North Jackson Warriors Blue and White colored vinyl (Season 1) and 180 Gram North Jackson Tigers Orange and White colored vinyl (Season 2), artwork by Robert Sammelin, exclusive liner notes by Stephens as well as series co-creator Danny McBride, and a few other cute inserts. I haven’t seen the show, but I’m finding the music quite attractive in its wide range and powerful sonic diversity. It’s a fun collection of rhythmic tunes and tones. Sadly it’s one of those “vinyl only” releases that frustrate the CD buyers and streamer/downloaders among us – but fortunately if you’d like to hear some of the tracks online you can do so in Waxwork’s Soundcloud page, here.
For details on the album, see waxwork


News: Forthcoming Soundtracks & Film Music News

André Previn, the Oscar-winning film composer, pianist, jazz master, and renowned symphony orchestra conductor died February 28th at his home in Manhattan. He was 89. Previn won four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings (and one more for his Lifetime Achievement). His career in concert music was as varied as his career in film and television composing, although the latter was relatively brief; he was most active during the 1960s, mostly for MGM. “The German-born musician was an extraordinary and versatile talent who blurred the boundaries between jazz, pop, film, and classical music,” wrote Imogen Tilden in The Guardian. “The former enfant terrible of motion picture scoring and accomplished jazz pianist was honored with four Academy Awards,” wrote Richard Natale posted in a remembrance for Variety. “He won the first two, for best scoring of a musical picture (a category that has since been retired), for GIGI and PORGY & BESS in 1958 and 1959, respectively, while still in his 20s. He then won two for best adaptation or treatment (another retired sub-category) in 1963 and 1964 for IRMA LA DOUCE and MY FAIR LADY, respectively. He later abandoned films to conduct such esteemed orchestras as the London Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”
André Previn was “responsible for some of the most powerful, original, and dramatic film scores of the nineteen fifties and sixties,” wrote film historian Steve Vertlieb in a Facebook post. “His passionate scores for such films as THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, ELMER GANTRY, DEAD RINGER, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, and the poignant TWO FOR THE SEESAW remain examples of the some of the finest, most enduring and influential motion picture scores in film history. He was a giant and a pioneer in the field of film composition. His love theme from MGM’S FOUR HORSEMEN is one of the most ravishingly exquisite romantic themes ever written for a film. His passing is an enormous loss to the creative community. His music, however, will live on for as long as beauty endures.”
Previn’s last film score was for Norman Jewison’s 1975 science fiction sports drama, ROLLERBALL; although he was credited only as conductor because most of the film “score” was adapted classical music. But Previn did compose the “Executive Party” music for the movie.

The acclaimed French composer Michel Legrand, winner of three Oscars during a career spanning more than half a century, died January 26th in Paris, aged 86. His death is a huge loss to the film music & jazz communities.
Read more about Michel Legrand in my remembrance here. Also see: Ten Great Movie Music Moments by Michel Legrand - From WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND to SUMMER OF ‘42 to PAPA CAN YOU HEAR ME?, here are clips of key moments when the maestro made us swoon. Click on Variety here.

The film and film music community also mourns the loss of Nick Redman, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, award-winning soundtrack producer, and co-founder of the Twilight Time video label, who died on January 17, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 63. Read Jon Burlingame’s eloquent obituary in Variety here.
Intrada’s Doug Fake has also posted a moving tribute on his label’s web site, here (scroll down to the blog dated 1/20/19).

Ludwig Goransson won the Oscar for best score with his score to BLACK PANTHER – congrats Ludwig! Composer John Ottman, also a film director and editor, won the best editing Oscar, for BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Congrats John!

Jesper Kyd’s score for the horror film TUMBBAD was awarded India’s best music score at the Power Brands Bollywood Film Journalist’s Awards 2019 in Mumbai. [see my interview with Jesper on this score here].

Michael Giacchino won his sixth Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production, for his score for Pixar’s INCREDIBLES 2. Giacchino accepted his award in person at the 46th Annie Awards, held on February 2 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The other contenders in the category were Danny Elfman & Tyler the Creator for DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH, Harry Gregson-Williams & Tom Howe for EARLY MAN, Henry Jackman, Alan Menken, Dan Reynolds, Phil Johnston & Tom MacDougall for RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET and Heitor Pereira, Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick for SMALLFOOT.
- via filmmusicreporter

My interview with composer Donald Sosin, a specialist in composing and performing new scores for silent film presentations – such as NOSFERATU, THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, HANDS OF ORLAC, and the Library of Congress’ recent restoration of Edison’s 1913 FRANKENSTEIN, has been posted at
Read the full interview here

Nicholas Britell’s music for IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (Annapurna Pictures) has won the award for Best Score soundtrack partners at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards. See the full list at Deadline.

The prestigious Spanish film music website MundoBSO announced the winners for the 18th edition of the MundoBSO Awards for film music on January 4th. Among the winners in seven categories were Alan Silvestri (AVENGERS: INFINITY WARS/best foreign score), Iván Palomares (EN LAS ESTRELLAS/Best Spanish score), Brian Tyler (YELLOWSTONE/Best TV Score), Zeltia Montes (SAD HILL/Best documentary score), Bear McCreary (GOD OF WAR/Best game score). See the complete details here.

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) has announced its winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2018, in the 2018 IFMCA Awards. The award for Score of the Year went to John Powell for his score for the Star Wars spin-off story SOLO, which was also named Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film, while John Williams’ contribution to the film, the standalone piece “The Adventures of Han,” was named Film Music Composition of the Year. James Newton Howard was named Composer of the Year, and also takes home the award for Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film for his work on the Cold War spy thriller RED SPARROW. Christopher Lennertz, Bear McCreary, Amelia Warner, Max Richter, Marc Shaiman, and Pinar Toprak were also category winners. See full details: at IFCMA.

Laura Karpman has been tapped to score the upcoming indie drama MISS VIRGINIA. The film is directed by R.J. Daniel Hanna (WHAT STILL REMAINS) and is inspired by a true story of a struggling inner-city single mother who moves her at-risk son from his dangerous neighborhood school to a safe – but expensive – one and launches a movement in the process. Karpman also has the romantic comedy SENIOR MOMENT coming up early 2019.
- via filmmusicreporter

Composer Walter Mair reports he has scored the new Netflix 10-part documentary series, FORMULA 1: DRIVE TO SURVIVE, which follows the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship. Produced by Academy-Award winner James Gay Rees (AMY, SENNA) and Paul Martin for Box To Box Films, Mair wrote on Facebook: “Half a year of working on this exciting series, hours of music ranging from fast-paced hybrid/orchestral to mellow piano and musical sound design, countless recording sessions.” The series debuts March 8 on Netflix.
- via Documenting The Score Facebook page

Benjamin Wallfisch (LIGHTS OUT, IT, BLADE RUNNER 2049) is scoring the upcoming six-part National Geographic’ series HOSTILE PLANET, which will debut on April 1st. Watch the series’ trailer on youtube here.

Composer Siddhartha Barnhoon shared a sampling of his orchestral score for the 2016 documentary, YOSEMITE WILD:

The new psychological horror thriller MA, directed by Tate Taylor (THE HELP, GIRL ON THE TRAIN) for Blumhouse, features a score by Gregory Tripi (MANHUNT: UNABOMBER, DARK PLACES, REMEMORY).  The film stars Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, and is about a lonely woman who befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.
For more details on the composer, see:

Brian Tyler joins DC Comics Universe! According to his official website, he will be composing the score for the upcoming DC’s SWAMP THING for director James Wan (AQUAMAN) as well as Justin Baldoni’s heartfelt romance about a couple with cystic fibrosis FIVE FEET APART. Additionally, according to The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency Inc., Tyler has been tapped to score the upcoming Fox Searchlight Pictures thriller READY OR NOT. The movie is directed by Tyler Gillett & Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and stars Andie MacDowell, Samara Weaving, and Adam Brody. It’s about a bride’s wedding night that takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.
- via Brian Tyler Music on Facebook
ICYMI: See my special January column for an interview with Tyler about ESCAPE ROOM, CRAZY RICH ASIANS, WHAT MEN WANT, and more, here.

Marco Beltrami and frequent collaborator and assistant Dennis Smith have scored the new biographical crime thriller EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL, AND VILE, which chronicles the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who refused to believe the truth about him for years. The film is directed by Joe Berlinger, who also directed the documentary film CONVERSATIONS WITH A KILLER: THE TED BUNDY TAPES, which debuted on Netflix on Jan 24th. Zac Efron plays Bundy and Lily Collins plays Kloepfer (aka Liz Kendell), with John Malkovich as the presiding judge at Bundy’s final trial. The film premiered at Sundance last month and is scheduled to be released in theaters and on Netflix in late 2019.

Allegro Talent Group has officially announced that their client David Newman will be conducting, arranging, and underscoring Steven Spielberg's remake of WEST SIDE STORY. A release date for the film has not yet been announced. David for the past several years has been conducting the classic 1961 film all over the world live-to-picture.  – via Fans of Film Music on Facebook

Sony Classical will release the official soundtrack album for the animated feature WONDER PARK, with the original music score by Academy Award winner Steven Price (GRAVITY, SUICIDE SQUAD, FURY, BABY DRIVER, ATTACK THE BLOCK). The soundtrack will be released on March 8 and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
- via filmmusicreporter

Sony Classical has also announced the release of The World of Hans Zimmer A Symphonic Celebration due on March 15. The double- album features the music from the Zimmer-curated World of Hans Zimmer international concert tour by Semmel Concerts, with Zimmer’s newly-arranged concert suites for orchestra, choir, and an impressive list of soloists. Each concert suite features the most recognizable parts and melodies of a film score in the cohesive form of a new symphonic work. The recording for this CD took place in the course of the Hollywood in Vienna festival. For more information, and to pre-order, see Amazon

On Feb 22 Lakeshore Records will release the soundtrack to THE DRAGON PRINCE Series 1 & 2, an original animated series created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond produced by Wonderstorm for Netflix. The album features the score Frederik Wiedmann. “THE DRAGON PRINCE provides a wonderful canvas for me to explore a very colorful musical pallet,’ said Wiedmann. “We wanted to give this world its own identity, so we decided to blend various ethnic and unorthodox instruments with a conventional orchestral sound. The use of a variety of live instruments was key to this, so we spent a great deal of time recording soloists all across the series, and for some parts we recorded a 40 Piece string orchestra for important scenes that needed it.”

Stillpoint Music has released a soundtrack album for the supernatural thriller DON’T GO. The album features the film’s original music composed by Dutch DJ/trance artist/record producer Ferry Corsten who made his film scoring debut on the project. DON’T GO, directed by David Gleeson, is about the death of a young girl and the surreal experiences endured by her parents as they are pulled into a mystery surrounding the girl’s death. Corsten pairs his extensive experience in electronic music with orchestral and traditional film music instrumentation to create a soundtrack that mirrors the events on-screen. “I have always been interested in soundscapes and using music to evoke emotional responses, so working with film is an area I have wanted to explore,” Corsten said. “I am grateful to have been able to work with David on my first soundtrack, and it is something I would like to expand on in the future.”
For more information about the composer, see
To sample tracks or purchase the download, see Amazon, stream it in Spotify, or listen to the album on Soundcloud

Jon Burlingame tweeted this about music critic Anne Midgette’s recent article, published in the Washington Post on January 17: “A tremendously important column to read and digest. Finally, a true understanding that the finest film music can and should be played in concert halls.”
Here’s what Anne wrote: “As a classical music critic, I used to think the ‘Star Wars’ score was beneath me. I was wrong. @NSOTweets and @BaltSymphony helped change my mind.”
Read the article at The Washington Post here

Music Box Records has released a triplet of Philippe Sarde scores from Alain Delon movies. DEUX HOMMES DANS LA VILLE (1974), “one of the most haunting scores Sarde composed in his entire career,” per the label, LE VEUVE COUDERC (1971) a score that (together with his masterpiece LES CHOSES DE LA VIE - 1970) established his name as a master film composer in the beginning of the 70s; and LE TOUBIB (1979) a less famous score of the French composer, but a characteristic one regarding the strong melody and marvelous orchestration.” With these three scores, MBR offers the best scores of the composer’s 70s period in their entirety and for the first time on cd. For more details, see musicboxrecords
Music Box Records has also released the world premiere CD release of the three scores composed by Éric Demarsan for French director Christian Gion: C’EST DUR POUR TOUT LE MONDE (1975, It’s Tough for Everybody, 1975), PÉTROLE ! PÉTROLE! (1981, Oil! Oil!) and LE BOURREAU DES CŒURS (1983, The Heartbreaker). The three scores have been fully mastered and expanded from the scoring session elements. The package includes an 8-page booklet featuring exclusive liner notes by writer Gilles Loison and new comments by Demarsan and Gion on their collaboration. Limited edition of 300 units. For film/score details and track listing, see musicboxrecords.
Also announced by MBR is Mathieu Lamboley’s original soundtrack from the animated film MINUSCULE: MANDIBLES FROM FAR AWAY (2019). The film is the sequel to 2014’s MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS, which was a huge hit in France and won the César Award for Best Animated Feature Film at the 40th César Awards. Lamboley provides an exciting and lyrical orchestral score with choir, displaying a wide array of wondrous melodic themes. There are echoes of classical music (Ravel, Prokofiev) as well as contemporary film music writing (John Williams, Michael Giacchino), handled by the composer in his own personal orchestral style; the stirring orchestral score has been recorded by the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France and the Children Choir of Francis Bardot conducted by the composer. See: musicboxrecords .

Lakeshore Records has released the original TV series soundtrack for FRONTIER. The series, now in its third season, features score by Andrew Lockington (RAMPAGE, SAN ANDREAS, CITY OF EMBER, New Line’s JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH). FRONTIER is a Canadian historical period drama television series chronicling the North American fur trade in late 1700s Canada, starring Jason Momoa as Declan Harp, a part-Irish, part-Cree outlaw. The series is co-produced by Discovery Canada, as the channel’s first original scripted commission, and Netflix.

Hannes De Maeyer composed the original score to the long-awaited remake of German family film IMMENHOF - DAS ABENTEUER EINES SOMMERS. A soundtrack album will be released soon from Alhambra Records of Germany. Get a sneak peek of the scoring session during his unique behind-the-score video: watch it on Vimeo here.
De Maeyer’s latest score is for RAFAËL, by award-winning Dutch filmmaker Ben Sombogaart.  The film is set in Tunisia, where ‘The Arab Spring’ forces Tunisian Nazir, married to the pregnant Dutch hairdresser Kimmy, to escape to Europe. De Maeyer explains all about the scoring process during a unique behind-the-scenes video: watch it here.

Dread Central Presents Epic Pictures’ original horror feature, THE GOLEM. Directed by Doron Paz and Yoav Paz, known for their 2015 zombie movie JERUZALEM, the film is a modern update of the classic silent films made by Paul Wegener. The score has been composed by Israeli musician and composer Tal Yardeni, who is known for his music in the tween science fiction series GREENHOUSE ACADEMY (2012) for Nickelodeon Israel, and its American version, shown on Netflix in 2017. Yardeni has been scoring Israeli films, documentaries, and television series since 2001. For more information on THE GOLEM see the film’s official website

Varèse Sarabande celebrated President’s Day with the release of HOUSE OF CARDS Season 6. The album features the original music composed by Jeff Beal. The digital album is available now at online retailers, while the CD is a exclusive. All 500 CDs of the limited run are signed by the Emmy® Award-Winning composer. “Our show was about politics, but I always felt it was also about something more universal - the dark recesses of human behavior, ambition, and betrayal,” Beal said. “Our show, at its best, seemed to be able to make the unlikeable compellingly watchable – at times, relatable. I am honored that these final CDs complete a total of twelve over six seasons.”

“As the world of real politics devolved during the six year run of our show, the once escapist fun of the devilish Underwoods seemed to inevitably converge towards our present reality,” continued Beal. “The dangers of fascism, abuse of power, and blind loyalty are obvious and present but could not remove the small glimmer of hope buried deep within HOUSE OF CARDS.  Even the worst villain was occasionally given a fleeting moment of humanity, empathy, decency.  It was in these moments which I felt had the opportunity to express the ache, longing, and stark beauty of such possibilities.”
Also from Varèse Sarabande in their limited reissue series is the debut CD release of Lee Holdridge’s THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN PART 2. The film was the sequel to the successful 1975 box office hit, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN and continues the true efforts of national ski slalom champion Jill Kinmont to rebuild her life after becoming a paraplegic after a severe injury on the slopes. The album was transferred from analog tape from the composer’s archive. 
Released on February 8 as a digital download, Varèse Sarabande has issued THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Season 3, featuring music by Dominic Lewis, who scored the previous two seasons (with Henry Jackman on Season 1).
Varèse celebrated the 30th anniversary of LONESOME DOVE (1989) with the reissue of its amazing miniseries score by Basil Poledouris. Out of print for more than 10 years and never available digitally, the CD and digital album will be available March 15th. The album program retains the content preferred by its composer, but album features a new exclusive track composed and performed by Zoë Poledouris and her husband Angel Roché, which uses her father’s timeless themes from the original score in tribute.
HOTEL MUMBAI is about the harrowing 2008 terrorist siege at the world-famous Taj hotel in Mumbai. The film stars Dev Patel and Armie Hammer. The score was created by Volker Bertelmann AKA Hauschka, the pseudonym under which the German pianist and composer has released more than a dozen contemporary classical albums. Soundtrack available digitally from Varèse Sarabande March 22; on CD March 29.
See varesesarabande

German composer Matthias Weber (JANUS, ACADEMY OF EVIL, WILSBERG TV series) has scored the new German 10-episode TV series DAS BOOT (TV), a sequel to Wolfgang Petersen’s classic 1981 WW2 drama. The original film’s iconic theme, by Klaus Doldinger, appears in the new score in fragmented elements. A 25-track CD soundtrack has been released in Germany by Bavaria Sonor Records.

Rupert Gregson-Williams is scoring DreamWorks’ animated family film ABOMINABLE, which tells of a magical Yeti seeking to return to his family. The film is directed by Jill Culton (OPEN SEASON) and Todd Wilderman (OPEN SEASON 2) and features the voices of Albert Tsai, Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor.
The film releases on September 27th through Universal.

Sony Music announces the release of Ultimate Superheroes – Music To Save The World To.  This collection of metahuman music features film themes from some of the mightiest titans of film scores, including John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Alan Sivestri, Ludwig Göransson, Tyler Bates and Christophe Beck, as performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in mind-blowing sound quality under internationally acclaimed conductor Robert Ziegler. “Thrill to the pulsating power of The King of Wakanda, T’Challa, The Black Panther! Scourge the denizens of the underworld with Batman, The Dark Knight! Soar through interstellar space with The Guardians of the Galaxy, battle the fierce Frost Giants with Thor, the Thunder God, strike down the enemies of freedom with the Star-Spangled Sentinel of Liberty, Captain America, defeat the legions of Dormammu with the Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange, and more! 

Back Lot Music will release the official soundtrack album for the slasher sequel HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, featuring the original score composed by Bear McCreary, who had scored the original HAPPY DEATH DAY movie in 2017. The soundtrack will be released next Friday, February 15 and is now available for pre-order on iTunes.
- via filmmusicreporter

Intrada has released a vintage Disney soundtrack featuring exciting George Bruns music to JOHNNY TREMAIN, a 1957 feature film originally intended as a 2-part television broadcast. Directed by Robert Stevenson, who went on to direct more than a dozen Disney feature films, including THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR, MARY POPPINS, THE LOVE BUG, THE ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD, the film is based on Esther Forbes’ children’s tale about young Johnny Tremain, a silversmith apprentice in 1775 Boston becomes wrapped up in the underground colonial struggles leading inexorably towards armed conflict. Disney wanted melody for his new revolutionary war picture and Bruns, one of the studio’s regular composers, responded with a warm Americana idea, a rousing “Liberty Tree” march, and much dramatic underscore. Intrada’s album comes the mono session elements stored in the Disney vaults in pristine condition. For more details, see intrada.

La-La Land records has released a 20th Anniversary, 4 CD expanded and remastered reissue of Hans Zimmer’s THE THIN RED LINE. Giving the powerful score a deluxe treatment worthy of its breadth and scope in a new presentation that is greatly expanded beyond its initial soundtrack release. Discs 1&2 present the film score as written in chronological film order (Disc 2 also contains additional alternates), while Disc 3 features the remastered original 1999 soundtrack album and Disc 4 contains RCA’s album of Melanesian chants from the film. This is a limited edition of 3500 Units.
Also announced is the late Michel Legrand’s score for the recently completed version of Orson Welles’ THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND and a reissue of Jerry Goldsmith’s WARNING SHOT score, mastered from much better and newly-discovered elements than the previous edition, coupled with his previously unreleased pilot score to the 1975 TV series, ARCHER.
Following up on the labels SUPERMAN II/III set from last year is a 3-CD 40th Anniversary remastered limited edition of SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE, obtained from the recent discovery of the score’s original 2-inch, 24-track music masters which led to a stellar, high-resolution transfer by Warner Sound. Discs One and Two present John Williams’ film score in its glorious, full form, while Disc Two also contains a bounty of alternate/additional cues (including an astonishing early version of “The Fortress of Solitude” that remained vaulted and unplayed for four decades), and Disc Three showcases the original 1978 soundtrack presentation, rebuilt and remastered from these newly restored recording elements. Supervised and approved by composer John Williams, this special 3-CD release is limited to 5000 units and features a 44-page booklet with in-depth liner notes.

Quartet Records has released a… quartet of delicious retro ‘60s European film scores, beginning with their limited reissue of Morricone’s DEDICATO AL MARE EGEO (1979, Dedicated to the Aegean Sea) which the label had produced as an expanded release of its complete score in 2010, which had gone out of print very quickly. True to form, their new reissue of 300 copies sold out within a day or so, so try for the CD of this luxurious score on the secondary market. This CD was followed by Stelvio Cipriani’s previously unreleased score for the drama thriller, IL SESSO DEL DIAVOLO (1971; Sex of the Devil), Nora Orlandi’s previously unreleased score for IL DIARIO PROIBITO DI FANNY (1969; the Secret Diary of Fanny), and a complete score reissue of DELITTO AL CIRCOLO DEL TENNIS (1969; The Rage Within), the only film credit by UK psychedelic rockers Phil Chilton and Peter L. Smith (of the band Rhubarb Rhubarb). Each of the films is a stylish treatment on dangerous romance in exotic “retro Euro” style. For details, see

Kritzerland’s latest release is the soundtrack to THE CARDINAL (1963) by Jerome Moross (THE BIG COUNTRY, THE VALLEY OF GWANGI). The film was directed by Otto Preminger and based on the 1950 novel by Henry Morton Robinson about a young Catholic priest from Boston who confronts bigotry, Nazism, and his own personal conflicts as he rises to the office of cardinal. “For this release, the original two-track album masters were used, as well as the three-track masters for several tracks, including a bonus track not included on the original LP, a more pop-sounding version of the title theme,” wrote Bruce Kimmel about the new release. The CD is limited to 1000 copies.
To place an order, see the contents, or hear audio samples, see kritzerland

Agent extraordinaire Richard Kraft posted on Facebook that Pinar Toprak has become the first woman to compose a score for Pixar. She wrote the music for the company’s latest short, PURL, which features an earnest ball of yarn named Purl who gets a job in a fast-paced, high energy, bro-tastic start-up. Yarny hijinks ensue as she tries to fit in, but how far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she yearns for, and in the end, is it worth it? PURL is directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan. Watch it here. On March 8, Varese Sarabande will release Pinar’s soundtrack album from the Syfy original series KRYPTON. The series premiered last March and will debut its second season later this year. The label will release the album on CD.  Read my interview with Pinar about scoring KRYPTON (and other films) in my July 2018 Soundtrax column. Pinar’s next amazing scoring adventure is CAPTAIN MARVEL, which opens on March 8.

True Velvet Records has released a digital soundtrack album for the French drama GIRLS OF THE SUN (Les filles du soleil). The album features the film’s original music composed by singer/songwriter Morgan Kibby (BANG GANG [A MODERN LOVE STORY]). The movie focuses on the sisterhood of women taken prisoner by Kurdistan extremists. The soundtrack is now available to download on Amazon
- via filmmusicreporter

Composer BC Campbell has announced the release of his soundtrack to MY COUNTRY NO MORE. This provocative documentary examines the human cost of the oil boom through the intimate lens of one family fighting for their agricultural way of life. “After four years of work, and many musical turns, we focused the score on the American sound of the guitar: electric, acoustic, slide and pedal steel,” Campbell posted on Facebook.
For more information about the film, see
Listen to or purchase the score on Bandcamp, see; it is also available on all streaming platforms.

Epic Picture’s latest adventure-fantasy-thriller, THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT, has been scored by composer Joe Kraemer. The film is directed by Robert D. Krzykowski in his feature film debut, and stars Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Ron Livingston, and Caitlin FitzGerald. The project is produced by two-time Academy Award nominee John Sayles, and features visual effects by two-time Academy Award winner Douglas Trumbull (BLADE RUNNER, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY) and three-time Academy Award-nominee Richard Yuricich. With a pedigree like that, and Kraemer on board, this definitely sounds like a film to see.

Disques Cinémusique presents the first digital release of the original 45 rpm EP soundtrack to WEEK END EN MER (A Week End at Sea), a 1962 documentary directed by François Reichenbach to celebrate the France cruise ship. The music composed and conducted by Georges Delerue is complete with a short song by Serge Gainsbourg performed by Juliette Gréco. A source of pride for the French nation, France was then the world’s longest passenger boat (1032 feet) and its speed reached 30 knots. At this time, Delerue was at the beginning of the most creative period of his career. For this short film, he delivered two brilliant overtures and a waltz for large orchestra. The soundtrack was never distributed commercially; it was produced for promotional purposes by the ship lines. The album is downloadable from iTunes/Apple Music. For more information on CD and download soundtracks from the label, see

MovieScore Media once again teams up with James Griffiths (THE DRIFT, DOGGED) to release the composer’s soaring score for the wartime drama LANCASTER SKIES. Co-written and directed by Callum Burn, tells the story of Flight Lieutenant Douglas Miller, a former solitary Spitfire ace and a veteran of the Battle of Britain who learns how to overcome a past trauma to become the leader that his troubled crew so desperately need. “LANCASTER SKIES is a movie that is very much about the crew, the people, the families,” explains the composer. “I chose to compose a score that pays tribute to the service men and women, friends and families who either have first-hand experience, or have relations who were part of this hugely important historical period, and astronomical loss of life in Bomber Command. Being an ex-military musician myself, I called in a handful of friends and former colleagues, serving and ex-serving members, and the finest professional musicians of The Bands of The Household Division. These musicians were key to my traditional orchestral and military wind band approach.  Musicians who know how to play in this style and really evoke the story.” The digital release by MovieScore Media is to be followed by a physical release by Quartet Records.
Listen to a video featuring a suite from the score at youtube.

Congratulations to Frank Ilfman (GHOST STORIES, BIG BAD WOLVES, THE ETRUSCAN SMILE) for composing the new screen logo music for Legendary Entertainment. Listen to it on youtube.

Marco Beltrami’s latest and current scores include James Mangold’s biographical drama FORD V. FERRARI, about a determined team of American engineers and designers who are given the mission of building a new automobile with the potential to defeat the dominant Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans World Championship in France. Beltrami is also scoring Dan Gilroy’s VELVET BUZZSAW (debuting on Netflix and in select theaters on February 1), the thriller EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE, the comedy FLARSKY (co-scored with Miles Hankins, to be released on June 7) and William Eubank’s UNDERWATER (co-scored with Brandon Roberts) coming up.
- via filmmusicreporter
Additionally, Node Records reports that their CD release of Beltrami’s score to the Oscar-winning documentary FREE SOLO is now available. Find it an Amazon

Award-Winning composer Rutger Reinders has created the score for Dutch filmmaker Sacha Polak’s English-language debut DIRTY GOD, which will open the 2019 edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). DIRTY GOD is about courage, motherhood and self-acceptance in today’s London as a woman tackles life after being severely burned in the face. “We felt the film should have an eclectic choice of music, but the score also needed to represent the type of music the lead characters of the film would listen to,” said Reinders.

Ceiri Torjussen has signed on to score the upcoming thriller BURN. Directed by Mike Gan, the movie follows a lonely, unstable gas station attendant who constantly feels overshadowed by her more outgoing co-worker. When the gas station they work at is held at gunpoint, she comes up with a way to make a connection with the robber. BURN is currently in post-production and is expected to premiere later this year. Torjussen’s other recent projects also include the Karen Gillan-starring drama ALL CREATURES HERE BELOW, which premiered this past October at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival.
- via filmmusicreporter

Alan Williams recently scored the 8K high-definition documentary BENEATH THE SEA; and his score was awarded a Global Music Award Silver Medal for Best Score. He’s also released HIDDEN CHINA, a concept album steeped in the mysticism, evocative melodies, and pulsing rhythms of the Orient as it conjures images from the ancient and hidden world of China and the surrounding regions of Asia.
See:; the album download is available at cdbaby, iTunes/Apple Music, and all other digital streaming platforms.
Watch the album teaser:

Kritzerland presents a world premiere soundtrack release with the music from the Amicus 1971 anthology film THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, composed and conducted by Michael Dress. was one of the most entertaining of the Amicus anthology horror film series. The four tales were all based on short stories by Robert Bloch (Psycho), who also wrote the screenplay. “For THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, Dress created a wonderfully atmospheric score… and it really gives the stories in the film an interesting texture and feel,” wrote Kritzerland’s Bruce Kimmel. “There’s a lot of percussion and weird effects, organ, a solo female voice floating in the air, harpsichord, vibes, strings – it’s all very hallucinogenic and off-kilter and really wonderful.” The transfers were made from the 35mm magnetic music-only mixing elements and the mono sound is said to be crisp and clear. The album is limited to 500 copies.

To place an order, see the contents, or hear audio samples, see: kritzerland


Film Composer Brian Ralston has announced the digital release of his original soundtrack for the new film BEING ROSE (formerly, ROSE). The film stars Cybill Shepherd, James Brolin, and Pam Grier. After being diagnosed with serious health issues, a woman goes on a road trip in her motorized wheelchair to search for her estranged son. Her life changes when she meets a handsome cowboy. Ralston delivers a beautiful score replete with acoustic guitars, mandolins, and flutes, which imbue Rose's narrative with moods that range from melancholy to hopeful, from meditative to ethereal. The soundtrack is now available digitally from NoteforNote Music; a physical CD release is forthcoming from the same label in April.
See: NoteforNote
Also announced by the label is a reissue of Bill Conti’s classic 1987 symphonic score to MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE in a new 2-CD edition that features different cover art as well as newly commissioned liner notes by composer Edwin Wendler. “For the notes, we wanted to get a composer’s point of view on the score,” wrote the label. “Disc One presents the full score while Disc Two features the original 1987 soundtrack album. A new film is coming out later this year which should create major excitement with fans. This is a great opportunity for new fans (and old ones who missed out on previous releases) to pick up this soundtrack and enjoy what we feel is one of Bill Conti’s best scores.”  MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE is a limited edition of 500 copies, which ships the week of March 11th. The label reports that the CD has sold out from pre-orders, so check other retailers or secondary markets to find a copy.

Sony Music has released the soundtrack to MISS BALA, featuring original music by Golden Globe nominee Alex Heffes (ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, TOUCHING THE VOID). Directed by Catherine Hardwicke from a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, MISS BALA tells the story of Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), who finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime.  Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. “I’ve always been a big fan of Catherine Hardwicke’s films and Miss Bala has all the energy and edge that is so characteristic of her work,” said the British composer. “So I was excited to set about creating the musical world of Miss Bala and Tijuana provided a great musical backdrop to draw on. The gritty action called for the score to have a dark edge, so we ended up fusing a tough synth-driven sound with guitars and Latin percussion. As the lead character Gloria gradually outwits her captors and spreads her wings it felt like she needed her own action sound so you will hear her theme played out on high strummed guitars to give the shine that Gina Rodriguez brings to the character on the big screen.”

Gil Talmi composed an ambient, thought-provoking score to the documentary MAN ON FIRE, which premiered on PBS last December. The feature documentary takes a close look at Charles Moore, an elderly white preacher who set himself on fire in 2014 in order to bring awareness to the un-repented racism in his birth town of Grand Saline, Texas. Directed and produced by Talmi’s frequent collaborator Joel Fendelman, the film raises the specter of mystery around Reverend Moore’s motives and why his neighbors have been so reluctant to face the implications of his grisly act. The soundtrack is available digitally through Talmi’s Bandcamp page.

Italian composer Marco Werba has completed scoring the thriller POP POSTA, written and directed by Marco Pollini (MODA MIA, LE BADANTI). “The protagonist of the film is a mentally disturbed woman and the music had to, somehow, give an idea of her ‘madness’,” Werba told me. “I used the orchestra mixed with different strange and disturbing digital sounds.” The score is performed by the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, with piano solos performed by Albanian pianist Rea Bisha. A soundtrack album will be released by Plaza Major
 (no release date as of yet). Werba’s score to the Italian historical documentary film GELONE, LA SPADA E LA GLORIA, co-composed with Cristina Saraceno, will be soon available from Rosetta Records.

Javier Navarrete (PAN’S LABYRINTH, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, WRATH OF THE TITANS) has scored Neil Jordan’s new horror thriller GRETA. Zawe Ashton, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Isabelle Huppert star in a harrowing tale of obsession and deception: Moretz plays a young woman who befriends a lonely widow who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda towards her. Navarrete also scored Jordan’s previous vampire film, BYZANTIUM (2012).

UNDER THE SILVER LAKE is an upcoming neo-noir comedy drama directed by David Robert Mitchell, director of IT FOLLOWS. After some delays, A24 is releasing the film April 19th. For scoring duties, Mitchell turned to previous collaborator Rich Vreeland aka Disasterpeace, who provided a memorable outsider’s perspective to the horror genre for IT FOLLOWS. For their second collaboration, UNDER THE SILVER LAKE pushes both director Mitchell and Disasterpeace into unexpected territory. Disasterpeace, best known for his synth-driven work, delivers a full orchestral score for the first time. The end result lends the film a distinct noir thriller vibe that emphasizes its dark, unraveling narrative. Milan will release the soundtrack on April 19. Sample the track “The Curse of Edenvale” on Soundcloud here.

Composer Graham Plowman (ARTHUR & MERLIN), noted for his eerie scores to audio readings of H. P. Lovecraft and associated weird  fiction and poetry authors, has announced a new CD from genre book publisher Fedogan & Bremer. Sonnets of the Midnight Hours and other poems by Donald Wandrei is read by Rodger Gerberding with wonderful rich deep and theatrical readings, accompanied by Plowman’s atmospheric and fear-enhancing musical renderings.
For more information or to order, see Fedogan & Bremer
For more information on the composer and to sample his music, see

Arriving just in time for Earth Day 2019 (April 22) is Disneynature’s long awaited PENGUINS, which will feature a score by Harry Gregson-Williams (who also scored Disneynature’s 2015 release MONKEY KINGDOM). The film’s official release date is April 17th, 2019 and is directed by Alastair Fothergill, who has helmed a number of Disneynature docs as well as some the most ground breaking episodes of THE BBC Earth series, PLANET EARTH and the feature DEEP BLUE.

On January 4th, Silva Screen Records digitally released GENERAL MAGIC, Benji Merrison’s hypnotic and lyrical soundtrack to Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude’s award winning documentary about the 1989 Silicon Valley startup.
Premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival 2018, GENERAL MAGIC has already won Best Documentary at the LA Film Awards and Williamsburg Independent Film Festival, as well as the Jury Award at Napa Valley Film Festival.
Benji Merrison is an award winning composer, known for BBC’s DYNASTIES, CLASS, HORIZON and ITV’s VICTORIA. His distinctive musical voice is in high demand and he has scored music for hundreds of projects across film, television, installations and events. He has worked with all major UK broadcasters, along with many other networks and brands worldwide. For more information, see silvascreenusa
Silva Screen has also released a digital soundtrack album for the ITV series DARK HEART, featuring selections of the show’s original music composed by Dan Jones (ON CHESIL BEACH, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE). The series stars Tom Riley as a police detective haunted by the unsolved double murder of his parents when he was a teenager. A single feature-length pilot was broadcast in November 2016; with a series of six hour-long episodes commissioned in December 2017 and broadcast, along with a revised version of the pilot, starting in October 2018.

Available as a limited pressing of 250 CDs, Howlin’ Wolf Records proudly present the world-premiere release of BC Smith’s score for Tobe Hooper’s supernatural horror film DJINN. The 2013 film was Hooper’s final movie, and it has to do with an Emirati couple who return home from a trip and discover that their new apartment has been built on a site that is home to some malevolent beings. Composer BC Smith (1999’s THE MOD SQUAD, AMATEUR, SMOKE SIGNALS) has created a chilling, evocative backdrop comprising of sparse, otherworldly electronic palettes, meticulously layered in a complex yet cohesive sonic confection to heighten the suspense and underline the heroine’s gradual descent into madness. See: howlinwolfrecords

Dubois Records has announced that the soundtrack to the BBC’s VICTORIA Series 2 & 3, starring Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes, featuring music composed by Ruth D. Barrett, is now available to listen to and download in the US on Amazon. Worldwide release coming soon.

Plaza Mayor Company has released a digital soundtrack to the last year’s Venezuelan horror thriller  film EL SILBÓN: ORÍGENES (The Whistler: Origins). The music is composed by Nascuy Linares (LOS SILENCIOS, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, HARPOON) and the film is about a father who wrestles with a curse while saving his daughter’s soul from a phantasmagorical figure. The album is available to download on Amazon as well as streaming on Spotify
- via
Watch the film’s trailer (Spanish language) on youtube here

Digitmovies has announced two new releases for February 2019: “We are pleased to release the complete edition CD of the OST by Carlo Savina and Aldemaro Romero for the 1969 historical film SIMON BOLIVAR. The historical figure of Bolivar is emphasized through heroic passages for orchestra and chorus which alternate with a romantic love theme and music for the battle scenes; while Latin American music sets the stage for the film’s period and setting. Thanks to the stereo master tapes from the original recording session, which were kept in excellent condition, we discovered about forty minutes of previously unreleased material such as alternative mixes and film versions.” See: digitmovies.

The label will also release the complete soundtrack by Stelvio Cipriani for the 1979 action film DURI A MORIRE (TOUGH TO KILL) for the first time on CD. “Cipriani composed a score where funk music, which was typical at the time, blends with Latin American sounds. Electronic and rhythmic suspense pieces are perfect to describe the hidden dangers waiting for the protagonists of the story.” In addition there are two piano pieces performed by the composer, a touch of Greek folk music, and military themes. “For this CD (total running time 42:31), the restored stereo master tapes from the original recording session were used.” See: digitmovies.

The Japanese label Cinema-Kan announces an April 24th release of a Special Edition of Isao Tomita’s spectacular layered mix of synths, choir, brass, electric guitars, and much more in the score to THE GREAT PROPHECY OF NOSTRADAMUS (1974; aka “CATASTROPHE 1999; known in the US as LAST DAYS OF PLANET EARTH). The label reported on its twitter page that the 2-CD set will include mono and stereo mixes along with bonus sound effects. Hear the main theme from Tomita’s score on this youtube clip here
Cinema-Kan will also release on the same date the soundtrack to Toho’s classic Tokusatsu (science fiction) film GORATH on two CDs, composed by Kan Ishii. Both albums can be ordered via ArkSquare (search ID CINK-74 and CINK-72, respectively).

Rupert Gregson-Williams will score the new big-budget Chinese action film, 800, which focuses on a group of Chinese soldiers and draft dodgers in 1937 who put up a four-day defense of a Shanghai warehouse complex just as Japanese forces are overwhelming China. The decision to make a stand at that location was intended both to stall the Japanese and to attract the attention of the foreign legations just across the river. – via Variety

Another blockbuster Chinese film, the science fiction epic THE WANDERING EARTH, will feature a musical score by Roc Chen (SWITCH, LEGENDARY AMAZONS, addl. music CHINESE ZODIAC) and Tao Liu (SLIPAWAY, REALMS, PARADISE).  Chen conducted and recorded the score with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios; a digital soundtrack is now available at cdbaby (42 tracks by Chen, one by Liu).
-via musiquefantastique

With MR. JONES, Polish-born director and Academy Award® nominee Agnieszka Holland brings to the screen the extraordinary untold story of Gareth Jones, an ambitious young Welsh journalist who travelled to the Soviet Union in 1933 and uncovered the appalling truth behind the Soviet “utopia” and Stalin’s regime. Her new film features an original score by Berlin-based Polish composer Antoni Komasa-Lazarkiewicz. “The harshness and rawness of the story translated into a whole array of esthetic and stylistic choices for me as a composer,” said Komasa-Lazarkiewicz. “My aim was to create a visceral sensation of anxiety and an anticipation of horror. I wanted to emphasize his sense of alienation, both in the superficially civilized world of Western Civilization, and in the killing fields of Ukraine. Hence my choice of brutal, mechanical orchestral motives, overlapping rhythms, and deconstructed melodies. There is life and emotion hidden at the very bottom of this music, but it will barely ever come to the surface.”
Listen here (sign-in is not necessary, click on the track title) for a sneak peek of the original score. The full OST album will be available soon.

Almost 40 years after its theatrical debut, Beat Records presents, for the first time on CD, the complete original motion picture soundtrack to one of the most controversial Italian genre movies of all time: CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, directed by Ruggero Deodato and featuring a beautiful score by Riz Ortolani. Considered the founder of the “Found Footage” subgenre, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST follows the research by some adventurous filmmakers who disappear in the Amazonian “Green Inferno” while searching for another group of explorers who’d also recently gone missing. “Long out of print and available only in its original album presentation, Ortolani’s complete score is finally available, a wonderful contrast to the images for which it was composed, one of the most disquieting musical experiments ever created for scenes with such violence.” Beat Records new edition features 20 tracks (double the length of previous releases), packaged in a jewel case with a 12-page booklet designed by Daniele De Gemini, with mastering by Claudio Fuiano and liner notes by Fabio Babini.

Kronos Records announced its three releases for February: LA GRAN PROMESA by Rodrigo Flores Lopez, ARTHURS GESETZ, by Christoph Blaser, and WISH YOU WERE HERE by Andre Matthias. Kronos is offering a special on these releases – the First 100 Customers Who Buy "Wish You Were Here" + Another 2 full price CD’s directly from our website will get a free copy of Andre Matthias’ score for CONTROL, which will not otherwise be available for sale.
Order now from


Film Music on Vinyl

Varèse Sarabande offers Jerry Goldsmith’s score to L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997) on vinyl. “The last great noir score of the 20th Century dives into the glitz and grime of 1950’s Los Angeles as envisioned by [the] legendary master composer,” the label writes. “Goldsmith’s score is now considered a masterpiece nearly on the level of his landmark ‘Chinatown’, and was nominated for the Best Original Score Oscar.” The vinyl release is limited to 500 copies and is a website exclusive – see varesesarabande.

Milan Records has issued a vinyl edition of Carter Burwell’s tuneful score for the Coen Brothers’ latest ensemble adventure, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, a six-part Western anthology film about the American frontier told through the unique and incomparable voice of Joel and Ethan Coen. Each chapter tells a distinct story about the American West. Burwell’s compositions serve as the perfect companion to these tales of violence and fortune in the Wild West, and rank amongst his finest works. In addition to the film’s score, Burwell also composed a handful of original songs used in the film. Barnes & Noble currently offers both the vinyl edition and the digital soundtrack in a bundle. See B&N.
Sample the track “The Gal Who Got Rattled” at youtube here.

Waxwork Records has pressed Joseph Bishara’s THE PRODIGY soundtrack to UV reactive 180 gram vinyl, giving the release a spooky glowing effect when exposed to black light. To round out the release, Waxwork has given the vinyl a “Blue Iris” splatter, which adds a chaotic effect, in addition to new artwork by Adam Rabalais, a printed insert, old style tip-on gatefold jackets, and high quality LP packaging. Pre-orders are now available; the LP is expected to ship in April. See Waxwork.

Lakeshore Records has released the soundtrack to Joe Kraemer’s COMRADE DETECTIVE score on vinyl. The series has been showing on Amazon Prime TV. For more information including track list and series trailer, see filmmusicdaily.

Mondo presents a reissue of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth’s soundtrack to 1988’s cult-classic THEY LIVE, featuring brand new package design by Alan Hynes. Also announced is PRINCE OF DARKNESS on vinyl, with music by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, re-mastered by Alan Howarth. Package design by Sara Deck. Includes liner notes by Carpenter and Howarth. Pressed on Plutonium God vinyl (Green with Black Smoke) also available on 180 Gram Green or 180 Gram White vinyl. See: mondotees

Light In the Attic presents Goblin’s BUIO OMEGA – the complete original score including 17 tracks never before pressed to vinyl straight from the vaults of AMS & Cinevox. The LP is pressed on green vinyl, housed in a gatefold jacket with printed insert, and is limited to 1,000 LPs exclusively from Mondo.

Music on Vinyl presents the soundtrack to the British historical fiction TV series, THE LAST KINGDOM, composed by John Lunn with songs by multiple award winning singer/songwriter Eivør from the Faroe Islands. The show is based on novels called The Saxon Stories by author Bernard Cornwell (originally aired on BBC 2 & BBC America). “John Lunn’s music possesses a unique voice that spans a wide spectrum of musical styles,” writes the label. The limited edition (500 copies) LP is pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl housed in a PVC protective sleeve, and contains an insert with pictures and credits. For details, see here

Also announced is the vinyl soundtrack to BOY ERASED, music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans  (THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE). The film is a 2018 American coming-of-age drama film about the son of Baptist parents who is forced to take part in a gay conversion therapy program, based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir. The album also contains original songs by Jónsi (Sigur Rós) and Troye Sivan that were used in the film. The 180 gram audiophile vinyl disc comes houses in a PVC protective sleeve housed within a gatefold sleeve. Contains a 4-page booklet + exclusive picture and “secret inscriptions in run-out groove.” Limited to 2,000 numbered copies.
See musiconvinyl


Game Score News

Intrepid game composer Sarah Schachner (Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare) has composed the score for BioWare’s new game, Anthem, an online multiplayer action role-playing video game Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Players will assume the role of a Freelancer, one of a group of people who leave their civilization to explore the surrounding landscape.
Order the soundtrack at Apple Music/Itunes

Ninja Theory has released the soundtrack from the Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice video game, now available for streaming and digital download. The soundtrack was written and produced by award-winning composer David Garcia, in collaboration with Andy LaPlegua.
It is available on Steam and a variety of music platforms. For information about the game, see here. Sample the track “Gramr” from the Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, via youtube, below:

Winifred Phillips recently worked with Supermassive Games Ltd on the music for their outstanding VR game Shattered State. In the game, you are an intelligence agency director heading off terrorist attacks and assassination attempts. Watch the game’s release trailer here; it features some of Winifred’s music from the game.

Jesper Kyd’s atmospheric guitar and analog synth score for the State of Decay 2 special edition

double-vinyl soundtrack is now available from Sumthing Else Music Works. Featuring 29-tracks from the original game score composed and produced by the BAFTA winner, the double-vinyl soundtrack is presented in a full-color gatefold with unique illustrations by Undead Labs. The album was personally compiled by Kyd and features 10 previously unreleased tracks. Kyd’s atmospheric guitar and analog synth score immerses players in a haunting landscape, replete with intense action cues but also moments of reflection and hope. “I wanted to bring out more of the human emotion in the situations you are playing through, and for the music to make the experience feel hopeful as you try to rebuild and expand your community,” Kyd explained. “I recorded many instruments such as dobro guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, various live percussion, solo violin, and solo cello. The live instruments are an important part of making the world of State of Decay breathe and come alive. The broken down post-apocalyptic world needs to be reinforced with the feel of rural Americana; we’re in the American heartland and so the instrument palette was critical to accomplishing an authentic vibe.”
The special edition vinyl soundtrack is available from amazon.


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