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Soundtrax: Episode 2023-01
January/February, 2023

Feature Interviews:

  • Catching Up With Composer Panu Aaltio
  • MISSING: An Interview with Composer Julian Scherle

    Interviews by Randall D. Larson

    Overviews: Soundtrack Reviews

  • CONAN THE DESTROYER/Poledouris/Intrada
  • ENOLA HOLMES 2/Daniel Pemberton/Milan
  • FRENZY/Goodwin-Mancini/Quartet
  • THE FUNHOUSE/John Beal/Intrada
  • THE GODFATHER 50th Anniv/Rota/La-La-Land
  • HUNTERS, SEASON 2/R Gregson-Williams/Lakeshore
  • L.A. Confidential (Deluxe)/Goldsmith/Varèse
  • MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Collection/Bernstein/Quartet
  • NIGHT OF THE TOMMYKNOCKERS/Glasgow/Fourteen Kings Music
  • SPIDER-MAN 30th Anniv/Elfman/La-La Land
  • TILL/Korzeniowski/Universal

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

Composer Panu Aaltio has composed music for 30 feature films, multiple TV series, video games, as well as a full-length ballet for the Finnish National Opera. His most recent project, 5000 BLANKETS, had its official release in theaters on December 12th and 13th. The film follows the story of a woman and her young son, who set out to find her husband when he goes missing after having a mental breakdown, which sparks a movement in their city.
Other recent projects include the animated SUPER FURBALL SAVES THE FUTURE, which had its theatrical release in Finland as well as its global soundtrack release last October. Panu also recently worked on the horror film THE TWIN, starring Teresa Palmer and Steven Cree, as well as FINDERS OF THE LOST YACHT, a swashbuckling adventure that takes place on the Baltic Sea. His emotional nature film scores have made Panu the only composer to have won the Best Documentary Score award from the International Film Music Critics Association for each film in a trilogy: first with the TALE OF A FOREST (2012), then TALE OF A LAKE (2016), for which Panu also received Finland’s equivalent of the Oscar, and finally in 2022 for TALE OF THE SLEEPING GIANTS. Panu was also nominated by the IFMCA as Composer of the Year in 2022, alongside Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, Jonny Greenwood, and Nicholas Britell. Trained as a cellist since the age of six, Aaltio studied music technology and classical composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and film music at the USC where he received the Harry Warren scholarship for Excellence in Film Scoring. 5000 BLANKETS (2022): When her husband has a mental breakdown and goes missing, a woman and her young son set out to find him on the streets, sparking a movement that inspires a city.

Q: Let’s start with 5000 BLANKETS. What brought you into this project and what intrigued you most about the film?

Panu Aaltio: The way I met the director, Amin Matalqa, was actually through my older soundtrack, TALE OF A LAKE, which he heard on a film music podcast in 2016. He sent me a message and said he’d love to work with me. He contacted me in the Spring of 2022 and said he had a film that he would like me to work on. It was 5000 BLANKETS. The film, like all of Amin’s films, had a lot of heart so I could see a lot of reasons for music to do things. And, of course, I knew Amin from before as a big film score lover and that’s how he found me through that podcast, so I knew it was going to be great to work with him because he really understands music. He even said that in another life he would have been a film composer himself! He really understands how music works in film. It was just a heartwarming, very beautiful story and a great director to work with.

Q: How did you begin to approach the score? What led to your instrumental palette for this project?

Panu Aaltio: We knew that we wanted to do a very melodic approach, because it was a very human story and one we felt the audience would connect easily to. I would send different melodies to Amin and he would comment. Rather quickly we found our main theme and the idea was to create this family theme, because the family breaks apart in the beginning as the father gets sick and goes missing, and we would remind the audience of the happier times and also the longing for those times through that family theme. From the beginning, it was clear that we were going to have an orchestra; for those happier moments we wanted to have a very traditional big orchestral sound, and then we would go into the darker tones when we get to more synthesizers and these more abstract things, and then at the end we’re back at the full orchestral, human sound. Listen to the main theme from 5000 BLANKETS:

Q: Your score’s emotive sensitivity really embodies a poignant musical landscape which is quite impassioned. How did you mix this moving element with, say, the urgent drums of “Rooftop” and “Church Anxiety” to maintain a concern over the missing man?

Panu Aaltio: In those earlier scenes where the father has not yet gone missing, there’s the anxiety that something bad is about to happen. We have many scenes where we get close to the brink, and certainly the Rooftop scene is one of those, and so we’re playing the anxiety with those drums. And after he goes missing we go into a more somber and very still music for that middle section. But in the beginning those are playing the unease and the fear.

Q: Your cue “Spaghetti Dinner” offers a really fun groove, and then blends into a more thematic treatment. How did this piece come about?

Panu Aaltio: Yeah! It was at that point in the film where we felt like we wanted a change of pace and offer something fresh to the audience. In the temp track they had some music that had this kind of instrumentation, so we were like, “hey, what if we take the theme and put it in this context?” So it ended up giving a nice, fresh feeling at that point in the film and moving it forward, giving it a bit of a different pace.

Q: Your final four cues, especially “We Can’t Stop Now” and “Bobby Found,” open into an effecting and moving denouement; what were your techniques in modifying your previous motifs into these elegantly passionate musical climaxes?
Panu Aaltio: It’s very intuitive. I don’t have a very good theory why it happens, it’s going with the scene and trying to get the emotion and then modifying the theme in whatever way that it needs. But once you get the energy of the theme and the overall mood then you can weave the theme in, no matter what the style is. It’s a matter of knowing what your theme is and knowing what the context is in that scene, and usually it will work itself out in some way. That’s why it’s really important to always have that – or why I always start with that method where we go through these different melodies or other kinds of themes and we really know what we’re doing and then it solves itself when we have these scenes – once we know what our central idea is, it will take care of itself. THE TWIN (2022): Following the aftermath of a tragic accident that claimed the life of one of their twins, Rachel and Anthony relocate to the other side of the world with their surviving son. What begins as a time of healing in the quiet Scandinavian countryside soon takes an ominous turn when Rachel begins to unravel the torturous truth about her son and confronts the malicious forces that are trying to take hold of him.

Q: With THE TWIN we have an entirely different type of score with a much darker tone. How did you get involved in this project and what were your initial thoughts about its musical score?

Panu Aaltio: That’s a Finnish film and I knew the producer from film school – he produced my first ever short film in 2004. On THE TWIN we started trying out a couple of different ideas because it was not immediately obvious on how to score this film. It was like a serious drama but then it gets into really heavy horror stuff at the end, so it was about how do I get that balance? We ended up having this somber cello theme which plays a Finnish melancholy. It’s about an American family that moves into Finland and we wanted to bring the locale into the story. Probably the most interesting part of the film is where I used my own voice reading a death poem from this Finnish national epic, Kalevala, which is what Tolkien was very influenced by when he was writing Lord of the Rings. And so I picked up this famous death poem from that, and I read it and then spliced it so that it’s almost unrecognizable and it becomes this chant which is very spooky. I think that’s the director’s favorite cue!

Q: Your use of chanting or grunting choir adds a noticeably frightening tone to the score. How were these elements created, and how did you use them throughout the film in tracks like “Exorcism” and “The Ritual?”

Panu Aaltio: There are also some other vocals that have throat-singing, very low. Those were some sounds that I had, that was not me. I can not, unfortunately, do those sounds! But there were all kinds of vocals in that score. The human voice is the most familiar thing but when you use it in a very peculiar way it becomes very creepy. I had just seen the Korean film SQUID GAME while we were working on THE TWIN, and that movie had a very interesting use of vocals and I felt that we should do something very different but also use vocals. I thought it was very creepy in that show, how they used very non-standard vocal things. But the big part of how it comes together is the poem that I started using. Listen to a Score Suite from THE TWIN:

Q: There’s an especially eerie tonality in the track “He’s Not Real” with piano, toy piano, voices, a soft violin melody, and other elements. How did you create this cue to enhance both fright and poignancy in the film?

Panu Aaltio: There’s a big scene at the end where we find out what’s been happening. It needed to be something that would tie all these different aspects together. I was going through those themes that we had before, but they had to be more breaking the surface of things in this scene so we had to go more to the core human elements. I needed to do something a little more tender, but there are also, like the toy piano, they have this sort of eerie quality, so it was more a bit of both. There are also some choirs, or voices doing some non-standard things with the choir, so it was a combination of having dramatic music but making it a little off and a little weird. It doesn’t feel safe at any point but it still needs to have an emotional payoff, because this is like our big scene at the end. I think we spent the most time on this scene because of that balance of how much do you want to have the emotion and how much do you want to be still in the horror genre. It was like a very narrow area that we had to operate in. SUPER FURBALL (2018): When a young girl acquires a secret superpower from her pet guinea pig, her ordinary life turns upside down. She decides to use her newfound powers to make a difference in the world.

SUPER FURBALL SAVES THE FUTURE (2022): To save the world, Super Furball has to save the bees. In order to do that, the heroic guinea pig has to save the biggest bully in school.

Q: With SUPERMARSU 2 [aka SUPER FURBALL SAVES THE FUTURE] you rejoined the super-heroic guinea pig of SUPERMARSU/SUPER FURBALL. What can you tell me, briefly, about scoring the original family-friendly film and then accommodating the new musical needs of its sequel?

Panu Aaltio: That was actually one of these moments where I was really happy. The director initially did this thriller film, SYVÄLLE SALATTU (Body of Water), which I worked on in 2011. That was Joona Tena, who was also the director of SUPER FURBALL. In 2018 he asked me to score the first one. That’s obviously a big jump from a thriller to a family superhero thing, so I was very happy that he felt that I could do that. I had so much fun on that! It was a small ensemble, about ten or fifteen violins and another ten wind players. But now for this second one we had the 97-piece Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and I knew this was going to be a lot of fun! That’s rare to have that opportunity in Finnish films. I think we lucked out because they had to cancel a bunch of concerts because of COVID, so we were actually getting a windfall from that because the orchestra’s calendar was totally empty in 2021 when we recorded. Usually these big classical orchestras are really busy all the time. The director of SUPERFURBALL is like Amin on 5000 BLANKETS – Joona is also a musical director and it’s very fun to work for people who really understand music and they can see all the possibilities. And of course big energetic music is always fun for a composer because you can go crazy! Listen to the track “Time For Heroics” from SUPER FURBALL SAVES THE FUTURE

LAKE BODOM (2016): Every camper’s worst nightmare came true at Lake Bodom in 1960 when four teenagers were stabbed to death while sleeping in their tent.

Q: LAKE BODOM is another horror film I wanted to ask you about. What can you tell me about creating the mood and scare-factor of this film?

Panu Aaltio: That was the same director as THE TWIN. We started off trying to figure out what the genre of this film was. They started, before I came on board, with some slasher film type music and it wasn’t working. There was a central character that we needed to really feel for, and I told him that it feels more like TWIN PEAKS to me than a slasher movie, so I started from completely the opposite end. I started doing very Badalamenti-like stuff with synth chords and a tender melody and starting to build the scary stuff from that, and it completely changed the movie and we started to really care for those characters. In a way it was similar to THE TWINS, where we started from a very character-driven movie and then we move on to becoming a full-on horror movie. But we had to lead in and let the audience care for the characters before we do horrible things to them! Listen to the track “The Obsession” from LAKE BODOM:

“I’m really lucky to have had so many different genres of films to work on because I also learn, as a composer, from having to reinvent my self. I can’t be repeating the same thing. I’m forced to have new ideas all the time, and I think that’s awesome.”

Q: How would you contrast the challenge of scoring the needs of a modern horror film with, say, something like 5000 BLANKETS? Do you enjoy the opportunity for variety in your film projects?

Panu Aaltio: Yeah. I’m really lucky to have had so many different genres of films to work on because I also learn, as a composer, from having to reinvent my self. I can’t be repeating the same thing. I’m forced to have new ideas all the time, and I think that’s awesome. I feel like when you’re scoring these dramatic moments in horror movies it’s not that different from scoring a straightforward drama film, so it’s when you move out of that area you need to have a difference with more contemporary technique and experiment with sounds, but with human emotion I feel I approach it in a very similar way. Of course with THE TWIN it’s very somber and dark drama, it’s never, like in 5000 BLANKETS, it has to have this shine, and even darker moments have to have hope. It is a very different tone, but I feel that, compositionally, it comes from a very similar place when you’re writing a drama.

DAWN OF THE DRAGONSLAYER (2011): After Will’s father is killed by a dragon, he embarks on an epic journey to seek vengeance against the vicious monster.

Q: An early score of yours was the adventure fantasy DAWN OF THE DRAGONSLAYER. How did you approach this project musically and how did you treat its sense of wonder and dragonfighting with your score?

Panu Aaltio: That was a lot of fun because that was an epic fantasy film so I got to do these very grand vistas with the music. And also a lot of emotion, there was a love story that gave me a chance to score a big love theme. That was a film where I got to try my hand at being as epic as possible. That was, in hindsight, an itch that I wanted to scratch and that film allowed me to do epic things. It’s been a while, but I think for the fight sequences I did some very percussive solutions for those, but mainly that score is about that grand but fairly static orchestration, something like a Hans Zimmer style. I think I was influenced by THIN RED LINE and those kinds of scores for that.

Q: Were you allowed an orchestra for that score?

Panu Aaltio: No, that was all samples. It was a low budget thing.

Listen to the track “A Paladin’s Journey” from DAWN OF THE DRAGONSLAYER:

ORCS! (2011): When marauding orcs invade a US National Park, our collective fates lie in the hands of Ranger Cal Robertson and his side-kick, Volunteer Cadet Hobie, who must stop the wave of destruction before the whole world is overrun.

Q: That same year you scored the comedic fantasy ORCS! How did you treat this project and do you recall the kind of music you were able to provide?

Panu Aaltio: That was much more “smaller” music. It was more of a comedic film, so there wasn’t a lot of room for big, epic orchestration there. It was about playing the action and the moment-to-moment performance.

Q: It’s interesting, like many composers who start out scoring these genre-type films and then branch into something much different. How did you feel about scoring these genre films early in your career, and how that translated into what you’re doing today with a larger variety of projects?

Panu Aaltio: Yeah. I’ve always had a soft spot for genre films. I’ve even directed one horror film myself in 2004 (CURSED FOREST 4, a short film). It’s a joke film but we really worked hard to get some almost professional looking shots and everything! Actually I think my first horror film as director was in grade school – a school project! I gathered up a couple of friends and I used like two VHSs in the corners to edit! So I’ve always loved horror films and fantasy and sci-fi and all kinds of stuff like that. So when I get to do that stuff there’s always the little kid in me who goes “this is really cool, I get to do this as a profession!” But it feels like it’s own thing. Compositionally, I’ll be using techniques that are shared by all genres, but it’s so different from the sensibility of how you approach a lot of scenes – like in a fantasy scene you might have a very elevated sense of emotion and in a serious drama you might have to keep very far from that to stay congruent with the genre. I think they all inform each other but they all have to stay in their lanes in some way. But interesting things happen when you can borrow a bit across the aisle. I’m always looking for those opportunities and surprise the audience a bit. TALE OF THE SLEEPING GIANTS (2021): A journey into the rich mythology of the lakes and rivers of Lapland: the mountains, told in the form of a nature movie.

TALE OF A LAKE (2016): A documentary about Finnish lakes, the nature around them, circulation of water and ancient Finnish mythology.

TALE OF A FOREST (2012): A documentary that unveils the primeval forests of Northern Finland, some of Europe’s sole remaining, old-growth forests.

Q: Three documentary films you scored in Finland have to do with the nature of European mountains, forests, and lakes and the mythology that surrounds them. You received Finland’s Oscar for TALE OF A LAKE – and all three won the Best Original Score for a Documentary award of the IFMCA. How did you approach scoring these projects and what was most challenging – or rewarding – about composing those?

Panu Aaltio: When I started the first one, TALE OF A FOREST – that’s been ten years ago – I had no idea if anyone was even going to watch it because typically when you do a Finnish nature documentary it will have a couple thousand viewers and that’s it. So I felt like no one’s ever going to hear what I do, but I’ll try and do a really good job because nature is so important to me and I always want to do the best job possible. Then it became this surprise hit in Finland because it was released in theaters and it had hundreds of thousands of people who came to see it, so that’s how the sequels happened. The approach for me, especially with the first one, it felt almost like making an album because the film was very open-ended – like many of the modern nature films will build in a lot of drama and film-like narrative. But this was more “we’ll see birds in the trees and we’ll see other animals” but they’re not really doing things, they’re just there. So the music has to create the drama. That was incredibly hard at first but then when I got the hang of it I started to really love it because the music has so much room to do things. I think the newer documentary films have gone a bit more into a narrative direction, so it’s more like scoring those BBC documentaries. But the first one was very open-ended. Listen to the track “The Ice Breaks” from TALE OF THE SLEEPING GIANTS:

Q: So what’s next for you now, that you would be able to talk about?

Panu Aaltio: I can’t say the details, but I’m working on a TV series which is mainly done in Finland but it’s multiple European countries, so it’s a bigger co-production here; and then there’s also an American movie that I’m starting fairly soon.

Thanks to Kate Twilley and Elizabeth Forrest of Impact24 PR for facilitating this interview, and to Panu Aaltio for taking the time to discuss these scores with me. For more information on the composer, see his website at Many of Panu’s film scores are available digitally from MovieScore Media, see: here


About MISSING: From the minds behind Sundance winner SEARCHING comes MISSING, a thrilling roller-coaster mystery that makes you wonder how well you know those closest to you. When her mother (Nia Long) disappears while on vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend, June’s (Storm Reid) search for answers is hindered by international red tape. Stuck thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, June creatively uses all the latest technology at her fingertips to try and find her before it’s too late. But as she digs deeper, her digital sleuthing raises more questions than answers... and when June unravels secrets about her mom, she discovers that she never really knew her at all. MISSING serves as a standalone sequel to SEARCHING (2018). It is based on a story by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty, who also produced the film with Natalie Qasabian. The film stars Storm Reid, Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Daniel Henney, and Nia Long.

About The Composer: Julian Scherle is a German-raised, Los Angeles-based composer, multi-instrumentalist and performer. Classically trained from the age of six, Julian has developed a wide stylistic background with an expertise in unusual artistic approaches. His music was heard in numerous projects covering a variety of formats such as feature films, documentaries, TV series, and video games. Julian’s most recent films include the emotional drama HEART OF CHAMPIONS directed by Michael Mailer (starring Michael Shannon) and LUDEN, a six-part series by Amazon. He has also written music for many hit cable TV shows including the critically acclaimed series MR. ROBOT (USA Network), Ryan Murphy’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY (FX Network), AMERICAN CRIME STORY: PEOPLE VS. OJ (FX Network), and SCREAM QUEENS (Fox).

About the Score: Julian wrote an experimental score, exploring the musical possibilities of A.I. and machine-learning. He wrote his own code, mangled dialog snippets of the actors recorded on set and recompressed the recordings about 5,000 times. Julian researched studies about the psychological effects that compressed music can evoke in humans that may not be present without compression. Remarking on his score, Scherle said: “A project that is solely told through digital surfaces as a medium naturally fascinated me. The human-machine interaction and how digital artifacts like compression affect the way we communicate, was a huge and exciting field for me to explore musically. Being able to write a highly conceptual score and pairing it with the extraordinary talent of the directors and producers was an incredible and fulfilling experience!”
The time- and frequency-based music contains different artifacts of compression, common with Zoom or video chats, creating a synth-driven score that is contrasted with additional percussive, piano, vocal, and string elements. He discovered a microphone that records electrical interference off any type or machine and integrated it into the score.

Watch the trailer for MISSING:

Q: How did you become involved with MISSING?

Julian Scherle: I knew one of the producers, Natalie Qasabian. I worked with her years ago on a short movie and we always tried to work again. She was working on the first SEARCHING (2018) and then on RUN (2020). And the two editors working on SEARCHING are now the directors of MISSING, and they discovered me through one of my solo projects. Besides doing film scores I always create kind of weird concept albums [laughs], stuff that doesn’t really fit into the realm of any type of film score. They came across one of those releases, it was for Són , which was part of a concept album called Ritual, and they liked it and were listening to it while they were writing the script to MISSING. At some point they decided the music was really interesting and they brought it to Natalie, and she says “Oh, yeh, I know this guy! I worked with him before!” So that was kind of a crazy coincidence.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of the experimental score you created for the film, and how did you sell this unique idea to the filmmakers?

Julian Scherle: We had a couple of initial calls and they were very open to doing some type of score that’s a little bit more experimental to begin with. That was fantastic for me. We started working together pretty early, so we had a lot of time to really dig into R&D and snowball ideas about what we could do with the score and what kind of conceptual areas we could explore. For me it was very interesting to investigate what kind of human-machine interface and what kind of information gets lost on the way if you communicate through technology versus communicating with someone in flesh-and-blood. How does that effect you emotionally? Music is all about emotions, so that was kind of the base idea that I pitched them, and that I wanted to explore this whole field. They loved the idea, and said “Just go off and explore and find stuff that you feel is interesting.” So I started recording a bunch of stuff, a lot of exploration of compression – for instance. I’d use an mp3 conversion but instead of converting a file one time I would do that thousands of time – I’d write a script and just create compression garbage, and see what that does, what kind of emotion that creates, and then use that as base material to create different sound effects, different drones, and different pads. I also wanted to explore using AI and machine learning in the context of creating sounds. So that was another field that I spent a lot of time on, training different machine-learning algorithms to create sounds and see what that does and how it sounds.

I used one of my all-time hero composers, Bernard Herrmann, I think he’s one of the most brilliant film composers who did very visionary work for the time period, and was also really great at writing mystery scores, so that was another big source of inspiration. I extracted some of his concepts and used those for the machine-learning. So that’s also in the score. It’s just a huge amount of experimentation that happened, and all that stuff made it into the score. I’m also very glad that Sony was open to experiment and allowed me to create stuff and wasn’t shutting it down. At the end of the day you still have to make a score that also works on the big screen, and is cinematic and impactful… we have all those cool sounds, but we still have to make a good score with them too.

Q: How would you describe “machine-learning” for someone who may not be savvy on what that is, for a score like this?

Julian Scherle: Machine-learning in itself is a very simple mechanism where you have basically an algorithm that trains itself. You have a set of input data and you want to create a certain set of output data, and you train the system over and over again with a set of data until the system comes up with an algorithm that does what it’s expected to do. And then once you have that algorithm you can apply it to all kinds of different sources.

Listen to the title track from MISSING:

Q: You mentioned the need for a score, and certainly there is a structure of ambiance throughout your music, so it’s like a mixture of the machine-learning and the frequency-based music along with what you might need for a listening experience in the film?

Julian Scherle: Right. A lot of this machine-learning stuff is almost like a ghostly character. You can’t really pinpoint what that kind of sound is, which I thought was really cool and fitting mystery. Then, all the compression stuff and electrical interference sounds that are recorded are really harsh and brutal, a very digital kind of sound. It’s a really good tool to create discomfort, but then we also have a story to tell and the characters needed music; we have human connections, we have family scenes, we have a bond, so for all that I had to go back to conventional instrumentation. I have an upright piano here in the studio that I always start out with when I write any type of music; so the main themes are all basically piano and are then translated into synths. We also recorded a chamber-sized string section just for different textures, and for stuff that needs more emotion. There’s nothing that conveys emotion than recording real strings. There were some interesting cross-overs, where I had some digital sounds that I created and then I sent that to my orchestrator and I had him basically rearrange those things and translate them so that an orchestra could play it. That gave me some very interesting results, too.
Q: What story elements – such as June’s unraveling uncomfortable secrets in search of her mother – prompted particular musical or sonic treatments?

Julian Scherle: The main theme of MISSING is something you hear every time June has a new idea. It’s like representing that another clue comes to her; she connects some certain set of information that she has and suddenly had a realization or an idea of what else she can try. Every time that there’s any type of, “ok, we have another impulse, another venue that she can explore,” then we hear that theme. That’s the main theme of the whole movie, and it becomes broken down in something like ten different forms. I like to work theme-based, where I have my motif I have my themes and then I break it down and use it all over the score. So most of the other tonal elements that we have are all services from that main theme. That theme came very, very early. It was one of the first pieces that I wrote for the movie, before I saw any visuals – it was still during the script phase. One day I just woke up with it! As I mentioned I was up in the mountains at that time, I was sleeping outside in the snow in my tent and I had this idea for the theme, and I thought, “wow this is it. I feel it!” So I ran inside to the studio – the computer’s always running so I can always record when something hits me. So that was a very early element of the score. I sent it to the directors and they said, “Yeah, that’s the one. We feel it too!” So that’s the main theme and then we do have another theme, piano-based, and that’s basically the mother/daughter Grace/and/June connection, and that’s also throughout the movie. That is sort of the counterpoint theme to June’s having a new clue theme.

Listen to the track “I Have To Record Her” from MISSING:

Q: You’ve also included some Columbian musical instruments, but distorted or altered so that, while serving as music of the country, they remain unrecognizable in their function in the environment? How did you come up with that?

Julian Scherle: In terms of conveying that we are in a different country, to have the certain flavor of that country, I always think it’s a nice thing to include some authentic instruments. But it’s also very cliché – like if you travel to the Middle East and all the sudden all you hear are ouds and things like that – they’re not even correctly used for a specific country… you hear an oud if you see Syria but it’s Turkish! So I’m very careful about that; I don’t want to use instruments that aren’t authentic to where the film is set. It’s a little bit cheesy, to be honest, but I do like the texture that those instruments create. One big instrument in Columbia is the pan flute, which is a beautiful instrument but it also has a very specific kind of sound that didn’t quite fit into the movie, so instead I got a bunch of instruments that are related to Columbia and experimented with them to tried to see what sounds I could get from them. It still gets a little bit of the texture and the feeling of using instruments from that country but without being so obvious and too much on the nose.

Q: What other kinds of unusual electronic instruments have you used to realize this score?

Julian Scherle: Oh boy! Along with the ones that I mentioned, there was another element – I had a very specific kind of microphone that doesn’t record air pressure change, like a conventional microphone will, but it records electrical interference. So if you point it at a computer screen or any kind of electronic machine it will pick up on small components that are doing something. Microchips, condensers that are loading and unloading, that kind of thing, instead of just picking up on electrical signals. I recorded those for days and was hunting through the neighborhood, through my car – I have a Prius which is a great source for this, there’s a lot of electronics in there! And in the studio I recorded whatever I could find. I used a lot of field recording but then also recording electrical signals. A huge part of the elements that you hear are done with that type of approach. And then obviously I used a lot of different digital tools to manipulate sounds, different engines, different synthesizers. So that was all over the place. I’m a huge analog synth fan, and I have quite a selection of them. All the actual lines that you hear in the themes and the more driving electronic elements, that’s all from my EuroSynth, my EuroRack synth; I use a Prophet-6 pretty much all the time, ARP 2600… so a bunch of different analog stuff. I need more space in my studio!

Q: What was your process of mixing all of that together into what became the coherent score?

Julian Scherle: There’s no clear separation for me for creating sounds, recording sounds, mixing sounds, it’s all happening kind of at the same time.

Q: Without giving away any spoilers, as the film reaches the end, how does the score work to resolve the storyline and conclude your intriguing sonic creation?

Julian Scherle: The aesthetic of the score shifts along with the movie. The chapters of the movie have very specific sound identities, and the last section of the movie sounds dramatically different from the rest of the film – it’s like a natural progression. There are so many different shifts and surprises in the story and the music is going along with those sonic surprises and changes in character as well. There are elements in the last part of the movie that are a little bit of a surprise to the rest of the score.

Q: What was most challenging for you in creating this score?

Julian Scherle: Keeping up with the edit, I would say. Logistically it was a very complicated movie because there’s no clear development of having an edit and then we lock the edit and then we give it over to the effects team, and then you can settle down with whatever it is and finalize the score. It was such an interactive process and all the graphics and everything you see on screen basically happens at the same time, so when the edit changes it means the score has to follow along the entire time. So logically it was very tricky to keep up with the constant change in picture and still write some new music and be able to polish the score continuously while the picture is changing.

Listen to the track “Strangest Case I’ve Ever Seen” from MISSING:

Q: What’s next for you, that you are able to talk about?

Julian Scherle: I just recently scored my first TV show, for Amazon Prime. That’s coming out in a couple of months. I’m very excited about that one, it’s very different in nature. It’s more of a band-driven score, it’s set in the ‘70s/early ‘80s, so it’s a lot of soul, punk, glam rock, kind of an old-school synth approach, Pink Floyd-ish. It’s definitely a very different type of sound from what I did on MISSING!

For more information on the composer, see

The MISSING soundtrack album is available at these links

Special thanks to Kyrie Hood and Yefan Zhang of White Bear PR for facilitating this interview.

See Julian’s discography at Spotify


Overviews: Recently Released Soundtracks

THE ANTARES PARADOX (La paradoja de Antares)/Arnau Bataller/Movie-Score Media - digital
In a race against the clock, Alexandra (Andrea Trepat), a technician working in a Spanish branch of the SETI project, receives a signal from the Antares system that could herald the confirmation of extraterrestrial intelligence (and which she is required to verify); at the same time, she receives the news of her father being at death’s door. She faces a quandary as to which priority should be given to career or to family. The impassioned science fiction drama is directed by Luis Tinoco, a visual effects artist making his debut feature with this film. Spanish composer Arnau Bataller (THE VALDEMAR LEGACY, [REC] 4, THE CHOSEN, MEDITERRANEO: THE LAW OF THE SEA) provides a powerfully moving orchestral score which interprets Alexandra’s predicament, the anxiety regarding her father’s condition, and the duty inherent in the potential message from distant space, which could herald a significant contact with extra-terrestrial life. The score is intimate and equally emotive and anticipative in its crosshairs of Alexandra’s concerted decision-making process, which lends a steady gravitas to a highly dramatic situation. It’s a delicate quandary, musically, and Bataller creates effective tension around Alexandra’s situation which adds a potent anxiety to the story. The score is recorded with The Extremadura Orchestra, a recording and performance orchestra in Spain, supplemented by piano and some electronics. “The use of the main theme is also a paradox because it’s used to talk about Alex’s feelings about her family, a very intimate and personal situation, but also it is used to talk about extraterrestrial life and our place as human beings in the universe,” said Bataller. “There is also music to make the drama advance and create tension and expectation. Despite that the movie has a big technological component, the music only has a slight touch of electronics, being [that] the piano melodies and the big orchestral tuttis [all voices] provide the main use of the score.” The soundtrack makes for a provocative and moving predicament that plays out acutely across the film’s dramatic storyline.
See details at MovieScoreMedia.
Listen to the track “The Miracle” from THE ANTARES PARADOX, via the composer on YouTube:

CONAN THE DESTROYER/Basil Poledouris/Intrada – CD
Intrada’s premiere expanded 2CD soundtrack of Basil Poledouris’s score to CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984) is a fine followup to the first film, and despite having to use a much smaller orchestra than he had on the first CONAN film, Poledouris lends the second CONAN film a satisfactory and effectively full-colored musical accompaniment, especially when reprising his main thematic flavorings from the first film. Originally released on CD by MCA in 1984, with 33 minutes of music, Intrada’s beautifully expanded new rendition offers nearly an hour of soundtrack music, to which is added an extra 16 minutes of alternate tracks – including both original and revised versions of the “Main Title.” Despite its lack of the original film’s powerful substance, the DESTROYER score offers its own musically captivating connection to the Cimmerian landscape and the Frazetta-like ferocity of its titular barbarian hero. Replacing John Milius, Richard Fleischer capably offers the second film less violence (and slightly more humor) than the first, but retains an entertaining color palette in both its sets and its score. This album “took years of complicated licensing negotiation but patience and discussions finally bore fruit,” writes the label. “The crispness and clarity of this original performance by the Union Musicisti di Roma under Poledouris has unrivaled vibrancy, just what one wants from vivid action music. The entire score is presented from stunning 3-channel stereo session mixes vaulted by Universal. Complex license also brings original MCA album program on second disc.” Definitely a worthwhile album for its solid mixes and extended presentation of Basil’s full score. For details see Intrada.

ENOLA HOLMES 2/Daniel Pemberton/Milan digital + CD
In some of director Harry Bradbeer’s comments on the CD booklet, he writes: “The film was running three hours long; it took ages to get going, and the first scene in the match factory was dying on its feet. Here was Enola in a frightening new world of harsh machinery, labour and grime. Adam, the editor, had done a brilliant job, but it lacked spark… Daniel came in to watch the movie. We got to that scene; I was covering my eyes, unable to bear his reaction, when he jumped up, rushed next door and started scrambling in our prop box. He returned with two of the Lyon’s matchboxes. ‘Play the scene again.’ So we did, while he rubbed the sandpaper sides together, in time with Enola’s work. Then he disappeared and came back with Eudoria’s “explosive” soup cans. As he rattled and twanged away something came through that was perky, cheeky – not depressing it all. It spoke of the spirit of those girls as well as the grinding toll. Objects now at the centre of our story were now musical instruments! The game had found its feet again.” From those simple props, Pemberton crafted a world of industrial sounds that became magic in the film’s sonic substance. ENOLA HOLMES 2 is a delightful continuation of its first film and its score is as delightful, inventive, and effective as the first. While it’s primarily an orchestral score, built around themes from the first film, the composer created a delicious repertoire of found sounds that both reflect and bolster the sound design of the movie itself. We are returned to the yesteryear of the Victorian Age where the teenage sister of the already famous detective Sherlock Holmes, in this sequel film, she has opened her own detective agency and takes on her first official case to find a missing girl as the sparks of a dangerous conspiracy ignite a mystery that requires the help of friends – and Sherlock himself – to unravel. The first ENOLA HOLMES movie (2020) was based on the first novel in The Enola Holmes Mysteries series by Nancy Springer, while this second film, rather than adapting one of Springer’s novels, instead takes real-life inspiration from the 1888 matchgirls’ strike, giving the story line a significant historical context while maintaining the traditional humor of the piece. Also, like the previous film, Enola frequently breaks the fourth wall to explain certain things to viewers, which is part of the film’s charm. With Millie Bobby Brown (STRANGER THINGS), Henry Cavill as   Holmes, Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes, the mother of both Enola and Sherlock, Louis Partridge as Enola’s love interest Tewkesbury, Susie Wokoma as Edith, a friend of the Holmes family when in need, David Thewlis as our primary villain, with Sharon Duncan-Brewster as a significant alternate criminal persona, we have a fine cast energizing the storyline and its intrigue. Pemberton’s score is a thorough delight, both establishing the jaunty fun of the storyline and maintaining plenty of late 19th Century suspense and wicked scheming, as well as much of the composer’s delightful energy and found sounds. There’s also a soft choir supporting a variety of period activity such as waltzes, dances, and a wildly and revelatory climactic fight, while wonderfully supporting the period, characters, and delightful mystery to be had. A completely enjoyable film and score with 29 tracks and just over an hour of energetic music; highly recommended.

FRENZY/Ron Goodwin & Henry Mancini/Quartet Records – CD & Vinyl
Well, here’s something we never thought we’d see. Quartet Records and Universal Pictures Film Music Classics have joined together to present the world premiere release of both the used and unused scores for Alfred Hitchcock’s FRENZY, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film. The film marked the director’s triumphant return to London in 1972, and was about a serial murderer who is strangling women with a necktie. After the parting of ways with Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock changed composers in each of his last four films, choosing from those who were popular at the time. The in-depth 23-page album notes essay by writer and composer Deniz Cordell is a thorough and fascinating read, exploring the what and wherefore of Hitchcock’s work with both composers, and why both scores are each magnificent in their own rights. Hitch’s first choice for FRENZY was Henry Mancini, who wrote an elaborate, gothic-hued score featuring an unusual orchestral palette, opening the film with a baroque-influenced organ prelude followed by the sinewy, dour violin passages of largely fugato description with “My Tie is Your Tie,” and “My Kind of Woman.” Hitch felt the score was “too dark and cruel” – too macabre, an apt adjective for Mancini’s sinuous, hopeless sound world. “It may well be that Hitchcock, in hiring a composer best known for his light, modern-inflected touch, assumed Mancini would write music in that vein, and so felt no need to point him exactly in that direction,” surmised Cordell in his liner notes. “The score’s unrelenting atmosphere of unbearable, oppressive tension is further brought to life… through a combination of spare, static rhythms” and the like, which one might have thought would be ideal for Hitchcock’s dark tale of a necktie strangler. But apparently Hitch felt Mancini conveyed too dark a musical treatment, elaborating a bleak worldview rather than supporting the film’s environment, and thus “imposes meaning and emotion upon the film,” which Hitch didn’t appreciate. There were a couple of source cues in Mancini’s more familiar Hollywood style, “Posh For Two,” a light, dappled violin and piano duet, and “Tijuana on Themes,” a delicious piece of Tijuana Brass-styled Mancini pop.
With Mancini out, Hitch brought in Ron Goodwin, then best known for scoring films like the war movies WHERE EAGLES DARE, THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN, OPERATION CROSSBOW and the ensemble period comedies THOSE DARING YOUNG MEN IN THEIR JAUNTY JALOPIES and THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES in the mid-to-late 1960s. Goodwin opens his score with a magisterial fanfare, suitable to the film’s London setting, before creating an effectively suspenseful yet suitably light orchestral palette that met Hitchcock’s taste for FRENZY. His music is aggressive but avoided the dour penetration of Mancini’s more somber nuances. With Goodwin on board, Hitchcock decided “to leave most of the intense, gruesome, and memorable scenes without music, which included one disturbingly silent rape sequence, and numerous offscreen murders that serve to contrast the killer’s atrocities,” wrote Gergely Hubai in his acclaimed book Torn Music: Rejected Film Scores. Mancini, who was friends with Goodwin, mentioned that Ron read him the detailed analysis of what Hitchcock had in mind after he decided he wanted another score. “I wish I had been given something like that to go by,” said Mancini. “It might have been another story.” Mancini has described what he wrote for FRENZY as “a score completely without themes, because it seemed to be the film didn’t require any.” By presenting both composers’ scores, neither previously officially released, listeners can explore and enjoy the work of both artists. Quartet’s collection has been produced, restored and mastered by Mike Matessino from stereo and mono elements vaulted at Universal Pictures, with the collaboration of both the Ron Goodwin and Henry Mancini estates. Definitely one of 2022’s most significant soundtrack releases. See Quartet Records.

THE FUNHOUSE/John Beal/Intrada CD
In Tobe Hooper’s 1981 carnival of horrors THE FUNHOUSE, four Iowa teenagers visit a local fun house for a night of innocent amusement, but soon become trapped in a dark ride, where they soon become stalked by a deformed murderous carnie (Kevin Conway). Intrada released an 11-track promotional CD of Beal’s vivid orchestral score back in 1998, but now they offer the complete score in a 33-track, 77.35-minute soundtrack CD which is sure to please the dark carnie within all listeners. Beal creates a gripping score, much built around carnival and calliope motifs, representing the carnival setting interspersed with crashing horn, strings, and percussion. Beautifully spooky, Beal carries the listener from the penny arcade to the murky, malevolent darkness of the not-so-Funhouse.  The music carries a claustrophobic mood, its sharp chords emerging from shadows and crashing into a myriad of funhouse mirrors, then slashing off in other directions, supported by eerie tones of violin and synth. Beal’s dark music evokes images of shadowy tents with untied, wind-whipped doorflaps, malevolent clowns whose eyes glimmer with dagger points, and the rustling growls of some frightful beast obscured by the darkness. The calliope motif, as well as a melancholy theme for solo woodwind, are the primary recurring thematic pieces – the majority of the score utilized conventional orchestration (employing a 57-piece orchestra) to obtain a variety of spooky and horrific tonalities and atmospheres. The concluding moments of the film resolve the score through deep, downward chords of strings and synth echoed by upward spiraling shimmers of harp – massive groaning chords of despair and unfun resolution. The mix of music that is serenely soft or quietly menacing suddenly opening into a rapid propulsion of full orchestra maintains a deliciously provocative feel. “When scares arrive, Beal unleashes in kind with intense fortissimo episodes of musical fury,” writes the label. “Interestingly, while intensity is keynote, Beal relies on propulsive energy and exciting jabs of color rather than overt dissonance to underscore the thrills. First half of the score leads to the horror, second half provides the thrills.” In addition to Beal’s gripping score, Intrada also includes a number of extra tracks featuring carnival music, calliope tunes, and assorted cues used by the composer as source music as the teens wander through the carnival. Even the bulk of these pieces play with an unsettling veneer. The complete score is presented courtesy of Universal, mastered from the 24-track session tapes recorded by Rick Riccio, mixed by Matt La Point. The CD package is designed by Kay Marshall and includes informative booklet notes by John Takis. For more details and to order, see Intrada.

THE GODFATHER 50th Anniversary Edition/Nino Rota/La-La-Land CD
La-La Land Records, Paramount Pictures and Geffen Records present a remastered and expanded Limited Edition 2-CD release of acclaimed composer Nino Rota’s original motion picture score to the 1972 Academy Award-winning masterpiece THE GODFATHER. This deluxe release of Nino Rota’s iconic masterwork marks the 50th Anniversary of the classic film and its score, both of which have woven themselves deeply into the fabric of our culture. The music is a dramatic and emotional wonder – deeply soulful and romantic, yet tragic and teaming with pathos. While the original MCA 31:30 min. soundtrack record released in 1972 was satisfactory for its time, this new edition from La-La Land is a complete revelation, providing more than an hour of Nino Rota’s music as conducted by Carlo Savina for the film soundtrack. The addition of new materials as well as alternate takes and bonus tracks, provide a penetrating exploration of the score that is wholly new outside of viewing the film itself. Opening with the crystal clarity of a haunting trumpet of the main theme, then segueing into a brief rendition of the “Corleone Waltz” which defines the wedding scene before more extended presentations occur later in the film. Rota had composed an up-tempo jazz “Hollywood” track, written for Tom Hagen’s visit to Tinsel Town, but it was replaced by source music at the insistence of studio exec Robert Evans; the same held for Rota’s “Christmas” and “Las Vegas Strip” cues, both similarly replaced with period music. These tracks, unused in the finished film, are delicious treatments heard here for the first time; a number of other thematic cues include material not used in the film, such as the largely extended treatments of “The Halls of Fear,” “The Pickup,” and “The Baptism” making their unique fullness most welcome. The additional music selections for Disc 1 include different arrangements of “The Horses Head (trumpet solo)” and alternates of the Main Title, “Bad Luck,” “Set the Meeting,” and the “End Title” as well as the original film versions of “The Horses Head” and “The Halls of Fear Pt. 1.” Disc 2 houses the original 12-track soundtrack album mix, along with 9 period dance tunes as bonus tracks that showcase some of the music by Carmine Coppola. All in all a thoroughly splendid extended version of Nino Rota’s magnificent crime drama score. Tim Grieving provides thoroughly detailed 21-page liner notes about the film and its score. For what it offers in terms of a thorough presentation of Rota’s magnificent score, this CD should definitely be considered a must-have. See LaLaLand Records.

HUNTERS, SEASON 2/Rupert Gregson-Williams/Lakeshore – digital
Lakeshore Records has released Rupert Gregson-Williams’ (WONDER WOMAN, AQUAMAN, THE CROWN, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, CATCH-22 and THE GOLDEN AGE with brother Harry) score to the second season of HUNTERS (Cristobal Tapia de Veer scored the first season, 2020). The series is a period crime thriller/alternate history that follows a diverse band of Nazi hunters living in 1977 New York City who discover that numerous escaped Nazi officers are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the United States. The final season of the series dropped all episodes on Jan 13th on Prime Video, where, after an accident derails their exploits in Europe, the Hunters band back together to hunt down history’s most infamous Nazi, Adolf Hitler, who’s been hiding out in South America. The final second season affords the composer with some splendid orchestra and choir material, which he weaves effectively into a multi-layered backdrop for the action thriller. Gregson-Williams notes: “Working with a talented and enthusiastic writer who is also the show runner is an enormous thrill on a TV show, and the collaboration with David Weil proved to be a great ride. The cultural depth, emotions, and musical language of the Hunters gave me so much to feed off. The darkness and humor offset it all too. Amazon were very supportive in giving me the support to use choir and orchestra, as well as all the fabulous solo artists I had at hand.” It’s an energetic score, among its 30 tracks the standouts include “They Will Stay,” with its percussive lead-in to a penetrating horn blast opening into a vast array of powerful string motifs that calm into a series of moody, and finally agitato elements; an eerie mix of orchestral measures and tonalities that keeps the cue driving from start to finish; “Chavas Story” a mesmerizing layering of string, keyboard, and layered vocalistic tones; “Call Home” with its progression of eerie timbres and keyboard notes, switching midway into tentative intonations and furtive string tinges dappled by harp notes and a bit of evaporating mist of bell chimes. “Survivors” is a tentatively fascinating creation and one of the longer tracks at more than four minutes – a thick violin melody over faint measures of strings and hollow-sounding voicings traversing a field of whispering tones and softer violin lines, captivating in its ambient treatments. “Confession” takes some of the vocalise off of “Survivors” and adds a delicate series of piano notes; “Kitchens Clear” is a spicy mix of ethnic strings, percussion, and low brasses to conclude a bold raid by the Hunters. “Misheard” sets up an aggressive mix of string melody and percussive beats, thoroughly suspenseful and bridged by some lovely violin rhythms, piano notes, and low cello elements, while a gathering mix of various strings segueing into light winds are interrupted by a recurring series of echoing drum beats. “Birdy” reprises in longer substance the brief horn blasts from “They Will Stay” with a harmonization of dark suspense tonalities and treatments; the conclusive and downright happy tones of flutes in “A Joke” open into full orchestra and choir, while the conclusive “A Flaw” reprises a similar treatment but with a slight air of disturbance or uneasiness in its tones and cadences. Overall a very fascinating score throughout that offers an intriguing and gripping musical resonance for an engaging thriller. Purchase/Stream:
Listen to Gregson-Williams’ Season 2 Main Title:

L.A. Confidential (Deluxe Edition)/Jerry Goldsmith/Varèse Sarabande - CD
No composer was better suited to score a picture than Jerry Goldsmith with L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997), director Curtis Hanson’s masterpiece of the James Elroy novel about corruption in 1950’s Los Angeles. Not only was Goldsmith a master of the thriller and crime genres, but his own career started in the era depicted in the film, and he had scored the all-time great detective noir, CHINATOWN. Goldsmith’s score facilitates the film’s action as well as its underbelly of Los Angeles setting, providing both an unnerving pace and surging rhythms that fit the score’s drama, along with a recurring main theme for trumpet that maintains the film’s sense of mystery and growing pulse. Malcolm McNab’s performance of the atmospheric and bluesy trumpet theme carefully measures the film’s time period while reflecting “a certain bygone era of honor and justice, while making the film ingeniously slick and contemporary – and, as always for Goldsmith, emotional,” writes the label. Comments Tim Greiving in his thorough liner notes, “The one warm glow in the score is Goldsmith’s melancholy love theme for “Bud and Lynn” [Russell Crowe & Kim Basinger], a tender tune to show his tender side… There isn’t much room for tenderness in the rest of the film so the love theme drops into the background.” But as a splendid modernesque/period noir, Goldsmith’s score remains on the money from start to finish, and the extended listening afforded by the label’s deluxe presentation is a thoroughly admirable and absorbing listening experience. This Deluxe Edition features two programs on one disc: 28 tracks, running 45 minutes, representing the cues heard in the film, followed by the original 11-track, 30-minute score album. Informative new liner notes are by Tim Greiving. Limited to 2000 copies. See Varèse Sarabande for details.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Collection/Elmer Bernstein/Quartet Records- CD
Quartet Records in cooperation with MGM have released a dynamite four-disc CD collection of Elmer Bernstein’s music for the four MAGNIFICENT SEVEN movies. The package comprises four films produced between 1960 and 1972, all of them scored by the great Elmer Bernstein, presented on a four disc soundtrack set. From the iconic first film, a genre-defining masterpiece, its score reflecting to a degree the work of Aaron Copland, Bernstein mixed Americana with Tex-Mex elements without quoting actual folksongs. From his iconic main theme introduced in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and carrying across all three sequels, Bernstein’s music is rich in themes and vigorous in its suspense and tension. The score of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was not officially released until 1998 by Ryko; for this new release, the label has accessed three 1/4” full-track monaural rolls of “print” takes vaulted by MGM to expand upon the earlier edition; several bonus tracks are included at the end of Disc 4 due to insufficient room on the first disc. With the 1966 sequel, RETURN OF THE SEVEN, on Disc 2, only the celebrated re-recording done by Bernstein in London has survived; the scoring masters and music stems remain lost. Quartet newly transferred the 1/4” 12-track stereo album master and have maintained the spacing the composer placed between each track; CD 2 also offers the CD premiere of the rare 15-track album recorded by the composer for a promotional Philip Morris & Co. campaign on United Artists Records, The Music From Marlboro Country, sourced from the 1/4” stereo album master, which offers a unique new look and treatment of the score and related elements. GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN may be the most varied and musically satisfying of the sequels; here the label reprises on Disc 3 the same extended stereo program produced by Lukas Kendall for a 2007 Film Score Monthly long-out-of-print western box set. For the final entry in the series, 1972’s THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN RIDE!, Bernstein’s orchestrators, Leo Shuken and Jack Hayes, adapted the composer’s thematic material to fit sequences in the movie, with Bernstein recording at the Universal Scoring Stage. Scoring masters remain elusive, so the label accessed the monaural music stem to include the 45 minutes of score heard in the film on Disc 4, filled out by 9 tracks of score cues and additional music from the original MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. The result with this four-CD presentation is indeed a magnificent soundtrack, and we’re grateful for its carefully curated presentation of Bernstein’s marvelous scores for this franchise. The package is produced, restored and mastered by Chris Malone and including a 36-page booklet with an in-depth essay covering each of the scores by authoritative music writer Frank K. DeWald. Magnificently recommended.!

France’s Music Box Records presents on a single CD two original motion picture soundtracks for Jacques Deray’s films composed and conducted by Claude Bolling: NETCHAÏEV EST DE RETOUR (Netchaïev Is Back, 1991) and ON NE MEURT QUE DEUX FOIS (He Died with His Eyes Open, 1985). The former film, adapted from Jorge Semprún’s novel, tells the story of the bitter reunion of Marroux (Yves Montand), director of the DST (French Intelligence Service) and Netchaïev (Vincent Lindon), his revolutionary son. Bolling (BORSALINO, WEB OF FEAR, THE HANDS OF ORLAC) composed a slow march theme accompanied by strings and woodwinds. The former, comprising the first 18 tracks, introduces the music in its main title, a compelling martial cadence for piano and snare drum, with the percussion switched for strings and winds midway through; while the rest of the score is comprised of discreet and atmospheres mixing emotion and suspense. Within those two constraints, the score is tense, dour, and suspenseful, occasionally pensive or reflective, but providing an interesting, somewhat muted elegance in its harboring rhythm. Director Deray “liked to keep the real urban noises in the [film’s] soundtrack, mixed the music at a slightly lower level,” writes Gilles Loison in his liner notes (English translation by Iris Le Guinio). “It thus became a harmonic component of the soundtrack. For some sequences, he only used a few bars of the corresponding theme. Netchaïev’s [motif] remains predominant, thus making the characters presence more pervasive, even when he does not appear on screen.” (Review continues below)
Listen to the track “Netchaïev” via YouTube:
The second score, adapted from Robin Cook’s novel of the same name, occupies the final 12 tracks of the CD. Set in London’s murky underworld of London, this film tells the story of Detective Staniland (Michel Serrault) investigating the death of a pianist. While conducting his investigation, he meets Barbara (Charlotte Rambling), the mistress of the murder victim who confesses to the crime. In order to translate the mystery surrounding Serrault and Rampling’s characters, Bolling chose a saxophone – the faithful companion of a film noir detective – as his primary element, along with the naturally ominous footsteps of low end piano notes (perhaps suggestive of the deceased player of this instrument early in the film) and some brief percussion rattles, enhanced by the portentous melody of a bass flute, as introduced in the main title. Aside from the mysterious melodies, Bolling provides a pleasing variety of luxurious motifs, such as the delicate classical piano melody, “Chopinesque,” which serves as a recurring motif for the deceased pianist or  operating as source music when the late virtuoso’s record is played. An elegant motif for a variety of strings adds a charming romantic motif for the character “Barbara,” the immersive “La Douche” (The Shower) adds a sensuous opulence to another romantic moment, while a variety of diegetic source music is provided for visits to a nightclub (electric rock and provocative saxophone), restaurant (piano, strings, and flute), photo studio, and the den of young drug dealers (electric blues), not to mention the raucous sax rock & blues for the concluding track, “For L.A.” The package includes a 12-page booklet with liner notes by Gilles Loison in both French and English; the CD is available in a limited edition of 500 units. See MusicBox Records to order or sample further tracks.
Listen to the title track from ON NE MEURT QUE DEUX FOIS via YouTube:

NIGHT OF THE TOMMYKNOCKERS/Scott Glasgow/Fourteen Kings Music - digital
Scott Glasgow has scored the Western horror film NIGHT OF THE TOMMYKNOCKERS, directed by Michael Su and starring Richard Grieco, Tom Sizemore, and Robert LaSardo. When miners blast for gold in the 1870’s, they accidentally release ancient creatures known as Tommyknockers. The Town of Deer Creek, Nevada, is soon under siege with only a handful of survivors held up in the local saloon. “This one features a bunch of exotic instruments and approaches – percussion: rock gong, devil chasers, jaw harp, American Indian drums, cimbalom, and so much more,” said Glasgow. “Guitars – tons of bowed, plucked, and scraped detuned stringed instruments played by me, and a detuned lute with the brilliant playing of Justin Smith, and Western music Morricone style with my own aggressive orchestral material and theme.” This is a compelling score mixing sci-fi horror with folk and Italian Western influences; one of Glasgow’s most intricately designed scores to date. With 32 tracks and an hour and 14 minutes of provocative music as the story processes through rugged Western elements into strident horror territory, the score advances with period instrumentation and quickly winds up in dangerous territory, merging the panic of the Tommyknockers appearing in town mixed with the gentle cadence of acoustic guitar, punctuated by the rough, abraded scratching of the scraped instruments (“Fireside” is a great blend of the two formats, closing with the rumbling echoes of timpani). “The Next Heist” is a provocative mix of the plucked and the bowed, a growing tempo that slowly concludes with a fading whisper. The score describes the desolate and seemingly empty town of Deer Creek with a desolate mix of dusty guitar, jaw harp, cimbalom, and a reprise of the rolling timpani tunes. (review continues below)
Listen to the track “The Town of Deer Creek” via YouTube:

The startling discovery of an eruption of hungry Tommyknockers explodes into a frenetic mix of aggressive percussion and flailing strings in “The Saloon Attack,” with another hostile assault preluded with “Escape the Town” and forcefully arranged with percussion, plucked and bowed violins, and a dizzying variety of raucous orchestral  elements in “Tunnels.” A return to the main theme in “Into The Sunrise” and “The End” brings our saga to a close. It’s a nicely mounted Western horror film with a solid cast, and Glasgow lays down a potent score which is both sonically likeable, robust in its dimension and intensity, and enjoyable to listen to on disc. The soundtrack is available on Glasgow’s label – check it out through Spotify or Amazon.
Listen to Glasgow’s title theme from NIGHT OF THE TOMMYKNOCKERS:

SPIDER-MAN 30th Anniversary Score/Danny Elfman/La-La Land Records/CD
The 20th Anniversary of 2002’s SPIDER-MAN film from Columbia Pictures/Sony Music is celebrated by La-La Land Records with a remastered and expanded 3-CD deluxe presentation of Danny Elfman’s original score. This super-hero adventure starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Willem Dafoe, directed by Sam Raimi, swung the titular webslinger onto the big screen for the first time, launching a blockbuster film franchise and creating another wonderful artistic collaboration between director Raimi and composer Elfman, who had previously teamed up for DARKMAN and A SIMPLE PLAN. Originally released in 2002 by Columbia Records with a 15-track presentation, La-La Land has upped the super-hero ante to 3-CDs, showcasing Elfman’s score in all its full-webbed glory, remastered and expanded with a bounty of previously unreleased material. Disc 1 features the original 2002 score soundtrack assembly plus two bonus tracks, while Discs 2 and 3 unleash the expanded film score presentation, a total of 2½ hours of music in all. “The fortunate thing about Spider-Man is he’s a much more American character, and I was able to move the music, for lack of a better term, in a more American direction,” Elfman said, quoted in Jeff Bond’s album notes. “In BATMAN, I was leaning much more towards my own Prokofiev, a bit of Wagner, perhaps, because of the dark, gothic tone of that movie. Even though I didn’t have a specific model for SPIDER-MAN – I wasn’t listening to Copland or anything – I did find myself consciously moving in the American direction for the character.” The additional music adds greatly to the score as an independent listening experience and provides some major cues that wouldn’t fit on the 2002 single-CD release. Produced by Neil S. Bulk and Dan Goldwasser, and mastered by Doug Schwartz from studio vault elements, this special release is limited to 5000 units and features a 32-Page booklet with exclusive in-depth liner notes by writer Jeff Bond and heroic art direction by Dan Goldwasser.

TILL/Abel Korzeniowski/Universal – digital & CD
This is one of the most profoundly moving and affecting scores of the last year. This is not only a very sad – and sadly true – story, but it’s one that needs to be told, ensuring that the resonance of this horrendously, intolerantly racist crime is remembered. It happened in 1955 Mississippi, where Emmett Till is murdered in a brutal lynching. Steadfastly and poignantly directed by Nigerian-American filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu, the film focuses on his mother, who vows to expose the racism behind the attack while working to have those involved brought to justice, a difficult thing in the midst of Southern US intolerance and prejudice. The film is an important and powerful indictment of 1950s racism – which sadly still surges among us, as painful it is to realize that. Award winning Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski (THE COURIER, THE NUN, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, PENNY DREADFUL, ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW) has scored a sympathetic and sublime score, favoring the string section with occasions for winds, percussion, and piano; but it’s the strings that remain the heart of the score. The music begins with a pleasing melody as we get to know Emmett and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley in Chicago, and here’s where the winds step in to describe the affable and gregarious 14-year-old Emmett, eager for an approaching visit with his cousins in Money, Mississippi. Not understanding the racial mores of the Mississippi community while visiting a small grocery store, Emmett happens to speak to white Carolyn Bryant, the 21-year-old pretty woman proprietor of the store, and later innocently whistles at her, acknowledging her beauty. Korzeniowski opens the score with the affable “Through the Tunnel,” the delicate piano and violin melody of “Chicago,” and the violin and woodwind measures of “Watch,” when, just before he boards the train for Mississippi Emmett hands his watch to his mother for safekeeping. It will be the last time Mamie will ever see him alive. And then the music drowns all of the lightness out of the opening music with rapid bowing of violins in “Wolf Whistle,” signifying to us what the danger of his behavior means, unknown to him, as a black male interacting with a white female in the Jim Crow-era South. “They’ve Come for You!” illustrates via severely evocative violin figures the result of his unintended slight, as a few nights later, Bryant’s husband and his half-brother, armed, went to Till’s great-uncle’s house and abducted Emmett. His mutilated body would be found, days later, in the river. (review continues below)
Listen to the track “I Know What The Verdict Is” from TILL, via YouTube:

The film presents Mamie’s perspective throughout, from her grief, the discovery of Emmett’s body (“The Tallahatchie River”), her insistence that the casket containing her son’s brutalized body be left open to show the world what had been done to him (“This Is My Boy,” haunting strident piano & violins, increasing in tempo, and the longest cue on the soundtrack), and the difficulty of attending the trial of her son’s killers in the midst of a court prejudiced against her race. Korzeniowski covers this all with sympathy while maintaining a musical voice for both Emmett and his mother as the movie unfolds. “The Story Must Continue” binds Mamie’s persistence in seeing the trial through, despite the jeers thrown her way by the locals in the courtroom, as a slow thread of melody from solo violin reverberates purposefully over a bed of resonant 3-note string figures. A wash of strings over quickly-fingered piano notes in “We Do the Best We Can” maintains Mamie’s steadfast composure throughout the grueling trial, until she finally decides to leave the proceedings, telling her father, who had joined her for moral support, that it’s now pointless because “I Know What The Verdict Is.” A reprise of the violin figure from “The Story Must Continue,” only stronger and higher, in “I’m Ready To Go,” playing over low, three-note violin figures, joined by rising piano notes, flute filigrees, and snare drum fills as Mamie valiantly departs from Mississippi without a backwards glance. The album concludes with the affecting “Emmett’s Room,” reprising a violin theme introduced earlier in “This Is My Boy” and repeated when Mamie arrives in “Money, Mississippi” and retraces her son’s steps at Bryant’s Grocery, now recurs evocatively at the film’s end when Mamie is symbolically reunited with Emmett, imagining him as if he were still alive, still cheerful and smiling. (review continues below)
Listen to the track “I’m Ready To Go” from TILL, via YouTube:

Says Korzeniowski in an interview with Jazz Tangcay of Variety, “It was important for Chinonye that we don’t end in darkness, so this ending is a way of saying, Mamie won’t be broken, she will prevail and change the world in the process. We wanted the score to reflect the internal conflict and transformation, instead of underscoring the objective reality. We focus on a present moment, magnified by long, patient close-ups, compelling the viewer to look and keep looking, deeper into the character’s eyes.” I’ve found TILL, both film and score, to be profoundly moving and one of the most affecting film experiences of the year.
Watch the trailer for TILL:


Film Music News

Grammy Winners for music, bestowed on Feb. 5th, are Germaine Franco (ENCANTO – Best Score Soundtrack) and Steph Economou (ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA: DAWN OF RAGNAROK – Best Score Video Game). Congrats to both ladies!

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2022, for the 19th annual IFMCA Awards. Composers Bear McCreary, Michael Giacchino, and Daniel Pemberton lead the list of composer nominees with eight, seven, and five nominations respectively, closely followed by Simon Franglen (4), Alexandre Desplat (3), and John Williams (3). The IFMCA will announce the winners of the 15 categories of the 19th Awards LIVE on the IFMCA YouTube channel on February 23, 2023.
Read the full details at IFMCA.

The Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL) awarded composer Justin Hurwitz and director Damien Chazelle with the 2023 Spirit of Collaboration Award at the 4th Annual SCL Awards, presented on February 15, 2023. The Spirit of Collaboration Award is an achievement award presented to a composer and filmmaker who maintain a distinguished creative partnership reflected in their body of work. Hurwitz and Chazelle have collaborated on acclaimed projects including GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH (2009), WHIPLASH (2014), LA LA LAND (2016), FIRST MAN (2018), and BABYLON (2022). The SCL also presented two 2023 Jury Awards in recognition of the increasing number of ways music is used in an audiovisual context; the recipients of this year’s Jury Awards have been presented to the opera, Omar, and the audiovisual concert experience, Women Warriors: The Voices of Change. To learn more about the SCL Awards and to see the complete list of nominees, please visit SCL’s website here. - via Costa Communications, Inc

The composer organizations of the five Nordic countries have announced their national nominees for the 13th Annual HARPA Nordic Film Composers Award. The award ceremony will take place on Feb. 18th during Nordic Film Music Days in Berlin. The nominees are Martin Dirkov (Denmark) for HOLY SPIDER, Anna Mari Kähärä (Finland) for RUTHLESS TIMES: SONGS OF CARE, Jørund Fluge Samuelsen (Norway) for ALLE HATER JOHAN, Eðvarð Egilsson & Páll Ragnar Pálsson (Iceland) for SKJÁLFTI/QUAKE, and Anna von Hausswolff & Filip Leyman (Sweden) for MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD. The HARPA Nordic Film Music Days & Composers Award was introduced by the Nordic composer organizations in 2010.
For more information, please visit

Hollywood Records has released its newest episode of their music docuseries & podcast – THE BIG SCORE. This episode features composer Nicolas Godin giving an inside look at his work on FIRE OF LOVE. The Big Score is an original series offering first-person audio and video vignettes that delve deep into the creation of film and television music for influential and award-winning movies and series. Video episodes run 5-7 minutes, intercutting the main interviews with direct scene commentary and behind-the-scenes footage. Meanwhile, the podcast will span 20-30 minutes, providing in-depth perspective from the composer. (See more details on FIRE OF LOVE in Documentary Film & Soundtrack News section below).
Watch the episode or listen to the podcast here:

Ludwig Göransson is set to score Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming bio drama OPPENHEIMER, which tells the story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb. The film stars Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer and Emily Blunt as his wife, biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer, supported by Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Matthew Modine, Josh Hartnett and Kenneth Branagh. The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on July 21, 2023, by Universal Pictures.

Award-winning composer John Debney has scored Paramount Pictures’ 80 FOR BRADY, starring Rita Moreno, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin. Inspired by a true friendship, the movie is a comical yet genuinely emotional tale of four women over the age of 80 who set out to pay homage to quarterback Tom Brady’s refusal to ever give up – only to have to tap into that same spirit on the craziest trip of their long and amazing journey together. Tom Brady co-stars in the film and came on-board as a producer. Debney recorded the score with a 60-piece orchestra; the film opened in theaters on February 3rd.

The Second Season of STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH, a 16-episode animated series created by Dave Filoni launched on Jan 4th on Disney+ and runs through March 29, 2023. Composer Kevin Kiner, assisted by his composing sons Sean and Dean, have returned to score the Second Season, after scoring the first season, as well as Filoni’s previous animated series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS and STAR WARS: REBELS. (FYI – see my in-depth interview with Kevin, Sean, and Dean Kiner about scoring THE BAD BATCH Season 1 and other Filoni series, at my Sept. 2021 Soundtrax column). Watch the new trailer for THE BAD BATCH Season 2:  

SHRINKING is a 10-episode comedy now streaming globally on Apple TV. The series stars Jason Segel and Harrison Ford in one of his first major television roles. The series follows a grieving therapist (Segel) who starts to break the rules and tell his clients exactly what he thinks. Ignoring his training and ethics, he finds himself making huge, tumultuous changes to people’s lives… including his own. The music is by Emmy-nominated composer and songwriter Tom Howe (TED LASSO, EARLY MAN), with a Main Title Theme, “Frightening Fishes,” co-composed with multi-platinum, GRAMMY Award-nominated artist Benjamin Gibbard – co-founder, lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of Death Cab for Cutie, and one half of electronic duo The Postal Service.

From the acclaimed Japanese director of MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN Ryuhei Kitamura (also NIGHTMARE CINEMA, LUPIN THE 3RD, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS, BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL, AZUMI, VERSUS)  comes a gripping thriller with THE PRICE WE PAY. Premise: After a pawn shop robbery goes askew, two criminals take refuge at a remote farmhouse to try to let the heat die down, but find something much more menacing. Composer Aldo Shllaku, an Albanian born classically-trained film and TV composer based in Los Angeles, has scored the thriller. He is known for the films VANQUISH, NIGHTMARE CINEMA, KILL ‘EM ALL, DOWNRANGE, PARANORMAL ASYLUM, and many more since 2001.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS HONOR AMONG THIEVES follows a charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers as they undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people. The film brings the rich world and playful spirit of the legendary roleplaying game to the big screen in a hilarious and action-packed adventure. Lorne Balfe is scoring the upcoming fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, premiering at South by Southwest on March 10, 2023, with a theatrical release set for March 31, 2023 from Paramount Pictures.

Composer George Kallis had a busy 2022 with THE LAST WARRIOR 3: A MESSENGER OF DARKNESS, Marcelo Grion’s sci-fi actioner THE PROTOTYPE, about a government agent who stumbles upon an alien conspiracy to conquer Earth, and the romance dramas FIRST LOVE and AFTER EVER HAPPY. All but THE PROTOTYPE are available with digital soundtrack albums. Kallis is now scoring Mitesh Kumar Patel’s horror thriller WOMAN IN THE MAZE, about a young woman who rents a cursed house, forcing her to solve the mystery to find a way out; and is set to score the sci-fi thriller CROSSPOINT for director Dustin Kahia.

In the white-knuckle action movie PLANE, pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) saves his passengers from a lightning strike by making a risky landing on a war-torn island – only to find that surviving the landing was just the beginning as dangerous rebels quickly take most of the passengers hostage. Brodie’s only help comes from Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI. In order to rescue the passengers, Torrance will need Gaspare’s help, and will learn there’s more to Gaspare than meets the eye. The film is scored by Marco Beltrami and Marcus Trumpp, and was released on January 13th through Lionsgate. A score album has been confirmed and will be coming soon, via Beltrami’s unofficial news website.

FAST X (also known as FAST & FURIOUS 10) is the sequel to F9 (2021), serving as the tenth main installment, and the eleventh full-length film in the FAST & FURIOUS franchise (including the HOBBS & SHAW spin-off). FAST X is directed by Louis Leterrier, having taken over directing duties last May after Justin Lin, the film’s original director, left production in April. Brian Tyler returns to the franchise with this installment, having scored six of the last previous films in the franchise. In this sequel, Dominic Toretto must protect his crew and family from Cipher, who now joins forces with Dante, the son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes, seeking revenge for his father’s death. FAST X is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 19, 2023, by Universal Pictures. Its sequel, intended to be the main series’ final installment, is now in development.
Watch the 4K Trailer launched Feb 12:

Composer Imrad Ahmad is scoring the forthcoming horror film WITCH, which takes place in a small town in 1575 England. William (Ryan Spong) embarks on a journey to prove the innocence of his wife, Twyla (Sarah Alexandra Marks), falsely accused of being a witch and will be put to death if found guilty. William must hunt down the real witch, to save Twyla from death. Ahmad, known for scoring The Ford Brothers’ acclaimed zombie films THE DEAD (2010) and its sequel, THE DEAD 2: INDIA (2013), is a British/Indian film composer and music artist; his latest feature film THE LEDGE, starring Ben Lamb was released in February 2022. For more information on the composer, read my interview with him about scoring THE DEAD and its sequel in my February 2015 Soundtrax column. WITCH is currently forthcoming with a release date to be announced.

For more details, follow the film’s Twitter account and watch the film’s trailer, below:

Serving as a sequel to the original 2020 sci-fi action thriller, THE OLD GUARD 2 stars Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Henry Golding, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Uma Thurman. The new movie is directed by Victoria Mahoney (LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, THE RED LINE) and will premiere this year on Netflix. Composers Max Aruj and Ruth Barrett are composing the new film. The first movie followed a covert team of immortal mercenaries, all centuries-old immortals with the ability to heal themselves, who discover someone is onto their secret, and they must fight to protect their freedom. THE OLD GUARD 2 is a sequel to the first film (released July 2020) but its plot has not yet been revealed.

WOLF PACK is an American supernatural teen drama television series created by Jeff Davis for Paramount+, based on the 2004 book of the same name written by Canadian author Edo van Belkom. The film follows a teenage boy and girl whose lives changed forever when a California wildfire awakens a terrifying supernatural creature. As the full moon rises, all teens come together to unravel the secret that connects them. The series has been scored by Dino Meneghin, a Los Angeles-based composer. The WOLF PACK series premiered on Paramount+ on January 26, 2023. Watch the show’s trailer:

Neal Acree has scored the second season of THE LEGEND OF VOX MACHINA, an adult animated fantasy television series produced by Critical Role Productions, Titmouse, Inc., and Amazon Studios, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on January 28, 2022. The series is based on campaign one of the Dungeons & Dragons web series CRITICAL ROLE. The second season premiered on January 20, 2023, and Amazon has already renewed the franchise for a third. In the series, Vox Machina, a band of eight unlikely heroes, find themselves on a quest to save the realm of Exandria from dark magical forces.

Along with primary composer Jeff Russo, the third season of STAR TREK: PICARD has several episodes that include the work of composers Stephen Barton and Frederick Wiedmann. Barton is known for scoring the MULTIVERSE video game, the animated TV series MYSTERIOUS PLANET, 12 MONKEYS tv series, and much more; EMMY-Award winning Wiedmann is best known for THE DRAGON PRINCE, BIG NATE, OCCUPATION: RAINFALL, CHASING WATERFALLS, TREMORS: SHRIEKER ISLAND, and much more, including numerous films in the DC Animated Movie Universe. “I had the fantastic privilege to help with the music for this entire campaign,” Wiedmann posted on Facebook. “So big shoutout to the brilliant music team behind the trailer music, Gemma Hyesu Wiedmann (Orchestrator), Jason LaRocca (mix), Henrik Åström (holding it all together), and the beautiful Scottish National Orchestra for their spot-on performance on this!” STAR TREK: PICARD Season 3 premiered on February 16 on Paramount+. Watch the Season 3 trailer:

Dara Taylor (THE INVITATION, 37 WORDS, THE BOYS PRESENTS: DIABOLICAL [Episode 6], AMERICAN REFUGEE) is scoring Universal’s STRAYS, an upcoming live-action adult animated comedy film directed and produced by Josh Greenbaum. The film stars Will Ferrell, Isla Fisher, Randall Park, Will Forte, and Jamie Foxx. A subversion of the dog movies we know and love, STRAYS is a funny R-rated live-action comedy about the complications of love, the importance of great friendships, and the unexpected virtues of couch humping.

This Summer, a legend will face his destiny. Harrison Ford returns in INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY in theaters June 30. The highly anticipated fifth installment of the iconic Indiana Jones franchise, which is directed by James Mangold (FORD V FERRARI, LOGAN). Starring along with Ford are Phoebe Waller-Bridge (FLEABAG), Antonio Banderas (PAIN AND GLORY), John Rhys-Davies (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK), Shaunette Renee Wilson (BLACK PANTHER), Thomas Kretschmann (DAS BOOT), Toby Jones (JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM), Boyd Holbrook (LOGAN), Oliver Richters (BLACK WIDOW), Ethann Isidore (MORTEL) and Mads Mikkelsen (FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE). John Williams, who has scored each Indy adventure since the original RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in 1981, is once again composing the score. Watch the Big Game TV spot dropped during the Super Bowl:

Award-winning composer Christophe Beck returns to score Marvel Studios’ third installment in the MCU Ant-Man series, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. The film marks Beck’s fourth collaboration with director Peyton Reed, with whom he collaborated on the previous Ant-Man films and the 2000 comedy, BRING IT ON; Beck also scored the Marvel hit series WANDAVISION and HAWKEYE. Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, and Kathryn Newton, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA opens in theaters on February 17th. The digital soundtrack album was released by Marvel Music on February 15th. Shifting to a higher-stakes tone from the more lighthearted nature of the previous Ant-Man films, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA allowed Beck to take the music of the Ant-Man franchise into more epic territory. While maintaining continuity from the preceding scores with odd meters and recurring themes, Beck dives deeper with experimental sounds and the use of old and new technology to take this score to the next level. The score was recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London with 80 musicians, with additional recording at Synchron Stage in Vienna.

Norway’s First Werewolf Movie, VIKINGULVEN (VIKING WOLF) is coming to Netflix this February. The film is directed by Stig Svendsen (THE RADIO PIRATES). The film has to do with 17-year old Thale, who has just moved with her parents to a small town after her mother accepts a new job in the local police. After a student is killed brutally at a party Thale attends, she becomes a key witness. Was the killer an animal? A wolf? The film is scored by Norwegian composers Bjørnar Johnsen, known for THE ELEVATOR (2012), RESPEKT (2008), THE RADIO PIRATES (2007), SWITCH (2007) and Kjetil Schander Luhr, known for BETWEEN AGES 8 AND 13 (2021), RECONSTRUCTING UTØYA (2018), the animated television series OLLIE (2020) and the comedy drama series THIEVES (2018). The film premiered at the Ramaskrik horror and fantasy Film Festival in Oppdal, Norway last October and is now available to stream Netfix. Watch the film’s trailer, via Netflix:

Holly Amber Church has scored MIRANDA’S VICTIM, a biographical crime drama directed by Michelle Danner and starring Abigail Breslin, Luke Wilson, Andy Garcia and Donald Sutherland. It is based on the story of Patricia “Trish” Weir, who was kidnapped and raped by Ernesto Miranda in 1963. Committed to putting her attacker in prison, Trish’s life is destroyed by America’s legal system as she triggers a law that transforms the nation: the Miranda warning. MIRANDA’S VICTIM premiered Feb. 8th at the Santa Barbara Film Festival; general release info not yet announced. In other Holly Amber Church news, be sure to check out her new Tiki Lounge TV Themes album down in the Vinyl section below!

In the forthcoming Netflix thriller THE STRAYS, Neve (Ashley Madekwe), deputy head of a private school, lives with her husband Ian (Justin Salinger) and teenage children in an idyllic country town. But her carefully crafted upper-middle-class life begins to unravel with the arrival of two shadowy figures from her past. THE STRAYS trailer “turns the perfect life into a nightmare,” commented John Squires, reporting recently in Bloody Disgusting. “It ratchets up the tension to expose the perfect life as a perfect lie.” Ivor Novello and BIFA nominated French composer, pianist, and recording artist Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch has scored the thriller; for more details on the composer, see Levienaise-Farrouch’s website. THE STRAYS creeps into release on Netflix worldwide on February 22nd. Watch the trailer for THE STRAYS:

REBEL MOON is an upcoming epic space opera film directed by Zack Snyder. The film depicts a peaceful colony on a galaxy’s edge which is threatened by the armies of a tyrannical regent. The desperate civilians dispatch Kora, a young woman who has a mysterious past to seek out warriors from nearby planets to help them challenge the regent. Tom Holkenborg has confirmed he will score the project, having composed music for a number of Snyder’s previous films. “Happy to announce that @ZackSnyder and I have reunited once again for the space fantasy epic REBEL MOON,” Holkenborg posted in a twitter tweet. “I’m excited for you all to experience this!” The film is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on December 22, 2023, with a limited theatrical release being planned. A follow-up, REBEL MOON PART 2, is scheduled to be shot with the film back-to-back. – via FilmmusicReporter, and other sources.

The American-Italian composing duo Susan DiBona & Salvatore Sangiovanni have recorded their score for Jordan Inconstant’s short animated French Western movie, BLOODY FURY. The short film is a kind of environmental Western featuring James Phelps and Bill Nighy, and aims to raise awareness about the impact humans have on animals and the environment: in the Far West, the fur trade is raging. Bloody Furry, one of the last red wolves, decides to avenge his exterminated family. But is revenge the best solution to find the way to redemption? Director Inconstant aims to encourage the protection of animal life, especially wolves. Nighy voices the animated wolf and Phelps portrays the cemetery caretaker. DiBona & Sangiovanni have crafted an orchestral score with a variety of Italian Western configurations, including references to Morricone, Elmer Bernstein, and Aaron Copland, not to mention playing the very same saloon piano that was used in DJANGO UNCHAINED. See Jon Mansell’s interview with DeBona and Sangiovanni at MovieMusicInternational; also watch a splendid behind-the-scenes look at the scoring sessions for BLOODY FURY:

Joseph Shirley (THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT with co-composer with Ludwig Göransson, score programmer on CREED II, VENOM, BLACK PANTHER) is scoring CREED III, a sequel TO CREED II (2018) and the ninth installment in the ROCKY film series, which heads to theaters and IMAX on March 3rd. Shirley is also scoring the third season of Lucasfilm’s Disney+ original series THE MANDALORIAN, in which bounty hunter Din Djarin has reunited with Grogu; meanwhile, the New Republic struggles to lead the galaxy away from its dark history. The Mandalorian will cross paths with old allies and make new enemies as he and Grogu continue their journey together.
Shirley has previously provided additional music to the first two seasons of the show as part of Göransson’s team; for Season 3 Shirley is credited as the score composer and Göransson for providing the themes as they did with BOBA FETT. Season 3 of THE MANDALORIAN will premiere on March 1, 2023 on Disney+. – via filmmusicreporter and other sources. Watch the Season 3 trailer:

UNWELCOME is a new folk horror film directed by Jon Wright. The film has to do with a married couple who escape their urban nightmare to the tranquility of rural Ireland only to discover malevolent and murderous goblins lurking in the gnarled, ancient wood at the foot of their new garden. The film also reunited the GRABBERS creature team and has been scored by Christian Henson (WOLFBLOOD, TALES OF HALLOWEEN, ROBOT OIVERLORDS, GRABBERS, POIROT TV series, ALIEN: ISOLATION game score). UNWELCOME premiered at the Sitges Film Festival last October 14th and was released in Ireland and the United Kingdom on January 27, 2023, by Warner Bros. Pictures. A USA release has not yet been announced.

Marco Beltrami is scoring RENFIELD, a fantasy/horror comedy focused on Dracula’s henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum who has grown sick and tired of his centuries as Dracula’s lackey. Directed by Chris McKay (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, TOMORROW WAR), this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Nicholas Hoult (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, X-MEN franchise) stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Nicolas Cage). Renfield is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness, if only he can figure out how to end his codependency. He finds a new lease on life and maybe even redemption when he falls for feisty, perennially angry traffic cop Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina). RENFIELD also stars Ben Schwartz, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Caroline Williams. Universal Pictures will release the Skybound Entertainment production on April 14, 2023. – via Beltrami’s unofficial news website.
Watch the RENFIELD trailer:

AGENT ELVIS (formerly titled AGENT KING) is a forthcoming animated series from Sony Pictures Animation, to be released worldwide by Netflix. The series follows Elvis as he trades in his jumpsuit for a jetpack, joining a secret government spy program to help battle the dark forces that threaten the country. Composers Tyler Bates (JOHN WICK series, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series; ATOMIC BLONDE, DEADPOOL 2, WATCHMEN, 300) and Tim Williams (THE SWEARING JAR, SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS, FINAL FREQUENCY, BRIGHTBURN) are scoring the film – they recently collaborated on the score to Ti West’s PEARL.
AGENT ELVIS doesn’t yet have a release date – watch Netflix for details.

SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS is coming to theaters on March 17, 2023 in the United States. The film is a sequel to 2019’s SHAZAM! and is the 12th installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). In the film, a family of teenage heroes led by Billy Batson/Shazam take on the villainous Hespera and Kalypso, daughters of the Greek titan Atlas. It is directed by David F. Sandberg (SHAZAM!, ANNABELLE: CREATION, LIGHTS OUT) and stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Djimon Hounsou, with Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu as the story’s major villains. The film is being scored by Christophe Beck (FROZEN, EDGE OF TOMORROW, WANDAVISION, HAWKEYE, ANT-MAN series); this will be his first score for a DC super-hero film. Watch the film’s Official Trailer #2, released last January 26th:

THE WRATH OF BECKY is a sequel to the 2020 thriller BECKY wherein teenager Becky’s (Lulu Wilson) weekend at a lake house with her father takes a turn for the worse when a group of convicts wreaks havoc on their lives… and she goes after them with a vengeance. The new film features Wilson returning as Becky; after living off the grid for two years, she finds herself going toe to toe against Darryl, the leader of a fascist organization, on the eve of an organized attack. Composer Nima Fakhara (LOU, AMERICAN CARNAGE) scored the first BECKY film, and has returned to the franchise to score the sequel. (See my interview with Nima about scoring the first BECKY and other films, here). THE WRATH OF BECKY is scheduled to premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2023.

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS is an upcoming s.f./action film based on Hasbro’s Transformers toy line and primarily influenced by the Beast Wars storyline. The movie is the seventh installment in the TRANSFORMERS film series and a stand-alone sequel to BUMBLEBEE (2018). Set in the year 1994, BEASTS will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce a whole new breed of Transformer – the Maximals – to the existing battle on Earth between Autobots and Decepticons. Composer Jongnic Bontemps (GODFATHER OF HARLEM, 4400, VOODOO MACBETH, THE PEOPLE VS THE KLAN) is scoring the picture; he is the first person of color to compose for a live-action TRANSFORMERS film, and the third composer in the series after Steve Jablonsky and Dario Marianelli. See his website here. TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS is scheduled to be released theatrically in the United States on June 9, 2023, by Paramount Pictures. Two sequels are reportedly in development. Watch the film’s teaser trailer:

Grammy®-winning singer Ayana Haviv, equally proficient in any style of pop, folk, musical theater, ambient/ethereal, and “ethnic”-flavored film music, had a busy 2022 and is equally in demand here in 2023. Along with numerous choir sessions for Marvel, Disney, and Joseph LoDuca’s CHUCKY, she has sung a few solos and duets with frequent collaborator Joel Virgel for composer Marcelo Zarvos’ score to EMANCIPATION; sang solos on 8 episodes in ethereal style on Season 2 of Cliff Martinez’s Amazon Prime show THE WILDS, continuing her collaboration from Season 1, sang a folk song duet with her son Eitan on the Apple TV+ show THE SHRINK NEXT DOOR, interpreted an Andorian Opera for Jeff Russo’s STAR TREK: DISCOVERY score, and sang an ethereal piece, partially improvised live to picture, for Christopher Lennertz’s Season 3 score to LOST IN SPACE (listen to it here), and several live performances for the LA Opera and Master Chorale.  
Listen to Haviv’s Andorian Opera from STAR TREK: DISCOVERY:



New Soundtrack News

Intrada kicks off February with Alan Silvestri’s score to the 1991 thriller SHATTERED. With the generous cooperation of MGM and Sony Music Entertainment, this new edition features a significant helping of previously unreleased tracks, expanding the Silvestri program from around 20 minutes on the original release to over an hour.  Silvestri’s unique orchestration restricts the orchestra to strings, piano and percussion, further augmented by electronics. The result is a sound that captures the confusion and mystery with which the main character must wrestle. Intrada produced this release from the digital two-track stereo master elements. Due to the nature of the score, including many memory flashes of the main character, Silvestri fashioned shorter, fragmented statements. Many of these were assembled into the main program, but those that were not ideal for a coherent listening experience have been placed in the Extras section of the album.  See Intrada for details or to purchase.

La-La Land Records announces the 30th Anniversary of the 1992 big-screen biographical drama CHAPLIN with a newly remastered, deluxe presentation of the film’s original motion picture score by legendary composer John Barry. CHAPLIN, Richard Attenborough’s biopic of the legendary film comedian (played by Robert Downey Jr., and featuring Chaplin’s daughter Geraldine Chaplin as Chaplin’s mother), features one of Barry’s last great works for the cinema. His notable and elegant orchestral score is an integral part of this creative and thoughtful chronicling of the career of the great Charlie Chaplin. Barry’s diverse and thematically rich original score, recorded at Abbey Road with the English Chamber Orchestra, also interpolates a number of Chaplin’s own music compositions such as “Smile” and his scores to CITY LIGHTS and LIMELIGHT. Produced by Neil S. Bulk and mastered by Doug Schwartz, this special limited edition CD presentation is expanded with previously unreleased material and includes exclusive liner notes by journalist/author Jon Burlingame. This release is limited to 3000 units. See La-La Land Records.

La-La Land Records also presents an all-new restored, remixed, remastered and expanded Ultimate stereo presentation of composer Harry Manfredini’s original motion picture score to the 1981 feature film sequel FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2. In 2021, the discovery of original FRIDAY score elements culminated in La-La Land’s “Ultimate” restoration of the first film’s music. Now the label has followed that acclaimed release with FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2: THE ULTIMATE CUT, the newly restored, remixed, and expanded presentation of Manfredini’s iconic score to the horror franchise’s first sequel. “The score is now richer, bolder and as unstoppable as Jason himself,” writes the label. The new deluxe album also includes music never before heard or released.
Available now from La-La Land Records.

Quartet Records presents a pair of remastered CD reissues of long-out-of-print killer soundtracks from Ennio Morricone. The 1975 police thriller IL GIUSTIZIERE (aka The Human Factor) follows John Kinsdale (George Kennedy), a computer engineer who, after his family is brutally murdered for an unknown reason, sets out to find those responsible. Morricone’s score features several variations on the beautiful family theme which eventually gains new meaning as Kinsdale must carry the burden on his own. The music for the terrorists features the psychedelic, percussion-heavy and often ostinato-based cues that Morricone typically reserved for the steamy chaos of his poliziottecshi titles. The second CD is a reissue of Morricone’s bizarre giallo score for the 1974 thriller L’ULTIMO UOMO DI SARA (aka Sarah’s Last Man). Oddo Bracci stars as Paolo Castellano, an artist who wants to investigate the death of his ex-wife Sara long after the police declare the case closed, slowly realizing that the identity of the killer is captured on film – which might be why the police want the case closed as soon as possible. Both of these scores were previously released by GDM; these new editions contains the same programs produced by Claudio Fuiano and Dániel Winkler, and have been rebuilt and remastered by Chris Malone from the first-generation stereo master tapes. Both CD packages include a richly illustrated booklets with Gergely Hubai discussing the film and the score. Available now from Quartet Records.

Music Box Records has recently released composer Philippe Sarde’s score to MORT D’UN POURRI (Death of a Corrupt Man), which Georges Lautner directed in 1977 based on a novel by Raf Vallet. With the indestructible Alain Delon at the center of attention and a splendid small role by Klaus Kinski, it’s a French political thriller based on the novel by Raf Vallet. The film features legendary saxophonist Stan Getz fronting the London Symphony Orchestra. “This score is one of Sarde’s most beautiful and emblematic works, a musical embodiment of a solitary character and the archetypal instrument of the American film noir,” writes the label. The package includes a 12-page booklet featuring exclusive liner notes by writer Gérard Dastugue and new comments by composer Sarde. This release is limited to 750 units. See details here. The label also released the soundtrack for the animated film PATTIE AND THE WRATH OF POSEIDON (2023) composed and orchestrated by Olivier Cussac. The film, directed by David Alaux, tells the escapades of a young adventurous mouse in ancient Greece who, aided by Sam, the cat who adopted her, to save their city from the wrath of Poseidon. After LES AS DE LA JUNGLE (The Jungle Bunch), TERRA WILLY – PLANÈTE INCONNUE (Unexplored Planet) and PIL (already published by Music Box Records), the music of Pattie and the anger of Poseidon is once again composed by Olivier Cussac who signs a very colorful orchestral score in the great tradition of films adventures, full of action and humor, thus navigating within a universe which sometimes recalls that of Danny Elfman or Michael Giacchino. MusicBoxRecords.

MovieScore Media has released Gabriel Yared’s score to L’ENVOL (Scarlet), a 2022 drama feature film directed by Pietro Marcello. The film follows the emancipation of a woman over twenty years, between 1919 and 1939, a time of great inventions and great dreams. “I composed the film’s main themes both before and during the shooting,” explained the composer. “The score for L’ENVOL is based on the songs I composed long before the shooting. These provided the inspiration and thematic elements for what followed. Since the film has a very intimate style, I wanted to carry this feeling onto the music, which is why all the pieces are orchestrated for a small ensemble. In the Passacaglia, which opens the album, I pay homage to J.S Bach whose music both Pietro and I adore.” The digital album is available from MovieScore Media; Quartet Records will release a CD edition in the near future. MSM has also released Anne-Kathrin Dern’s score to the 2022 horror film, THE DEVIL CONSPIRACY. The film tells of a biotech firm posing as a secret enigmatic cult which is able to clone history’s most impactful figures with cutting-edge technology using Jesus’ DNA – DNA in which they have access to after stealing the Shroud of Turin. Filmed in the Czech Republic it was released at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival on September 10, 2022, and in theaters on January 13, 2023. “THE DEVIL CONSPIRACY is my first step into the horror/thriller genre, and a completely different approach to scoring compared to what I usually do,” wrote the composer. “This time I dove into a combination of synthesizers and sound design, paired with Baroque choirs, pipe organ, and electric guitars. I really enjoyed the absolute freedom of non-traditional scoring – the possibilities were truly endless, it almost felt like sculpting and painting sound. The religious and supernatural aspects of the film allowed for a very unique mix of sounds that I rarely get to play with. I truly hope that audiences will enjoy this step away from my usual fare.” The digital album is available from MovieScore Media.

Hollywood Records has released the BARBARIAN (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). The horror thriller is about a woman staying at an Airbnb who discovers that the house she has rented is very much not what it seems. The film is written and directed by Zach Cregger and stars Bill Skarsgård, Georgina Campbell, and Justin Long.
The film is scored by composer Anna Drubich. She recently scored HYPNOSIS (2020), the horror comedy thriller WEREWOLVES WITHIN (2021; see my news bit here), and the drama thriller JANE (2022). Many of Drubich’s sounds for the BARBARIAN score were originally created as opposed to using sample library sounds. “When you have only three weeks to score the whole film, on one hand it’s difficult because that’s not very much time, but on the other hand it makes you not double guess. You just jump into the project and totally follow your instincts and the director’s instincts. You don’t discuss a lot how it should be – because you don’t have any time for that... I think the most important thing was to create a unique soundscape, and make sure that all these sounds combine well with each other,” Drubich told me in a recent interview at musiquefantastique.
The BARBARIAN soundtrack is available here.  

Columbia Records has released Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack to Guillermo Del Toro’s stop-motion PINOCCHIO in both mp3 digital and CD formats, containing both the composer’s score and his songs heard in the film. See Amazon here for both editions; listen to “Carlo’s Theme” from the film, below:

Directed by Oliver Park in his feature film debut and originally shot as ABYZOU, the horror film THE OFFERING delves into familial themes of grief, denial, and shame within a Hasidic family as Arthur (Nick Blood) returns to his childhood home in Brooklyn with his pregnant wife, Claire (Emily Wiseman), hoping to reconcile with his father, Saul (Allan Corduner), in order to clear an outstanding debt. Saul works as the undertaker for the local Hasidic community, and unfortunately, their latest corpse carries a Jewish demon with plans for Claire’s unborn child. As the body count rises and the fate of Claire’s baby hangs in the balance, the family must dive into Kabbalah lore to ward off the entity and protect their future. Composer Christopher Young has scored the film, fresh from composing music for “The Autopsy” episode in Guillermo del Toro’s CABINET OF CURIOSITIES and the 10-episode Apple-TV+ black-ops thriller series ECHO 3. Premiering last September at Fantastic Fest 2022 in Austin, Texas, Millennium Media has bestowed THE OFFERING to theaters and digitally (Amazon Prime, Vudu, etc.). A digital soundtrack was released on the same day from Amazon. A CD edition is scheduled for release in February from Notefornote Music (check their website).
- via FilmMusicReporter and other sources. 

In other Christopher Young news, Tribeca Tunes has released a digital version of the soundtrack album for the 2014 Chinese fantasy adventure THE MONKEY KING: HAVOC IN HEAVEN’S PLACE (aka simply THE MONKEY KING) directed by Soi Cheang and starring Aaron Kwok, Chow Yun-Fat, Peter Ho, Kelly Chen and Joe Chen. This is one of two Chinese MONKEY KING films that were scored by Christopher Young. The film is based on an episode of the 16th Century Chinese literary classic, Journey to the West, written in the Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng’en. It tells of Sun Wukong (The Monkey King), a monkey that is born from a heavenly stone who acquires supernatural powers and must battle the armies of both gods and demons to find his place in the heavens. This beloved story is as much a part of Asian culture as The Iliad and The Odyssey or The Wizard of Oz are to the West. This first installment in a trilogy of live action 3-D movies [Young did not score the third film] is actually a prequel to The Journey To The West, the much told story of the Monkey King’s adventures on the road to India. It is the origin story of The Monkey King – beginning with the birth of Sun Wukong and ending with his imprisonment for his crimes under the Five-Peaked Mountain. Along the way he acquires incredible powers... The soundtrack is available to stream/download on Amazon,  and most other major digital music services. In 2015, Intrada released a CD version of Young’s score as well as a CD release of his music from the 2016 sequel. For further details on the score, see my interview with Christopher Young about scoring the two MONKEY KING films at musiquefantastique.
- via filmmusicreporter (< sample a track from the score at that link) and other sources.
Watch the film’s 2014 trailer (in Mandarin with English subtitles):

Sky Music announces the soundtrack release of FUNNY WOMAN (Original Music) by Nainita Desai. The comedy series is about a young woman from Blackpool finding her comic voice in the male dominated world of 1960s sitcom. Gemma Arterton stars as Barbara Parker – the force of nature who takes London by storm; her journey from Blackpool beauty queen to comedy superstar and nation’s sweetheart is set during the cultural explosion of the 1960s. Nainita Desai comments on the score: “The music is a very strong character within the show and the entire musical world and score is rooted in the 1960’s. Popular musical culture exploded at the time so there was so much to be inspired by a wealth of artists such as The Yardbirds, The Shadows, Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, The Ronettes. I’ve never written in this musical genre before, so it was huge fun to embrace an upbeat, guitar band-based palette where I got to put my stamp on it. I grew up immersed in pop and rock music, so it felt like coming home!” The 26-track album is now available here.

Lakeshore has released THE TERMINAL LIST – Music from the Original Prime Video Series, with music by Ruth Barrett. Based on the best-selling novel by Jack Carr, THE TERMINAL LIST follows James Reece (Chris Pratt) after his entire platoon of Navy SEALs is ambushed during a high-stakes covert mission. Reece returns home to his family with conflicting memories of the event and questions about his culpability. However, as new evidence comes to light, Reece discovers dark forces working against him, endangering not only his life, but the lives of those he loves. Barrett describes the making of the score: “The soundtrack takes you on a journey through the series, starting with ‘Answers or Blood,’ an Outlaw Country-styled version of the theme. It’s a really personal story, about one guy going to the edge and beyond, so the palette is intimate. There are spare and simple emotional tracks scored for an acoustic guitar, cello, and violin. The action tracks are extreme and uncompromising – abrasive synths and wild waves of percussion – we’re on an unstoppable train into hell as Reece seeks vengeance at any cost. Reece is the embodiment of consequence but something is very wrong with his brain.” The album is available from these links. For more details, see my interview with composer Barrett on scoring THE TERMINAL LIST in my July 2022 Soundtrax column. Amazon has confirmed that Season 2 is coming, but not likely until 2024 due to Pratt’s availability. Additionally, Prime Video revealed that it also ordered a THE TERMINAL LIST prequel series, focused on Taylor Kitsch’s Ben Edwards.

Lakeshore has also released Ruth Barrett’s LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME – Original Series Soundtrack Season 2. Barrett notes: “The season 2 music is an expansion of the OC soundworld with more mayhem and grit. Season 2 kicks off with Vinnie Jones starring as an Albanian gangster, so the music had to be considerably more intense. The Albanian themes reference traditional folk music and polyphonic chants mixed up with gritty synths and percussion. We journey through the McClane hacker storyline with synth driven tech sounds and baroque strings and into the Brotherhood zone which is more of a scratchy messed up blues. The soundtrack ends with the combat cross theme, a development of Stabler’s theme exploring his feelings of guilt and regret about his father.” See my review of Season 1 in my December Soundtrax.

Caldera Records celebrates its 49th CD-release Roy Budd’s score for the 1977 motion picture WELCOME TO BLOOD CITY, an unusual genre-mix that plays with elements of western, romance, thriller and science-fiction decades before THE MATRIX would premiere. The film has to do with a group of people who find themselves to be slaves in what looks like a Wild West town, but with no memory of who they are or how they got there. In this town, people advance through killing others; one of them decides to go for the top position. Directed by Peter Sasdy and starring Jack Palance, Keir Dullea and Samantha Eggar. The film was not a commercial or critical success, and Roy Budd’s score remains the best thing about it. It is also the most unusual work in his oeuvre, as becomes clear during the opening credits with its abstract effects, a lone flute solo, and the use of echoplex. Budd’s score is more experimental and austere than any of his other compositions. Despite his score’s jazz inflections and aggressive orchestral moments, it is neither a grand symphonic score nor a driving jazz composition for which the composer from Croydon, England, had become famous. In his score, Budd doesn’t rely on themes and melodies but on motifs and moods instead. The lonesome, haunting flute solo at the beginning skillfully captures the deserted landscape and troubling alienation of the unwitting pawns while echoplex (used famously in PATTON by Jerry Goldsmith whom Budd admired and befriended) provides a sense of mystery and hints at the science fiction element of the story. Filling out the CD are seven tracks from THE SANDBAGGERS, a short-lived but well-reviewed and admired British spy TV series about men and women on the front lines of the Cold War, set contemporaneously with its original broadcast on ITV in 1978 and 1980. The CD features detailed booklet-text by Stephan Eicke and elegant artwork by Luis Miguel Rojas. For more details or to order, see Caldera.

A new soundtrack album has been released for Hallmark Hall of Fame’s 1982 television adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME directed by Michael Tuchner and Alan Hume (uncredited). This TV presentation was the sixth film adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel (of at least fourteen to date; first filmed in France in 1911, by Universal with Lon Chaney in 1923, with Charles Laughton in 1939, Anthony Quinn in 1956). This 1982 TV presentation starred Anthony Hopkins (as Quasimodo, the hunchback), Derek Jacobi (Frollo), Lesley-Anne Down (Esmeralda), Robert Powell (Phoebus) and John Gielgud (Jacques Charmolue). The film was composed by Academy Award winner and Emmy Award nominee Ken Thorne (1924-2014; HELP!, SUPERMAN II & III, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU). The 13-track soundtrack album has been released by CD PROJEKT and is available to stream/download on Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, and other major digital music services. Thorne’s music was previously released on a promotional soundtrack CD, which also included the composer’s score for HANNIE CAULDER, by Prometheus Records. 1982’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME movie is now available on VOD and DVD. - via filmmusicreporter and other sources.

Hollywood Records has announced the release of AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), now available on all streaming platforms. Featuring music by GRAMMY® Award-winning composer Simon Franglen, the 22-track soundtrack also includes the original song “Nothing is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” written and performed by The Weeknd, and produced by Swedish House Mafia along with Simon Franglen. An extended AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (Original Score) album was also released last December, and includes 11 additional score cues from the film not available on the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. See this link for the digital release as well as to pre-order the vinyl edition.

Lakeshore Records has announced the digital soundtrack to SHOTGUN WEDDING, featuring music by Emmy-nominated composer Pinar Toprak (MCMILLIONS, CAPTAIN MARVEL, STARGIRL, KRYPTON). The multifaceted score ranges from romantic to whimsical to thrillingly exhilarating providing the perfect backdrop to the comedy action film.  Directed by Jason Moore, the film stars Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge and Lenny Kravitz. Toprak notes: “Writing the score for SHOTGUN WEDDING was a joyful and uplifting experience. Our director Jason Moore gave me freedom to create some unique sounds in particular for the comedy moments while the beautiful backdrop and cinematography allowed room for the bigger moments to shine. The actors being so great at their craft (I was laughing out loud as I was writing) allowed me to translate into music subtle details each time. Going from romance to big action, from tango to fun and funky comedy, this score was incredibly diverse and fulfilling.” The soundtrack is now available from these links.

Brian Tyler and Breton Vivian have scored the new Western drama television series 1923, which premiered last December 18 on Paramount+. The series is a prequel to the Paramount Network series YELLOWSTONE and serves as a sequel to the spin-off series 1883. The 1923 series is set to run for two seasons with eight episodes each. Tyler and Vivian have also completed their score for YELLOWSTONE Season 5, which was released last December 9th via Lakeshore Records. Says Tyler: “YELLOWSTONE continues to be one of the most incredible artistic endeavors of my life. Taylor Sheridan’s visionary series has allowed me to compose some of my most emotionally resonant music. The music has evolved along with the series, and in Season 5, we incorporated the greater stakes and the emotions that accompany them. I continue to collaborate with Breton Vivian to create atmospheric and thematic music that hopefully immerses the listener in a world of passion, tragedy, and hope with the natural tones of orchestra, fiddle, and instruments from around the world.” Purchase/Stream Yellowstone Vol 5 here; purchase 1923 at Amazon and other sources. Listen to Tyler & Vivian’s main theme from 1923, via YouTube:

GRIMCUTTY is a 2022 monster horror film written and directed by John Ross, known for THE BIRCH and BITE SIZE HORROR TV series, SHADOWS OF THE DEAD, FREAKY FARON. The film was distributed in the USA by Hulu on October 10th, in Latin America by Star+, and internationally by Disney+. In this modern creature feature, a scary internet meme called “Grimcutty” stirs up panic amongst all the parents in town, convinced it’s making their kids harm themselves and others. Hollywood Records has released the GRIMCUTTY Original Soundtrack with music by Sara Barone, (known for scoring AFTER MASKS, THE DESIRING, and providing additional music for LOVE DEATH & ROBOTS, orchestrator for GODZILLA VS KONG, score programming for ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG). The soundtrack is available at these links.

Netflix Music has released the 17-track soundtrack album for the limited series THE WITCHER: BLOOD ORIGIN. The new series serves as a prequel to the Netflix television series. The 6-part prequel is set 1,200 years before the events of THE WITCHER television series. BLOOD ORIGIN will depict the creation of the first Witcher, as well as telling the story of seven outcasts in an Elven world who join forces in a quest against an all-powerful empire. It will also explore the ancient Elven civilization before its demise. The prequel series has been composed by Emmy Award winner Bear McCreary and is available now from Amazon. Watch a short video on “Crafting the Sound of The Witcher: Blood Origin,” as McCreary works with vocalists Morgan Sorne and Declan de Barra and Electric Violinist Paul Cartwright to craft the sound of the series:

Back Lot Music has released SPOILER ALERT (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by Brian H. Kim. Based on Michael Ausiello’s best-selling memoir, the film is a heartwarming, funny, and life-affirming story that tells the story of Michael Ausiello and Kit Cowan’s relationship, which takes a tragic turn when Cowan is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The film marks Kim’s third project with director Michael Showalter, and first wide-release studio feature. The delicate nature of the film’s plot meant that Kim had to challenge himself to create a soundtrack that was sensitive to the subject. The score is a hybrid of atmospheric EDM, prepared piano, and strings, while still remaining personable to the listener. The music changes dramatically throughout the film, making sure not to overpower the storyline. Kim planted the seeds early with themes that would come to fruition later when the film became more emotionally intense. The album is available here.

Back Lot Music has also released the score by Herdís Stefánsdóttir (Y: THE LAST MAN, THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, THE ESSEX SERPENT, WE’RE HERE) from M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological horror thriller, KNOCK AT THE CABIN. The film is based on the 2018 novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul G. Tremblay. The movie follows a young girl and her parents who are taken hostage by a group of armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. The soundtrack is available from Back Lot Music at these links, as well as from Amazon. Read Daniel Schweiger’s interview with Herdís about scoring KNOCK AT THE CABIN at The Film Music Institute.
- via FilmMusicReporter and other sources

In further Back Lot Music news: Composer Anthony Willis (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: HOMECOMING, FORTNITE, THE HIVE) has provided a striking score for Universal’s horror thriller, M3GAN. When Gemma, a robotics engineer, suddenly becomes the caretaker of her orphaned 8-year-old niece, Cady, Gemma’s unsure and unprepared to be a parent. Under intense pressure at work, Gemma decides to pair her M3GAN prototype with Cady in an attempt to resolve both problems – a decision that will have unimaginable consequences when the life-like doll begins to take on a life of its own. Willis’ composes a score rich with warm strings, flourishing harps, and breathy, ethereal pop vocals, emulating the innocence of a child. The film’s subject of AI gave him the opportunity to experiment with metallic sounds, managing to mix euphoric tones with vibraphones and synths while still sounding organic. While much of the score is lighter, Willis still finds opportunities to include classic horror music where necessary, along with noir references and intensely sinister orchestral sounds. The digital soundtrack is available now from Back Lot Music at these links.
Listen to the track “On The Subject of Death:”

Hollywood Records has released the soundtrack to FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE with music by Caroline Shaw. The film follows recently-separated surgeon Toby Fleishman as he enters the world of app-based dating and finds more success than he ever had the last time he was single. When his ex-wife Rachel disappears, he’s left with their kids and no hint of where she is or whether she plans to return. The album is available here. The label also released WELCOME TO CHIPPENDALES, an original score album by Emmy nominated composer Siddhartha Khosla (ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING, THIS IS US, THE RUNAWAYS). A sprawling true-crime saga, WELCOME TO CHIPPENDALES tells the outrageous story of Somen “Steve” Banerjee, an Indian immigrant who became the unlikely founder of the world’s greatest male-stripping empire – and who let nothing stand in his way in the process. This album is available here.

Will Bates has scored the AMC+ series MAYFAIR WITCHES, based on Anne Rice’s best-selling trilogy, Lives of the Mayfair Witches. The 8-episode series focuses on an intuitive young neurosurgeon, Rowan (Alexandra Daddario), who discovers that she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, she must contend with a sinister presence that has haunted her family for generations. Of the soundtrack, the composer says, “The gothic horror of New Orleans and the complexity of Anne Rice’s characters really allowed me to experiment with instrumentation and themes. I love to make use of the enormous power of melody when working on a show, planting the seed of a theme in 17th century Scotland and allowing it to grow into a new context in contemporary New Orleans.” Layered atop Bates’ darkly ominous instrumentation and horror-inducing synthwork, the resulting soundtrack reflects the series’ gothic New Orleans setting while maintaining the complexity of Rice’s story and characters. Read my detailed interview with Bates’ on scoring this series, posted at MusiqueFantastique. The soundtrack is available at these links.  

22D Music has released a soundtrack album for the French animated feature ERNEST AND CÉLESTINE: A TRIP TO GIBBERITIA (Ernest et Célestine: Le voyage en Charabie). The album features the film’s original music composed by Vincent Courtois who previously scored the Academy Award-nominated 2012 original movie, ERNEST ET CÉLESTINE. The soundtrack is now available to stream/download on Amazon. The film follows the title characters as they are traveling back to Ernest’s home country to fix his broken violin and, upon arriving, discover that all forms of music have been banned there for many years. – via filmmusicreporter
Watch the film’s trailer featuring the film’s theme song, co-written (with Courtois & Guillaume le Hénaff):

Invada and Lakeshore Records have released AFTERSUN, featuring a score by Oliver Coates (THE STRANGER) digitally on January 13. The film follows Sophie as she reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father twenty years earlier. Memories both real and imagined fill the gaps between as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t. Coates, a cellist and composer lauded for his solo work as well as collaborations with Mica Levi and Arca, brings a striking finesse and solemnity to his compositions that underscore the intensity of the characters’ emotions and evocative visuals within the film. “When we discussed the music we wondered how can the score stand for memory, how can it represent the ocean, how can it conjure the rave/void/black space where some catharsis is taking place. I thought about the light of the film, the vivid glow of the memory, the graininess of the DVCAM versus the technicolour lushness of the main film,” explained Coates. “The whole score functions as shadows or half-glimpses in the film, for synths and transposed strings.”

Swedish composers Jon Ekstrand (HILMA, ALL THE OLD KNIVES, MORBIUS, LIFE, I AM GRETA, MADAME LUNA) & Carl-Johan Sevedag (HELLHOLE, HORIZON LINE, TOP DOG, ALEX) have created an organic, vulnerable score to Milad Alami’s intense psychological drama MOTSTÅNDAREN (OPPONENT). To portray Iman’s journey from Iran to Sweden, the composer duo decided to incorporate a mix of Nordic and Iranian instruments and blend those acoustic instruments with electronic elements: “Being the first time for both of us working with Milad we quickly discovered that he’s not only a very talented director but also very open-minded and willing to let us try a somewhat left-field approach with the score. A lot of ideas came out of us improvising on different synths, effects, and acoustic instruments laying around in the studio. Given the short timeline and the playful nature of making the score, we opted to play all instruments ourselves: cello, ?nyckelharpa, ?bass flute, baritone saxophone, clarinet, ?Ney-flutes, piano,? ?mellotron, ?balalaika,? etc. We took turns on all of them.” This resulted into a fairly organic score with a certain human touch and vulnerability which works great with the overall theme and atmosphere of the film. The soundtrack album will be available from Stockholm-based OONA Recordings on Friday, Feb. 17th.

Following the release of Series 3 Episodes 1-2, Silva Screen has digitally released three final albums of Lorne Balfe’s soundtrack highlights from HIS DARK MATERIALS Series 3. Episodes 3 & 4 released on December 13th, Episode 5 & 6 released on December 20th, and Episodes 7 and 8 released on December 27th, completing the soundtrack albums from the 3rd Season episodes. The music for the entire trilogy is composed by Lorne Balfe. Music for HIS DARK MATERIALS Series One and Two received favorable reviews with the NME praising Lorne’s work – “the show’s elegant score is awash with spellbinding themes and beautifully twisted backdrops comparable to some of Howard Shore’s work on the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Without it, one of the most exciting show’s in recent years would be very different.” Movie Wave calls it “easily the best episodic TV music I’ve heard in a very long time.” Balfe’s HIS DARK MATERIALS score was nominated for two awards: for Best Original Score for a Television Series at the 2020 International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) awards and for Music – Original Title at the 2020 Royal Television Society awards. For details on soundtracks for all 8 episodes, see
The digital albums are now available via Amazon (Episodes 1-2) (Episodes 3-4), (Episodes 5-6), (Episodes 7-8)
Listen to the track “Explosive Exit” from the Episode 5-6 soundtrack, via Youtube:

Silva Screen has also announced David Shire’s captivating soundtrack to THE CONVERSATION. This provocative score to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 tense contemporary thriller is reissued in remastered form alongside new artwork and album notes from film music journalist Michael Beek. Previously released over 20 years ago on CD, Gene Hackman plays hi-tech wiretapper Harry Caul, a master in his field but away from his job a socially awkward loner. Shire captures his twilight world with a magnificent score entirely performed on solo piano. The jazz flavor counteracts perfectly alongside Harry’s lonely sax playing in his apartment, his escape from his insidious occupation. The CD will release on March 17 2023. Pre-order on CD now from Amazon UK

The British film BLUE JEAN has been scored by Chris Roe (LANCASTER, SPITFIRE, TRIGGER POINT, AFTER LOVE, ARMSTRONG). The film takes place in 1998 UK where a closeted physical education teacher wrestles over whether to risk her career – and her safety – by reaching out to a student wrestling with her own sexuality during 1980’s Thatcherism. The soundtrack is now available for digital download and streaming at these links.

Plaza Mayor Publishing have released the score for IRATI which is a Spanish/French co-production that tells the story of a young girl who will guide a group of Christian and Muslim warriors on a journey in an ancient mythological world in an attempt to recover a lost treasure. Music is by Aranzazu Calleja and Maite Arroitajauregi whose score is a fusion of choral work and symphonic interludes. The music has an epic sound to it and is filled with a sense of adventure and romance. The film will be released February 24th this year, but the score is available now on digital platforms. – via Jon Mansell/MovieMusicIntl. Have a listen to the soundtrack on Spotify; listen to the main theme here:

THE RIG is a supernatural 6-episode thriller television series created by David Macpherson for Amazon Prime Video. Directed by John Strickland, the series is the first Amazon Original to be filmed entirely in Scotland. Summary: When the crew of the North Sea stationed Kinloch Bravo oil rig is due to return to the mainland, a mysterious fog rolls in and cuts off communication with the outside world. The crew will be driven to the limits of their endurance and loyalties and will be forced into a confrontation with forces that are beyond their imagination. The series features music by Blanck Mass, a British electronic solo project by Ivor Novello Award-winning composer Benjamin J Power. Talking about THE RIG for the Northern Transmissions website, Power explained: “With THE RIG being the first TV show I have scored, I feel lucky to have worked with the team behind the show on a score which to my mind is my most concise and unified palette-wise in recent memory… The setting of the physical oil rig presented a very specific visual and sonic identity for me. The creaks and groans of the giant metal sculpture and how it is in a constant battle with nature fed itself into the scoring process.” Blank Mass, whose recent scores have included CALM WITH HORSES (2021), TED K (2022) and GAZZA (2022), has imbued the music for the series with a claustrophobic sense of unfolding horror, at times the electronic score feels like it’s being performed on THE RIG, with clanging percussion driving the tension. A digital soundtrack of Blanck Mass score has been released by Invada Records on January 6th, which is available at the usual sources: Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify. A vinyl edition is reported to be due out in Spring 2023. Watch THE RIG’s trailer here :
- via filmmusicreporter and other sources. See more information on Blanck Mass here.
Listen to the track “No Fire Without Flare” from THE RIG by Blanck Mass, via YouTube:

The Belgian comedy film BOWLING came out in 2012 and was about an HR director sent in to restructure the hospital; a task which involves closing down the loss-making maternity unit. Four women of different ages, backgrounds and convictions will nonetheless form a quartet united by their humanity and humor to defend the maternity unit. The soundtrack has been released from the PlazaMayor Co., featuring the score of French composer Erwann Kermorvant. It’s a fun and enjoyable sonic romp through survival during unfriendly corporate restructuring territory.  The soundtrack is available from Apple Music, Amazon, and Spotify. See the review at MovieMusicIntl. (<and listen to some tracks at MMI’s link). Additionally, My Soundtrack Agency (MSA) reports that Kermorvant also scored the French miniseries L’ÎLE PRISONNIÈRE (The Prisoner Island); the score features additional music by Stéphane Le Gouvello and was recorded with the Budapest Scoring Orchestra, with solo cello performed by Anastasia Kobekina. The soundtrack is now available at these links.  

French composer Erwann Chandon has composed an original soundtrack for a revisitation of Alexandre Dumas’s THE THREE MUSKETEERS, which debuted as a French television series on January 13; the soundtrack is available in France from these links; as well as Chandon’s MOOCHIE, WHO KILLED JILL HALLIBURTON?,  series directed and written by Samuel Collardey, which is about the brutal September 2014 murder of a woman in her home. This album is available from myCanal at these links. In other French film music news, Maïdi Roth, François Bonnet, Cyrille Nobilet, and Franck Pilant have scored the French Netflix television series L’AMOUR (PRESQUE) PARFAIT ([Almost] Perfect Love) in Julie, 36 years old, unemployed and single, wants to take control of her life: lying and cheating in order to finally meet the perfect man. – via My Soundtrack Agency (MSA).

Chloé Thévenin composed the soundtrack for the French film, LA MONTAGNE (The Mountain), directed by Thomas Salvador, which follows Pierre, a Parisian engineer, who goes up in the Alps for his work. Irresistibly attracted by what surrounds him, he camps out alone high in the mountains and leaves behind his everyday life. Up there he meets Léa, a chef of an alpine restaurant, while mysterious glows glitter in the deep mountains… The soundtrack is available on Amazon and other digital/streaming services. – via My Soundtrack Agency (MSA). Watch the film’s trailer (French language):

Lakeshore Records announces the release of THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by Starr Parodi & Jeff Eden Fair. This melody driven score was recorded with orchestra & chamber group featuring piano, violin, flute, oboe and trumpet soloists and was inspired by the characters, the colors of small town New England, and the seasons of life. Based on the New York Times best-selling novel, A.J. Fikry's wife has died, his bookstore is in trouble, and now his prized rare edition of Poe poems has been stolen. However, when a mysterious package appears, its arrival gives him the chance to start his life over and see things anew. Purchase/Stream:

Polish composer Lukasz Targosz (THE COLDEST GAME, PITBULL: NEW ORDERS, THE CROWN WITNESS) has self released a digital soundtrack of his 2022 score to NIEBEZPIECZNI DZENTELMENI (Dangerous Gentlemen). Directed by Maciej Kawalskim, the comedy film follows Joseph Conrad and three other notorious artists who wake up after a crazy party with a dead man on their couch, without a clue who it was, why he is dead, and why a gendarme is knocking on their doors. The album is available from Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming/download services. Listen to the track “Who Is He? And Why Is He Dead?” via YouTube:

Lakeshore Records releases WAR SAILOR – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack featuring a score by Oscar-nominated composer Volker Bertelmann (LION). The film is Norway’s official submission for “International Feature Film” for the 95th Academy Awards. Summary: when German submarines attack their merchant ship at the outbreak of WWII, two Norwegian sailors try to survive, hoping to see their families again. Notes Bertelmann: “Working on WAR SAILOR with the director Gunnar Vikene for me was a wonderful process… I used the Nyckelharpa a lot as a string instrument that has a little bit of machine elements because it is played by keys. I was happy with Gunnar’s minimalistic approach. It is one of the few scores where I feel that everything sits where I wanted it to be.” Purchase/Stream:

David James Nielson’s score to SUPER SCIENCE SHOWCASE THE MOVIE, a 2019 film version of the popular book/television/comics/games/audio-drama edutainment series teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) topics in an exciting way, has been released as a digital soundtrack. The one-of-a-kind series features educational, family-friendly, and action-packed stories from history and real science to solve problems in this one-of-a-kind educational film. The soundtrack is available here. Watch the movie’s trailer here.

Invada Records has released a soundtrack album for the British horror movie ENYS MEN, with the film’s original score composed by writer/director Mark Jenkin (BAIT). The movie is set in 1973 and follows a wildlife volunteer on an uninhabited island off the British coast as he descends into a terrifying madness that challenges her grip on reality and pushes her into a living nightmare. The film will be released in the U.S. later this year by Neon.
- via filmmusicreporter

EL FRED QUE CREMA (The Burning Gold) is a 2022 Spanish release which explores a little-known aspect of World War II Jewish diaspora: the escape of Jews through Andorra, a micro sovereign country in the Pyrenees Mountain range of the Iberian Peninsula. The score is composed by Spanish composer Francesc Gener, who offers a wealth of diverse musical styles employed within the score, with effective use of percussion and electronic support which are heard alongside a number of solo violin and cello performances which add emotion and heart to the work, the score is released digitally by Kay Produccions and is available from Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music and other sources. -via MovieMusicIntl. (<listen to a track at MMI’s link)

The Amazon Original Motion Picture RUN SWEETHEART RUN featuring soundtrack music by acclaimed French composer ROB (MANIAC, REVENGE, GRETEL & HANSEL, LE BUREAU, LES SAUVAGES) has been released by Lakeshore. The horror thriller follows a woman who, after what seems to be an innocent date, faces a night of terror when her date hunts her down with homicidal intent. The film is directed by Shana Feste and stars Ella Balinska, Pilou Asbæk, Dayo Okeniyi, Betsy Brandt, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. The soundtrack is available at these links.

Lakeshore Records released the digital soundtrack to THE INDEPENDENT, with original music by Jessica Rose Weiss (DON’T MAKE ME GO, 1UP, CINDERELLA [2021]). Dark strings, electronics and piano all come together in Weiss’s score providing a rich backdrop to the political drama. The thriller follows a young journalist who discovers a conspiracy involving a U.S. Presidential candidate that could change the election and the fate of the country. Weiss notes: “It was such a privilege to score Amy Rice’s incredible film... The story required a blend of emotional & intellectually stimulating music to support the complex, electrifying narrative. A massive thank you to The Budapest Scoring Orchestra, Dave Eggar & Ramin Loga Torkian for bringing the music to life.” Purchase/Stream the soundtrack here

Disney has premiered NATIONAL TREASURE: EDGE OF HISTORY, an action-adventure television series based on and a continuation of Jon Turteltaub’s two previous NATIONAL TREASURE film series (2004, 2007). The adventure drama follows a young heroine (Lisette Olivera) in search of answers about her family and embarks on an adventure to uncover the truth about the past and save a lost Pan-American treasure. Hollywood Records has released the a soundtrack album, which features selections of the original music from the show’s first season composed by Trevor Rabin who scored both previous NATIONAL TREASURE features. Paul Linford (12 MONKEYS) has contributed additional music to the series, which is now streaming on Disney+. The album is available at these links.
- via filmmusicreporter and other sources

Netflix Music has released the soundtrack album for their original series GINNY & GEORGIA S2, featuring the original score from the show’s second season composed by Lili Haydn (SPLIT AT THE ROOT, THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, RUTH, DRIVER X) and Ben Bromfield (THE BOSS BABY: BACK IN BUSINESS,  BOOM! A FILM ABOUT THE SONICS, WHERE’S WALDO TV series). The composers were previously featured in the Season 1 album issued in 2001. The dramedy series follows Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry), an angsty fifteen-year-old who often feels more mature than her thirty-year-old mother, the irresistible and dynamic Georgia Miller (Howey), set in a New England town where Georgia decides to settle down with her daughter Ginny and son Austin (Diesel La Torraca) to give them a better life than she had. The soundtrack is available from these links.

Lakeshore Records has released A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY – Original Series Soundtrack with music composed by Ariel Marx (CANDY, SHIVA BABY), from the Peacock original series written and executive produced by Nick Antosca and starring Anna Paquin, Jake Lacy, Colin Hanks and Lio Tipton. The score provides a multi-faceted backdrop to the series based on a horrifying true story, augmenting a complex narrative that ranges from strikingly charismatic to overtly menacing.  The Peacock original series is based on the harrowing true story of the Broberg family, whose daughter, Jan, was kidnapped multiple times over a period of a few years by a charismatic, obsessed family “friend.” Says Marx: “Writing the score for A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY was an incredible privilege. Both Jan Broberg’s involvement and Nick Antosca’s delicate handling of the material helped create a narrative that is emotionally harrowing, but also deeply empathetic and even hopeful. The series called for a score that could quickly shape-shift between idyllic and nightmarish, from public-facing charisma to private predation. In many ways, the story is about what the Broberg’s didn’t see, and while the score implies the darkness that was hidden in plain sight, it also tracks the family’s complex growth and survival.” Purchase/Stream:

Silva Screen Records will digitally release Nainita Desai’s soundtrack to the BBC One Thriller CROSSFIRE on February 24th. Starring BODYGUARD and LINE OF DUTY star Keeley Hawes, this three-part high-octane drama follows the story of Jo (Hawes) and her family and friends as their world is turned upside down by a terrorist attack on the holiday complex where they are staying. Desai’s atmospheric score served the drama well, and underlined perfectly the harrowing events that were being acted out on screen. – via MovieMusicIntl. (<listen to a track at MMI’s link)

Waxwork Records has announced the world premiere score album for the 1993 sequel TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III in both CD and vinyl formats. The album features the film’s original score composed by John Du Prez (A FISH CALLED WANDA, OXFORD BLUES, ONCE BITTEN, THE MEANING OF LIFE). A digital version is also expected. Waxwork has previously released Du Prez’s scores from the first two movies in the series.
- via filmmusicreporter – see Waxwork for details on CD and on Vinyl.


Original Works by Film Composers

One third of the acclaimed Dynamic Music Partners, composer Kristopher Carter has released Boreal Twilight, a new piece for piano and orchestra, which is now out on all major digital and streaming outlets. “Boreal Twilight is the second episode in my Seasons Suite for Piano and Orchestra,” said Carter. “The tour through the Four Seasons was initially inspired by the isolation of the 2020 pandemic and chronicles our collective journey out of it. While the first episode, Autumn Ruminations, reflected the impending uncertainty of the pandemic lockdowns, Boreal Twilight paints a scene that while life may appear frozen and still on the outside, inside is an unquenchable desire to reach out and connect. In the spirit of the pandemic times, the piece was recorded remotely with the various musicians’ performances mixed together after the fact.

Italian-based composer Kristian Sensini’s latest original music album Blurred Glass is a mix between a classical string quartet and electronic synths (mostly from the late seventies early eighties eras). “For this album I decided to collaborate with some Ukrainian musicians and to get them recorded in a studio near Odessa,” explained the composer. “I think it is essential at this time to support our colleagues and all those who work, or try to do so, in the artistic field in such a complex situation.” The musicians involved in the project are: Alexey Zavgorodniy violin and viola, Kateryna Mytrofanova cello. Added Sensini: “In Hollywood they say that you aren’t a film composer until the day you have your first score rejected,” notes Sensini. “Well...this album was a score for a psychological thriller movie but it was rejected, so I decided to publish it as an original album. All the revenues from the sales of the digital download and the CD will be donated to Emergency, an NGO with several missions all over the world, one is to help Ukrainian refugees.” Blurred Glass is now available for listening on Spotify and on Soundcloud.; the digital or CD albums can be ordered from Sensini’s website (see also for more details about the project).

France-based film composer Maximilien Mathevon has released his latest original music album, Near You, which tells of the beginnings of a love story: the first date, the first weekends, the first holidays, all the excitement and the happiness of being with the loved one. “For Near You, I sought an atmosphere of serenity, fulfillment, and happiness, using orchestral sounds, the softness of the flutes, the nobility of the horns, the scintillation of the chromatic percussions, the sensuality of the cello and the voices.” The album’s last track is a nod to the loved on a toy piano, taking the form of a “walk” inspired by Henry Mancini. The album is available via Playa Mayor Co. and streaming from Deezer, Apple, Spotify, and digital download via Amazon.

Los Angeles based composer, producer, orchestrator and guitarist Lasse Elkjær (STICKS, THE SEEKERS: THRILL NIGHT, LOST SOULS) has released an EP from his experimental project, The Dark Tapes. “It’s an instrumental release that so far deals with musical extremes, and one that’s lined up as a dark counterpoint to my previously released album Landscapes & Vignettes, Lasse announced on Linked-In. “I’m excited to open 2023 with a project like this, a much needed creative outlet that so far has been an incredible fun box of mayhem to dive deep into.” The 3-track EP is out on digital platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and sample the music at YouTube.



Documentary Soundtrack News

Hollywood Records announces the release of FIRE OF LOVE, the lavish soundtrack to the film of the same name composed by French electronic producer and AIR founder Nicolas Godin. From National Geographic Documentary Films comes the extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived — capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes. “When [Director] Sara Dosa and I talked for the first time about FIRE OF LOVE, we were wondering what kind of music would suit Katia and Maurice’s spirits the best,” said Godin. “One word popped up in my mind: Homemade. They would record the soundtracks of their films themselves with well-chosen faithful collaborators. Coming from the home studio recording world myself (as well as all the original members of the so called ‘French touch’ late nineties electronic music scene), it was easy to picture myself in Katia and Maurice’s lab, creating sounds, noises, and melodies with a bunch of antique keyboards and analog tape recorders. That’s how the FIRE OF LOVE soundtrack was born.” The album is available from these links.

H. Scott Salinas and Logan Stahley have jointly scored the Netflix documentary film KANGAROO VALLEY. Directed by Kylie Stott and narrated by Sarah Snook, the film is a coming-of-age adventure starring a nervous baby eastern grey kangaroo named Mala as she faces hungry dingoes and winter snows to survive her first year out of pouch. The film features a debut new track from Australian pop star Sia, called ‘We Can Do Anything.’ The soundtrack is streaming now on Apple Music, Amazon, & Spotify.
Watch the film’s trailer:

Categorical Records is releasing the first-ever soundtrack album for the 2015 documentary THE CHAMPIONS. The album features the film’s original music composed by Emmy Award winner Jeff Beal. The film is directed by Darcy Dennett and tells the story of the pit bulls rescued from the brutal fighting ring of Atlanta Falcon’s star quarterback Michael Vick, and those who risked it all to save them, despite pressure from The Humane Society and PETA to euthanize the dogs. The documentary premiered at the 2015 Hamptons International Film Festival and was released on VOD, Blu-ray and DVD in early 2016 by FilmRise. The movie is now also available to stream on Peacock.
- via filmmusicreporter

Participant and River Road Entertainment have announced that they’re producing FOOD, INC. 2,  a sequel to their Academy Award-nominated documentary FOOD, INC., to be released later this year. FOOD INC. composer Mark Adler is slated to return as well to score the sequel film. The original film directed by Robert Kenner offered an unflattering look inside America’s corporate controlled food industry – spotlighting the harm this system has inflicted on animals, as well as its consumers and laborers. Kenner and Melissa Robledo are directing the new pic and are joined as producers by the original film’s narrators, Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan. -via

OBI-WAN KENOBI: A JEDI’S RETURN original soundtrack with music from the documentary film scored by Scott Michael Smith and Michael Dean Parsons is now available from Disney Music. The docu series premiered last September on Disney+, exploring the making of the series. With never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage, colorful personal stories and meaningful moments, OBI-WAN KENOBI: A JEDI’S RETURN showcases the making of Lucasfilm’s original limited series for Disney+, OBI-WAN KENOBI, an epic story that begins 10 years after the dramatic events of STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH. This insightful documentary from Lucasfilm and Supper Club explores the return of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to the screen – and Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to their respective classic roles. Complete with visits to the creature shop, props department and more, the doc features the respect and passion for the generation-spanning legacy and the beloved characters. OBI-WAN KENOBI: A JEDI’S RETURN is streaming exclusively on Disney+. The soundtrack is available here. Watch the docu’s trailer:

Lakeshore digitally presents WILDCAT – Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack featuring music by Emmy-nominated composer Patrick Jonsson (THE WHITE HELMETS, VIRUNGA), as well as the new single by Fleet Foxes featuring Brazilian musician Tim Bernardes, “A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen.” The documentary film follows the emotional and inspiring story of a young veteran (Harry Turner) on his journey into the Amazon. Once there, he meets a young woman (Samantha Zwicker) running a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center, and his life finds new meaning as he is entrusted with the life of an orphaned baby ocelot. Composer Jonsson notes: “When approaching the score, I really wanted to try and find a way to depict the complexity of a person dealing with mental health struggles and all of the tension and uncertainty that that brings, while simultaneously trying to acknowledge the place these characters are in, the beauty that surrounds them, and the healing power of nature… Even when we have moments in the score which are more warm and lush, I always asked the musicians to play with an edge to their performances, which I hope comes through in the recordings. It helps give a duality to the music and scenes which emphasizes the fact that turmoil is only ever just under the surface of things. I think there is a rawness and fragility to the score – the jungle is unforgiving, real, and existential at the same time as being bountiful. So, the score aims to weave in and out of these feelings and timbres fluidly as we follow our characters through this particular chapter in their lives.” Purchase/Stream here.

THE ARK OF LILBURN, a 2022 docu film directed by Nick DeKay, was released last month to Apple ITunes. The
film follows a man’s dream of building a steel boat in his garage – but the plans hit troubled water and it’s up to his son to salvage it and put it afloat. The soundtrack by Jordan Bennett is available on Amazon, Apple Music, and Spotify. Watch the docu’s intriguing trailer:

Michael Whalen has scored EXALTATION, a feature film doc spanning seventeen countries, six continents, all major religions and over a billion people as they reach to touch their god through the world-wide phenomenon of sacred dance. The film encompasses the Dance ceremonies of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, American Indian, Vodou, Hawaiian, Hindu and Gospel. They are familiar, aspirational and healing. EXALTATION shows us where we came from and where we can go as humans as we restore our hope in humanity as One. The soundtrack album is available at these links.



Vinyl Soundtrack News

Mondo announces the first-ever vinyl release of Don Peake’s atmospheric and spooky score for Wes Craven’s 1991 enduring classic, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. The arc of Peake’s career is as insane as the film itself, notes Mondo: as a guitarist and member of the Wrecking Crew, he’s played on albums by Marvin Gaye, Phil Spector, Everly Brothers, Mahalia Jackson, John Lennon, Jackson 5 and more – capturing the diversity of sound throughout the film. For details in the vinyl album see Mondo.

Notefornote Music has released a special, limited vinyl-only release of film composer Holly Amber Church’s Tiki Lounge TV Themes. Church is a huge fan of Tiki culture and music, and her love of this style of music has led her to reimagine classic TV Themes from such classics as THE BRADY BUNCH, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, THE MUNSTERS and more. This specially priced EP features eight classic TV themes that will be a popular play at parties and gatherings. Fans of tiki music will find that this album is a must have! To order, see Notefornote Music and create your own festive tiki TV party – but you may need to supply your own vintage kitsch, and perhaps some Polynesian-inspired cuisine topped off with a cocktail or two to sweeten the vibe! But hands off Mary Ann!

NOVECENTO is a 1976 movie directed by Bernardo Bertolucci: a monumental historical drama lasting over five hours, set in Emilia Romagna in the first half of the 20th century, with an international cast that includes, among others, Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu. For this soundtrack Ennio Morricone wrote a pure classical and symphonic music score, and personally directed the orchestra through the meanderings of compositions that are always full of tensions, whether dramatic, romantic or epic in character. Order here from LightInTheAttic. LITA has also announced Morricone’s MADDALENA, the 1971 movie directed by Polish director Jerzy Kawalerowicz, starring Lisa Gastoni and Frank Wolff. Morricone sees the participation, once again, of the Maestro’s usual collaborators: conductor Bruno Nicolai, plus Edda Dell’Orso and Alessandro Alessandroni’s Cantori Moderni on lead, backing vocals and choir. This soundtrack is mainly characterized by three long tracks, each one almost 10 minutes long, that mix elements of classical music, opera, tribalism and psychedelia in a constant flow of notes and sensations. MADDALENA is reissued here in an exclusive and limited edition with audio remastered from the original tapes, new artwork and pressed on clear red vinyl. Order here from LITA.

Lakeshore Records is set to release STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS Volume 1 Original Series Soundtrack, double LP on blue & yellow “swirling galaxy” colored vinyl, available March 24. Score composed by Chris Westlake (SOLAR OPPOSITES, TRANSIT, CASTLE ROCK, LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD, SUIT UP). The animated series, currently in its third season, focuses on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos, in 2380. Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi have to keep up with their duties and their social lives, often while the ship is being rocked by a multitude of sci-fi anomalies. For more details or to pre-order, see here.



Video Game Music News

WaterTower Music has released two separate albums of music from Hogwarts Legacy – the highly anticipated immersive, open-world role-playing-game set in the 1800s wizarding world. The two albums offer fans a total of 75 tracks from game soundtrack composers chuck e. myers “sea,” J Scott Rakozy, and Peter Murray. Each respective album contains a completely different set of tracks from the other. The Hogwarts Legacy (Original Video Game Soundtrack) is available for streaming, digital purchase, and on vinyl, thru Mondo. The vinyl configuration is currently offered as a preorder, and is scheduled to ship in late spring. The album features 34 tracks, some of which have been previously released. The second album, Hogwarts Legacy (Study Themes from the Original Video Game Soundtrack) is available for streaming and digital purchase, and features 41 tracks. Both Hogwarts Legacy soundtracks are now available digitally – Video Game Soundtrack, and Study Themes; with a forthcoming vinyl configuration of Hogwarts Legacy (Original Video Game Soundtrack) available for preorder. Read more details at MusiqueFantastique.  Listen to the “Your Journey Awaits…” by J Scott Rakozy & chuck e. myers “sea.” via YouTube:

Watch the HOGWARTS LEGACY Trailer:

Dead Space™ will officially launch on January 27, 2023 for PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X|S and PC, scored by Trevor Gureckis. Dead Space is a remake of the classic sci-fi survival horror game that is being rebuilt from the ground up, leveraging the Frostbite™ game engine. Still remaining true to the original game’s thrilling vision, the remake offers enhanced audio and crisp, harrowing visuals that have been carefully reimagined to evoke a new level of immersion and quality. Notes Gureckis on the making of the score: “The score to Dead Space was an 18 month long journey that started out with musically reassessing the lore of the game from scratch – and searching for thematic opportunities. I began by writing musical suites unconnected to specific scenes or chapters, but rather to the story alone. The goal was to enhance the story moments when they arose for a deeper connection to this hugely compelling game. The result, I hope, is something that is both new and ‘at home’ in the lore of Dead Space.” The game score has been released by Lakeshore – see these links.

Silva Screen Records offers The Essential Games Music Collection Volume 3, performed by the renowned London Music Works. The selection features a wide range of music from both award-winning and well-established film and TV soundtrack composers such as Clint Mansell, Bear McCreary, Hans Zimmer, and composers well known within the games soundtracks community – Inon Zur, Motoi Sakuraba, Yuka Kitamura, Jack Wall, Daniel Rosenfeld, Shoi Miyazawa, Tai Tomisawa, Tsukasa Saitoh and Yoshimi Kudo. “Always important to fans and supported by the media, indie scene and digital distribution, the game soundtrack has now firmly established itself via Spotify and Apple playlists,” notes the label. “The boundless imagination of games has spurred artistic freedoms resulting in an infinite variety of sound – from metal to industrial infusions, 80s synth-rock nostalgia, orchestral swoops and romantic pianos. Today, the game soundtrack is well established as a genre, with the inspiration and quality matching that of the film and TV soundtracks.” For more details or to order the album, see SilvaScreenUK or from SilvaScreenUS.


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