Kevin Kiner on scoring STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS - Final Season
Shape Shifting Aliens, Cute Cats, Raging Bigfoot, and Big Ass Spiders: An Interview with Composer Ceiri Torjussen
Interviews by Randall D. Larson
• SNAPSHOTS: Soundtrack Reviews:
Ŕ L'INTÉRIEUR/Chanfrault/Gesqua (Omega Prods.), UX YEUX DES VIVANTS/ Gesqua (Omega Prods), LE BUREAU DES LÉGENDES/ROB (Milan), CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO/Riepl (Notefornote), CABIN FEVER (2016)/Riepl (Notefornote), LA CHIAVE [The Key]/Morricone (CF Soundtracks), FLAME IN THE WIND/SHEFFEY/Gustafson (Caldera), LEV YASHIN/Kallis (Keep Moving/MovieScore Media), THE MATRIX Symphony/Davis (Perseverance/MovieScore Media), MIMI AND THE MOUNTAIN DRAGON/ Portman (Decca), PANDORA/Kraemer & Kouneva (La-La Land), SAVING LENINGRAD/Potyenko (Keep Moving), SHORTCUTS 2019/Various (Quartet/MovieScore Media), SPY INTERVENTION/Suen (NoteforNote Music), STUFFED/Lovett (Lakeshore),
SUPERCAR/Gray (Silva Screen), THE SWARM (Expended)/Goldsmith (La-La Land), TREAD/Wintory (Bandcamp)
• Soundtrack, Vinyl, Game Score News
Kevin Kiner’s music for the animated series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS and STAR WARS: REBELS (both now streaming in their entirety on Disney+) provided a masterful incarnation of John Williams’ themes and musical identity for these STAR WARS spinoffs, both of which maintain their continuity and presence as a continuing part of the Star Wars oeuvre. Kiner’s three decades as a film composer has resulted in numerous fine works; in this interview we discuss scoring the final season of THE CLONE WARS, Kiner’s work with Cliff Martinez on TITANS and THE DOOM PATROL, and several other recent projects.
Walt Disney Records is issuing three digital soundtracks to STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS’ final season: Episodes 1-4 (released March 13), Episodes 5-8 (released April 10), and Episodes 9-12 (to be released May 4).
Q: How was it rejoining THE CLONE WARS and coming back into that musical space after a few years of not doing it?
Kevin Kiner: In a way I never left, because I went to REBELS, so I was still working with Dave Filoni [writer, director, exec. producer] on that. When we started doing STAR WARS: REBELS Dave really wanted it to hearken back to A NEW HOPE, so we all went back and watched Episode 4 again, and there were some interesting takeaways from that. One thing we noticed was that there was less music in some of those original feature films than we thought. You think they’re filled with wall-to-wall music and a lot of things are these days, but it really wasn’t. So with REBELS we found spaces where we’re only going to have lightsaber sounds, or battle sounds, or we’re only going to have dialogue and no music. Also, REBELS was different stylistically because we did reference A NEW HOPE, and it was more similar to John Williams, at least for the first season.
After we did four seasons of REBELS, the news that we were going back to CLONE WARS was just fantastic, because I think we all felt like we had unfinished business there. We didn’t get to end the show the way we wanted to, so it was really great to hear that we were going to give CLONE WARS a proper ending. Now we had to decide how is this going to be different from REBELS. We want to keep pushing the music and the animation and everything—everybody wants to push it forward to make it something new, and yet we still have to be STAR WARS. One of the things that happened with the new CLONE WARS final season is we decided not to focus so much of the ethnicities that were kind of the hallmark of CLONE WARS, especially the first few seasons. Rather than emphasize that so much, we were going to move more into the realm of what you would call a modern soundtrack; something that you might hear on the new BLADE RUNNER or BLACK PANTHER or something like that. We moved in that direction, but still wanted to keep the John Williams vibe going. Electronica was introduced more than it ever had been in any of the previous STAR WARS shows. You’ll probably start hearing that more in the later episodes of CLONE WARS Season 7, around episode 5 or so, and especially towards the end. It’s not overwhelming—it’s still an orchestral score—but there’s more of an orchestral hybrid that comes through.
Q: To what extent does, or has, the CLONE WARS score been orchestral versus using a digital instrumentation?
Kevin Kiner: We’ve always had real players, but it has varied. We pick our spots. They gave me a budget for an orchestra and that’s smattered throughout the episodes. So we always have real players on our scores no matter what, even if it’s just a few brass and violins players. Also, episodes 10,11 and 12 of season 7 are all with the City of Prague Philharmonic.
Q: There’s a new theme that you introduce in Season 7 called “The Bad Batch Theme.” How did that come about?
Kevin Kiner: The Bad Batch is this band of misfit clones, and their theme is co-written with my son, Sean Kiner. Each of the Bad Batch has his own extraordinary ability. The models for that theme were THE DIRTY DOZEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE, or something along those lines. Dave Filoni loves to go back to those classic films like, whether it is Kurosawa or THE DIRTY DOZEN like that. So that was the feel, it’s militaristic, semi-heroic, but with a kind of misfit vibe.
Q: How were some of the themes from the previous six series adapted and developed into what we needed for Season 7?
Kevin Kiner: Here’s something interesting that I ran up against. We’ve been in REBELS for four years so I hadn’t used the Clone theme in that long. That theme is sort of a hidden gem, for me, it’s not a theme that everybody thinks about—they think about like Ahsoka’s theme or Darth Maul’s theme or something like that, but I’d always been really happy with how the Clones theme came out because it’s not as immediately accessible as something like the Force theme or Ahsoka’s theme. It meanders tonally a little more and it’s fairly complex in terms of its orchestration and harmony. In those four years I’d literally forgotten what I’d done, and so I had to go back and look at my scores and listen to that theme again! And it’s great to be able to use that theme quite a bit more in the new season.
In fact, we were about to do a concert in Puerto Rico and I was finishing a new suite of CLONE WARS themes to perform there. The suite starts with the Bad Batch Theme and then it goes into the Clones Theme and then after that it goes into Satine’s Theme, which is one I really like—her theme was the love theme for Satine and Obi-Wan, and that was one that really doesn’t get played a lot but it has a melody that turned out well. And then Ahsoka’s Theme is in there as well and it bookends with Bad Batch at the end. It runs about seven minutes long for a concert piece. Unfortunately that concert’s been cancelled with everything going on now, but I’ve finished it and it’ll come out eventually. A lot of the different symphonies have been asking for CLONE WARS music.
Q: Where does CLONE WARS Season 7 fit in with the whole arc of the larger film series in terms of time and place, and what affect did that have on your music?
Kevin Kiner: This is where I say we had unfinished business with CLONE WARS—because it picks up after Ahsoka leaves, and without mentioning any spoilers, it’s fair to say that we’ll get to see Ahsoka’s journey in a more satisfying way than if we hadn’t had Season 7. Let me just say that having Ahsoka and Maul finish their arcs—not in terms of the characters but just in terms of the arc that Dave Filoni wanted to complete, and George Lucas as well. The way I feel about Season 7 is it is what we all wanted CLONE WARS to be, and that’s in terms of music as well. In terms of the look, quite a few years went by and so technology advanced and they were able to make the animation better and the look more sophisticated, and so along with the music I feel the whole package is now what we all wanted CLONE WARS to be when we started the project.
Q: You and Clint Mansell have been doing TITANS and DOOM PATROL together for DC Universe. How have you approached DOOM PATROL, in particular, as distinct from TITANS, even though there is a storyline connection there between the two shows?
Kevin Kiner: They’re both very electronic in their scores, much more so than any of the other DC shows. DOOM PATROL has this marvelous sense of humor, but you don’t really play the humor directly. But you can reflect the sense of humor with an electronic score and that can be really hip. It’s not pizzicato or anything like that; you can have a cool electronic bed and just let the humor play, because it’s there on the screen for you. It’s really a lot of fun to work with these electronic elements, and becoming proficient at electronic music is no less difficult than becoming proficient at orchestral music—it’s something that I really worked hard at and it’s something that’s really satisfying when you feel like you’ve pulled it off.
Q: As in TITANS, what is your working relationship with Clint Mansell on this, how do you determine who does what and how does that work out?
Kevin Kiner: Clint sets the template. He works really heard on setting everything up, especially in the early episodes and writes a ton of stuff. After that then my sons and I score the scenes using the sounds he’s set up. A lot of electronic music is about what sounds or synth patches you’re using. Where orchestral music is defined by its harmonization, electronic music may just stay on the same note for the entire cue, just one note, and so it’s all the textures and sounds that you’re using that define what that electronic music really sounds like.
Q: You’ve scored NOS4A2: GHOST, which was a six episode mini-series that prefaced the TV series.
Kevin Kiner: I worked with the showrunner from HELL ON WHEELS, Jami O’Brien on that—when I scored that it was going to be a short film that was going to be shown as a teaser before the show premiered, but they wound up releasing as six separate shorts. I didn’t score the TV series itself—I had a schedule conflict. I did that with my oldest son Sean, who was working with David Herman, who directed the short. By the way, both of my sons, Sean and Dean, are working with me these days—we have five shows going on right now and I can’t do all of them myself. But we’re all here at my studio and so they’ll take my themes and they’ll flesh them out across a show. They’re really doing a fabulous job. That score was really a combination of music and sound design, based more on sounds.
Q: You’re just about to start on a new season of the TV series NARCOS: MEXICO, which you’ve been scoring since 2018. What can you tell me about your music or this show?
Kevin Kiner: I love to collaborate with other composers, and one of the things I’m most proud of in terms of my career is what I would call my range. I write a lot of different styles, not just orchestral scores. On this series I collaborated with Gustavo Santaolalla, who’s won two Academy awards, one for BABEL and one for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. He’s an Argentinian musician and really proficient with an instrument called the Ronroco, so I went out and got a Ronroco and as did my younger son, Dean. We’ve done a number of projects with Gustavo, like JANE THE VIRGIN and HELL ON WHEELS, and really learned a tremendous amount working with him. On minimalistic scoring where you’ll have just the Ronroco, or maybe the Ronroco and a guitar, you really have to make every note count. On our score for NARCOS we’re playing all the instruments live. With percussion, we’re really trying to do unusual things—we have these oil cans that we drum on or we’ll use drum brushes on the back of a guitar, or we’ll bow Middle Eastern instruments, like a saz or a tambura—they’re meant to be strummed but we take a violin bow and play them that way. They still have that kind of gritty, dry desert sound but it’s not your typical bowed instrument sound. So it’s really been a great experience doing these kinds of scores. Sometimes they’re extremely minimalistic and when you do that you really have to make sure you have a good melody and you’re putting down a good part because you can’t hide anywhere. You can’t polish something that you think needs polishing—it’s finished once you’ve done that one part.
Q: Being a contemporary crime drama set in Mexico, how did the nature of the NARCOS: MEXICO series influence where you were going musically and instrumentally?
Kevin Kiner: Each season is a different time period. In the beginning of Season 1 the two main characters are really a couple of very unsophisticated country boys and then later on they become ruthless killers so there’s kind of an evolution that happens as you go from one season to the next. The best film scoring is where you’re following the characters and you’re able to reflect the naiveté at the beginning and then, in the next season where he’s more sophisticated as a cartel boss, you try to reflect that part of his journey as a character.
Read my original interview with Kevin Kiner discussing, among other projects, the original animated STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS movie that preceded the series, in my August 2008 column.
CRAWLERS is the latest film from the American horror anthology web television series INTO THE DARK. The twelve-episode series is produced for Hulu, with the first season premiering in October, 2018 and the second in October, 2019 and continuing into 2020. The series is produced by the television branch of Blumhouse Productions, with founder Jason Blum executive producing every episode. The theme of each episode is inspired by a holiday occurring during the month of its release. CRAWLERS is the most recent episode, debuting on Hulu March 6, 2020, which stars Giorgia Whigham, Pepi Sonuga, Cameron Fuller, Olivia Liang, and Jude Demorest. The story revolves around a wild pub-crawl on St. Patrick’ Day night, in which three unlikely friends band together to save a college town from a vicious horde of body-switching aliens. It’s a fun mix of humor and horror, nicely augmented by a mysterious and modernistic electronica score by Welsh-born, Los Angeles-based composer Ceiri (pronounced Kay-Ree) Torjussen (BIG ASS SPIDER!, PRIMAL RAGE, BURN, ALL CREATURES HERE BELOW) who provides a palpable and effective mix of energy, eeriness, and eloquence. I recently took the opportunity to discuss this score—and a few others—with the composer. -rdl
Q: You’ve composed the music for CRAWLERS, the most recent episode of the INTO THE DARK series. How did you get involved in that film?
Ceiri Torjussen: I did a film called BURN, which was an indie thriller directed by Mike Gan. He had also done an INTO THE DARK movie straight after doing BURN and he was doing a rewrite of the CRAWLERS script. They needed a recommendation for a composer and so Mike recommended me for that, so it was just good timing. That was my first time working for Blumhouse which was cool.
Q: I really enjoyed CRAWLERS. It’s so fun and fast paced, and has a variety of musical opportunities. How did the score develop from your meetings with the director into what we hear on the screen now?
Ceiri Torjussen: The first time I met the director, Brandon Zuck, in person was at the spotting session. He really liked my music for a film called TEST, which was a drama set in the ‘80s with an all ‘80s-style synth score that I did several years ago. He is a big fan of the retro synth sound and that kind of sci-fi sound seemed to work with the vibe he wanted for CRAWLERS. There was no budget for a real orchestra so instead of making a fake orchestra, why not have just mainly synths? So that’s what we did. I actually prefer going that route when there’s a limited budget rather than try to fake an orchestra; it’s often a better creative result.
Q: What kind of thematic structure does your score have?
Ceiri Torjussen: The opening shot of them all partying in the street on St. Patrick’s Day had been temped with a blues guitar thing, and I kept watching it and I thought “I kind of know where they’re going with the guitar but I don’t really understand the blues thing.” Then I thought, “Why not do an Irish thing; give it an Irish rock kind of theme.” So that’s what I did for that scene. It had a simple melody which I was able to bring back in many places. Then I used a couple of other sonic idents to signify the aliens—I actually took a few Irish flute phrases and processed them like crazy and turned that into an alien Irish flute sound. That’s introduced when the cop first approaches the green man on the road—it’s got a lot of distortion and delay on it, but it’s actually a processed Irish flute playing this filigree. That was effective and Brandon really liked those things as well.
Q: There’s also a lot of needle drops or full rock songs in the movie, to maintain the vibe and the pub crawl scenario that serves as the backdrop for the story. How did you guide your score around those moments?
Ceiri Torjussen: In this case—as is often the case, really—the editors are laying in the source cues and the rock songs and stuff before I come on board, so by the time I was watching the locked picture they’d figured out exactly where all the songs were going. Then it was just a matter of weaving the score in between. You listen to the keys and make sure it’s not too abrupt going from one song into score and vice versa. It’s kind of a creative challenge sometimes to try to make score come out of a song seamlessly but it’s part of the fun, really!
Q: What was most challenging and/or rewarding for you about scoring CRAWLERS?
Ceiri Torjussen: The rewarding thing was… I’ve done a lot of horror and I’ve done a few purely synth scores but I’ve never done a purely synth horror score in that sense. And this is more like comedy horror; in fact it’s more sci-fi than horror, really, so I could really go crazy with whacky synth sounds. They wanted a sort of retro-ey kind of sound, so I could go all out in that sense. That was really fun to do. And I guess the main challenge was the deadline. I think on this project I had about three weeks, or maybe four. The worst thing about it was that it was over the Christmas holidays so I didn’t get much of a Christmas with the family. I took Christmas Day and New Year’s Day off but that was about it.
Q: Will there be a soundtrack album coming out with your score?
Ceiri Torjussen: Unfortunately, because they own the music, I asked if they could release a soundtrack, but they said “No, we’re not really set up for that.” As far as I understand it they’re not releasing any of the INTO THE DARK soundtracks.
Q: I want to ask you about BURN, which is another film and a score of yours that quite impressed me. This was an intriguing crime thriller with a lot of twists to it. How did you come up with the score you felt needed to follow the arc of that story?
Ceiri Torjussen: They’d gone through a lot of renditions of the cut on that film. By the time I got it, it had gone through two or three editors, and their idea of the score had changed—in fact the story had changed quite a few times, so it was a tough one to crack. Mike Gan knew what he wanted when he heard it, so I had this idea of having a solo violin and solo cello permeate the score, because they’re lonely sounds. In a way it’s a movie about loneliness, so I thought that would be a good way to approach it. There was something kind of melodramatic about what I did, I guess, which I think the film was trying to do as well. It’s a small scale movie but it’s got big themes, you know? I was trying to make the sound of the film bigger than the film was visually. Just having one or two solo string players can go a long way as far as making it sound grand. And then there were a ton of synths—that was essentially a synth score as well, but I was able to bring in a couple of live musicians and pad it out that way, so that was really nice.
Q: How did you treat the character of Melinda and did the performance of Tilda Cobham-Hervey in that role affect how you were scoring her?
Ceiri Torjussen: Yeah, it’s an amazing performance, really. Like I said, it’s about loneliness, and I wanted to try to nail that musically, and there was something about solo violin that somehow worked with her. There are also quite a lot of gamelan bells in the score, echoing around the place. She’s very softly spoken so I had to be careful around her dialogue, but it’s about choosing your frequency ranges and where you’re going to place your instruments. Her performance is so good that no matter what you do it’s going to work dramatically, you know what I mean? The challenge was not to spoil her performance with a wrong score!
Q: I’m curious about a documentary you scored last year called CAT PEOPLE, which explores the eclectic lives of devoted cat lovers. What kind of music did that film call for?
Ceiri Torjussen: A Japanese friend of mine, Asako Ushio, is an editor I’ve worked with on several previous documentaries and National Geographic films; she’s a huge cat lover and she wanted to make a documentary about her cats. That extended to “how am I going to approach a documentary about cats?” It was a film about cat issues in Los Angeles and cat issues on this cat island in Japan. The theme of the film is stray cats and how to deal with them, so it’s about spaying and neutering stray cats so you can decrease the population as opposed to just adopting cats, which isn’t really solving the problem. On the face of it, it’s kind of a nice, sweet documentary about cute cats, but it has a real social message—it’s a very informative but also very sad movie, so musically I wanted to try and reflect the emotions behind the movie. Documentaries can be very sterile and informative, but the way Asako did it was very personal. It’s her own voice-over in the movie, so it’s very much a personal film as well. I thought it was really well done, emotionally, and all I could do was enhance that and try to have it bit more impactful.
Q: Among my guilty pleasures are giant creature movies, and one of your earlier scores to fall onto my radar was BIG ASS SPIDER! in 2013. What can you tell me about scoring that film?
Ceiri Torjussen: I’ve done a couple of monster movies now; I also did PRIMAL RAGE which is a bigfoot movie, and that was a lot of fun. For BIG ASS SPIDER! I got recommended by a producer I know who was on it—first time I worked for the company [Epic Pictures] and first time I worked with Mike Mendez, and it was a great experience. Again, it was a very low-budget film, but I managed to bring in an orchestra by bringing in another music company to fund it, so I actually recorded a 50-piece orchestra in Bratislava for that movie. That was actually the first time I’d gotten a full orchestra on any of my scores. That was a monster movie but it was really an action comedy. One of the main themes is this kind of Morriconesque Western theme, and then you’ve got a Big Spider theme. It’s a lot of bombastic fun, action-ey music.
Q: Earlier than that you scored DRACULA III: LEGACY, which was the third film in the DRACULA 2000 series.
Ceiri Torjussen: Oh, we’re really going back now!
Q: Oh yes. What did this film—and its iconic, legendary character—need for music?
Ceiri Torjussen: That one I got through Marco Beltrami because he had scored DRACULA 2000 for Miramax at the time. That was the first job where I actually worked for Marco as an orchestrator, back in 1999. And then a few years later they decided to make a couple of sequels, so this was literally my first job as a composer. It was all in the box, all digital orchestra and synth. I brought in a singer for a couple of cues, and that was it. That was a fun movie too. It was challenging because it was my first time doing it, so I was a bit scrambling around trying to figure it out. Rutger Hauer as Dracula was pretty great.
Q: Before you began to score films on your own you worked a lot with Marco and some other composers as an orchestrator and additional music composer—how did you get involved with that and how did that, in turn, lead you to scoring on your own?
Ceiri Torjussen: With Marco, I was at USC. I just finished my Masters and I needed a job and I needed sponsorship for my Visa at the time. I’d just watched SCREAM and I felt the music was really great and I thought, well if there’s anyone I’d want to work with it’d be that guy! So I found his address and I just sent him a demo CD of some of my concert pieces that I’d done during my Masters at USC, and a couple of little, tiny student film scores. And he called me a few days later and said “I really liked your stuff, stay in touch.” And I stayed in touch and a few months later I invited him to my final recital concert at USC, and he turned up with his associates Bill Boston and Buck Sanders, and he said he loved my music and asked me if I’d want to orchestrate for him. So that’s how it started. That was into the deep end for me—within a couple of months I was orchestrating for a hundred-piece orchestra at Todd A-O scoring stage!
Q: You mentioned PRIMAL RAGE, which was later renamed PRIMAL RAGE: THE LEGEND OF KONGA. This is another fantasy/sci-fi-adventure with a giant creature to deal with.
Ceiri Torjussen: My agent had sent a reel to the editor, Jay Lee, who was also the film’s co-writer and director of photography. I think I sent my score to THE CANAL, and basically that’s what they ended up temping into the film, extensively. It’s the first time that’s really happened to me, where they’ve sent me a movie and said “Here’s our film, we’ve temped one of your scores in,” and I watched it and, oh yeah, literally the whole CANAL score is used on this film! It was flattering but it was also a little shocking, because that score was the complete opposite score to what you’d think a monster movie be, which, you know, is bombastic and huge. THE CANAL is like some of the quietest, weirdest music you’ve ever heard for anything! It’s a very strange score, and it’s the last type of music you’d think would be appropriate for a Bigfoot movie! Anyway, they hired me and it went really great. It was a first-time director but he was very trusting, and he let me go off and do my own thing. Once I started writing, I didn’t feel intimidated by the temp, since it was my own music. At first I thought, I know what they’re getting at here, but it’s not really right for the scene, let’s do something better that’s more appropriate, and I was able to throw the temp out and not feel intimidated at all. So it was a nice experience, actually. I recorded a live double bass player—I did a lot of crazy double bass sound effects and I used a lot of alphorn. Those were my two signature sounds for this score. The sound of both those instruments were as close to that of a Bigfoot as I could think of—but they really worked. Not only because of their hugeness but because of the overtones used; they both are amazing at creating overtones. You can create these amazing sounds when you process them and isolate overtones and things.
Q: What have you got coming up that we can look forward to?
Ceiri Torjussen: I just finished a film called GODFREY, which is my first comedy in many years. I’m not really known for my comedy scores, but this came along out of the blue, and it was a really fun experience, and I think it’s going to be a nice little movie and will hopefully be coming out later this year. I got to write fun music, I used clarinet and a lot of guitar, and it’s jazzy in places. It’s a very sweet, nice movie and I enjoyed scoring it. Then I’m also working on a show for Netflix called DELHI CRIME. Andrew Lockington did the first season [see my interview with Andrew on scoring the first season in my February column -rdl] and the second season has a different show runner, who’s a friend of mine, Tanuj Chopra, who brought me on as the composer, so I’ll be scoring the second season of that show when Netflix goes back into production. Everything’s on hiatus right now.
For more information and to sample the composer’s music, see his website.
AUX YEUX DES VIVANTS (2014; Among the Living)/
Raphaël Gesqua/Omega Prods. – digital & vinyl
France’s Omega Productions Records has released the music to the horror thriller Ŕ L’INTÉRIEUR (Inside, 2008), the first film collaboration by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, and one of the emblematic films of the new French horror wave of the 2000s. The soundtrack was composed by the late François-Eudes Chanfrault (HAUTE TENSION/High Tension, QUI A TUÉ BAMBI?/Who Killed Bambi). Chanfrault’s score opens here with a 10:45 ambient piece titled “Artic Love,” wherein a cluster of synth strings and low bass tonalities resonate beneath the sounds of a storm, which makes for a very stimulating atmospheric piece; the score overall is a unique blend of musical sonic environments, providing an experimental and provocative sound design. In “Memories Part I-II-III” an articulate piano melody, joined by somber strings midway through, plays out over low and ultimately rumbling synth pads; highly reflective tonalities interact intriguingly in “Discovery;” a brash and close-miked arrangement of strings meander forcefully in “Memories (Final);” “Darkbeats” is made up of just that: a frenetic array of percussive synth raps over a lower, beating semblance and growing bristles of cymbal and burbling tonalities that creates a terrifying miasma of increasing volume; “Memories (Final)” delegates the strings to a somber and sorrowful short denouement; and the closing track, “Square Pads for an Eternal Dawn,” at 12:55 minutes in length, concludes the album with a heavy ambient tonality. It’s an interesting score that works on many levels as a listening experience on its own; Chanfrault demonstrates an engrossing creative command with his electronics in both modernistic and old-analog stylisms which I found to be quite favorable.
Listen to a sample of Chanfrault’s track “Square Pads for an Eternal Dawn” from L’INTÉRIEUR via Omega’s YouTube page:
The label also provides separately Raphaël Gesqua’s rejected score for the same film—which, while unused in the movie, is a very potent macabre composition, largely for acoustic instruments with some synthetic processing occurring. This was Gesqua’s first feature film score, but disagreements during the editing process found his musical efforts discarded. Listeners now have the opportunity to hear Gesqua’s approach toward L’INTÉRIEUR—it’s a unique entity of its own and makes for an intriguing and spooky experience on your turntable or digital playing device. The score is largely a mix of stridently performed piano, often entwined by haunting strings, and a foreboding semblance of synth pads and ambient tonalities creating an increasingly apprehensive accompaniment. His score begins with a disturbing array of electronically-processed baby babble under string reverb (“He’s Mine)” before introducing a commanding piano motif for “Sarah,” supported by wiry string runs. His “Main Theme” opens with some brief synthetic exhalations and moans before somber, reverbed piano notes and taps of triangle descend into a dark and decisive cluster of musical and lightly crashing sounds; processed baby cries continue to be a relevant portion of the score’s recurring menace here and elsewhere in the score. “Threatened” is an ominous cue for distant, echoing screeches and unintelligible processed voices which will really disturb you in a dark room. A toy piano, after dueling against a concert piano and thick string sinews in “In Pain,” stimulates a series of electronic sounds (occasionally the keystrokes sounding like processed voices). With “At Last Together” and “He’s Mine (End Credits” [sans the processed infant cries]), Gesqua concludes his Ŕ L’INTÉRIEUR music with the previous harsh piano motif, joined in the last track by a final assembly of aggressive synths, bells, and percussion.
Added to the album (side 2 of the vinyl) are Gesqua’s scores for three of Maury and Bustillo’s short films—EYE PIZZA, PEDRO, and the X IS FOR XYLOPHONE segment of THE ABCS OF DEATH 2, which make a welcome supplement to the package.
Listen to a sample of Gesqua’s track “In Pain” from L’INTÉRIEUR via Omega’s YouTube page:
Omega’s third release of the season is Gesqua’s music to Maury and Bustillo’s AUX YEUX DES VIVANTS (2014; Among the Living). Despite having his score extracted from 2008’s Ŕ L’INTÉRIEUR, the directors brought Gesqua back to score their succeeding film LIVIDE (2011; Livid) as well as this one and those aforementioned short films. The film is a tasty mix of influences from Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986) and Rob Reiner’s STAND BY ME (1987) which tells of three teens who skip school in order to explore an abandoned film studio lot where they catch site of a woman being dragged across the lot by a masked man. Gesqua’s score alternates from bright orchestral pieces to synthetic sequences, laying down an atmosphere that is both rich and—like the film—referential to the 80s, and in its 33 tracks (averaging about 2.5 minutes a track) provides an absorbing sound mix of attractive and spooky patterns. The score opens and closes with a very catchy rhythm cue for violin over a sturdy percussion cadence, opening midway through the “End Credits” to offer a gloomy piano melody over portentous string figures, just to let you leave the theater with a bit of distress left over.
Each of these scores are powerful and effective elements that serve (or, in Gesqua’s first score, would have served) their films well; listened to on their own they provide a mesmerizing musical experience in their layered textures and counterpoints, and are most welcome additions to a collection of horror scores, French or otherwise.
Listen to Gesqua’s title track from AUX YEUX DES VIVANTS via Omega’s YouTube page:
LE BUREAU DES LÉGENDES/ROB/Milan (Sony) – digital + vinyl
The fifth season of the series THE BUREAU (Le Bureau des Légendes) premiered on Canal+ in France. Starring Mathieu Kassovitz (Amelie Poulain), the show is France’s most popular and critically acclaimed political thriller series, which revolves around the lives of agents of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security), France’s principal external security service. For the fifth time, show runner Eric Rochant continues his collaboration with Paris-based composer ROB (GRETEL & HANSEL, MANIAC, HORNS). Having worked on at least 50 episodes and no less than 16 hours of composed music—it is by far the most titanic project of the composer’s career. “This fifth season marks the most tragic one of the entire series. That’s why I have chosen to oversize the dramatic framework with music by introducing orchestral parts to the most emblematic and electronic themes of the series.” In comparison with the series’ first season, in which much of ROB’s music was brighter in tone and quite arpeggiated, the fifth season’s music is primarily ambient and tonal, with heavy synth choir atmospheres (“Frost”), tense synth pads (“Light 30,” “Trone”), imposing, heavy rhythms (“Ultima,” “Guts,” “Research”), and mass gatherings of reflective tonality (“Light 540.” “Finale”). It’s a somber and sobering score, but that doesn’t make it a difficult listen; the soundtrack album is a treasure of sonic movement, intriguing textures, and enthralling atmospheric sound patterns which make quite an immersive listening experience.
Listen to the track “Frost” from Sony Soundtrack’s YouTube page:
CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO (2014)/
Kevin Riepl/Notefornote – digital CABIN FEVER (2016)/Kevin Riepl/
Notefornote – digital
Originally released digitally by Niles Rodgers’ now-defunct Sumthing Else Music Works label in 2015 and ‘16, Notefornote music has reissued both scores in order to keep the soundtracks available since Sumthing Else has shut down; the masters are the same as the previous albums. So if you missed out on the first releases, here’s your chance to grab new reissues of a pair of first-rate horror scores. CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO was a prequel to both CABIN FEVER and Ti West’s 2009 sequel, CABIN FEVER 2: SPRING FEVER, and it sort of establishes how the flesh-eating virus began in the first place. Riepl’s score is saturated in apprehensive timbres and raging washes of sonic pandemonium, wickedly frightening textures, staccato percussion blasts, all of which join together to create a potent mix of scary sounds and stabbing stingers that jolt, agonize, and creep-out audiences as the storyline plays on. With the audience aware that the story in this prequel will eventually not have a happy ending, Riepl starts out eerily and pensively, and quickly places his sonic cards on the table and allows the score to dive quickly into audible apprehensive and provocative fear. The score takes a journey, as horror scores tend to, from the innocence of the film’s beginning and gradually becoming denser, more discordant and coarse as the characters become involved in and understand the danger of the situation they find themselves in. As well as his synthetic and carefully-crafted musical sound patterns, stingers, and creepy sonic and percussive interactions. Riepl adds subtle tonalities like a plucked banjo (“Patient Zero,” “Speedy Virus,” “Cabin Beaver,” “Bunker Escape,” “Porter Crossing”), soft piano chords and arpeggios (the gentle cadence of piano over fiddle in “Rubs the Lotion On:), closely-miked hand drums (the tom-toms and bongos in “Just Believer”), see-sawing rhythmic structures (“Cabin Beaver,” “Bunker Escape”), echoing taps and scrapes (“A Burning Lotion,” “Pennyskin”), tense disquiet erupting into raucous panic (“A Lil Blood,” “Bunker Down”), prolonged, sustained gongs (“It’s The Bud”), and a sudden string-like sonic ascent (“Three Blind Mice”), to make his music both more interesting and more effective in its scarability. By the score’s end, in its final two or three tracks, Riepl’s banjo is plucking out a constant pattern of distress while a processed ragged, growling pattern echoes those plucks with a throbbing, undulating pulsation that concludes the story in a disconsolate air, maintaining a viral configuration of danger and continuation right up until the final fade out. Riepl’s score’s strength is in its layered construction and unrelenting-ness, serving the scary film with brutal efficiency and keeping audiences constantly on the edge of their seats (or burrowed as deeply as possible into their popcorn-encrusted cushions). The journey has proffered a myriad of electronic designs and processed sonics that maintains a continual aura of provocative apprehension, and keeps the film proceeding in its scariest mode.
Travis Z’s 2016 remake of Eli Roth’s CABIN FEVER, produced by Evan Astrowsky for whom Riepl previously scored PATIENT ZERO, was filmed right off of Roth & Randy Pearlstein’s original 2002 screenplay (albeit shortened by 42 pages). Here, Riepl mixes a blend of electronics with acoustic instrumentation to lend a unique tonality to this iteration, apart from what’s gone before in the franchise. “To The Cabin” is an attractive, quite tangible melody that sets the story off in a seemingly innocuous manner. He intones the famous “Dies Irae,” popular in horror scores since the silent era, in the track “Domus Mortis” using the sound of an old-synthesizer almost in the manner Wendy Carlos did in THE SHINING, but Riepl places it on a bed of ominously rustling low bass tones, giving it a unique quality beneath the melody. But even with the incursion of acoustic sounds the score maintains its sense of tangible tension with the friction of rough-edged scraping, echoed siren-like structures, and a repeated fast, banging tick-tock sound that echoes in and out with a manic ferocity (“You Shot Me”). While, midway through the score, “Oh She Got It” offers a rhythmic respite in the form of a sustained sympathetic pattern of delicate sonority, but it turns out to be a raging red herring as the sonority suddenly becomes a shrieking wave of synthesized shards that burrow deeply into the soundscape. Sound patterns like echoing synth whaps, sinewy reverberant voicings, and disconsolate sighs from the strings built the suspense until it finally grows into something almost unbearable. Riepl accompanies the “End Credits” with a fully-orchestral wave of drum-driven chords that end the film ferociously, but devoid of the textured electronica until the very end, when it morphs into electronically-driven slamming percussions and thunderous, rhythmic synth barks that all gradually dissipate into thin air. The score’s use of tonality and texture is constant and considerable throughout. This is a score that won’t let you off the hook; it clings to the listener/viewer like the necrotizing disease which attacks with growing force the characters on screen.
A coda: One modern axiom about listening to horror movie soundtracks is that they are so intrinsically tied to augmenting the story’s cinematic suspense and terror that they don’t always prompt repeated listenings away from their films; or perhaps it used to be. But, in a world of black metal and doom core as popular musical genres this may now be a no-issue, but the popularity of atonal and electronic/sound-designs horror film soundtracks remains high, and a credits to its composers for being as creative as they have been in designing new musical (and not-so-musical) sounds to tingle the listener’s spine and jolt their comfort zone. I find listening to scores like these, apart from their films, very interesting exercises in what music can do and how an abundance of strange sounds can be treated musically to create hitherto unheard of means to energize the darker emotions, as in a temporary sonic thrill ride. While I may not listen as often to these scores as I do something from Williams, Rózsa, Silvestri, or even Hans Salter or Frank Skinner, there’s an intriguing sonic energy I find welcome in experiencing controlled and carefully manipulated sonic chaos—much the same attraction I get in watching the films in which those musical machinations serve to promote unease, terror, and carnage in a survivable manner. Just saying’. Related: Read my interview with Kevin Riepl on scoring both CABIN FEVERS: PATIENT ZERO and CABIN FEVER (2016) at musiquefantastique.com.
LA CHIAVE [The Key]/Ennio Morricone/CF Soundtracks - cd
Dynamic Italian soundtrack producer Claudio Fuiano’s new label, in partnership with Beat Records and music publisher CA bum, has released Ennio Morricone’s score for director Tinto Brass’s (CALIGULA, LA VACANZA, DROPOUT) erotic historical thriller LA CHIAVE (1983) in a sparkling remastered edition in the score’s CD premiere. The film takes place in Venice on the eve of World War II as an aging couple (Frank Finlay, Stefanie Sandrelli) tries to rekindle their sexual rapport, was originally released in Europe on a 10-track LP in 1984 and not until now has a CD edition been created, taken from the first generation stereo masters. The tracklist is the same as the original LP versions, providing 30 minutes of eclectic and graceful music, much of which is tongue-in-cheek in nature (one example: Morricone takes the tune of Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz” and interpolates it into several tracks, as if to ironically underline the physical failure of the couple’s physical amore). The primary direction of the music is a very classical style, reflecting the husband’s pride and character while a string quartet harmonizes the awakening sensuality of the wife. The final track reflects success and fulfillment at least with a delightful baroque romp for winds over electric bass and drum-kit. It’s quite a delightful score in which musical surprises can be found on each track.
FLAME IN THE WIND/SHEFFEY/Dwight Gustafson/Caldera - cd Caldera’s March CD release features two religious-based films produced by Unusual Film, a division of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. FLAME IN THE WIND (1971) is set during the time of the Spanish Inquisition and deals with the conflict facing Carlos, a young man trying to come to terms with the Bible and religious tradition in the face of the cruelty imposed by the inquisitors. SHEFFEY (1977) is a biopic of 19th Century Methodist evangelist Robert Sheffey. The composer, Dwight Gustafson (1920-2014), was acting dean of BJU’s School of Fine Arts from the age of 24 until his retirement in 1997. Both of these films contain first rate dramatic, Hollywood-worthy film scores, and you don’t have to be against or for BJU or its politics to discover the symphonic mastery of these compositions. FLAME IN THE WIND is provided with a captivating thematic orientation suitable to its story and focus, with a main theme reflecting Carlos’ search for spiritual truth, contrasted against a darker motif that delineates the terrors of the Inquisition itself. Gustafson’s title music, which reprises in the score’s final track, possesses more of a traditional inspirational semblance in acknowledgement of Carlos having made his peace with his circumstances. The SHEFFEY score is also built around an engaging theme although in its conception and development it is a more intimate, or down-to-earth, work. As the film tells the story of folk religion, Gustafson employs a variety of folk tunes to serve as his score’s backbone, although the treatment remains purely orchestral. A more somber tone is set for the more tragic events that occur in Sheffey’s life, but the resolve is ultimately a reverent one. The spiritual cadence of the folk hymns work well in conjunction with Gustafson’s original melodies and, like FLAME IN THE WIND, the SHEFFEY score is a likeable and affecting work. The album includes an 8-page booklet with detailed notes about the films, their scores, and their composer by label owner Stephan Eicke, who is to be thanked for preserving the specialized works of this composer for our appreciation.
For more information visit calderarecords.
LEV YASHIN/George Kallis/Keep Moving Records – cd / MovieScore Media – digital
George Kallis (ALBION THE ENCHANTED STALLION, GAGARIN: FIRST IN SPACE) paints a musical portrait of a true hero of the football [=soccer] world – legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin, The Dream Goalkeeper. As one of the first keepers to leave his goal and help his defense actively, Yashin revolutionized his post and was honored with a Ballon d’Or, the only goalkeeper to ever do so. Kallis’ score is fully orchestral but with the occasional added textures of choir and electronics. His numerous themes are engaging, heroic, and emotive, from the music that underlines Yashin’s growing stature as a sports legend to the rapturous love theme for “Lev and Valya” with its mix of solo violin, oboe, piano, and string choir. He also supplies some interesting tracks in a tribute to the film scoring style of the 1960s (the peak of Yashin’s worldwide fame). A delightful French love song, “Mon Premier Amour” [the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1962], is provided as a bit of enjoyable source music; and an exuberant Chilean choir similarly sets the stage for a sour memory when, despite Yashin’s noblest efforts, his team loses a game to the Chile team; the following track, “Arriving Back Home,” retains the somberness of defeat, but soon enough Yashin has his moment of triumph in “Ballon d’Or,” which Kallis conveys with a celebratory, surging rush of orchestra, electronics, timpani, and dazzling circulations of strings in an utterly magnificent cue. The following “Farewell” and “Alone by the Goalpost” are equal to “Ballon’s” symphonic splendor. The eloquently reflective violins of “Best in History” close both film and soundtrack with a noble musical tribute to The Dream Goalkeeper. These four powerful tracks alone make the acquisition of this album an essential purchase, but Kallis has crafted a truly masterful score that I found completely immersive.
For more details and sample music see keepmovingrecords.com and/or moviescoremedia.com
Listen to a suite of the score here:
THE MATRIX Symphony/Don Davis/Perseverance – cd /
MovieScore Media – digital
This release makes a worthy revisitation to Don Davis’ tremendous score to THE MATRIX trilogy, taken from a concert that Davis conducted at FIMUCITÉ—the 2007 Tenerife International Film Music Festival. It was a proper selection to headline the inaugural program of the first festival, THE MATRIX being, perhaps arguably, the most powerful and influential electro-acoustic score of the decade. Davis’ music for the first film defined the tone, texture, and treatment that would arc through each of the three films, from the digital descent of the matrix code that opened the movies, like drops of bleeding emerald rain, through the hornlike blaring figure that heralded the “bullet time” visual effects, the music bristled like wild scurrying insects. Davis’ reflective treatment of orchestral, choral, and electronic layers, the pacing of the music which alternately rages and then brakes into slow motion, and his inventive morphing of unearthly sonic mysteriosos, blaring dissonances, and crashing percussive pulses was simply extraordinary. Transforming the hybrid layers of the original film score into a predominantly symphonic arrangement suitable for concert performance made for a compelling new orientation that loses none of the scores’ original muscle. “The score for THE MATRIX RELOADED featured contributions from [other] artists... Although THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS scaled back on the electronic elements, it was clear that some of the high-concept futuristic sci-fi elements of the music could not translate well to the concert hall—hence the expertly selected musical cues are woven together to focus on the epic scale of Neo’s character arc,” wrote composer Diego Navarro, founder and director of FIMUCITÉ in his liner notes for the CD album. The result is a powerful and at times breathtaking symphonic presentation that works just as well—and in a different way—than the fusion of orchestra, electronics, and a myriad of modern techno/trance/industrial/etc. that form the musical fabric of THE MATRIX scores. “The adaptation to symphony seemed like a natural conclusion for the lifecycle of THE MATRIX, because the sound of the scores was very much inspired by Davis’ own writing for the concert hall—so it seemed all the more natural to bring them back to this environment,” wrote Navarro. The symphony is arranged into three movements (corresponding to the three films) of roughly 9, 8, and 8 minutes in length, respectively, with Davis’ monumental “Neodämmerung,” which underscores the final confrontation between Agent Smith and Neo, providing an additional 7-minute coda for the concert (the digital version is divided into three tracks of approx. 18, 8, and 7 mins., placing MATRIX and MATRIX RELOADED onto a single track, with REVOLUTIONS and “Neodämmerung” following; while the CD version splits each film and the coda into four separate tracks). In addition, a 16-minute suite of Davis’ score to the 1997 fantasy film WARRIORS OF VIRTUE, which was also performed at the FIMUCITÉ 2007 concert, is included on each version. These scores knocked my socks off in 1999-2003, and experiencing it in concert form is equally extraordinary.
Sample a suite of the score here:
MIMI AND THE MOUNTAIN DRAGON/Rachel Portman/Decca - digital Based on Michael Morpurgo’s 2014 short children’s story, this TV special graced British television last December, telling of a shy little girl named Mimi who finds a baby dragon and undertakes a perilous journey to return it to its mother. With minimal dialogue and Morpurgo himself narrating the tale, Rachel Portman provides a gloriously sublime score for this animated fantasy. The music serves both the tale’s narrative in classic, melodic fairytale fashion, but also captures a powerful orchestral resonance that is instantly captivating. There are no less than six identifiable themes, motifs, or ostinatos that comprise the 25-minute show, which is almost completely filled with music. From the delightful piano and flute interaction associated with Mimi to the rapid, fiercely-charged and almost Steiner-esque martial trudge that denotes both movement to and up the mountain as well as Mimi’s determination to accomplish the task, broken by delicious, scherzo-esque moments of piccolo, flutes, and oboe, the score is thoroughly enchanting. The flutes gather beautifully in sparkling array to accompany the moment where “Mimi Meets Baby Dragon.” As the story continues from there, its Portman’s powerfully orchestral Mountain and Dragon themes that are especially striking. Her six-note baby dragon motif is, in fact, the playful, juvenile interpretation of what will be introduced later as the overshadowing parent dragon theme. Emerging briefly along with a variant of the martial theme midway through “Lullaby” and reaching its fullest presentation at the middle of “Climbing the Mountain” and the end of “The Mountain Dragon,” this is a majestic tune that grows into a fully-wrought, graceful bellow of a melody for the full orchestra. The interplay between Mimi’s light flute theme and the massive, powerful dragon theme (also the contrast between baby dragon’s spirited interpretation of grown dragon’s formidable treatment and that of the fully mature theme as it rises to its full sonic stature) is powerfully persuasive in both of the aforementioned tracks. “Lullaby” is one of two songs figuring in the score and the story; tenderly sung by Claire Martin (as “Mami”) in the second half of “Lullaby” and then completing the score with the mothering “Lullaby’s” melody gathering maturity and becoming “Mimi’s Song” in a majestic and commanding articulation, the child having grown from her experiences in the dragon’s mountain. This concluding track is the score’s emotional high point, initially sung by Esther Greaves (as “Mimi”) but soon joined in turn by a children’s choir with piano, then an adult female choir, then a male choir with the full orchestra, finally growing into an expressively charged, massive orchestral-choral climax with piercing trumpet runs and surging strings and brasses that is ovation-worthy in its powerful dynamic and emotional presence. A brief echo of silence, and “Mimi’s” theme then concludes the story with a return to the gently impish tune that opened the picture. In its segments and in the sum of its parts, this is one of the finest scores I’ve heard so far this year [I missed the film’s BBC showing in December]; continued evidence of Portman’s mastery of musical storytelling, thematic interplay, and orchestrational grandeur. The score is available for download at amazon and is well worth the small investment for 24:30 minutes of exquisite, highly affecting music.
Listen to the closing track, “Mimi’s Song and Ending,” courtesy of Portman’s YouTube page, below:
PANDORA: Season One/Joe Kraemer & Penka Kouneva/
La-La Land – cd
Set in the year 2199, The CW’s PANDORA is about a resourceful young woman who has lost everything but finds a new life at Earth’s Space Training Academy, where she and her friends learn to defend the galaxy from threats, both alien and human. When secrets about the nature of her own identity begin to surface, she must uncover the truth, and learn whether she will be humanity’s savior or the instrument of its destruction. Joe Kraemer (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, THE WAY OF THE GUN, and THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT) is the show’s lead composer; and he scored the first and last episodes on his own. Penka Kouneva (ENCOUNTER, DEVIL’S WHISPER, MIDNIGHT MOVIE), a first-class lead orchestrator and composer noted for scoring indie films, video games, and a NASA theme park attraction, was brought in by Joe to help out as co-composer due to the first season’s tight schedule. The score for PANDORA is thematically oriented and primarily electronic with occasional use of cello, guitar, and live “alien vocals” added in a few choice places, although the composers’ use of digital orchestra samples along with unique synthetic sounds make for excellent musical accompaniment for the futuristic series. The guitar, often processed to create a sharp, twanging sound, becomes a regular motif beneath both themes and atmospheric music, nicely contrasted against the smooth synthetic arrangements. The score often balances traditional scoring techniques with modern “EDM” stylisms that relate to the characters and their interactions; in all cases the music’s textural interaction is effective and very likable. While Kraemer set the musical approach with his score for the pilot episode and wrapped up the season finale, both he and Kouneva equally contributed themes and ideas to the episodes in between. “I think Joe and Penka worked remarkably well in concert together,” said creator Mark Altman, quoted in the album notes. “There’s a seamlessness to episodes’ scores that’s remarkable given it’s two different composers that never worked together before. It’s a cohesiveness that’s a testament to how much respect they had for each other’s abilities.” The tracks are all fairly long ones (averaging about 4 minutes in length), selected by Kraemer to best represent the overall season score and sequenced in an order chosen for optimum listening if not strict show order, and the album is a very good sonic journey from start to finish. The intriguing variations of the main theme, an engaging 13-note melody which often blazes forth in an intense 7/8 meter, are powerfully displayed throughout. One of the most affecting tracks is “Jax’s Sorrow,” which opens with tentative apprehension, until the main theme emerges quietly but then explodes into massive crescendo midway through, rising into a glorious, emotive rendition of the series theme, concluding with a splendid trumpet intonation. The following track, “The Battle For Earth,” renders a spectacular, cataclysmic sonic climax to the season, with the last track, “The Final Reflection,” ruminating pensively with an interesting arrangement of the main theme for keyboard as running bass notes maintain a rolling rhythm that leads into a final crescendo.
A hefty 24-page booklet is included in the single-disc package, featuring extensive notes by Daniel Schweiger about the creation of the show and its score. Sample tracks and other details available at lalalandrecords.com.
Listen to the main theme from PANDORA from Joe Kraemer’s YouTube page:
SAVING LENINGRAD/Yuri Potyenko/Keep Moving – cd
Russian composer Yuri Potyenko provides an effective and likeable orchestral score for SAVING LENINGRAD, which has been released in a very limited edition of only 100 copies on CD. The action takes place primarily upon a large fishing boat known as “Barge 752,” upon which refugees from the assaulted city of Leningrad have chosen perilous refuge. The film is the true story of one of the biggest shipwreck tragedies of Russian history, occurring during the evacuation of the city in the early days of WW2. When the ship crashed in a storm, only 200 of the estimated 1500 passengers reached the shore safely. The true story of Barge 752 was kept classified until 2004 and even when it was released to the public, only a few learned about it. One of composer Yuri Potyenko’s biggest scores was for Aleksandr Buravskiy’s LENINGRAD (2009; aka ATTACK ON LENINGRAD in the US), which was released also by Keep Moving in 2013 (see my review of it in my July 2013 column), so he’s kind of revisiting that situation and time period, but from a different perspective. Potyenko rejoins director Alexey Kozlov on this project (he’d scored Kozlov’s previous movie, ZAPRET [The Forbiddance; 2015]), and the scope and subject matter affords a large orchestral palette as the storm becomes an entity worse than bombs and enemy pilots, so there’s the opportunity for some massive, large orchestral gestures throughout the score. These are contrasted with quieter music associated with the romance of a couple on board the barge who are having their own troubles before that of the storm. With these two elements directing the focus of the music, the result is a finely crafted and muscular score whose scope is shared between power and poignancy. The CD booklet includes notes by Gergely Hubai discussing the historical events, the film and the score. Very highly recommended, especially in view of its small limited release.
SHORTCUTS 2019/Various Composers/
MovieScore Media – digital / Quartet – cd (forthcoming)
This follow-up to last year’s highly successful initiative to collect together the most memorable short film scores of each year is a praiseworthy second edition. Scoring short films can be a unique opportunity for composers, whether they are starting out scoring shorts on the way to a feature film or television career, or a welcome return to the short subject as a change of pace, yet they receive far less attention than feature films – or feature film scores (and they very rarely wind up on soundtrack albums). So the idea of an annual compilation (and I hope it continues to be an annual project) of notable short film scores is really something to embrace. “I firmly believe that even short films can have magnificent scores and the whole idea of Short Cuts is to save some of the year’s best offerings for posterity in a curated selection,” explains album producer Mikael Carlsson. “As these shorts are usually true passion projects, the filmmakers let their composers have the necessary time and financial resources to craft the best possible scores for their pictures. Based on the feedback from the previous Short Cuts release, we were encouraged to delve even deeper into genre cinema, give even more focus to animation and sci-fi – and simply let the scores speak for themselves.” This second compilation includes work by Bear McCreary, Chad Cannon, Christopher Young, Daniel Alceh, Frederik Wiedmann, Joan Vilà, Joe Kraemer, Kevin Smithers, Laura Rossi, Michael Neilson, Pantawit Kiangsiri, Rachel Portman, Rob Simonsen & Duncan Blickenstaff, and the scores represented range from McCreary’s jaunty marital comedy THE TOLL ROAD; Cannon’s multifaceted score for the comical time traveling adventure FELINE PARADOX; Kiangsiri’s majestic and elegant music for WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES; Rossi’s pervasively melancholic/reflective sonorities for the sci-fi/action short, RUEFUL WARRIOR; Young’s delightfully harmonic comic portrait of FANBOY with its array of wild and crazy instruments; Wiedmann’s moody and noirish animated crime thriller, BURNING BRIGHT; Kraemer’s urgently dramatic and intense string-based score for THE WOUND; Smithers’ very different approaches—sentimental, charmingly horrific, and uproarious—to three very different short-shorts; Vilà’s beautifully eloquent music for a short film about family schizophrenia POR QUÉ MIENTE LA GENTE (Why People Lie); Portman’s stimulating and dramatic orchestral score for a drama about grief, ARCHIE; Alcheh’s superlatively poignant music for THE TATOOED TORAH, based on a beloved children’s book about the Holocaust, ranging from solo instruments to full orchestra with choir; Neilson’s strident electronic rhythmic patterns for the spooky science fiction short, GILTRUDE’S DWELLING; and Simonsen & Blickenstaff’s properly classical and effervescent music for Zach Braff’s delightfully anachronistic IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO GET THERE. This series is highly recommended, worth supporting and listening to—and a means to ensure that short film scores aren’t given short shrift.
SPY INTERVENTION/Roger Suen/NoteforNote Music – cd + digital
The world’s greatest spy decides to abandon his adventurous lifestyle for the woman of his dreams. But when a madman tries to secure a devastating weapon, he soon gives up his boring existence to save not only the world, but his listless marriage. Composer Roger Suen (MS. PURPLE, GOOK, LADY BUG) has crafted a pleasing score for this action comedy starring Poppy Delevingne, Dave Sheridan, and Blake Anderson, directed by Drew Mylrea in his feature film debut after making several short films. The film is fresh and fun and so is the music, filled with plenty of light jazz combo music (favoring woodwinds, violin, and percussion) over which the story plays out. Suen provides his own take on spy music in both suspenseful (both “Spy Intervention” and “Spy Re-intervention” are a great cues with plenty of atmosphere; “Spy Dinner” offers some marvelous grooves) and action-filled varieties (the drum-kit-laden “Paranoia,” “The Fifth Spy” revs up into a very catchy rhythm; flutes and brass nicely play against one another over bass and drums, with a bit of vibraphone reverb for good measure, in both “Egan” and “Egan Arrives,” two of the score’s coolest cues; while “The Mission” exudes an intriguing variety of sonic treats). Suen’s closer, “Everyday is an Adventure,” is a very pleasing bit of jazz romance.
The 30 score tracks are relatively short but they provide enough variety within the score’s light-jazz structure to make for an enjoyable listen on their own. In addition to Suen’s score, the soundtrack also features two original songs by Madyx (=singer-songwriter Michelle Blanchard). NoteforNote’s release comes in a CD/digital bundle. For details, to sample tracks, or to purchase, see Notefornote.
For more details on the composer, see: http://elcapproductions.com/
STUFFED/Ben Lovett/Lakeshore Records - digital
Ben Lovett has composed a whimsically playful score to this film by Erin Durham. Typically known for his unconventional and edgy signature style, this is Durham’s love-letter documentary about taxidermy, which affords Lovett the opportunity to journey across the lighter side of film music—a far different style of music than his notable horror scores for THE RITUAL, THE WIND, and I TRAPPED THE DEVIL—here creating a unique mix of evocative synths and frolicking instrumentations that capture the effervescent passion of the eclectic group of craftsmen who turn this often misunderstood art form into a vivacious celebration of life. The gentle, breezy acoustics, counterpointed by an occasional electric bass, draw the mind to nature, to the life these works of taxidermy are meant to represent. “I think in a lot of ways the music’s role was to really capture the spirit of these characters, and their passion, and have that help guide the storytelling,” said Lovett. “A lot of the instrumentation was sort of inspired by the tools and how the whole nature of the work is an endless series of really small, precise movements.” Lovett eschewed creating recurring themes for sequences or even specific animals, and instead composed a unique sound for each cue, rendering a particular musical treatment that is different for each of the major sequences of the film, which in turn makes the soundtrack album a distinctive treat of discovering new kinds of lively music on each succeeding track. Quite a lovely listen.
For more details on the composer, see http://benlovett.com/
Watch the featurette “Inside the Music of STUFFED,” courtesy of Lakeshore Records:
SUPERCAR/Barry Gray/Silva Screen – cd
Following their release of UFO last August, SUPERCAR is the second album in Silva Screen’s soundtrack series celebrating Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s legacy. All the albums in this series are being newly compiled, freshly remastered and designed by the creative team at Fanderson - The Official Gerry and Sylvia Anderson Appreciation Society. SUPERCAR (1961-62) was Anderson’s second show to use the Supermarionation technique, following Anderson’s 1960 Western series FOUR FEATHER FALLS. Based on the Czech style of marionette puppetry, Supermarionation was Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s development of the technique to include synchronization of puppet’s lip movements with pre-recorded dialogue. The success of SUPERCAR would lead both the Andersons and their composer Barry Gray into a historical collaboration with FIREBALL XL-5, STINGRAY, THUNDERBIRDS, CAPTAIN SCARLET and more. At the time, SUPERCAR was considered a children’s show, but with the later, less juvenile series Anderson developed, SUPERCAR was recognized as a fun adventure series for all ages. “In the very early days of the Gerry Anderson shows it was virtually Gerry’s idea not to write kiddie music for the puppet shows, and I should not let the fact that the shows were puppets affect the music at all,” Barry Gray told me in a 1982 interview. “I should write as one would for a film, in the normal way, and this is what I always did. I never wrote down to the children. I scored as if I felt—in other words, I treated the puppets as if they were real people. And that was what we did more or less throughout the whole of those series.” While SUPERCAR has its share of what might be considered child-friendly music (“Whimsical Antics,” the jaunty, cartoonesque “What Goes Up” and the whimsical and mellifluent mickey-mousing of “Hi-Jack,” the cute Strauss pastiche “The Beakette Danube,” to cite a few), they’re properly accompanying what’s on the screen—just as fully dramatic and action music serves the tone of its respective scenes, and there’s plenty of thrilling accompaniment for Supercar’s escapades—from the ethnic flourishes and tonalities of “The Head Hunters and Sargon,” the full-on brass-driven thrill and eloquence, respectively, of “Masterspy Theme/Pleasant Theme”), the mix of elegance and energetic velocity of “The Runaway Train,” the Gershwyn-esque “City Lights,” the multifaceted jazz-riffing “Gifted Gorilla,” the deliciously noirish suspense of “Calling Charlie Queen,” and the beyond-gravity drifting of “Space for Mitch.” And much more – SUPERCAR, like all of Gray’s music for Anderson and ITV, is a wondrous cornucopia of attractive and memorable music, and often each track has a wide variety of musical treatments (the sinewy “Happy Birthday” meandering through “The Day Time Stood Still,” for example). Silva’s partnership with Fanderson in making these available to a general audience is something to be welcomed.
Listen to the track “Full Boost Vertical” from the SUPERCAR soundtrack:
THE SWARM (Expended Archival Collection)/
Jerry Goldsmith/La-La Land - cd
Disaster movie maestro Irwin Allen’s 1978 insect invasion film THE SWARM was a lackluster entry into the nature-vs-mankind cycle of the late ‘70s, but was scored impressively by Goldsmith with an action-filled brass-and-strings score. “There were so many actors that there was not one character you could really get involved with,” Goldsmith said of THE SWARM, deciding instead to concentrate purely on the threat of the bees and emphasized that aspect in his score. “I used the notes B.E.E. as a motif and lots of chromatics” [quoted by Allan Bryce in Soundtrack Collector’s Newsletter #18 (July 1979)]. This clever in-joke was well-taken by one reviewer, who recognized the notes and reportedly burst out into laughter at the first few bars of music. Wrote Tom Underwood in CinemaScore magazine #3 (May/June 1979), noting the driving ferocity of much of the music: “The nasty stingers are perfectly portrayed by the sharp flutter-tongues of the woodwinds, the brassy buzzing of the horns, and the angry, primal screaming of the whirling strings. Beneath all these furious gyrations lie the basic power of the bees and the sounding of impending disaster which echoes throughout the work.” The original soundtrack and cassette release from Warner Bros. in 1978 contained a scant 35-minutes of music across ten tracks; a 27-track CD released by Belgium’s Prometheus label in 2003 expanded the offering to 71-minutes of score. La-La land’s new 2-CD edition provides 117 minutes of music split across two discs—one for the actual film score (75 minutes/30 tracks) and one for the original soundtrack version with two alternate takes added to it, all superbly remastered by Bruce Botnick. 20 pages of detailed notes by Jeff Bond, with technical details about this CD’s transfer of the original analog recordings to an MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) format, meaning those who have a CD with an MQA decoder will hear the music in a greater high resolution. Either way, this archival release is an improvement in both content and sonic reproduction over both previous releases, and interested parties should swarm to pick it up while it’s still available (it’s a limited edition of 3000 copies).
TREAD/Austin Wintory/Bandcamp - digital
Austin Wintory has scored Paul Solet’s new documentary film TREAD, which explores the true story of Marvin Heemeyer, a Colorado man who in 2004, after a long feud with town officials and business rivals, quietly fortified a bulldozer with 30 tons of concrete and steel and drove this impenetrable tank throughout the town of Granby, Colorado, destroying the homes and businesses of those he was convinced had wronged him. Solet explores both sides of the story without judgment, sharing Heemeyer’s perspective via several cassette tapes he recorded prior to his rampage, conveying what he saw as his God-approved duty to right the wrongs visited upon him, while the perspective of the town council and others are provided via new interviews. Wintory’s score is distinctive and carries a dramatic weight in its muted tension and sober tonality. It is flavored mostly by an acoustic ensemble of guitars, banjo, mandolin, violin and cello, befitting the rural, mountainous landscape of Granby and the various personalities whose interactions with Heemeyer evidently fueled his deep-seated embitterment. The harsh, indignant strokes of violin and cello offer a glimpse into Heemeyer’s flaring emotions (“Questions”) while emphasizing his festering desire for retribution (“Fall 2003”); elsewhere Wintory employs solo trumpet to signify happier events along the way, such as Heemeyer’s love of snowmobiling (“The Thursday Crew,” “Spring Before the Storm”), while a powerful solo female vocalise near the end of “You Took Advantage of My Good Nature” suggests his increasing desperation. When he has made his choice and the day of devastation arrives (“To War,” “I Am a Slave To God”), those brutal strokes give way to rolling and chaotic percussive and keyboard elements that propel Heemeyer’s trail of destruction. To add further cinematic accompaniment Wintory adds in some orchestral performances from the Macedonia Radio Symphony Orchestra, which contributes a commanding tonality in contrast to the percussive nature of much of the score. “Working with director Paul Solet has always been a thrill and challenge, as I’d be hard-pressed to name anyone who pushes me as hard as he does” wrote Wintory. “But despite over a decade of collaboration, I never expected him to make a documentary, and the resulting work is one I’m truly proud of. It was a real privilege to score this film and I hope my music has done justice to the story and peculiarity of Marvin Heemeyer’s tale.”
The digital soundtrack is available on Wintory’s bandcamp page. The film can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime. Watch the film’s trailer below:
New Soundtracks & Film Music News
AMAZING STORIES, Apple TV+’s highly anticipated original series, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, debuted on March 6, exclusively on Apple TV+. The original series ran on NBC from September 29, 1985 to April 10, 1987. The series title licensed the name of Amazing Stories, the first dedicated science fiction magazine created by Hugo Gernsback in April of 1926. John Williams’ theme for the 1985 AMAZING STORIES has been used for the new series, while composers for the show’s first five episodes include Nicholas Pike (Episode 1, “The Cellar”), Brandon Campbell and Ramin Djawadi (Episode 2, “The Heat”), Noah Sorota (Episode 3, “Dynoman and the Volt!!”), Harry Gregson-Williams (Episode 4, “Signs of Life”), and Mark Isham (Episode 5, “The Rift” [Photo: Recording “The Rift.” Photo courtesy Mark Isham].
Watch the series trailer:
Speaking of Mark Isham, the soundtrack to the Hulu miniseries LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE has been released by Hollywood Records, including selections from the score by Mark and Isabella Summers, as well as the show’s covers of “In The Air Tonight” by Judith Hill, “Uninvited” by Bellsaint, “Bitch” by Ruby Amanfu, and “Pictures of You” by Lauren Ruth Ward. Based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, the series follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. To listen or purchase, see here
Lorne Balfe has signed on to score the upcoming animated feature RUMBLE. Directed by Hamish Grieve, the film is set in a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and monsters are superstar athletes. The story follows a teenager as he seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps by coaching a loveable underdog monster into a champion. The film is set to be released in theaters on January 29, 2021 from Paramount Pictures.
- via filmmusicreporter
I interviewed French composer Rob (aka Robin Coudert) about his score for the fable-based horror movie GRETEL & HANSEL. In his score, Rob’s idea was to avoid the traditional musical schemes used in such fairy tale films and find a more original and specific color via an electronic palette, using both warm and synthetic sounds, with the distinctive confluence of Mellotron and MOOG synths. Read the interview at musiquefantastique.com
Robs score is available digitally and on 180 gram colored vinyl with satin coated gatefold jackets from Waxwork Records (their CD edition has sold out).
Composer Graham Plowman, known for his atmospheric orchestral music works inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft and other authors, has completed his most recent film score, AN ENGLISH HAUNTING. Written and directed by Charlie Steeds the film is set in 1960s England, wherein Blake Cunningham and his alcoholic mother are forced to move into the mysterious Clemonte Hall, a vast isolated manor house, to care for his dying Grandfather who resides in the attic room. Soon, ghostly goings-on fill the house with dread, as it becomes apparent Grandfather’s illness may have a supernatural cause that can only be cured by uncovering the terrifying secrets of the house and its dark history.
For more details on the composer, see his website here.
Watch a behind-the-scenes video featuring the cast describing what the movie is about:
DOCTOR WHO returned last New Year’s Day with a thrilling new series full of scares and surprises. The series 12 soundtrack is now available from Silva Screen Records. Building on the character themes and dramatic musical landscapes created for Jodie Whittaker’s first series as the Thirteenth Doctor, composer Segun Akinola has created a mesmerizing and diverse collection of scores for the new adventures. This two-volume collection showcases new themes for the Master and the Cyberman and celebrates the epic, action-packed storytelling in Series 12. A behind the scenes featurette of the music from Series 12 was released on the Doctor Who YouTube channel to promote the soundtrack:
Silva Screen’s latest classic DOCTOR WHO soundtracks offer Dudley Simpson’s THE SUN MAKERS (1977), the fourth serial of the 15th season, with Tom Baker as The Doctor, and Paddy Kingsland's THE VISITATION, the fourth serial of the 19th season, with Peter Davison as The Doctor. Both releases are now available on CD, vinyl, or digital download.
Three time Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore has composed the original score to THE LOST PRINCE, a family adventure film by French director and Academy Award-winner Michel Hazanavicius (THE ARTIST). The soundtrack album is now available through Howe Records, on all digital platforms. Shore composed a joyful original score, full of beautiful colors and very specific instrumental sounds, which perfectly illustrates the nostalgic fairy-tale atmosphere in THE LOST PRINCE. “I thought Howard would be unavailable because of his very busy schedule but the script moved him and he liked my previous work,” Hazanavicius said about his collaboration with Shore. “Thus far, Howard is mostly known for his dramatic and tense scores, but he has also composed more light-hearted themes. What I love about Howard’s approach, is that he prioritizes the character and always manages—thanks to his beautifully developed melodies—to create a true emotion for them. I’m very keen on using musical themes which take their time to develop throughout the film, instead of the current trend in US cinema to rather rely on sound design, namely sound, colors, structures and rhythms.” Shore was equally happy to be part of this family-adventure film: “What a joy to work with Michel on this most beautiful film. The story is particularly close to my heart.”
Listen to the score at these links.
WaterTower Music has released the soundtrack to the HBO film BAD EDUCATION, with music by Michael Abels (GET OUT, US). Inspired by true events, the story follows Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) and Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney) who reign over a popular Long Island school district on the verge of the nation’s top spot, spurring record college admissions and soaring property values. But when an embezzlement scheme surfaces that threatens to destroy all they’ve built, Frank is forced to maintain order and secrecy — by whatever means necessary. “The score is an homage to great classical concert music, evoking the rigorous world of competitive academia, and its high level of training and discipline,” explained Abels about his approach to the composition. “But as this structured world begins to unravel in the film, the score also includes stark, minimalist cues driven primarily by percussion.” The soundtrack is now available digitally at these links.
British-born composer Dominic Lewis’ score to the fourth season of the Amazon original alternative universe series’ THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is out now via Lakeshore Records on all major digital music services. Lewis’s close collaboration with composer Henry Jackman on a number of films led to the pair scoring Amazon’s THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. Both Lewis and Jackman co-scored the first season, while the second, third, and fourth were scored by Lewis alone. Also from Lakeshore is music from the Amazon original series TED BUNDY: FALLING FOR A KILLER, featuring a score by Ariel Marx (THE TALE, TO DUST, THE DEVIL HAS A NAME). The series reveals how Bundy’s pathological hatred of women collided with the culture wars and feminist movement of the 1970s in one of the most infamous crime stories of our time.
Marco Beltrami has been hired to score CHAOS WALKING from director Doug Liman (THE BOURNE IDENTITY, EDGE OF TOMORROW). Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley headline the cast in a film based on Patrick Ness’ the novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first part of the Chaos Walking trilogy takes place in a world where all women have been killed by a germ and all living creatures can hear one another’s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called The Noise. CHAOS WALKING is scheduled for theatrical release on January 22, 2021 by Lionsgate. Beltrami is also set to score John Krasinski’s A QUIET PLACE PART II (to be released on September 4, 2020) and Michael Matthews’ MONSTER PROBLEMS (scheduled to come out on February 12. 2021). -via filmmusicreporter
Sony has released the soundtrack to WENDY by Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD). The film, directed by Zeitlin, is a kind of reimagining of PETER MAN in which Wendy is lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, and she must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.
Listen to “The Story of Wendy” on Zeitlin’s YouTube page:
La-La Land’s April releases include a remastered and expanded 2-CD reissue of Jerry Goldsmith’s original score to the 1978 big-screen bees-gone-amok THE SWARM (see review above), a restored 2-CD release of John Williams’ adventure film FAR AND AWAY which showcases his glorious music in deluxe fashion – with the composer’s original score as recorded for the film expanded beyond its original 1992 soundtrack, a 30th Anniversary Limited Edition of Hans Zimmer’s score to the 1990 racing drama DAYS OF THUNDER, plus a limited edition release of Tom Holkenborg’s music to SONIC THE HEDGEHOG. (See La-La Land).
Intrada’s April releases include a delicious 2-disc expanded CD release of James’ Horner’s eloquent score to Edward Zwick’s 1994 epic American historical drama LEGENDS OF THE FALL. “Numerous themes, epic-scale expansive sequences, warfare, romance, love and loss, tragedy all play into richly-woven musical tapestry,” Describes the label. “Horner manages to broadly develop many ideas and yet keep everything cohesive courtesy both grand orchestral sweep and highly intimate moments, all drawn from use of similar-keys and intertwining of themes. Brilliant painting on a large scale!” Also available is the world premiere release of the 1963 romantic comedy score to TAKE HER, SHE’S MINE! by Jerry Goldsmith. A score previously thought to be lost, Intrada dazzles with “plenty of chimes, percussion, tuba and calliope, in a distinct foreshadowing of his later THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS score, and like that wonderful effort, allows gimmicks galore to surround lovely melodies.” These releases follow the labels sparkling newly remastered release of Goldsmith’s exciting, aggressive World War 2/espionage score, MORITURI, and their first digital-only release, Jonathan Beard’s score for HEAVENQUEST: A PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, the evocative score for the new fantasy adventure film from Vudu (the Intrada release can’t be downloaded from their website, but is available through amazon, iTunes, and Deezer. The label’s March premiere release of Bill Conti’s score for the 1985 action thriller/romantic comedy GOTCHA is also available (See Intrada).
The soundtrack to the documentary UNTOUCHABLE: THE RISE AND FALL OF HARVEY WEINSTEIN has been released by Lightbox Media has released a soundtrack album for. The album features the film’s original music composed by Anne Nikitin (AMERICAN ANIMALS, THE PALE HORSE, MRS. WILSON, THE IMPOSTER, LOST GIRLS, THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC) and performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra. The film is directed by Ursula Macfarlane and chronicles the fall of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and his years of alleged abuse by former colleagues and accusers. The documentary premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and is now available to stream in the U.S. on Hulu.
- via filmmusicreporter
Rising filmmaker Nia DaCosta (LITTLE WOODS) directs the contemporary incarnation of the cult classic CANDYMAN, from a screenplay by Oscar® winner Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld. and DaCosta. The film is based on the 1992 film CANDYMAN. In an interview at fandom.com posted on Feb. 27th, DaCosta commented that she is a big fan of the original film’s score by Philip Glass. “We definitely talked about that a lot. We wanted to do something that was a nod to [Glass],” she commented. “Not just in terms of how it sounded and the repetition of the piano but also in terms of how unique it was. So what we’ve done is brought a composer on, Robert A. A. Lowe, who is really fantastic, really idiosyncratic, to give you something that is reminiscent of the original but is wholly new on its own as well.” Lowe, also known by his professional moniker Lichens, is a composer and recording artist and former member of the progressive rock band 90 Day Men. He has previously scored the films LAST KIND WORDS (2012; Best Original Score Brooklyn Film Festival 2012), MISS LOVELY (2012), WOLVES FROM ANOTHER KINGDOM (2012; short), and A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS (2013).
CANDYMAN is scheduled to premiere on June 12th, from Universal Pictures.
Watch the PG-rated trailer here (the film will be released as R):
Deutsche Grammophone has released the final work of the late, revered Iceland composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who both directed and scored the multimedia presentation LAST AND FIRST MEN. Inspired by the 1930 cult sci-fi novel by British author Olaf Stapledon, which Jóhannsson filmed in 16mm black and white in the former Yugoslav republics. The iconic imagery and his haunting orchestral score forms a meditation on memory and loss. Featuring narration by Tilda Swinton and musical performances by Hildur Guðnadóttir, LAST AND FIRST MEN is released in both CD and deluxe vinyl packages, both of which also include the never-before-released film on Blu-ray.
Silva Screen Records has digitally released The Greatest Themes from the Spaghetti Westerns, performed by the London Music Works. Focusing largely on Leone films and Morricone themes (all but six of the 28 tracks are Morricone themes, leaving off a great deal of other Italian Western music that might have been included in a “Greatest Themes” collection such as this. The music is performed by London Music Works, Silva Screen’s own ensemble in residence for the past 12 years, and the presentation is powerful and dynamic, although iconic pieces such as “Django,” “The Ecstasy of Gold,” “The Trio,” “Man with a Harmonica,” may take some getting used to slight differences in voice and tone for those used to the original performances. - rdl
Brian Tyler is scoring Taylor Sheridan’s new Western thriller titled THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, in which a teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness, aided by a survival expert tasked with protecting him—and a forest fire threatening to consume them all. Tyler also scored Sheridan’s YELLOWSTONE series. The film stars Angelina Jolie, Jon Bernthal, and Nicholas Hoult. Tyler is also scoring Justin Baldoni’s (FIVE FEET APART) new drama CLOUDS, about a teenager diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer who finds a way to inspire others with the little time he has left. Based on Laura Sobiech’s book Fly a Little Higher, starring Fin Argus, Dylan Everett, Sabrina Carpenter, and Neve Campbell.
Dragon’s Domain Records’ has released The David Spear Collection, Volume 1, featuring music composed and orchestrated by David Spear (FEAR NO EVIL, DINOSAURS, RAINBOW WAR). This album collects music from two historical documentaries, one historical docudrama, and an assortment of intimate duet performances intended to offer a musical portrait of the composer. The film scores feature THE COURAGE TO CARE, a 30-minute WW2 Holocaust documentary made in 1985 about non-Jewish rescuers who risked lives to protect and rescue Jews from the Nazis; LINCOLN AND THE WAR WITHIN, a PBS Civil War dramatization focusing on the first few weeks of Lincoln’s presidency while navigating the conflict that he had with William H. Seward, whom he had appointed his Secretary of State despite their longtime rivalry; THE TRIUMPH OF MEMORY was a follow-up to THE COURAGE TO CARE with additional testimonies. Also announced by the label is an updated soundtrack to Richard Band’s GHOST WARRIOR. Taken from the recently-found 8-track masters, the score has been remixed with a pervasive, fully dimensional sound. Composed by during his seminal orchestral scoring days of the early ‘80s, the score is a fusion of symphonic orchestral music (performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Shirley Walker), ethnic Japanese flutes and percussion, and an array of unusual percussion instruments invented and constructed by early 20th Century American composer Harry Partch. And there is the premiere release of Fredric Ensign Teetsel’s orchestral score to Roger Corman’s 1990 Poe adaptation, THE HAUNTING OF MORELLA, directed by Jim Wynorski. Based on themes by Chuck Cirino, Teetsel provides a richly Gothic musical direction. See buysoundtrax.com.
Deep Elm Records has released a digital soundtrack to SEA FEVER, the new science fiction/horror thriller directed by Neasa Hardiman (known for scoring episodes of TV’s JESSICA JONES, HAPPY VALLEY, Z: The Beginning Of Everything, and others) and starring Connie Nielsen, Hermione Corfield and Dougray Scott. The film follows the crew of a marooned fishing trawler, who find themselves threatened by a parasitic infection. Swedish composer Christoffer Franzén has composed the score. The thriller was released on VOD earlier in April and is now also available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Franzén is known for his solo-project Lights & Motion, which he created in 2012 after having experienced a prolonged period of insomnia, and ended up spending his nights by himself, writing music. He gained worldwide recognition when his music was featured in Google’s Film In Review commercial during the Oscars in 2013. His music has appeared in more than a dozen movie trailers in recent years, has also written the theme music for the athletics/auto-racing documentary series LIFTOFF and LOSING TRACTION, respectively.
The album is available via Amazon.
On March 3rd, the Belgian documentary DE STIG by Eric Coens and Diederd Esseldeurs had its premiere in Antwerp. The documentary tells the touching story of cyclist Stig Broeckx who fought back after getting seriously injured in 2016. To create this particular score, Hannes De Maeyer has collaborated with Kevin Imbrechts (aka Illuminine). “The biggest challenge consisted of translating Stig’s inner world into music,” said De Maeyer. “First of all we see Stig as a true hero: he tries to keep seeing the positive in everything and continues to fight for his rehabilitation every single day. However, throughout the film, you also notice throughout that he’s trying to find peace. He puts away his dreams of becoming a professional cyclist and wants to live a normal life as much as possible. We have tried to incorporate both spheres into the score. You can hear the melancholy, but on the other hand you always hear hope, the idea that everything will turn out fine.” The soundtrack album has been released by NEWS and is available at these links.
Node Records has released Anne Nikitin’s score soundtrack to the documentary THE TRIAL OF RATKO MLADIC through all digital platforms. Anne Nikitin is an Ivor Novello Award-nominated composer best known for her work on director Bart Layton’s BAFTA-winning film THE IMPOSTER, critically-acclaimed heist movie AMERICAN ANIMALS, BBC Drama / PBS Masterpiece’s MRS. WILSON, and the Ursula MacFarlane-directed UNTOUCHABLE: THE RISE AND FALL OF HARVEY WEINSTEIN. From sweeping orchestral scores to dirty guitars, mesmeric synths and delicate piano refrains, Anne is known for creating unique sound worlds spanning a wide range of genres. THE TRIAL OF RATKO MLADI? is a Sandpaper Films documentary that covers the dramatic five-year trial of the man held responsible for the siege of Sarajevo and the murder of over 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica – an epic story of justice, accountability and a country trying to escape from its bloody past. The film received the 2019 Grierson Award for Best Single International Documentary, aired on PBS FRONTLINE, and was one of Filmmaker Magazine’s Top Scary Political Docs of 2018.
The documentary can be seen, in its entirety, at the following link.
Fox Music/Hollywood Records has released the digital soundtrack from the Amazon Original series, TALES FROM THE LOOP. The album features original themes by Philip Glass and score by Paul Leonard-Morgan. TALES FROM THE LOOP is now streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. From executive producer Matt Reeves and based on the acclaimed art of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, TALES FROM THE LOOP explores the town and people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe – making things possible that were previously relegated only to science fiction. In this fantastical mysterious town, poignant human tales are told that bare universal emotional experiences, while drawing on the intrigue of genre storytelling. “Collaborating with Philip Glass on TALES FROM THE LOOP was an incredible experience,” Leonard-Morgan said. “Philip and I had a discussion with Nathaniel Halpern (showrunner) and Mark Romanek (executive producer) about their vision for the show, the incorporation of unusual instruments, and their shared desire of wanting the soundtrack to be an integral part of the show: ‘Music which could be listened to by itself, melodies which could be hummed, a soundtrack which will stand the test of time apart from the series.’ Philip went and scored a bunch of initial ideas, as did I, and we discussed where they all might work together—both of us playing off each other’s sounds and melodies to create a truly unique score.” Glass added: “I’ve always tried to collaborate with people from many disparate perspectives; everyone from indigenous musicians to electronic musicians have expanded my musical sensibilities. Working with Paul was no exception and the intersection of our two styles has produced a score both unexpected and familiar that accompanies the series beautifully.”
The soundtrack is available at these links: https://hollywoodrecs.co/TalesFromTheLoop
MONSTER HUNTER is an upcoming fantasy action thriller film directed and written by Paul W. S. Anderson, loosely based on the video game series of the same name by Capcom. In addition to Jovovich and Jaa, the movie features T.I., Ron Perlman, Meagan Good, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, and Diego Boneta. The film is scored by Paul Haslinger, who has worked frequently with director Anderson on DEATH RACE (2008), DEATH RACE 2 (2010), THE THREE MUSKETEERS (2011), and RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER (2016). In an April 2019 interview on the Pop Disciple web site, Haslinger discussed scoring MONSTER HUNTER: “Video game and comic book adaptations are almost never literal. Each format requires its own ground-rules to be effective for an audience, and the modular structure of video games will not translate for an audience that wants to sit down and watch a movie. MONSTER HUNTER will be based on the premise of the game, but in terms of storytelling will be its own animal. As I worked with Paul on some of his previous projects, I am looking forward to this one in particular, as it literally introduces a new world. It will be a larger than life canvas to fill, and I am very excited to be working on it alongside Paul and his team!” The film is scheduled for release in theaters on September 4, 2020.
Icelandic composer Atli Örvarsson (THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD, RAMS) has composed an “airy and foreboding” score for DEFENDING JACOB, which premiered globally on Apple TV+ on April 24th. The character-driven thriller, starring Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel and Sakina Jaffrey, is based on the 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name by William Landay. DEFENDING JACOB unfolds around a shocking crime that rocks a small Massachusetts town, and follows an assistant district attorney who finds himself torn between his sworn duty to uphold justice and his unconditional love for his son. Örvarsson recorded the score at The Village in Los Angeles with a 24-piece orchestra. “It was music from my upcoming album which sparked the interest of the filmmakers and as a result, composing the music for the series has felt almost like a continuation of that,” Örvarsson said. “The instrumentation and general feel is cut from the same cloth and there’s a definite Nordic Noir feel to the show, which has made the whole process feel even more natural.” The digital soundtrack album has been released by Paramount Music exclusively on iTunes and Apple Music.
Watch a preview of the DEFENDING JACOB score in this teaser video:
NoteforNote Music has released a 35th Anniversary Edition of Craig Safan’s action/adventure score to REMO WILLIAMS_THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, transferred directly from the composer’s ¼” tapes in a limited edition of 600 copies. “It sounds so fresh and clean. I don’t think I’ve heard it like that since it was originally recorded. Really great quality… very exciting!” said Safan about the release. For details and to hear sample tracks, see NoteforNote.
Milan Records has released THE STAGGERING GIRL, the original motion picture soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto. The album features music from the Luca Guadagnino-directed short film, which was produced in collaboration with Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli and showcases the fashion house’s couture designs. Of the soundtrack, Sakamoto said: “When approaching the score for THE STAGGERING GIRL, I wanted to incorporate the tactile sound of Valentino’s fabrics. So I asked them to send me some samples and utilizing special sensitive microphones, I experimented ‘playing’ the fabrics. I love the sound and how it forces one’s attention to a sound all around us, yet almost entirely ignored.” Having made its debut at Cannes Film Festival last year, THE STAGGERING GIRL is available to watch exclusively on the curated streaming service MUBI. Also from Milan Records is the soundtrack to THE QUARRY, with music by composer Heather Mcintosh (Z FOR ZACHARIAH, THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE). Of the soundtrack, McIntosh says, “I tapped into a new lyricism in my writing with the score to THE QUARRY. It was first unlocked in the ‘Purple Flowers’ theme and then it unfolded in variations throughout the rest of the score. The open landscape of this film gave me room to stretch out the melodic line over shimmering textures of flutes, percussion and guitars in a way that felt fresh and strangely familiar. The cello has always been a vital part of my writing process, but it has been a minute since I just picked up the cello and let it speak.” From the novel by Damon Galgut, THE QUARRY is a tale of sin and redemption set in the wilds of Texas. After murdering a traveling preacher, a fugitive drifter travels to a small town and poses as the man he killed. The film is currently streaming on iTunes.
And, most recently, Milan has released Danish composer and sound designer Kristian Eidnes Andersen’s (ANTICHRIST, SUBUMARINO, THE WOOMAN THAT DREAMED ABOUT A MAN) “moody electronic platform & experimental score” to VIVARIUM, Lorcan Finnegan’s sci-fi thriller about a young couple looking for the perfect home who find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses.
Varèse Sarabande Records’ CD Club got its official start in 1989 and has been a staple of Varèse Sarabande ever since, making special editions, reissues, and rarities available in limited quantities. The latest additions, released earlier this month, lead off with a deluxe edition of Jerry Goldsmith’s score to the 1998 action thriller U.S. MARSHALS, which adds an astounding 30 additional tracks versus the original release, totaling 39 captivating tracks over a single CD. Limited Edition of 3,000 copies. The second release is the premiere soundtrack release for THE BIG FIX with music by composer Bill Conti, newly mixed and mastered in high resolution from the original multi-track scoring masters housed at Universal Studios. This presentation offers far more music than is heard in the film: Conti’s original cues not only offer a glimpse into the evolution of the?Big Fix?score, but into the versatility which is the hallmark of the composer’s craft. Limited Edition of 1,500 copies
Nainita Desai (FOR SAMA, UNTAMED ROMANIA, DARKNESS VISIBLE) is scoring the upcoming Quibi original series FIERCE QUEENS. Narrated by Reese Witherspoon, the show takes an in depth look at female animals: the rebel matriarchs, powerful leaders, and dangerous lovers of the natural world. The docu-series aims to depict the most dramatic natural history stories from a fresh female perspective. FIERCE QUEENS will premiere on the new short form streaming service Quibi, which is set to launch on April 6, 2020.
- via filmmusicreporter
Japanese label VAP will release on CD The Best of IP MAN on May 6th, featuring tracks from the four films in the series, selected by composer Kenji Kawai himself. The film’s star Donnie Yen in a momentous biopic of martial arts grandmaster Ip Man. Now available for pre-order from Ark Square, CD Japan, and AmazonJapan.com
BSX Digital has released a newly-recorded digital album of music from the 1996 television series, THE CAPE, composed by Louis Febre with the main theme composed by John Debney (no relation to the 2011 series about a cape-wearing superhero). The one-season series was produced with the co-operation and technical support of NASA, which gave the series unprecedented access to film at the John F. Kennedy Space Center and former astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Bruce Melnick served as technical consultants. Filmed entirely on location against the backdrop of Central Florida’s beaches, the program offers a true-to-life depiction of the daily trials and tribulations faced by the astronauts involved in the Shuttle program. For details see buysoundtrax. Febre’s score for Joseph Merhi’s 1995 action thriller LAST MAN STANDING [no relation to Walter Hill’s 1996 Bruce Willis gangster movie] is also now available as a download. See buysoundtrax.
Also available digitally is the premiere release of Kevin Kiner’s score to the 1995 Western/martial arts action film SAVATE. Kiner’s score is a retro Spaghetti Western styled score with an abundance of Ennio Morricone influences. To order, see buysoundtrax.
Music.Film Recordings, in partnership with Varèse Sarabande Records, has digitally released Craig Armstrong’s score to THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY. Armstrong has provided an orchestral and electronic-based score that is both lush and gorgeously spare. It’s an evocative accompaniment to the sleek neo-noir thriller. See details at varesesarabande (the page will direct you to iTunes to purchase).
WaterTower Music is excited to announce today’s digital release of the soundtrack to the Netflix Limited Series SELF MADE: INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF MADAM C.J. WALKER. Based on a true story, this series stars Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, and Carmen Ejogo in the story of an African American washerwoman rising from poverty to become the first female self-made millionaire. The score is by Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Larry Goldings. With a nod to the contemporary songs woven into the musical fabric of the series, the composer created overtly modern, back-beat oriented cues and hybrid jazz/hip-hop tracks as well as music referencing the series time period (roughly 1910 - 1920). “The producers were interested in a score that included early 1900’s period-sounding music,” said Goldings. “They asked for and I created an ‘aural mood board’ for several scenes somewhat favoring an early jazz feel. There was also a want for some contemporary-sounding score elements. These funkier themes are associated with Madam C.J. and other characters and help signal the viewer at pivotal moments in the series. Still, there was plenty of need for quieter, emotional cues, which I instilled subtly with jazz harmonies and instruments of the era.”
Listen or download the soundtrack here.
Following on their earlier April release of the soundtrack to Carlo Innocenzi’s score to the 1960 Italian shocker MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (Il mulino delle donne di pietra; see Amazon), the Canadian soundtrack label Disques Cinemusique presents a digital soundtrack album of classic Italian horror film THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK (1962), directed by Riccardo Freda, starring Barbara Steele and Robert Flemyng, and composed & conducted by Roman Vlad. The Gothic style suited the composer perfectly. As with MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN, the music for the label’s release of THE HORRIBLE DOCTOR HICHCOCK comes from DVD/Blu-ray sources, the original masters having evidently been lost to time. “Both of these soundtracks recordings are in the Public Domain,” said label owner Clément Fontaine. “So it’s a good compromise here to use the DVD in order to showcase the score, until a European label like Beat or Quartet finds the isolated master recording in order to release a regular CD. Fortunately, the rather sparse dialogue leaves plenty of room for the score and the sound quality of the recording is quite good. Our selections include a small amount of sound effects and words [or a scream or two] which have the merit of reflecting even better the atmosphere of this thriller starring the fascinating.”
For more details, see the label’s website: https://www.disquescinemusique.com/ (digital purchases are made via applemusic). The album is also downloadable from Amazon as is MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (see: here)
French composer Raphaël Gesqua is scoring Francis Renaud’s forthcoming film PREMIÈRE LIGNE (Front Line), which is being filmed during the Coronavirus lockdown (“A young mother, a nursing assistant, finds herself alone with her daughter, confined to their home, but who will have to find herself on the front line in order to come to the aid of hospitalized victims and above all to protect her daughter from a situation that will degenerate”). Gesqua has completed scoring the feature documentary JACK KIRBY: THE D-DAY SUPERHERO directed by Marc Azéma and Jean Depelley. –via the composer’s website.
MovieScore Media celebrates the 100th anniversary of the acclaimed silent horror classic DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE with the label’s first ever silent score release with music composed by Jason Frederick. Directed by John S. Robertson based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE was an early classic of silent horror cinema with John Barrymore giving a performance of a lifetime as he played both the hero and the monster with minimal make-up, only through facial mimicry and wild body contortions. A major success for its distributor Paramount, MovieScore Media’s digital release is timed to the 100th year anniversary of the movie’s premiere in Los Angeles, which took place on April 12, 1920. Canadian-born composer Jason Frederick studied film scoring under Christopher Young, David Raksin, and Elmer Bernstein at the USC Thornton School of Music. Frederick is currently working on two other classic horror scores to premiere in 2021—the non-silent early classic horror films WHITE ZOMBIE (1932) and THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933).
For more details see moviescoremedia.com
Listen to a suite of the score here:
The soundtrack for Sam Raimi’s 1990’s classic EVIL DEAD follow-up, ARMY OF DARKNESS, has been newly remastered by composer Joe LoDuca for the vinyl release available on the rescheduled Record Store Day 2020 on June 20. The package also includes new notes and images. A Limited Edition CD available is available now, only from varesesarabande. Also coming from the label on Record Store Day is an exclusive, definitive soundtrack to the 1995 crime comedy HACKERS is being released in conjunction with the film’s 25th anniversary exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records. The double CD set features music from a lineup of electronic artists, and nine never-before-released score tracks including “Hackers Suite” performed by composer Simon Boswell, as well as two pieces by Guy Pratt, “One Combination” and “Grand Central Station” featuring David Gilmour. See varesesarabande.
Mondo, in partnership with Lakeshore Records is releasing Jeff Russo’s score vinyl to LUCY IN THE SKY. The 2019 American astronaut drama film co-written and directed by Noah Hawley (in his feature directorial debut) and starring Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, and Ellen Burstyn. It is loosely based on astronaut Lisa Nowak’s criminal activities around her romantic involvement with fellow astronaut William Oefelein. A CD and digital soundtrack was released last Autumn by Lakeshore. Limited to just 300 copies, the vinyl album features a never-before pressing of a custom “Star Field” colored vinyl in blue, and artwork by Jasmin Darnell. Check it out on mondo.com.
Waxwork Records presents the deluxe triple vinyl release of STEPHEN KING’S IT, featuring Richard Bellis’ score to the original 1990 TV miniseries. Waxwork worked closely with Warner Bros., author Stephen King, and composer Richard Bellis to deliver a stunning triple LP set featuring the complete soundtrack from the film. The expansive score features a range of classic orchestral cues and electronic music and sound effects by usage of synthesizers. Bellis won a Primetime Emmy Award for his score. For details, see waxworkrecords.com
Death Waltz Recording Company cordially invites you to join LUZ on her nightmarish journey into the night and beyond, accompanied by a terrifying score by Simon Waskow from a film by Tilman Singer. Luz is a taxi driver who finds solace in the safety of a police station after escaping from the clutches of a woman possessed by a demon. However, the police station is only the beginning of her ordeal, which Waskow musically interprets with disturbing results.
Waxwork has also announced the definitive FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD soundtrack by including, for the first time, the complete film music by both composers Harry Manfredini and Fred Mollin. Features include 2xLP 180 gram “Zombie Jason” colored vinyl, deluxe packaging, new artwork by Sarah Deck, the complete soundtrack sourced from the original 1988 master tapes, and old style tip-on gatefold jackets with satin coating. See waxworkrecords.
And, shipping May 5th, the label offers the deluxe film score reissue to 1982’s sci-fi horror classic, John Carpenter’s THE THING. Composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone, the score to THE THING is a landmark musical composition that is cold, dark, minimal, and effective. Features include the complete Morricone score re-mastered from the original master tapes, 180 gram “Blood Sample” colored vinyl (Crystal Clear and Blood Red Color In Color Effect w/ Blood Red Splatter), all new artwork by Phantom City Creative, deluxe heavyweight packaging including satin coated old-style gatefold jackets with UV spot-gloss varnish, and an 11” x 22” poster.
Bethesda Softworks has released the original game soundtrack for the RPG video game FALLOUT 76: WASTELANDERS (2020). The music is composed by Inon Zur (FALLOUT 3, THE ELDER SCROLLS: BLADES, SYBERIA 3). The new game is an expansion set to the 2018 post-apocalyptic action role-playing video game FALLOUT 76, developed by Bethesda Game Studios for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC. The digital soundtrack is available on Amazon and other download services.
Last year, composer Andrew Prahlow took us on a sonorous journey in Mobius Digital and Annapurna Interactive’s video game adventure through time and space with OUTER WILDS. Prahlow’s celebrated soundtrack accompanies players’ planetary expeditions with a tranquil mix of lulling synths and electronic reverie (and the catchiest banjo motif this side of the galaxy!). This year, Prahlow is honored to be nominated by both BAFTA and G.A.N.G. (Game Audio Network Guild) in multiple categories for his dynamic score for OUTER WILDS. Regarding his score, Prahlow explained, “This main theme contrasted the melancholic textures of the Nomai [a technologically advanced alien race in the game] – where I crafted ambient soundscapes with guitar and synthesizers, heavily influenced by post-rock. As the player explores the solar system and the story moves forward, these textures become more complex, along with the campfire tunes that are the center of the score.”
The 2020 BAFTA Game Awards will be streamed digitally at 6pm GMT on April 2nd. You can find information on how to watch the virtual event here.
‘Outer Wilds’ Original Soundtrack by Andrew Prahlow is available for purchase and streaming via amazon
Randall D. Larson was for many years senior editor for Soundtrack Magazine, publisher of CinemaScore: The Film Music Journal, and a film music columnist for Cinefantastique magazine. A specialist on horror film music, he is the author of Musique Fantastique: A Survey of Film Music in the Fantastic Cinema and Music from the House of Hammer. He currently writes articles on film music and sf/horror cinema, and has written liner notes for nearly 300 soundtrack CDs. Special thanks to Benjamin Michael Joffe for copyediting assistance.