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Soundtrax Episode 2018-6
September 30, 2018


Feature Interview:
Rael Jones and Harlots Too
In the Deep Blue Sea with Sean Murray

Soundtrack Reviews:
BATMAN NINJA (Kanno/Warner Bros. Japan), CLASH OF FUTURES (Eyquem/MSM), COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT (Colombier/La-La Land), FINAL JUDGEMENT/THE TERROR WITHIN II (Plumeri/Howlin’ Wolf), FIREWALKER/Chang/Varèse Sarabande), KING OF THIEVES (Wallfisch/Milan), MACRO: GIUDA UCCIDE IL VENERDI (Fidenco/Kronos), THE PREDATOR (Jackman/Lakeshore), SUNRISE (Joe Kraemer/Caldera)

Soundtrack, Vinyl, & Game Music News

Rael Jones is an Emmy nominated composer and multi-instrumentalist based in London. Known for being creatively adept, technically savvy, and flexible, Rael has adopted many roles on feature films including: music producer, orchestrator, music editor, music programmer, session musician, and composer. He is known for scoring the Fox Searchlight romantic thriller MY COUSIN RACHEL (2017), starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, and SUITE FRANÇAISE, based on the Irène Némirovsky novels about romance during the German occupation of France; a stunning orchestral and piano score led Rael to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 2017. Rael currently writes the music for Hulu & ITV’s ongoing series HARLOTS, set in the 18th Century brothels of London. The show is written, directed, and produced entirely by women. The boldly anachronistic soundtrack mixes heavy electronica and rock genres, reflecting the present-tense experiences and rebellious nature of the women depicted in the program.

Q: How did the vision for your score for the first season of HARLOTS develop into the situation with the second season?

Rael Jones: It was totally different. The first season really was a massive time pressure. There was very little time to write music for the last few episodes, especially, just because of what happened with various schedules, whereas this season we had a lot more time, and so I think we have got a more consistent sound world this time. For the most part, I’ve used a lot of similar instrumentation across the series. I tried to get a lot more female vocals and female empowerment into the sound of the score, and there’s more use of period styled instruments, albeit not generally played in a very period-sounding way – especially the hurdy-gurdy and the nyckelharpa and then various bits of percussion, like the cajón and bodhrán and things like that. They’re often played quite aggressively and in quite a modern way, even though they’re period instruments. That really was the aesthetic; I tried to get this hybrid sound.

Q: I think you’ve got more vocals in this season as well. The voicing both in terms of songs and in terms of vocalise really becomes a striking component of the scoring.

Rael Jones: It takes a little bit of time just to align the schedule to get a session vocalist or a singer in. Again, there was time to do that on this season, which was great. In particular, there was an actress in the show, Sheila Atim – she’s a fantastic actress and her character name is Limehouse Nell – she came in for me in a couple of times and sang, which was great. It doesn’t necessarily connect that it’s the same character you’re seeing on screen singing in the pub, but it’s a nice connectivity that some of the voices of the women are in the soundtrack.

Q: What themes and motifs were carried over into the new season and how did you develop those uniquely for what’s happening in Season 2?

Rael Jones: Two main themes did come back. One is – it’s pretty obscure, but it’s called The Shoes Theme, and that’s because in Episode 1 Margaret Wells, Samantha Morton’s character, talks about how she was sold to Lydia Quigly to be a young prostitute, and she was sold for a pair of shoes by her mum. So the mum got the pair of shoes and gave away her daughter. It’s a pretty horrendously tragic moment, and it’s the emotional back-story cue, if you like. It’s very simple, answering figures, and that cue comes back a lot in Season 2 as well, often in terms of the Wells family and Margaret now is a mother thinking of what to do with her daughters. So that theme has returned, sometimes it’s from piano, sometimes it’s a plucked instrument like autoharp or cimbalom (mainly autoharp). The other theme is the opening title, which just feels like a Harlot’s world. It’s the same one from Season 1. Funnily enough in Season 1 we didn’t actually use the opening titles that much to reflect the world of the show, although I have on Season 2. Sometimes it’s as simple as just taking the harmony from it but really reworking it or just doing a very simply acoustic guitar version of it, this kind of thing. So I’ve alluded to the main title theme quite a lot more this season in the episode scores.

Watch the HARLOTS Season 1 main title theme:

Q: How did the story arc of Season 2 affect your development of the score across the whole season?

Rael Jones: As with Season 1, the story just gets much darker towards the middle and end of the season. I found that it definitely wasn’t enough just to rearrange or rewrite the music I had already written from the first three episodes to make Episodes 4 and onwards. Especially in Episode 6 of Season 2, I just had to write all new stuff, because it just got so much more weighty and serious and emotional. Some of the music from earlier episodes is quite sassy and that sort of thing, but that really starts to evaporate tonally in Episode 6 – in a fantastic way, but it just gets much more real and serious. Similarly, musically, it becomes more sustained and melodic and weighty, so in a sense I suppose what’s interesting is that in the middle of both seasons I’ve done so far it does become a bit of a musical departure, and then towards the end of the past episode, both times, then we get the reassurance of the sound that we heard earlier in the season, again. Sort of like bookends, I suppose.

Q: I especially like a few cues that really stood out to me when I listened to the soundtrack album. One is “The Fiery Pit.” Would you explain where that piece was used and what you are doing in the music there?

Rael Jones: That is the very end of Episode 1. One of the main characters has her throat slit and is found dead in the doorway, so the very beginning of that cue is the reveal of her body, and then it’s the sound of mourning, and then the sound of resilience and “we’re going to bring our fight to the people who have killed her.

Listen to the cue “The Fiery Pit” from HARLOTS, Season 2, featuring the voice of Sheila Atim:

Q: I love your use of a scratchy violin sound in cues like “I Felt Your Sin” and “Mob Rages.”

Rael Jones: That’s actually something called a nyckelharpa, which is quite like a violin in some ways, with what you’re doing with a bow, but the left hand is actually playing keys which press on the strings. It’s got lots of sympathetic strings, in addition to the four main strings that you bow, it’s got a chromatic scale for 12 strings which resonate and are almost like built-in reverb, and it’s quite haunting. That instrument features in an awful lot of the tracks, actually; you hear it quite aggressively on thinks like “I Felt Your Sin,” and “Mob Rages,” as you said, and then in the more emotional cues that come in during Episode 6, like “A Single Inch” and “Perfect Harmony;” that’s the same instrument but it’s just played more melodically. It just sounds like a really Old World violin, but more haunting.


Listen to the cue “Mob Rages” from HARLOTS, Season 2:

Q: Another really melancholy and poignant cue for, obviously, a pretty grisly scene, is “The Whipping Post,” with this very sympathetic piano piece.

Rael Jones: That’s a new theme for Season 2, and it does occur a fair bit.  We refer to it as “The Hub Theme,” because it’s associated with the streets where we see all the harlots. “Embrace Your Wretchedness,” on the soundtrack, is the first time we hear it, and that’s a bit more upbeat as the women are just going about their business. “The Whipping Post” is the same theme but much more haunting with this fantastic folk-singer, called Sadie Rosanna, she sings on it beautifully.

Q: Now you’re also doing a new comedy show called HANG UPS. What can you tell me about scoring that?

Rael Jones: I absolutely love HANG UPS, I think it’s a brilliant series. It’s been filmed largely using improvisation; they just got the actors together and improvised, so it’s incredibly fast-paced. Most of the time the music is just trying to stay out of the way of the dialogue. With HARLOTS I’m often very bold and front-and-center; with HANG UPS it’s very rare, I’m really just trying to support the comedy. I wrote quite full-sounding pieces early on and we just kept stripping them back, and back, and ultimately my score is largely just drums. That’s not totally new because BIRDMAN was largely just drums, but it was never intentional, it was just where we got to. It helps that I work in my studio here and I’ve got a drum kit set up and I play drums pretty well, so I just got the director around and I improvised drums a bit with him here, much like he had the actors improvising on set. I’d drum a bit and then he’d say “Oh that works there, but maybe we can try to accentuate this moment,” this kind of thing. So it was quite a live process, really, which was lovely. In addition to the drums there’s a bit of bass and the there’s also a lot of bleeping. I used a lot of ringtone type sounds, often which I’ve made with really old keyboards. I’ve got these ‘80s Casio keyboards which I’ve sampled and then recorded the output of the speakers on those keyboards so it sounds really cheap!  But I liked that sort of nostalgic technology, so I’ve used those sounds a fair bit through the score as well.

Q: Tell me about this new comedy movie you’ve done, FESTIVAL. What was your musical take on this?

Rael Jones: That was really a very big range of different kinds of things. It’s obviously set in a music festival – they never say which festival but they filmed it at Glastonbury and Bestival, places like that. I’ve always thought of it as Glastonbury. It’s made by a lot of the people who worked on THE INBETWEENERS. I also worked on THE INBETWEENERS films – THE FESTIVAL is all the same crew, to be honest, and the lead actor is one of THE INBETWEENERS. Musically, because it’s at a festival, so it’s an awful lot of band tracks and all kinds of music from relatively recently, so I have to do one of everything!  I’d do little acoustic guitar moments to accentuate a character’s positivity or ambient drones for sadder moments, I had to do a remix of Mr. Brightside by The Killers at one point, but my favorite moment is when the lead character falls in love with a girl dressed as a Smurf! I don’t know if you do that in America but it’s quite common over here for people to dress up as Smurfs! I have no idea why. Anyway he falls in love with this girl and after a silly night of intoxication he wakes up and she’s gone. So he spends a lot of the rest of the film trying to find her, and the moment that he finds the Smurf girl, the camera zooms in on his face, and then we have a quick montage of his imagined future with her: proposing to her, their wedding where one side of the aisle is all blue people and the other side of the aisle is his family, they have kids, and we keep flashing forward and it’s just a ridiculous imagined future, and all the way through that I’ve written some music which is like a sextet of classical musicians with a quite classical sound. The whole thing is a homage to the opening ten-minutes of UP, which is a really beautiful piece of cinema. I’ve written a waltz which is influenced by that fantastic scene by Michael Giacchino. I really enjoyed doing that sequence, that joke in particular because music is part of the joke.

Note: Just prior to completing this column, Rael shared the great news that HARLOTS has been renewed for a third season.

For more information on Rael Jones, see his web site at

Read my previous interview with Rael Jones about scoring MY COUSIN RACHEL and HARLOTS Season 1, here.

Get the HARLOTS Season 2 digital soundtrack here.

Watch the HARLOTS Season 2 Trailer:

Watch these short videos on youtube showing Rael playing the various instruments that make up these HARLOTS cues:
“Open for Business”
“Clutched Heart”
“Hurdy Gurdy Brawl”


Sean Murray made his professional debut as composer for the action film SCORPION. He grew up in Santa Barbara, California where he learned the craft of film composing by scoring dozens of student movies for the Brooks Institute Film School. He now has over 100 film, television, and video game credits to his name, which include the controversial television series GOD, THE DEVIL AND BOB, for Carsey-Werner and NBC; and the deeply disturbing psychological-thriller JUNKYARD DOG starring Vivica Fox, along with the successful video game series TRUE CRIME: STREETS OF L.A. and TRUE CRIME: New York City, CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR and CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS for Activision. Most recently, he has also scored ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR, and DEEP BLUE SEA 2.
Sean is the son of actor Don Murray, whose performance with Marilyn Monroe in BUS STOP was nominated for an Academy Award.

Q: How did you first get involved in scoring films?

Sean Murray: Really cool. My dad’s an actor, so I grew up around going to the studios with my dad and I always loved to just be around the sets and watch him do his work. It was just always exciting for me, and I loved watching his films on television and in the movie theaters. I went to the set with him on CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and when that film came out it was the first time I really started listening to the score, although I had already seen the first PLANET OF THE APES and I remember how creepy the sound of that score was. But I really focused in on Tom Scott’s score for CONQUEST. That started me paying more attention to the music in films. A few years later we’re living in New York and my dad’s doing a film that he directed, and for his composer he brought in was Brad Fiedel. Dad would go into this city and work, and while he was editing Brad was mocking up the score on his moog synthesizer, and my dad would bring back the tapes and let me listen to them and I’d go, oh My God I love this! I love the sound of this Moog Synthesizer, wow!  The themes were really cool and I learned them on the piano. So I said, at nine year old, “I want to do this someday! I want to write music for movies!” So that was it. Brad Fiedel was really my inspiration to becoming a film composer.

Q: What kind of musical training did you have?

Sean Murray: I studied guitar when I was about seven and piano when I was about ten. I studied classical guitar as a teenager, but as far as my schooling, I was lucky enough to know the head of the film school called Brooks Institute, in Santa Barbara. It was a photographic school as well, but their film school was really cool. The students had to do all these 2-minute shorts as part of their curriculum, so when I was about 16 I asked the director if I could try scoring some of the student films. I started with one and that worked out really nicely, and by the time I was 19 I had done like 70 shorts! I learned how to write for film for free by working with these students at Brooks.

When I was in college I studied electronic music at the City College in Santa Barbara, but I didn’t go to like USC or a real composing school, I just learned about composing classical and electronic music. But because of my early exposure to writing for film I’d really developed an ability to learn how to work with various directors and learn what their tastes were, so it was just the best education I could have.

Q: The first – or one of the first – film scores you did was for a film called SCORPION, which by the way co-starred your father.

Sean Murray: Yes. My father pestered the director and said “You’ve got to listen to my son’s music; he’s doing all these student films. And [the director] said, “yeah, yeah, whatever.” He didn’t want to hear the actor’s kid. How many times do they get hit up with the actor’s kid? So my dad said, “Well, alright, but just listen to some of his stuff. I’ll bring you some of his student films.” So he brought in a couple of VHS tapes of my student film work, and the director said, “Well, this is pretty cool!” So he had me come up and I met with him and we just clicked. I was 19 then, and just hungry and excited about stuff and we just really clicked so he hired me and that was my first film.

Q: What kind of things did you learn and continue to learn about scoring and working in the system that has helped you as you started to get bigger and different kinds of films?

Sean Murray: I’ll always go back to the student films. That enabled me to work with an incredible variety of people and personalities, which helped me later in my career as I got into more professional films and television.

Q: Somewhere along the line you connected with Shawn Clement and you guys did some work for BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.        

Sean Murray: We did two shows together. We did THE SAVAGE DRAGON which was an Eric Larson comic book series on USA Network. Before that I had done a series for Showtime on my own, called WOMEN – STORIES OF PASSION. I did that with Barry De Vorzon, and then I hooked up with Shawn and we did THE SAVAGE DRAGON together. What’s interesting about THE SAVAGE DRAGON is I knew Anthony Head, he was good friends with my older brother, and he played the Librarian on BUFFY. He liked our music from SAVAGE DRAGON. He said “It’s really aggressive, it’s got horror elements and it’s got rock and roll elements, I’ve got to show this to Joss Whedon” So he brought our tape over and gave it to Joss, and the tape ended up in the bottom of Joss’s cardboard box as he was looking to get a new composer for Season 2 of BUFFY. So he got to the bottom of the box and there was the last one, the Shawn and Sean tape. He threw that in and said, “I like this! I want to have these guys come in!” So we went in, we met with him, and Joss responded to the two of us and we got the gig.  And then we found out, well, we got half the gig. He wanted to alternate to make sure the composers had enough time to work, so Clement and I did every other episode and he had Chris Beck do the others. The notoriety of that opened a lot of doors.

Q: How has your electronic set-up expanded and grown as you’ve been scoring more films and more TV shows?

Sean Murray: My very first synthesizer was a Yamaha mono synth; I can’t remember what the model was, but I started building up my synthesizer collection when I was a teenager. I had some Oberheims, Oberheim drum machines, got into LinnSequencers, and I had the Juno 60 synth. I did a lot of sampling with the E-mu Emulator II. Through BUFFY I was using Hybrid Arts SMPTE tracks on an Atari computer, and around ’98-’99, when the digital DAW workstation came out, I switched over to Cakewalk, and that provided me with MIDI and a Digital Audio Recorder together, so that was a nice change, moving from a tape-assisted synced with SMPTE set up to an all-in-one DAW with MIDI. So I still to this day I have a lot of outboard gear I use, Gigastudios, EastWest Play System. I use a lot of Konakt instruments, a lot of soft synths, but I still use my outboard rolling gear a lot: Kurzweil samplers. Roland JV 1080 is one of my go-to’s, I use my Kurzweil K2500 key synthesizer, so it’s a good mixture of old and new synthesizers, and the DAW. I’m constantly upgrading the computers and adding more plug-ins here and there, but the outboard gear I still use tremendously. I use the Yamaha TX802 a lot, believe it or not, for good old FM synthesis, as well as Roland D50, Korg M1. I’m always upgrading the library but I’m also very versed in the palette from the older analog and digital synths.

Q: Sounds like you were there at the right time, because you started out just as this technology became available…

Sean Murray: Yeah. Just as I started doing the student films I started with SMPTE time code. It was amazing for the kids in the Institute that I could sync up to their video with SMPTE tracks, and right! So that was a tremendous advantage for me to be able to sync to picture. My mentors, like Barry Deveron and Elmer Bernstein, who were both friends of the family, guys like that called us little computer guys “MIDIots!” It was, “What are you guys doing, we write to paper!” I said, “Well I record as I’m watching the film! I’m a MIDIot!”

Q: You’ve done a number of popular video game scores.

Sean Murray: Yes! I had done the soundtrack for the incredibly popular Activision TRUE CRIME STREETS OF L.A., which was very much like a trap/hip-hop action score. Trap is all the rage again now, 13 years later. I didn’t even know that I was doing trap music back then. But it turned out to be a really cool hip-hop action and a little bit of horror. So I did the follow-up two years later, TRUE CRIME STREETS OF NEW YORK. The creative director on that did his own zombie film, which I scored. It was shot as LAST RITES but was released as GANGS OF THE DEAD. On that we continued with that hip-hop action kind of score mixed with horror. I did a lot of that, and some of the sonic templates that I developed there  I’d go on to use in CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR, and BLACK OPS. You’ll hear a lot of those through-lines and some of those more-horror elements that I set up in those war games. For example, in WORLD AT WAR I treated the Russian Front and the battle for Stalingrad more like a horror score than anything, because it had such disturbing visuals of that blown-out city and the ruthlessness of fighting the Nazi’s. So that was very much on my mind as I was writing the very cold kind of score that I did for WORLD AT WAR

Q: Moving closer to your recent films recently, you did ACCIDENT MAN, starring Scott Adkins, which is a really cool score. What can you tell me about scoring this film?

Sean Murray: ACCIDENT MAN was directed by Jesse V. Johnson, and we’d done really interesting scores together over the years, going back to 1999. Every score I do with Jesse is completely different from the last one. For ACCIDENT MAN he wanted to go electronica, he wanted to give it an ‘80s vibe, which was a dream for me, because I got to play with all my old synths and all my new stuff. I was trying to keep it relevant to what we’re accustomed to now in scores with the sonic capabilities and with orchestral elements mixed in even while keeping it very analog-synthesizer-based. So I think we were able to achieve that and what was fun about that is the synthier I got and the less orchestral he liked it better. I’m also drawing on my influences from Jean-Michel Jarre, and Kraftwerk, Underworld, and all the electronic groups I listened to when I was younger. And I played guitar – I play guitar on 98% of my scores, so I was able to do some guitar work on this one as well. But everything else was these fun little boxes with knobs on them!

Q: What’s your favorite type of film to score?

Sean Murray: I love them all. I like doing comedy. Action is a lot of fun for me. It’s all fun for me. I’d have to say ACCIDENT MAN, that combination of action and humor, and I guess going back to BUFFY was some of the same. I did a film called MAXIMUM IMPACT for Andrzej Bartkowiak, starring Alexander Nevsky, Tom Arnold, Kelly Hu, Danny Trejo, a whole list of great actors, and that was an action comedy score. That was also a hip-hop, trap based score. That film will be coming out in the fall. Andrzej Bartkowiak directed films like CRADLE TO THE GRAVE, ROMEO MUST DIE, so that was a fun working on a bigger budget film with Andrzej directing and incredible camera work. Very cool – I actually wrote several trap-rap cuts for the main title. I had a wonderful artist I worked with, Dietrich Bonner, who sang a few cuts. I also wrote some tangos. I had my wonderful singer from the CALL OF DUTY scores, Jane Reynolds, who did all the haunting voices in WORLD AT WAR and BLACK OPS. She sang for me in Portuguese. That was made for theatrical release in Russia and then will be DVD and cable TV for the rest of the world.

Q: What brought you into DEEP BLUE SEA 2 and what kind of music were they asking for?

Sean Murray: I’d worked with Darin Scott [director] before, a murder thriller called MEGACHURCH MURDER (2015) for Lifetime, and then we did a film called I KNOW WHERE LIZZIE IS [TVM, 2016), a murder/kidnap mystery, so we enjoyed working together, and he asked me to come in and do this one – he really liked my action and darker horror stuff. It was a great opportunity for me to work with him on something a little bigger budgeted. It was nowhere near the budget that they had on the original DEEP BLUE SEA, but it was a bigger budget than we’d had for the previous television films. The only specific direction he gave me was to make it exciting and scary as hell. Except that he wanted a song for the main title. He’d cut together this main title sequence that was very James Bond-like, with Danielle Savre swimming with the sharks and the sea turtles, it’s absolutely beautiful, shot underwater and very slo-mo. and it’s got that kind of James Bond feel to it. He told me, “I’ve got this song that I want to use for this, but is there any way, can you write a song?”  “Yeah, I write songs for films all the time.” “Can you something like a James Bond sort of thing?” I said, “Sure I can.” So I finished the score, and I knew that they had a song that they were all set to license for the main title, should what I was doing not work. So there was a back-up. I waited until the entire score was done, and it was the week before they needed to mix. So I sat down and took the two main themes from the film and combined them together. I started humming something and in about four hours I had recorded the vocal and put the arrangement together. The next day I sent it over to Darin, and he was very, very pleased with that. It just happened to come together for me. I was inspired by the way the main title was cut, I was inspired by how beautiful it looked, and I had written some themes that lent themselves perfectly to writing some lyrics over.

Q: What was your technique here in creating sonic horror/suspense and really keeping the viewer on edge?

Sean Murray: I really wanted to capture being underwater, so I used some clanging, metallic instruments percussively. I used a lot of de-tuned piano samples to make it really seem like the sharks are beating on this tin can that they were in underwater. I also wanted to come up with something that was eerie – I pulled all of these interesting atonal string sounds together – screeching and pizzicato flailing string effects and I mixed some dub step sounds tuned way down and was able to catch kind of this weird morphing sound that worked pretty nicely for the baby sharks. So that was fun sitting there with Darin just going through sounds and asking “how can we aurally depict this with something unique?” I did some more orchestral themes, and did a lot of work with live cello. I had my wonderful cellist, Nicolla Schmidt, come in for that. I used a bunch of live instruments mixed with orchestral samples just to liven it up since we didn’t have the orchestral budget. And I used Jane Reynolds, again – she’s usually my vocalist but on this one she played flute.

Q: Musically, when you are approaching a science fiction film where you have to suspend the disbelief of the audience to make the story seem credible, how do you use music to help that?

Sean Murray: I just embrace the story, and ask myself how can I enhance this with some interesting sounds?  I’ve always considered myself kind of an actor, with music, so that’s the way I approached it – if I was acting this what would I do, what would I be trying to think, what would I be trying to feel? I’m not like method acting or anything like that, but I do consider myself a gun for hire in that respect. On DEEP BLUE SEA 2, I really wanted to get a little bit more involved in the orchestrations, and I did have a little more time on this film, I had about two months on it; so I took my time and really tried to do the best kind of orchestrations to make it sound as real as possible. When you have a little more time, you have more time to experiment, you have more time to layer your work and develop your musical ideas.

Q: Having done so many different kind of action films, is it ever a challenge not to repeat yourself or to find new grooves, new textures, and new vibes without relying on some of the things that have been in your toolbox in the past?

Sean Murray: I’ve got my palette of sounds and I’ve got these techniques that you’ll recognize, going back years. If you play CALL OF DUTY over and over again you’re going to hear some stylistic things that I will repeat, and a lot of times I will do that as a nod to some of the more successful things that I’ve done; but I have no problem doing something completely different every time. People always ask me, “Do you ever get writer’s block?” And I have to tell you that I don’t. I get so excited to just close the door to my studio, sit down and turn on the machines, get the video, say “Ok I’m going to start the cue here, here’s your out, here’s what the director wants to achieve, go at it!” And boom, when I lay my hands on the keyboard and start I never feel like I’m blocked; it’s always very intuitive. Here’s my mindset: I have got to get two minutes of music done every day. Orchestrated, recorded, close to mastering – though obviously without the live instruments that I want to add before we do the final mix. But I understand that I need to get two minutes done, recorded, tracked, and multitracked, a day.  So I’ve tuned myself to do that. I just wind myself up, I’ve got that two minutes, and I just go.

Q: Do you compose directly to the keyboard?

Sean Murray: Yes. I’m recording MIDI right into my computer and watching film as I’m doing it. So it’s sort of like improv at first until I develop the theme and then a structure will come out. I’m reacting to what I’m watching on screen, I’m watching the actors, I’m listening to what they’re saying and I’m reacting to them.

Q: So what’s coming up next for you? I see that you’ve done another film for Jesse V. Johnson, LEGION MAXX.

Sean Murray: Just finished. That one’s really cool. It’s very much like a samurai film, about a former Legionnaire who gets separated from his crew and he wants nothing more to do with it, and for some reason they drag him back in, so it’s very much one man against an entire army. It’s much more minimal, very stripped down orchestrations, and I used a lot of taiko and Japanese instruments. It’s very stark, very cold, very violent, and very different from anything you’ve heard from me. I had a wonderful percussionist named Mariko Tarada, who did a lot of Japanese percussion work for me on that one. I’m very excited about LEGION MAXX coming out. Dominique Vandenberg, who plays Maxx, is a terrific fighter, he was actually a real Legionnaire, he fought in wars and then became a very famous mixed martial arts fighter, and he’s done some films. We did THE DOORMAN back in 1999, and he was in GANGS OF THE DEAD.

I’ve got a film for Netflix coming up, I’ve got a wonderful story about an autistic boy who becomes a marathon runner, and another Jesse V. Johnson film is being shot this month, starring Scott Adkins, and then I have a film that’s being shot in Russia that I’m very excited about as well. So I’m going to have a busy rest of the year!

Soundtracks to Murray’s scores from ACCIDENT MAN and DEEP BLUE SEA 2 are available from Dragon’s Domain Records. Five of Murray and co-composer Shawn Clement’s tracks from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER are included in La-La Land’s 4-disc set of music from the show.


Snapshots: Recommended Soundtracks

BATMAN NINJA/Yugo Kanno/Warner Bros. Japan - cd
This Japanese animated movie produced by Warner Bros. is a unique and fascinating film. Conceived and created by an all-Japanese team featuring director Junpei Mizusaki (a former animation- and technical-director stepping in to helm his first feature), the screenwriter Kazuki Nakashima (KAMEN RIDER FOURZE), and Takashi Okazaki, creator of AFRO SAMURAI, as character designer, the film is distinctively anime in style. So much so, in fact, that Warner’s writing team of Leo Chu and Eric Garcia, rather than simply translating the Japanese dialogue into English, wrote entirely new dialogue (creating, essentially, a slightly new storyline over the Japanese animation – see “Why Batman Ninja In English Is So Different From The Japanese Version” at gamespot). Thus we basically have two storylines, separated by different dialogue. In the film(s), Batman, along with a number of his allies and adversaries, finds himself transplanted from modern Gotham City to feudal Japan. Ignore the weird scientific physics of such an occurrence; the film is a fascinating alternate history experiment akin to BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT and enjoy seeing the character’s adventure through a Japanese mindset. Yugo Kanno (JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE series, GUNSHI KANBEI, PSYCHO-PASS; and no relation to composer Yoko Kanno [COWBOY BEBOP, MACROSS PLUS, GHOST IN THE SHELL STAND ALONE COMPLEX]) has composed a single, variegated orchestral score that manages to support both versions of the story very well. His own Batman Theme is a powerful horn statement introduced in “Prologue,” which is offset by a subordinate motif for rolling, wavelike string patterns. With these two signature pieces identifying the displaced Caped Crusader, other motifs, with both Western and Asian musical attributes (even some elements of sonic carnivalesque, usually associated with Joker, whose machinations caused Batman’s temporal reassignment), are quite satisfying. There’s a rather brusque rap song, “GAT-TAI” (“Gattai” means union or alliance) uttered at one point, and a number of other standalone cues have their moments. Some of the musical gestures sound a little stale, but there’s enough fine orchestral measures, like “Sengoku Batman” and “Duels” with their straightforward dramatic stability, to keep the music on track. “Demon King of the Sixth Heaven,” early in the score as track 3, may be the most unstable cue, which gradually appears out of flute-dappled shadows to begin a quirky propulsive charge over a bed of circuslike keyboard and through a mix of idiosyncratic violin exchanges, finally arriving at a battery of heavy drumming which is shut down by a flailing pattern from, believe it, a slide whistle, only to be led into another charge with, I swear, two phrases from Lalo Schifrin’s MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE theme on the violin (c. 1:39-1:56), finally culminating in a swirling of drums and strings which soon evaporates into the ether. I think I kind of like it. With 33 tracks and an average length of about two-and-a-half minutes a track, the score is highly varied, with enough frequent reprises of the main themes to keep the work cohesive, and enough diverse sonic substance to keep the score constantly shifting and interesting, despite a few bland missteps, throughout.
Listen to Kanno’s main theme from BATMAN NINJA here, and the scruffy “Demon King of the Sixth Heaven” here.

CLASH OF FUTURES/Laurent Eyquem/MovieScore Media –
digital/Quartet – cd (forthcoming)

This German documentary explores the dramatic era of the 1920s and ‘30s by following the fates of extraordinary men, women, and children from France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Austria, Sweden, Poland and the Soviet Union using their own diary entries, letters, and memoirs. These are people drawn into war by their convictions, who with their loves and decisions bring the history of Europe with all its contradictions to life. The music, by Laurent Eyquem, is continuously evocative and stimulating across the film’s multiple storylines, capturing an absorbing melodic/harmonic framework as it shifts across each of the film’s eight time periods and locations, but always supporting the drama with motifs and counter-melodies that are attractive and sonically pleasing.  “For CLASH OF FUTURES, the music needed to carry us across 21 years of rich history in Europe, from 1918 to 1939” explained Eyquem. “To cover and link this dense and fascinating historical period, director Jan Peter and I chose one symbolic instrument to be the common thread: the trumpet. From the haunting sound of the Harmon Cup Trumpet to the solemn voice of the classic trumpet, its soulful sound takes us on a journey from the emergence of jazz in Europe at the end of World War I, to the ascendance of Nazism and Fascism, through to the military marches in 1939. Throughout, the common thematic thread in this score is the perpetual, vacillating uncertainty of this period in history, reflected in an omnipresent dissonance that floats, discernibly, just below the surface.” Many of the tracks share a rhythmic pulse created by fast-paced violin strokes or percussive beats over moodier lines of brass (most often solo muted trumpet set against a brass choir) or woodwinds; it’s a fine score that’s deserving of multiple listenings to detect its many sonic proportions.
View a video featuring a suite from the score:

La-La Land Records has released the first entry in their new imprint, the Universal Pictures Film Music Heritage Collection, in which Universal Studios is preserving and restoring its unreleased film music via limited editions on the La-La Land label. (see News section below for their second release, Henry Mancini’s THE PRISONER OF ZENDA). Michel Colombier’s music for the 1970 science fiction thriller COLOSSUS is a splendid selection to launch Universal’s series, as it’s a respected thriller about an advanced defense system that becomes sentient and proceeds to eradicate war by installing itself by assuming total control of the world. Colombier began scoring films in his native France in 1964, gaining interest from American producers around 1968, and spent his ensuing career scoring films on the two continents, best known for the French action thriller LARGO WINCH and, in the US, Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE and Michael Ritchie’s THE GOLDEN CHILD (replacing a rejected John Barry score). His COLOSSUS score begins as a jagged and angular exercise, highly atonal with lots of pizzicato, slashing string slices, and perhaps even a bit of avant garde as it sets up the story and builds tension as Colossus grows into its artificial intelligence; elsewhere it shares influences from pop, light jazz, and even, in “Under Surveillance,” a pleasing mix of fusion-and-funk at the film’s midpoint, and much of the music in its second half takes on more romantic and even easy-listening hues, some cues as source music, some not. By the time the cue titles shift from “Mistress Arrives” and “Personal Contact” back into the apprehensive world of “Missile Realignment,” “Dr. Frankenstein,” and “World Control,” Colombier is back in the landscape of the mechanistically megalomaniacal. It’s as attractive a score as it is challenging, shifting its gears in time with the automatous intelligence growing within the Colossus computer. In a time period that found such creatively unusual scores as Goldsmith’s PLANET OF THE APES, Peter Schickele’s SILENT RUNNING, and the like, Colombier’s score is stimulating, very sturdy for all of its shifting shapes and sounds, and sophisticated in its purposeful variances. A thick album booklet features comprehensive notes and track-by-track commentary by Jeff Bond.

Howlin’ Wolf - cd

The compelling and lovely sonic fragrances of the outstanding composer of film and classical music Terry Plumeri, who was killed in 2016 during a home invasion of his Florida residence, is nicely memorialized by these two science fiction/horror scores released late in 2017. FINAL JUDGMENT (1992) is about a serial killer who murders in a state of religious self-righteousness; THE TERROR WITHIN II (1991), sequel the 1989 film about the results of chemical warfare which leaves a barren world filled with mutated monsters, has to do with Earth’s final band of survivors confronting the terror of mutant gargoyles. FINAL JUDGMENT, among the composer’s personal favorites, is a muscular score for orchestra and choir, intensely beautiful in its harmonic melodies and powerful colorations; the choir and portions of the instrumentation represents the killer’s sanctimonious perspective; “On A Dark Street Nightly” is an especially evocative cue for large orchestral strokes behind a striking violin ensemble counterpointed by heavy brass intonations. THE TERROR WITHIN II is more of a monster score with the powerful, aggressive orchestral gestures to prove it, but it does have a few lyrical moments of poetic and sympathetic music (the French horn intonations in “David and Ariel in the Desert” are powerfully sublime), and Plumeri makes the most of suspended strings and winds to build a gradually intensifying apprehension in “A Desert Waiting.” Unusually for genre films of their restrictive budget, both scores are performed by a live orchestra of 30-players, richly orchestrated and recorded to sound much larger. The powerful orchestral maneuvers really give both scores a terrific organic soundscape, and the melodic structure of both makes them quite appealing and provocative. The album was assembled prior to Plumeri’s death, so the 12-page booklet contains the composer’s notes he’d written about both film scores.

FIREWALKER/Gary Chang/Varèse Sarabande - cd
A limited edition of 1,000 copies, the FIREWALKER soundtrack is one of the most recent in Varèse Sarabande’s limited edition reissue series, and is the album’s first appearance on CD (Varèse released the soundtrack on LP in 1986). Directed by veteran action director, J. Lee Thompson (THE GUNS OF NAVARONE), the movie is an action-comedy-adventure that stars Chuck Norris and Lou Gossett Jr. as two soldiers of fortune hired to retrieve an ancient treasure in Central America. Critically derided in its original release (although Chang’s score was cited positively), the film, as films sometimes do, has gone on to become a cult classic with action fans around the globe. The score is an electronic one in the best 1980s tradition, taking advantage of the tonal palette offered by the synths but often scored as if it were to be performed by an orchestra and translated into a modern electronic groove that is somewhat evocative of the Tangerine Dream style, given a forward push with drum kit. Throughout the score, Chang maintains a sense of action and adventure in the music, but it never becomes discordant or atonal without having a fluid melody line (with the exception of the intentionally nightmarish track, “Between Realities.” The score fits the music like a boxing glove, deftly enhancing its personality and advancing its plotline with rhythmic timbres and likably electronic textures. Daniel Schweiger provides thorough notes about the creation of both film and score. The CD is available exclusively from the label, here.

KING OF THIEVES/Benjamin Wallfisch/Milan Records –
digital, CD & vinyl (forthcoming)

Directed by Oscar-winning director James Marsh (for MAN ON WIRE), KING OF THIEVES is a heist movie based the notorious 2015 London Hatton Garden diamond heist. Benjamin Wallfisch’s score, which Marsh describes as “a tapestry of musical surprises,” is an exuberantly retro score featuring a full big band and is intended to be, in the composer’s words is “a love letter to the 60’s.” Said March about Wallfisch’s music: “In our initial discussions, Ben and I had found a common inspiration in the work of John Barry. We wanted that kind of mysterious, lush, retro feel to our score but reimagined for the 21st century through Ben’s unique sensibility. Thus, the cimbalom and our other key instrument, the Wurlitzer. But there’s quite a bit more to the score than that. The musical voice of the police investigation is inflected with spacey electronica. The main heist is a raucous, exuberant re-working of Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy as played by a big band.” The soundtrack album is a marvelous delight, as the composer’s creative imagination runs rampant as these and various other sonic trappings from 60’s pop and jazz accompany the work of the burglars. The score is bookended with “Reader’s Theme,” associated with Michael Caine’s character, Brian Reader, who is the leader of the aged brigands; opening with the confident, heavily Barryesque cimbalom motif, and concluding [spoiler:] with poignant empathy via somber strings as the venerable Reader is led into incarceration. Especially interesting are those cues that shift tone and style midway through, such as “Train Escape” which begins with a cimbalom-led riff with keyboard, electric bass before morphing into a consuming rapid-fire synth beat, electric guitar, and strings as the sequence moves from frivolous to stressful, or “Police Sting,” which progresses from highly percussive tension material driven by pulses of horns right into full-blooded big band jazz. That cue in particular demonstrates the essential counterpoint of Wallfisch’s score, with the amusing antics of the geriatric gangsters (the exuberant big band music as Reader’s robbers relive their youth with this final, huge heist) contrasted against the high-tech police (modern structures and electronica). As a coda, “Reader’s Theme” is reprised in an extended rendition over the end titles in “King of Thieves,” adding an unrestrained big band frenzy that carries the cue to the final fade out.
Watch this EPK video for a look behind the scenes of the recording of the KING OF THIEVES soundtrack, over which “Reader’s Theme” and “Sugar Plum Raid” play: 

MACRO: GIUDA UCCIDE IL VENERDI/Nico Fidenco/Kronos Records – cd
Kronos Records presents the soundtrack to the 1974 Stelvio Massi film GIUDA UCCIDE IL VENERDI (“Giuda Kills on Friday,” aka MACRO), which adapts the story of Jesus, the apostles, and Mary Magdalene into the contemporary era involving a group of hippies, thugs, and prostitutes, and can only be the product of 1970s Italian cinema! The score was composed by Nico Fidenco (IMAGES IN A CONVENT, BOCCACCIO 70, ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST), arranged and conducted by Giaconda Dell Orso. Previously released only in the form of a 7” single containing the main songs in Italian and English), Kronos’ album is the first time the score has been released on CD, and presents the film’s complete score. The music is fairly varied, with the typical abundance of lively pop and rock numbers you’d find in a ‘70s Italian comedy film, and of course its competently conceived and performed and gives the film the kind of frothy vibe that keeps the story light; elsewhere Fidenco presents his “Tema” is an evocative instrumental for acoustic guitar and heavy warbling flutes over organ, which melds into a gentle folksy tune that is quite pleasant, its melody is heard in the “Titoli” song and other instrumental variations, including a very provocative acoustic guitar rendition in “Titoli Prolungamento” and the album opener, the folk-pop song version of “Titoli,” which becomes kind of a group sing for the hippie commune that achieves a rather nice festive character. There is a frequently-recurring “Suspense” theme that appears several times on the playlist with very different connotations of the term “suspense,” but it’s rather welcome in its diversity of presentation. The music is as rooted in its era, and that era’s musical style, as much as Fidenco’s Western scores are tied to the previous decade’s Italian Western sound. It’s frolicsome but fun, with some more serious compositions lending a heavier voice to the sound. In the album’s four-page booklet, writer Jon Mansell provides a some interesting notes on the film and score, but it’s in very small print so if your eyes are as old as mine you might want to have magnifying glass handy. Kronos’ release is strictly limited to 300 copies.

THE PREDATOR/Henry Jackman/Lakeshore – cd & digital
Like Alan Silvestri’s score for the 1987 original film, Henry Jackman’s music for Shane Black’s new PREDATOR sequel is highly propulsive, militaristic, and ferociously exciting. The score begins with strains of eerie trepidation and soon erupt into anxious panic and flight; there are a few respites along the way, reprises of the suspense figures that opened the score, and a couple of sympathetic moments as we get to know some of the characters and their backstory or interaction, but the score is predominantly focused on aggressive action, discordant bombast, and rolling rhythms, all effectively orchestrated throughout the players to maximize anxious exhilaration. Horns, drums, and piano dominate the score (with selective use of choir to heighten some moments into the quasi-epic) but winds and strings are highly supportive and often paint a picture of the humanity behind the heroes, particularly moments concerning Army Ranger sniper Quinn McKenna and his autistic son, Rory. But mostly Jackman’s score is a wild ride and the ideal musical support for this film and its amped-up graphic violence. The extra pleasure is listening closely to Jackman’s orchestrations (a shout-out here to his orchestration team, Stephen Coleman, Benjamin Hoff, Jonathan Beard, Andrew Kinney, Sean Barrett, Henry Wilkinson, and Edward Trybek [who also conducted] for their efforts in all of this) and appreciating the athleticism of the sonic gestures that keep the score on track and at full velocity.

SUNRISE/Joe Kraemer/Caldera - cd
This film is a 1927 drama directed by F. W. Murnau (best known for 1922’s NOSFERATU) which Joe Kraemer has rescored for live performances. Kraemer was commissioned by the Dallas Chamber Symphony to write an original score for Murnau’s silent film. “I created themes for each of the major characters and concepts in the film, and then used those themes to carry out the plot of the film,” Kraemer explained. “It is a highly programmatic composition. I was influenced by composers like Copland, Gershwin, and Strauss. Additionally, I had just finished a three-week stay in Austria when I began writing the score, and I was very influenced by the culture I experienced in the wonderful town of Baden.” The film is an allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him, personified by his wife and the sophisticated other woman he is attracted to. This is really an exceptional score that embraces the elegant Americana of Copland, the symphonic jazz of Gershwin, as well as the European heritage of Strauss, the resulting mixture captures an engaging mix of harmonic melodies and thoughtful reflections. Its sound recalls an earlier era, appropriate for the film’s time period, and a graceful classicism that is quite endearing. It’s necessarily a wall-to-wall but Kraemer keeps it constantly interesting; it’s also necessarily a small ensemble of approximately fifteen live players, but their work is deftly orchestrated and the small size accommodates the music with a very intimate presence, and a gorgeous main theme that opens from a few tentative rays before emerging fully into the glory of its melody – just like a sunrise. Elsewhere the main theme enjoys a delightfully impassioned and full-blooded performance in “The Marsh Sequence and City Song,” and in “Pig On The Loose,” though you wouldn’t expect it from that title, a very tender and poignant rendition. “A Man Possessed” also features very lively action music with a prominent, forward-driving beat; while “Night In The City” is infiltrated briefly by a couple bars from Gershwyn’s “Rhapsody in Blue” to give the city its signature moment. The score’s conclusion, with the second half of “Salvation” and all of “Finale,” reaches an assertive apotheosis of emotional redemption and resolution which is simply wonderful.
Caldera has also included its signature featurette (I know of no other labels that are doing this): an informative audio commentary (13 mins.) in which Kraemer describes in detail how he engaged with and created the score (“One of the things I found attractive about this particular film was the balance of several different ideas: comedy, drama, love, and also the juxtaposition of pastoral music with urban music…”). In its entirety as well as most of its more intimate musical moments, Joe Kraemer’s SUNRISE is a completely captivating work.
For more details, see caldera-records

Listen to a 5-minute suite of Joe Kraemer's SUNRISE here


News: Forthcoming Soundtracks & Film Music News

August 20, 1937 – October 1, 2018

Word came in early Monday morning of the death of Italian composer Stelvio Cipriani at the age of 81. The Italian website Il Messaggero reported that Cipriani passed away Monday morning in Rome, after suffering from ischemia since last December. Cipriani was a beloved melodist whose work traversed European cinema since 1966.  He was fluent in virtually all genres of film and was known for sublime melodies, exotic mixtures of orchestra and guitars, voices, and inventive instrumental combinations.
With a strong background in jazz music, Cipriani started his film career in the Italian Western period with the 1966 film, THE BOUNTY KILLER (aka THE UGLY ONES). And within the next three years also scored such Westerns as THE STRANGER RETURNS, THE SILENT STRANGER (Lo Straniero di Silenzio), LAW OF VIOLENCE (La Legge della Violenza), and the pair of westerns associated with a gunfighter named “Hallelujah,” quickly adapting to the Morricone-style of “Spaghetti Western” music.
Among his most famous film scores are THE ANONYMOUS VENETIAN (1970) not only awarded him the “Nastro d’Argento” for Best Score, but brought him to the international lime­light; the music is still considered to be among the most famous Italian film soundtracks. He is also well known for scoring Ruggero Deodato’s CONCORDE AFFAIR ’79. But the large part of his scoring was for low-budget genre movies known for violence and suspense, films that he didn’t seem to mind specializing in, and which offered him profound opportunities for his own style of musical expression.
Read my full remembrance of Stelvio Cipriani at musiquefantastique.

ENNIO MORRICONE SAYS GOODBYE TO COMPOSING FOR MOVIES. In an interview with the Italian radio RTL 102.5, Ennio Morricone, who will turn 90 in a couple of months, has said that he will continue conducting his music live since “I do not mind being on the podium for two hours,” but he will retire from composing more film music because writing soundtracks is very exhausting. “In the movies, music must be good for me and for the public, there are many responsibilities and prejudices” explains Morricone. The only exception Morricone will make is with Giuseppe Tornatore, in a relationship he defines as “a son and a father relationship.”
Link to the original news (Italian): 
Or: news translated automatically (English):

British composer Hans Michael Anselmo Hess (see my review of his score to CARNIVAL OF SORROWS in last month’s column) reports that CARNIVAL OF SORROWS won “Best Score” at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Awards. A commercial soundtrack for that score is still in the works – check the composer’s web site for work-in-progress news; it will be updated when the CD is available.

CineConcerts announces a once-in-a-lifetime live concert event: the 25th anniversary celebration of RUDY in Concert, live at the historic Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on November 10th, 2018. Conducted by Justin Freer, the 80-piece Hollywood Chamber Orchestra will perform Jerry Goldsmith’s complete score live while the entire film is projected on a massive 40-foot HD screen. This 1993 American biographical sports film’s first live concert premiere will help raise funds for The University of Notre Dame and regional Southern California high schools with support from The CineConcerts Foundation. Special guests including Sean AstinRudy Ruettiger, director David Anspaugh, writer Angelo Pizzo, producer Cary Woods and more will take part in a pre-show-on-stage panel to discuss the film, the music, and the magic of the story 25 years later. For tix, see:

Nike has licensed Emmy Award winning and Academy Award nominated film and television composer Dustin O’Halloran’s song, We Move Lightly, from his 2011 solo album, Lumiere for their latest powerful “Just Do It” ad campaign featuring NFLer and humanitarian, Colin Kaepernick.
Watch the full ad on youtube here.

Composer Frederik Wiedmann reports that Back Lot Music will release the digital soundtrack to his score for SCORPION KING: BOOK OF SOULS on October 19. The film is the fifth entry in the (partially) direct-to-video fantasy film series from Universal (originally a spinoff from their 2001 MUMMY sequel, THE MUMMY RETURNS, in which the Scorpion King is the main villain, and introduced former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the role). In this film, The Scorpion King (here played by Zach McGowan [Charles Vane from BLACK SAILS]) teams up with female warrior Tala (Pearl Thusi), who is the sister of The Nubian King. Together they search for a legendary relic known as The Book of Souls, which will allow them to put an end to an evil warlord.

Filmtrax has released a soundtrack album for the historical drama HURRICANE. The album features the film’s original music composed by Laura Rossi (UNFINISHED SONGTHE COTTAGETHE FIRM) who recorded her score with the Chamber Orchestra of London. The soundtrack is now available to download on Amazon, where you can also check out audio samples. The movie tells the true story of Lt. Johnny Kent, a Canadian flight lieutenant who led the newly formed Royal Air Force 303 squadron of Hawker Hurricane fighter planes flown by Polish pilots at the height of the Battle of Britain during World War II. 
via filmmusicreporter

Mark Isham’s latest score is for the biopic BOLDEN, a mythical account of the life of Buddy Bolden (1988-1931), the first Cornet King of New Orleans and a key figure in the development of its unique style of ragtime music, or “jass,” which later came to be known as jazz. None of Bolden’s minimal amount of recorded music survives. Isham has written an orchestral underscore, while jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis handled the jazz material associated with Bolden. For more information about the film, see this article from the New York Times about its filming.

Lakeshore Records has also released a soundtrack album for the original Amazon Studios parody series COMRADE DETECTIVE featuring selections of the show’s original music composed by Joe Kraemer (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATIONJACK REACHERSUNRISE); both a vinyl and digital download version are available. The label has also released a digital soundtrack for director Can Evrenol’s (BASKIN) latest horror film, HOUSEWIFE, which made its stateside debut last December at the New York Turkish Film Festival. The music is the work of Antoni Maiovvi (MUTANT BLAST, HANGMAN), which is the non-de-plume for British composer Anton Maiof.

ANIMAL WORLD composers Neal Acree and Michael Tuller, along with music supervisor Fei Yu, were recently interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter about their score for this Chinese action thriller, which THR has described as “propulsive and richly dynamic.” Read the THR interview here; watch the movie on Netflix.

Filmtrax has released a soundtrack album for the supernatural horror thriller MARA. The album features the film’s original music composed by James Edward Barker (LEAN ON PETEHEISTPRECIOUS CARGOFINAL SCORE) and is available to download on AmazonMARA is directed by Clive Tonge and stars Olga Kurylenko, Javier Botet, and Mitch Eakins. The movie revolves around a criminal psychologist who unearths a community of people who claim to be tormented by a shadowy menace, a centuries-old demon who kills her victims as they sleep.
- via filmmusicreporter

Netflix has released the teaser trailer for DAREDEVIL Season 3. John Paesano returns to score the new season, which premieres Oct 19. Watch the trailer here.

Headline: “Denver-born composer creates show described as COSMOS meets TED Talk with Colorado Symphony”
Read this story about film/game composer Austin Wintory, whose special event “Light in the Void,” is debuting at Boettcher Concert Hall on Oct. 5. The show is a multi-sensory stage production designed to entertain and educate. The Colorado Symphony will perform Wintory’s original score while actors portray an allegorical tale about the quest for human knowledge. “At heart, the whole point is to communicate the scientific way of thinking,” Wintory, a self-described science nerd, told The Denver Post for an article posted last Thursday. “We are evangelizing for the scientific mindset, which embraces and leans into our areas of ignorance. The start of every great adventure is, essentially, the three words ‘I don’t know.’”

Filmmaker and Anthropologist Niobe Thompson teamed up with composer Darren Fung to create a magnificent musical score for the three-part series EQUUS - STORY OF THE HORSE. In an era when live-recorded orchestral scores seem to be a dying breed, Thompson and Fung brought members of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and ProCoro Canada to one of North America’s premiere acoustic spaces: Edmonton's Winspear Centre. Watch this excellent 13-minute behind-the-scenes video and see how a musical score comes to life, from the composer’s personal studio to the recording stage. (I think this is one of the best behind-the-scenes featurettes I've seen about film scoring – by taking the journey through Darren's scoring of this film the process of film composing is really fleshed out and demonstrated in all its complexity and challenges and beauty, and the featurette itself becomes as emotionally provocative as the EQUUS film itself – rdl).
The three-part series EQUUS - STORY OF THE HORSE premiered in Canada on CBC-TV September/October 2018, and will broadcast on PBS on major broadcasters in the USA and around the world in 2019.

La-La Land Records and Universal Pictures present the second title in the Universal Pictures Film Music Heritage Collection – the world premiere release of legendary composer Henry Mancini’s original score to the 1979 period comedy THE PRISONER OF ZENDA. Never before officially available in any format, Mancini’s exceedingly graceful score is a revelation – a wondrous orchestral work that expertly weaves together comedy, romance, patriotism, and adventure, with all the richness and lush orchestration for which the composer is renowned. For details, see La-La Land.

Retro Gold has announced the first complete recording of Ennio Morricone’s score to the original 2012 TV series film L’ISOLA, The 2-CD release is available via Music Box Records.

MovieScore Media continues its championing of remarkable documentary scores with Hans Appelqvist’s music for THE RAFT. In 1973, five men and six women drifted across the Atlantic on a raft as part of a scientific experiment studying the sociology of violence, aggression, and sexual attraction in human behavior (!), leading the study to be described as “one of the strangest group experiments of all time.” Via archival material and a reunion of the surviving members of the expedition on a full scale replica of the raft, this film tells the hidden story behind that experiment. “The music had to be energetic and draw the audience into the film” said Appelqvist. “I did that by finding inspiration from old Hollywood movies, especially how harmony worked in those days with constant modulation going from one place to the next just over a few clips. I tried to update that approach and apply it to my score in order to surprise and captivate the audience. Another nod back to older days was the more puristic approach to the recording the music. No overdubbing and no synthesizers were allowed. Only acoustic instruments playing together in a good-sounding room.”
Watch MSM’s video, featuring a suite from the score: 

Coming off the accolades for his sinister score for HEREDITARY this past Spring, avant-garde composer Colin Stetson has scored upcoming Hulu science fiction series THE FIRST. Starring Sean Penn, LisaGay Hamilton, Natascha McElhone and more, the series chronicles a crew of astronauts as they battle peril and personal sacrifice as they race to become the first humans on Mars. Stetson’s otherworldly, organic approach provides an active backdrop that is something of a character of its own throughout. Check out the trailer on YouTube, laced with Stetson’s music. New Deal, the new label from Grammy award-winning producer Blake Mills, launches with this score as its inaugural release, available through Amazon and iTunes. A vinyl edition is set for release this winter.  Says Stetson: “The music of THE FIRST is built on a foundation of stark and intimate qualities as exemplified by much of my solo saxophone repertoire, enhanced and expanded upon in every direction, from the epic orchestral character of horn and low brass fanfare, to the fragility and humanly intimate nature of muted solo piano. The breadth and scope of the overall narrative, comprised of these many real and extremely human stories of ambition, of love, and of grief and loss, has made it possible for me to fully explore such a multitude of aural approaches, resulting in a score which is as sonically and stylistically disparate as the personal stories of each of our characters, woven together by the common thread and themes of this grand shared purpose and of the sacrifices made by all in its service.”

Jesper Kyd reports via twitter that his latest score is the Indian fantasy thriller TUMBBAD, which is set in 1920’s India during the British occupation. “Premiering at and opening the Venice Film Festival I’m very proud of what we have achieved with the score,” Kyd tweeted. The film’s plot, a mythological story about a goddess who created the entire universe, revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for her first-born.
Watch the film’s trailer on youtube.

Alt rock artist, composer & songwriter Ethan Gold travels back in time to create an original big band sound of the 40’s as the musical anchor for the Orchard film THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE. The film marks the third collaboration between the composer and director Ari Gold, who happen to be identical twins. It’s summer on Sway Lake, former playground of the jazz-age New York aristocracy. Young music collector Ollie Sway (Rory Culkin) recruits his only friend, a rowdy Russian drifter (Robert Sheehan), to help him steal a one-of-a-kind vintage record from his own family's glamorous lake house. The film is a romantic, dramatic, suspenseful film with a story that spans generations. The original song, “Sway Lake” by Ethan Gold, is an integral part of the story and plays in several arrangements and by different artists throughout the film. The picture’s premise – that the search for the album recording holds the secret of Sway Lake and may change lives, put a lot of pressure on the composer to create a song and a theme that conveys that message melodically. Like the film, Gold’s score is contemplative, romantic, and bittersweet. Sparse and piano-driven, there are also shades of otherworldliness and dread from the trumpet of Jon Hassell and paintbrush guitar of Fred Frith. The score features classic songs and radically different arrangements of Ethan’s original title song. For more details see the film’s website.

MANDY, Panos Cosmatos’ highly-anticipated follow up to his BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW and its score by Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score has been described by Variety and Newsweek describe the film as “a melding of horror, fantasy, and metal.” Whatever your flavor, MANDY is certainly resonating with critics and audiences alike. The film is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller, a broken and haunted man, hunts an unhinged religious sect who slaughtered the love of his life. The score is the last one completed by Jóhannsson before his death earlier this year. The soundtrack album was released by Lakeshore (digital) and Invada Records (vinyl).

Silva Screen Records has released two more vintage DOCTOR WHO soundtracks on CD. The first is the music to the 8-part Doctor Who story THE INVASION, made and transmitted in 1968 and starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor.  The music was composed by Don Harper, the third Australian émigré composer (after Ron Grainer and Dudley Simpson) to work on the program. Harper’s music for THE INVASION may have been influenced by John Barry’s score for THE IPCRESS FILE(1965) as it uses the cimbalom fluently in the score, and the player was most likely John Leach (who also worked under the name Janos Lehar), who played on Barry’s THE IPCRESS FILE, KING RAT and THE PERSUADERS scores. The score was augmented by the use of electronic sounds created by Brian Hodgson of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop as well as “muzak” by John Baker (referred to as such in the cue sheets for episodes 1 and 2). For this Silva Screen album, DOCTOR WHO composer Mark Ayres has placed the used music together, followed by additional unused cues and the electronic score.
The second release is Peter Howell’s score to the 1983 special, “The Five Doctors.” The album features both Howell’s original score and the BBC Video special edition version which was, in 1995, produced, reworked, and extended by Howell himself. The BBC special featured updated visual effects and, to match that, the score was mixed in Dolby Surround. Comments Howell: “Listening again to the score for ‘The Five Doctors,’ it seems to represent a very particular period in time when the variety of sounds at our disposal was becoming extensive, yet the ability to memorize them was yet to come; when the quality of taped sound was impressive but the equipment was large and the use of it sometimes clumsy and mechanical. In those days, you really did need a studio full of gear and you really did need to play it all.”

Varese Sarabande has released a soundtrack album for the coming-of-age romantic drama WHERE HANDS TOUCH. The album features the original score composed by Anne Chmelewsky (DEREK [UK TV series]). The movie is set in 1944 Germany and centers on a black German teenager who falls in love with a member of the Hitler Youth. The soundtrack is now available to download on Amazon. -via filmmusicreporter

The music from the iconic PEANUTS animated TV special, IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN is being made available for the first time ever from Varèse Sarabande Records’ parent label, Craft Recordings. Featuring music by GRAMMY®-winning composer/performer Vince Guaraldi, the CD package includes a new introduction from the TV show’s executive producer Lee Mendelson and insightful liner notes by Peanuts historian Derrick Bang.

Varèse Sarabande’s next limited-edition archival CD release is Leonard Rosenman’s dramatic score to 9/30/55. The old MCA vinyl album has been out of print for over three decades. Rosenman scored two of actor James Dean’s biggest films, EAST OF EDEN and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE both in 1955, neither of which have had soundtracks officially released. Rosenman used the themes he had created for each of those films as the basis for his score to 9/30/55, breathing new life into those classic themes with new orchestrations and the use of a few solo instruments like the harmonica, saxophone, and banjo to reflect the southern location where the film takes place. Limited edition of 1500 copies. Also from Varèse is the premiere CD release is Harold Faltermeyer’s groovy score to FLETCH, which hits shelves Oct. 12th. Pre-order it from Varèse

Sparks & Shadows has released the digital soundtrack album of Bear McCreary’s latest score, for the slasher thriller HELL FEST. The album features the film’s original score as well as tracks by Brendan McKian, John Massari, and Crisis Couture. HELL FEST is about a masked serial killer who turns a horror themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorizing a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show.  - via filmmusicreporter

XL recordings will release a 2-CD soundtrack album for the forthcoming remake of Dario Argento’s cult classic SUSPIRIA. The album features the original score music from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, including 5 original songs. Luca Guadagnino directs Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton; Amazon Studios releases the film in a limited theatrical run on October 26, the same date the soundtrack is released, with a nationwide release to following the week after.
Pre-order the CD from Amazon here

Dragon’s Domain Records, distributed through, presents the world premiere compact disc release of the soundtrack to GRIZZLY, featuring music composed by Robert O. Ragland (10 TO MIDNIGHT, Q, THE WINGED SERPENT, ASSASSINATION) for the 1976 horror thriller. Directed by William Girdler and starring Christopher George, Andrew Prine, and Richard Jaeckel, GRIZZLY is a tale of realistic terror about the largest ground beast in the world, an eighteen foot, two thousand pound grizzly bear that goes on a massive killing spree in the serene setting of a national park. The score features orchestrations by Jack Hayes and was performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London. GRIZZLY is a limited edition release of 500 units. For more information, to hear sample tracks, or to order, see BSX.

Composer Ludwig Göransson (BLACK PANTHER, CREED, DEATH WISH remake) has scored Sony Picture’s VENOM. Sony will release the soundtrack on CD on October 5th, the same day the movie arrives in theaters. The film is based on Marvel’s gooey Symbiote character best known from the SPIDER-MAN comics. The movie is produced by Columbia in association with Marvel, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing as the first film in “Sony’s Marvel Universe,” an adjunct to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) [follow so far?]. The Collider website recently shared “Pedal to the Metal,” an aggressive action music track from Göransson’s VENOM score. “There’s an electric guitar driven edge to it, which is to be expected, along with propulsive percussion, but the strings and vocals bring a grand orchestral vibe to the entire ordeal,” wrote Collider’s Adam Chitwood in introducing the track. “It’s somehow both exactly what you’d expect the Venom score to sound like and wholly unexpected.” Listen to the track at the Collider website.

Hans Zimmer is scoring the new X-MEN Movie, DARK PHOENIX, set for release Feb 14, 2019, with both concludes Fox’s X-MEN franchise and begins Marvel’s reacquisition of the character into its current MCU. Collider has posted on youtube a very interesting 15-minute interview with Zimmer discussing his score to WIDOWS, his Concert Tour, and both DARK PHOENIX and WONDER WOMAN 2. Click here to watch it.

Dario Marianelli (DARKEST HOUR, ATONEMENT, THE BOXTROLLS, V FOR VENDETTA) is scoring the new TRANSFORMERS movie spin-off, BUMBLEBEE. The film takes place in 1987, where the alien Autobot Bumblebee takes refuge in a coastal California community’s junkyard. He is found by 17-going-on-18-year-old girl named Charlie (Hailee Steinfield), who revives him – just in time to face bad government agents and nastier Autobots. The movie is scheduled for release this coming Dec 21.

Back Lot Music has released the digital soundtrack album for Eli Roth’s new gothic fantasy film, THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. The fantasy film’s original music was composed by Nathan Barr (TRUE BLOOD, HOSTEL, CABIN FEVER), which features the historic 20th Century Fox Wurlitzer organ that Barr restored in order to use on the soundtrack (watch a video about Barr’s creating the score here). 

Composer Jerome Leroy’s (THE HOUSEMAID) score Qi: THE DOCUMENTARY is now available on all major digital stores and streaming services. Filmmaker Dennis Ho’s 2018 documentary Qi demystifies the Chinese concept of energy known as qi (chi) by identifying its various properties and their empowering effects on human physiology. In their discussions about the music, Ho and Leroy determined the best approach was to blend eastern and western modalities in order to appeal to a global audience. To accommodate this musical balance, the score features an instrumentation that was reminiscent of Asian cultures, yet could stand on its own as an accompaniment to a universal spiritual journey. … To that effect, Leroy chose to substitute traditional Chinese instruments with Western ones: instead of an erhu, he used a solo cello (performed by Tina Guo), and instead of bamboo and wood flutes, he used a set of concert flutes (bass, alto, and regular flutes, all performed by Gina Luciani). The mixture of Chinese musical flavors speaking through orchestral instruments familiar to western audiences supports Ho’s concept of portraying qi’s Chinese origins through a universal lens.
For details and to sample tracks, see:

Butler Records, launched in 2014, has released the first ever official soundtrack album of the Belgian cult horror classic DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS (LES LÈVRES ROUGES). The film, one of the many adaptations of Carmilla, is directed by Harry Kümel (MALPERTUIS, ELINE VERE), and features an exquisite score by award winning composer François de Roubaix (LE SAMOURAI, LES AVENTURIERS, LES GRANDES GUEULES (The Wise Guys). The soundtrack to Kümel’s erotic vampire film consists of a lot of different musical elements and is an alluringly seductive score. Order the CD or vinyl from Amazon.

Paramount Music has released a soundtrack album for the Netflix original limited series MANIAC. The album features selections of the original music from the show composed by Dan Romer (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILDBEASTS OF NO NATIONTHE GOOD DOCTOR). The soundtrack is now available to download on Amazon, where you can also play audio samples. MANIAC is directed by Cary Fukunaga and stars Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Sonoya Mizuno, Justin Theroux, Julia Garner and Sally Field. The comedy developed by Patrick Somerville, based on the Norwegian television series of the same title, follows two strangers who find themselves caught up in a mind-bending pharmaceutical trial gone awry.
-via filmmusicreporter

Netflix has dropped a slew of new films in September, including the family-friendly NEXTGEN animated film, featuring the voices of Charlyne Yi, John Krasinski, Michael Peña, Constance Wu, Jason Sudeikis and David Cross. Lakeshore Records has released a digital soundtrack from the film score by Alexis Marsh and Samuel Jones (INTERSECTION). The series is now streaming on Netflix


Film Music on Vinyl

Quartet Records was proud to celebrate the tenth anniversary of J.A. Bayona’s horror cult-classic THE ORPHANAGE in 2017 with a newly recorded, complete edition of the score composed by Fernando Velázquez. That superb ghost horror film was the first collaboration between director and composer, a partnership that has continued in such modern classics as THE IMPOSSIBLEand A MONSTER CALLS. Now this new recording is available in an exclusive, 2-LP limited and numbered collectors’ vinyl release. Remastered for vinyl by Chris Malone, the album includes newly commissioned artwork by PosterSpy & Karl Fitzgerald. The record comes in a deluxe gatefold package that includes statements from Fernando Velázquez and director J.A. Bayona. For details, see quartetrecords.

Varèse Sarabande has released a deluxe 2 LP gatefold jacket of Jerry Goldsmith’s thrilling score to STAR TREK: NEMESIS on green Thalaron colored vinyl. Also included are detailed liner notes by Star Trek historian, Jeff Bond.
This website exclusive vinyl edition is only available on the Varèse Sarabande website, and is limited to 750 copies. Get this exclusively before Shinzon does - beam down to Varèse Sarabande to order!

Strange Disc Records proudly presents for the first time on vinyl Paul McCollough’s original soundtrack to the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Directed by Tom Savini, the film stars iconic horror actors Tony Todd (CANDYMAN), Tom Towles (HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER) & Bill Moseley (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE). Savini was initially hired to perform the special effects, but was persuaded to direct by Romero who also rewrote the original 1968 screenplay and gave his seal of approval. Met with resistance at the time of release (expectancy levels were very high), nowadays the 1990 remake is appreciated by fans worldwide and has grown into a classic of its own. Scoring duties were handled by writer-composer-actor Paul McCollough (known for his work on MIDNIGHT, THE CRAZIES, SANTA CLAWS, etc.). While the original film was mostly library cues, the score in Savini’s version is fully “Carpenter-esque” and the composer’s synth set-up provides some very eerie effects used brilliantly throughout out the film. This release is available as a limited classic black vinyl edition (with obi strip) & with a wide variety of color vinyl variants. More details see strangedisc.

Lakeshore Records is releasing Christopher Lennertz’s thrilling new LOST IN SPACE soundtrack on vinyl for the very first time!  The pressing will come in “Alien Space Swirl Purple” and will hit shelves in November. 

See details here.




Game Score News

The atmospheric platformer video game PLANET ALPHA soundtrack by Siddhartha Barnhoorn is now available on Bandcamp and you can also find it on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, CDBaby and more. It is an epic, atmospheric journey through the world of Planet Alpha with 40 tracks and 108 minutes of music. “Working on the music for this visually gorgeous, immersive, puzzle platformer game was daunting and fulfilling at the same time,” wrote Barnhoorn on his Bandcamp page. The challenge for me was to create the right musical atmosphere and find the right sounds. I got involved with PLANET ALPHA in January 2016. I stumbled upon a Korg MS10 in the second hand market and decided to go for it. Many of the sounds I created with the MS10 are now embedded into the soundtrack in some way or form after long experimentations and jam sessions. After a while I also got into modular synthesis with Eurorack which opened the door into a vast realm of aural possibilities which I also used in creating some of the vast, immersive, ambience for Planet Alpha. The game went through many changes during its development, as did the music. By the end of the process there was well over 2 hours of music, mainly specific loops and stingers. This soundtrack represents a selection of that music to tell the musical tale of PLANET ALPHA.” 

Marvel Music has announced the global release of Marvel’s SPIDER-MAN Original Video Game digital soundtrack. The soundtrack, scored by John Paesano, complements Marvel’s brand-new action-packed PlayStation 4 story, developed by Insomniac Games in collaboration with PlayStation and Marvel Games. Play as an experienced Spider-Man who has spent eight years behind the mask, defeating new threats as they emerge. When not scoring Marvel TV series like DAREDEVIL and THE DEFENDERS or the MAZE RUNNER franchise, Paesano has also scored video games such as DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN and MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA.
CLICK HERE for an interview with the composer about the SPIDER-MAN game score.

Sumthing Else Music Works has announced the STATE OF DECAY 2 Special Edition double-vinyl soundtrack for the latest iteration of the zombie survival game. Featuring 29-tracks from the original game score composed and produced by BAFTA winner Jesper Kyd (ASSASSIN'S CREED, BORDERLANDS, HITMAN), the soundtrack is presented in a full-color gatefold with unique illustrations by Undead Labs. The album was personally compiled by Kyd and features 10 previously unreleased tracks. Kyd's atmospheric guitar and analog synth score for the game score immerses players in a haunting landscape, replete with intense action cues but also moments of reflection and hope. “I wanted to bring out more of the human emotion in the situations you are playing through, and for the music to make the experience feel hopeful as you try to rebuild and expand your community,” explained Kyd. “I recorded many instruments such as dobro guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, various live percussion, solo violin, solo cello. The live instruments are an important part of making the world of STATE OF DECAY breathe and come alive. The broken down post-apocalyptic world needs to be reinforced with the feel of rural Americana; we’re in the American heartland and so the instrument palette was critical to accomplishing an authentic vibe.”  Now available to pre-order, the STATE OF DECAY 2 Special Edition Soundtrack will be released at retail and through Sumthing Else here.

Varèse Sarabande has released the game soundtrack to TORN, one of a new and emerging realm of VR Video Games. This one is a dark science-fiction mystery featuring music by Garry Schyman (MIDDLE-EARTH: SHADOW OF MORDOR [BAFTA-nominated] and MIDDLE-EARTH: SHADOW OF WAR,  DESTROY ALL HUMANS! and BIOSHOCK and their respective sequels, and much more). “TORN is one of the most interesting projects I have ever scored and it inspired me to create something I feel is very special musically,” said Schyman. “This virtual reality game is like entering and being part of a fascinating dark mysterious film.” Deep in a forgotten forest, video blogger Katherine Patterson discovers an abandoned mansion, filled with strange machines and disturbing experiments. This is the home of Dr. Lawrence Talbot, who was reported missing more than 64 years ago. Patterson realizes this could be worth millions, the story of her career. But then she meets Dr. Talbot in person – alive, trapped in a strange new dimension, and missing his body. TORN opens as a narrative puzzle game but evolves into a dark, character-driven story as players slowly uncover the truth about Talbot and the new dimension he calls “The Parallel.” In Talbot’s world, truth is nothing more than the invention of the mind. “The music, performed by some of the best players in LA at my favorite recording studio, Fox’s Newman Scoring Stage, sounded so lovely and I could not be more pleased with these recordings,” said Schyman.

Lakeshore Records announces a new title in its partnership with Electronic Arts with the release of the official video game soundtrack to FIFA 19: THE JOURNEY: CHAMPIONS. The release features Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe’s soundtrack to the story driven mode within FIFA 19for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. THE JOURNEY, which debuted in FIFA 17, was the first of its kind; powered by both user choice and actual match gameplay, the story driven mode focused on a single character’s career. Thanks to powerfully-rendered cinematics of the Frostbite™ engine, players follow Alex Hunter as he rises to the pinnacle of world football after taking the Premier League by storm; this latest iteration concludes the series as Hunter joins Real Madrid in the dramatic finale to chase UEFA Champions League glory with his favored number 29 shirt.

Brian Tyler has recently completed composing a symphonic score for the forthcoming Korean multiplayer video game LOST ARK. Watch a making-of-the-score video on youtube here.

For more information, see the game’s Facebook page.



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

Randall can be contacted at