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Composer [c.418]Elia Cmiral is proud to announce the release of the [a.13644]Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? Motion Picture Soundtrack. Cmiral previously composed the first film of the trilogy, based on the renowned and influential novel Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. "I was thrilled when I received the phone call in April of 2014 from producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow, asking me to write music for the final part of the [m.]Atlas Shrugged trilogy," said Cmiral. "When we met a few days later, it felt like coming back home. I was overwhelmed by John and Harmon's enthusiasm as they recalled the work that I did on [m.31348]Atlas Shrugged: Part I and explained their expectations for the score of [m.40750]Atlas Shrugged Part III."
"[Elia's] passion and...
French composer [c.13881]Antoine Duhamel passed away yesterday. For more information on the award-winning composer, [url.http://www.soundtrack.net/news/article/?id=1892]click here.
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.423]David Hirschfelder ([m.41988]The Water Diviner), [c.568]Jon Brion ([m.41970]The Gambler), [c.760]Conrad Pope ([t.41998]The Whispers), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here.
There were 46 new soundtrack albums released this week. [da.2014-9-08]Click here for the full schedule.
Opening nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.38202]Dolphin Tale 2 ([c.168]Rachel Portman) and [m.35318]No Good Deed...
Varèse Sarabande Records will release [a.13422]Whiplash Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally and on CD, [da.2014-10-07]October 7, 2014. The soundtrack features original score and big band songs by [c.2205]Justin Hurwitz ([m.31689]Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) and original big band competition pieces by [c.1232]Tim Simonec ([t.7266]Dune).
"The director Damien [Chazelle] and I started talking about this score a year before the cameras rolled," said Hurwitz. "While the original jazz would be somewhat straightforward, the movie's dramatic underscore was more of a conundrum. How do you score a movie that already has so much music in it?" To navigate these waters, Hurwitz would use the techniques of electronic scoring, but with all real instruments, in a way...
When zombie apocalypses are all the rage in every conceivable medium, it seems difficult to come up with a new spin on the undead, let alone a new sound. Yet that’s precisely what Howard and Jonathan Ford did back in 2010 when they switched the usual American-English terrain to the African outback. It was a haunted land to begin with where walking bodies seemed like the natural outcome for the continent where life began. Adding immeasurable atmosphere to their “Dead” was the score by Indian-born composer Imran Ahmad, an unearthly mélange of ethnic percussion, voices and the more recognizable “horror score” elements of gnarled samples, rapid-fire percussion and raging dissonance. But most of all, “The Dead’ impressed in music, picture and emotion as it kept a firm human handle on a mercenary and young boy attempting the impossible task of finding sanctuary, where every sunbaked corner of desert seemed to hold another horde.
Having displayed an epic filmmaking chutzpah with a zombie apocalypse that easily outdid the infinitely bigger-budgeted “World War Z,” the Ford brothers now get back to body-gnashing on another exotic stretch with “The Dead 2.” And this time, it’s one that the London-based Imran Ahmad draws his own blood from, as India becomes the next target for the Ford’s not-so fatal wave of disease. Once again, an ersatz “family” tries to somehow survive, as turbine engineer Nicholas (Joseph Millson) finds himself slicing and dicing far more than wind as he sets off on a s three hundred mile journey to save his pregnant girlfriend Ishani (Meenu), whose home in Mumbai has undead pounding at the door. Accompanying Nicholas is the adolescent Javed (Arnand Goyal), whose bond to a father figure gives “The Dead 2” its emotional power through one viscerally amazing setpiece after the other.
But perhaps the most important elemental force to be derived from the land is its soul, as personified by Ahmad’s even more complex score. For a country steeped in mystical belief systems, Ahmad’s melodically beautiful use of India’s vast array of eon-old instruments conveys the Karmic sense of destiny which makes “The Dead 2” moving in a way that few zombie projects are, especially in conveying an unwavering sense of purpose against whatever horrific odds are thrown at our heroes. It’s a sense of vulnerable destiny that’s unique for American-centric horror scoring. But Ahmad’s music certainly doesn’t turn the other cheek when it comes to delivering the ferociously violent goods, as rock guitars and percussion rage amidst wailing, screaming voices, a thrumming beat making the pulse race as the characters try to outrun one wave of the undead after the other. It’s a masala of eerie exoticism and outright terror that gives palpable expanse to what’s arguably the most interesting, and multi-ethnically impressive zombie franchise in the world, with Ahmad’s music an unforgettable tour guide in a land of no Nirvana in white-eyed sight.
Tell us about your own musical upbringing, and what interested you in film scoring?
I was born in London and being of Indian origin I grew up listening to a variety of Eastern and Western sounds, from Indian classical to Western pop. I started playing the piano and later the guitar in my early teens. Later on I became very interested in film music when I noticed how it would make me feel while watching movies. Being a musician, this awareness led me to explore more about how the music was being used to steer emotions and pace the drama to help tell the stories.
Were there any particular genre scores that stood out for you, especially in the zombie arena before “The Dead” came your way?
There wasn’t anything particularly genre-specific as I have been influenced by a wide range of movies and music, from the fantasy adventure scores of Bernard Hermann to the electronic sounds of John Carpenter. I also draw inspiration from Indian and Middle Eastern music. The first film I saw in the cinema was “The Return of the Jedi.” I must have subconsciously absorbed the music over the two hours while watching visuals that were completely beyond my imagination as a child. The exhilarating feeling has never left me!
How did you first team with the Ford brothers for “The Dead,” and what was it about your music that appealed to them?
I met Howard in London at the time he was beginning post-production for sound on “The Dead.” I watched the initial trailer he sent me and was amazed by the visuals he and Jon had captured out in West Africa (shot on 35mm). Feeling inspired I wrote some music and sent it to him. Both Howard and Jon loved the sounds I had used, especially the adventurous pace and spiritual feeling of the vocal parts. They said it was very different for a horror genre score and that is exactly what they were looking for.
Before even jumping into “The Dead” series, did you listen to past scores in the zombie genre? And how did you want to put your own stamp on it?
Howard and Jon had made a visually stunning movie about a road trip journey across an unfamiliar landscape that happened to have zombies in it! I wanted to use sounds and instruments that were unfamiliar to the zombie genre. Our overall aim was to give the audience a very different aesthetic experience in terms of visuals and music.
Could you talk about your musical approach for the original “Dead?” And how did you want to use the original’s theme here as connective tissue in getting across the global outbreak?
The Ford Brothers wanted the movie to be original in every way possible including the score. They were very keen to communicate the fragile sense of hope the characters were left with. Also, in one of my initial conversations with Howard, I described the intended music as arising from nature itself and turning the environment into a twisted and distorted reality. So musically I wanted to develop a delicate sound for the inner journey of the main characters and use experimental vocals and percussion for the natural world and the horror.
The main theme is primarily vocalized and is meant to outline the feeling of being human and not being able to make sense of the world. The zombie outbreak could very well be a force of nature such as a tsunami or earthquake. All human beings rely on hope and perseverance, and the main theme tries to convey the internal struggle that everyone goes through.
Beyond scoring “The Dead 2,” you also helped in its production. What were some of your wilder experiences on the shoot, and were any of them life threatening?
I only accompanied Howard and Jon on the location scout trip to India. As I speak Hindi, I assisted in planning the route and liaised with local people we met along the way to play zombies for our teaser trailer. In total we drove about a thousand miles around the state of Rajasthan (the land of Kings) in Northern India looking for suitable locations. The countryside was captivating as we drove past sunbaked villages, abandoned palaces eroding away and the immense Thar Desert. The only life-threatening situation was the insane driving that we witnessed!
Could you tell us about how the Ford brothers work as a team, especially when it comes to collaborating with you on the music for “The Dead 2?” Were you all going for a “bigger and better” attitude?
The Ford brothers have always wanted to make a zombie movie ever since they saw the original ‘Dawn of the Dead’. This is why they co-directed both of these films. They are creative explorers and always inclined to go off the beaten track when they shoot their films. That is why they find captivating and haunting locations that are not necessarily on the official location guide. I think this combination of passion for the genre, sense of adventure and relentless enthusiasm, led me to create a music score with a more expansive feel.
What do you think the biggest differences, and similarities are between Indian and African music?
I’m not sure that I can comment in broad terms regarding this! India is a subcontinent and is incredibly large and diverse with varying cultures and musical traditions. Africa, on the other hand is a continent with well over forty countries! It’s way too diverse in music styles depending on which part of the land you go to. What I would say about Indian music is that there is a refined ancient system of musical scales (raags) and rhythms (taals) that are still used to this day in both classical and popular music. These are the musical influences I primarily draw from.
Tell us about the ensemble of Indian instruments that you used.
The Indian instruments were primarily the bansuri (Indian flute) with some sarangi (bowed string instrument) that was processed and distorted. I also worked with Indian classical singer, Chandra Chakraborty. Howard and Jon were keen on embellishing a haunting song or lullaby into the film. Chandra and I recorded a Rajasthani lullaby about a woman who lives in a palace and dreams of her husband returning to her. It had relevance to the film’s setting and the yearning that the main characters Ishani and Nicholas both feel.
In the respect of Indian music’s natural, peaceful quality, do you think it affords “The Dead” more moments of tranquility, and beauty that another ethnic musical approach might?
Indian music is one of many languages in which to communicate feelings and emotions. This is the inherent transcendental nature of music. I used the Indian flute for the more tranquil moments and the sound of the flute naturally possesses the qualities of beauty and peace. I hope that the audience will appreciate and absorb any sounds outside their own cultural frame of reference, as we naturally tend to listen more attentively when sounds and rhythms are unfamiliar.
Could you talk about the electronic and rock guitar elements to the score, and how you wanted it to serve the movie’s pace?
These elements are complimentary to the rest of the musical palette. The energy and textures of sounds generated by amplifying rock guitars are incredible in themselves. Elementally they sound like fire and dramatically give a sense of emergency and danger. The rock guitar isn’t communicating anything cultural in the movie. I love using sounds like this in an unexpected context like when I used the Indian flute in an African setting.
When you think of zombies, a moaning, if not outright screaming voice comes to mind for the tortures of the dead, and the damned. In that respect, how did you want to use voices in this movie, for both terrifying and peaceful ends?
For most of the vocals, I worked with a singer called Saba Tewelde who is originally from Eritrea in East Africa. Her voice was what I felt could represent the natural world turning lethal as the outbreak is a force of nature. She has this amazing vocal dichotomy where the higher registers are very beautiful and ethereal, and the low ones sound haunting and foreboding. The higher tones are short and fleeting during moments when the characters are hopeful. The darker tones just stay with the characters the whole time never leaving them alone. I then added distorted screaming as another texture to some of the sections of the score. It’s disturbing and powerful as it is derived from fear. However, we had a fun time recording that in the studio!
You’ve got some particularly unsettling, and outright ferocious percussive passages in “The Dead 2.” Tell us about that quality of the score.
We wanted to propel the unrelenting threat from the zombies. These are the slow moving zombies that were first made popular in George Romero’s movies. The zombies are silent predators and slowly creep up on you without you even noticing. I think the scare factor is amplified than if you saw them running towards you screaming like an animal, as you wouldn’t have any time to react and plan what to do. The percussive passages help to heighten the terror and sense of panic when the attacks occur.
Both movies share the story point of an American hero trying to get a vulnerable person to safety. How do you think the music reflects that emotion?
The emotional core is a distillation of all our worldly concerns down to what actually matters and motivates us to live. Most people become unconscious of what really drives them in life. The hero is himself now vulnerable too as his world is falling apart. The music reflected in the love theme for Ishani and Nicholas is very simple and attempts to reflect the fragility and sacredness of their relationship. If you became helpless and vulnerable, whom would you naturally turn to for help? I think for most people it will be the people that they love and care about the most.
With the hero traversing so much territory, how did you want the score to reflect the different locations?
I think there is cohesiveness to the overall sound of the score and it doesn’t venture into terrain outside the reality of the story. The scenes at night are particularly unsettling. If the main characters are vulnerable during the day, then they are more so at night when they need to sleep! The music has a haunting and ghostly quality in these quieter moments.
In general, what do you think makes horror music scary? And how important is its balance between melody and dissonance for you?
It has been said that silence is the most effective storytelling device in horror. In a silent scene, there is no musical narrative to inform how the audience is meant to feel. That is scary! Our physiology can be purposely built up to a state of anxiety and panic. Other than this, dissonance is important as it can create feelings of uneasiness and simulate sounds generated by animals and humans when they are scared – a vocal expression of our primal fears. The right balance is very much dependent on what kind of experience the Director wants the audience to have. I prefer a good mix of melody and dissonance.
How do you think things are looking with Indian composers making the crossover into English language films, especially when it comes to movie that have nothing to do with India?
I think it’s great. The wonderful thing about composing is being able to experience different musical cultures, traditions and languages from around the world. It’s very rewarding. When I worked with Gambian musician Jali Kebba Susso on “The Dead,” he was the 75th generation kora player from his family! He not only brought his beautiful sounds to the score, he also infused it with the richness of his ancient culture.
Howard Ford is next up to direct a film outside of the horror genre. What can you tell us about it, and how will it be to break away from the zombies for him the next time out?
Howard’s next film is a thriller that is going to be set primarily in Morocco. It follows an American single mother on vacation in a beautiful but unfamiliar land that takes the law into her own hands when her child is abducted. I’m really looking forward to seeing the visuals he captures whilst he is out there.
What do you think makes “The Dead” films distinctive from the wave of zombie pictures, and TV series we’re getting now?
“The Dead” films are austere and laconic in terms of dialogue and the very few characters, similar in tone to the westerns of Sergio Leone. The landscape and indigenous people are very much part of the visual language. I think this makes it distinctive. Also, the Ford brothers want to take the audience as well as the fans of the genre into new locations with people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. I think this creates a fresh perspective for the genre especially with local interpretations and reactions to the outbreak framed through their own culture and beliefs.
What locale would you like to see The Dead series go to next?
There have been talks of the series continuing into Asian countries like Afghanistan or China.
How would you survive a zombie invasion, especially in India?
Indian people are incredibly resourceful and creative. A large percentage of people live and consume well within their means. The people would just know how to survive a zombie apocalypse!
Buy Imran Ahmad’s first DEAD soundtrack HERE
Visit Imran Ahmad’s website HERE
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.89]James Horner ([m.41942]Wolf Totem), [c.1061]Marcelo Zarvos ([m.41941]Cell), [c.1422]Ilan Eshkeri ([m.41919]Still Alice), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here.
There were 30 new soundtrack albums released this week. [da.2014-9-01]Click here for the full schedule.
The only movie opening nationwide this week is [m.41481]The Identical (with music by [c.861]Klaus Badelt & [c.1793]Christopher Carmichael, songs by [c.13277]Jerry Marcellino & [c.13278]Yochanan Marcellino).
Among all new theatrical releases, we are tracking song credits for:
- [m.9008]Forrest Gump (20th Anniversary IMAX...
Varèse Sarabande Records will release [a.13082]November Man Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally and on CD, [da.2014-09-09]September 9, 2014. The soundtrack features the original score composed by [c.14]Marco Beltrami ([m.34084]Snowpiercer, [m.32675]World War Z).
"It was a thrill to write music that would play under Pierce Brosnan, an actor who previously portrayed an iconic spy; he brings to mind the kind of energy I hope my score captured," said Beltrami.
Award winning composer [c.14]Marco Beltrami established an early reputation as a genre innovator with non-traditional horror scores for the [m.]Scream franchise and [m.32078]Don't be Afraid of the Dark. Beltrami's musical palette has since expanded to virtually all film genres. Beltrami has...
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.3198]Johann Johannsson ([m.41837]Sicario), [c.1480]Henry Jackman ([m.38137]Captain America 3), [c.1240]Rob Simonsen ([m.41836]Master Cleanse), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here.
There were 38 new soundtrack albums released this week. [da.2014-8-25]Click here for the full schedule.
Opening nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.39471]The November Man ([c.14]Marco Beltrami) and [m.40105]As Above, So Below ([c.9137]Keefus Ciancia). [m.9664]Ghostbusters (Elmer Bernstein) celebrates 30 years with a theatrical release this weekend as well.
Among all new theatrical releases, we are...
Sparks & Shadows announces the release of the [a.13513]Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally on [da.2014-09-02]September 2, 2014. The soundtrack features original music by Emmy Award-winning composer [c.1238]Bear McCreary for the film based on the popular [t.]Angry Video Game Nerd web series.
In addition to writing the original music, McCreary remixed two songs for the album, "Sacred Ground of the Golden Turd" and "The Angry Video Game Nerd Theme Song." The band Young Beautiful in a Hurry contribute two songs, "Nerds Before Birds" and "Barcade." Both songs were written by the band's Brendan McCreary, who regularly collaborates with Bear on the TV series [t.36956]Defiance.
"I can honestly say that the score for...
Director Jonathan Liebesman's summer hit [m.33662]Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was scored by composer [c.361]Brian Tyler. Tyler conducted the recording of the score at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros. Our friends at [url.http://scoringsessions.com/news/277/]ScoringSessions.com have just made pictures of the session available.
[a.13414]Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Score was released digitally on [da.2014-08-05]August...
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.13685]Bibio ([m.41821]Men, Women & Children), [c.1540]Frederik Wiedmann ([m.41806]Dying of the Light), [c.823]Josh Kramon ([t.41822]Forever), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here.
There were 28 new soundtrack albums released this week. [da.2014-8-18]Click here for the full schedule.
Opening nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.38856]If I Stay ([c.827]Heitor Pereira), [m.33945]Sin City: A Dame to Kill For ([c.1767]Carl Thiel & [c.889]Robert Rodriguez), and [m.37707]When the Game Stands Tall ([c.1154]John Paesano).
Among all new theatrical releases, we are tracking song...
The Brooklyn Academy of Music is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Nonesuch Records with a film series devoted to some of the greatest films they've covered with score releases. From September 8th to the 25th they will feature classics such as [m.21391]Rebel Without a Cause, [m.7370]East of Eden, [m.1757]The Bad Seed, and [m.36147]Spartacus.
There will be special guest appearances by [c.74]Philip Glass, [c.]Peter Sellars, and [c.2950]John Adams.
For details regarding the series, including a complete schedule of the films to be featured, [url.http://www.bam.org/NonesuchRecordsonFilm]click...
Game Music Connect organizers today revealed all remaining undisclosed sessions for the second annual international video game music conference which returns to The Purcell Room at London's Southbank Centre on September 24. The final sessions to be announced include a high-powered roundtable discussion, "Score To Studio," featuring top industry executives, audio directors and talent agents on the process of orchestral contracting, as well as two star-studded composer panels (with audience Q&A) addressing a wide variety of issues pertaining to the art and business of composing music for games. Full programme details are now online at [url.http://www.gamemusicconnect2014.com/]www.gamemusicconnect.com.
Game Music Connect is for aspiring and professional composers of all...
Varèse Sarabande Records will release [a.13438]Life of Crime Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally and will be available as a disc-on-demand, date TBA. The soundtrack features the original score composed by [c.1742]The Newton Brothers ([m.38489]Oculus, [m.38599]Proxy). [m.38488]Life of Crime opens in theaters, on demand, and on iTunes on [dt.2014-08-29]August 29, 2014.
"This movie is really a dark comedy," said Taylor Newton Stewart. "But it has moments of tension, suspense and even some romance. We worked hand-in-hand with the director to achieve some cool stuff with riffs, grooves, songs and orchestration. A lot of opportunity to be creative on this film."
[c.1742]The Newton Brothers--aka Andy Grush and Taylor Newton Stewart--have combined their...
Soundtrack Picks: ‘DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES‘ is one of the top soundtracks to own for August, 2014
Also worth picking up THE BOOGEY MAN, COLD IN JULY, THE GIVER, HER ALIBI, THE LION KING: THE LEGACY EDITION, LUCY, THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY, WICKED BLOOD, X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE and many more!
To Purchase the soundtracks from this list, click on the CD cover
THE TOP PICKS
1) THE BOOGEY MAN / COLD IN JULY
Price: $17.95 / $15.40
What Is It?: Amidst the music that’s continually re-defined horror scoring across the decades, from grand guignol orchestras to slithering, solo violins and crashing cacophonies of percussion, perhaps no style remains as affective for members of a certain “Halloween”-raised generation that the repetitive chords, ambient atmosphere and rock rhythms that defined serial killer-cum supernatural minimalism. Now a seemingly lost prime cut from back in the day returns to life, while another modern day score hits the eerie vibe so perfectly for its human monsters that you’d swear its soundtrack was written back in 1980.
Why You Should Buy It?: The rise of that slasher decade comes alive as horror-centric label Howlin’ Wolf digs particularly deep to unearth “The Boogey Man.” Exploitation-friendly German director Ulli Lommel (“Bloodsuckers”) creatively jumped onto the “Halloween” bandwagon with his first supernatural picture from 1980, which took a more spectral, silvered angle in its ghostly child molester, who avenges his murder at two kids’ hands by seeking haunted mirror payback on them decades later. Still notorious today for its pitchfork impalement and glowing shard in the eye, “The Boogey Man” (and its 1983) sequel marked the only two scores to be composed by the ominously named progressive rocker Tim Krog (along with Ed Christiano and Jan Bartlet at Synthe-Sound-Trax). It’s simultaneously chilling and cheesy – namely everything that’s great about synth slasher scores of yore. None of these soundtracks were worth their bloody salt without a memorable theme, and Krog certainly had one with a growling, bell-like melody that’s more in the haunted spirit of Goblin than John Carpenter. With a lullaby nature to convey two cursed kids. Krog’s melody never gets tired through numerous variations, especially when it’s possessed with the kind of progressive rock attitude that shows the whole synth style of these works as one blade removed from the likes of Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. These horror scores were simplicity at its finest, and at its best, Krog’s work is the equivalent of a fiendish music box, enticing its victims with effects that conjure evil, watery glass (compete with flying blunt instrument whooshes). Fans of the synth genre will dig “The Boogey Man’s transfer from collector’s vinyl to digital. Better yet, the album climaxes with Fernando Pereyra using retro state-of-the-art synths to impressively recreate Krog’s choice cuts, including a truly enjoyable track that should have been titled “Disco Dance Theme from The Boogey Man.”
Extra Special: Jeff Grace has done exceptional work in a new wave of indie horror scores, where movies like “The Last Winter,” “The House of the Devil” and “The Innkeepers” go for slow-burn scares where art is dolloped out far more than gore. “Cold in July” represents a bold film noir departure for Grace and director Jim Mickle, whose provided Grace with his most stylistically fertile grounds for the rustic, blood-drenched “Stake Land” and the family cannibals of “We Are What We Are.” Here the appalling acts come courtesy of the video nasties section, with a revenge-minded Sam Sheppard turned into a bad ass that would give Michael Meyers pause (let alone a non-psychotic Michael C. Hall). It’s likely Sheppard’s boogey man presence that’s inspired Grace to go into Carpenter synth mode here with a particularly unrelenting theme, twinkling, percussive suspense and simmering, rhythmic concern to spare. It’s a pretty audacious move on Mickle and Grace’s part, given that this is a thriller set in the heart of 1989 Texas. But it’s exactly this stripped down, almost surreal, electrified musical quality that adds to “July’s” effectiveness as it shows just how low heroes can go in their shoot-first righteousness – people driven to their basic, machine-like instincts when it comes to all-consuming payback. Without this movie’s stars and directing gloss, you might imagine picking it up off the VHS shelf right next to a copy of “Rolling Thunder.” It’s a time-specific tone that Grace nails with a spare, beating serial killer pulse that makes “Cold in July” a brutal throwback in all the right ways, yet with a sense of vulnerability that doesn’t let the listener, or viewer, off the troubling hook – here generated by hard-ass killer synths and piano at their simple best.
2) CALVARY / WICKED BLOOD (1,000 edition)
Price: $16.77 / $17.98
What Is It?: Varese has lately been turning its attention to becoming a boutique composer label as well as releasing major soundtracks like a newly upgraded “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” prestige that’s now shining the spotlight to such worthy scores as Nuno Malo’s “No God, No Master,” Reinhold Heil’s “Haunt” and Luis Bacalov’s “Hidden Moon.” But when it comes to music that deals with moral transgression, two especially impactful Varese soundtracks are Patrick Cassidy’s “Calvary” and Elia Cmiral’s “Wicked Blood.”
Why You Should Buy It?: The wages of sin that an Irish priest himself had little to do with play heavily in “Calvary,” as a confessor promises to take his pound of flesh in a week’s time for pedophilia visited upon him in the past. Though writer-director John Michael McDonagh (“The Guardian”) finds black humor as this man of the cloth is pushed to the mostly silent limit by the seemingly cheery small town that in reality hates his guts, Patrick Cassidy solemnly plays it straight to impressively moving effect. One of the foremost composers in his native Ireland with concert works to that country’s great famine, Cassidy certainly knows how to capture overpowering tragedy, yet with a sense that faith will conquer all. These are two major emotions that drive “Calvary’s” priest in the score’s alternately hopeful and elegiac themes, penance conveyed with somber, psalm like melody. This religious tone that capture a man asking forgiveness for his church’s transgressions, while in its more bucolic moments feeling as positively, peacefully green as the landscape. For while “Calvary” beautifully captures an overwhelming sense of sadness, as well as a slowly moving, and foreboding sense of a ticking clock that will run for seven days, the biggest, most satisfying feeling that Cassidy’s lovely score ultimately conveys is one of acceptance, and transcendence in its chorus, lush strings and solemn piano. And with his Latin songs appearing in such soundtracks as “Veronica Guerin” and “Kingdom of Heaven” Cassidy certainly knows how to write a powerful end benediction. Yet for a movie about seemingly immovable fate, the elegiac triumph of Cassidy’s beautifully melodic work is about how a truly pious, earthly priest moves towards inner, poetic peace, with music as devastating in its sense of fate as it is spiritual in acceptance, the final, soaring combination of both emotions likely to move the hardest-hearted of listeners.
Extra Special: As “Sons of Anarchy” has more than convinced us on TV (not to mention any legion of AIP Hell’s Angels pictures way before then), it’s not wise to mess with biker gangs and drugs, especially when your uncles are dealing in the family business. Such are the wages of rural sin in Czech composer Elia Cmiral’s powerfully authentic southern-fried crime score. Having done many effective, experimental horror works like “Splinter” and “The Deaths of Ian Stone” of late, “Wicked Blood” takes Cmiral in a roundabout way back to the hillbilly flesh-eating land of “Wrong Turn,” as crossed with the beautiful, melodic poignancy he gave to the underseen drama “Journey to the End of the Night.” Using a wounded guitar, dulcimer, piano and violin-topped strings with sweltering, soulful, atmosphere, Cmiral powerfully conveys two sisters seeking a way out of the meth trade. It’s the sound of innocence going down a troubling path that gradually escalates the stakes with menacing percussion and rock guitar rev ups. But while Cmiral definitely gets in his suspenseful, percussive licks in a way that does Ry Cooder proud, “Wicked Blood’s” score is mostly centered on thematic emotion, its rural, female-centric sound amidst the tough biker guy chords giving Cmiral’s work the impact of melodic vulnerability clawing its way out by any bad means necessary.
3) DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
What is it?: There’s nothing better than letting a composer out of his cage to run amuck with material he so obviously has a love for. And ever since a one-time Disney publicist named Michael Giacchino got a shot to apply his own savage tune for a videogame spin on “Jurassic Park,” this musician has been bounding through numerous, often fantastical genres to Oscar winning effect, giving his energetically melodic all through both hits (“Up”) and cult misses (“John Carter”). Perhaps no movies seem to ignite Giacchino’s big orchestral guns than when he’s taking on classic franchises, whether it be his energetically heroic music for “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” or spinning the Enterprise on two blazingly thematic explorations for J.J Abrams’ rebooted “Star Trek’s.” Now Giacchino gets a shot at an equally daring re-envisioning of another classic warhorse, and does The Lawgiver proud with an alternately understated, and gun-blasting “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” his first entry for the second in a terrifically re-imagined series that likely won’t be the composer’s last trip to this madhouse.
Why should you buy it?: Unlike the original series that ended in “Battle’s” silliness, or the dreadfully campy Tim Burton reboot, the charm for anyone entering a “Planet of the Apes” movie is to take the material as seriously (though with a touch of irony) as the very first 1968 outing, which pondered the human condition through a world turned upside down. If it can be said that “Rise” redid “Conquest,” then “Dawn” is this series’ “Battle,” as done far more realistically, and with infinitely better special effects. Giacchino’s time portal in is through his relationship with director Matt Reeves, from whom he did an awesome Akira Ifukube-style “Godzilla” end title tribute for the otherwise music-free “Cloverfield,” before writing a slow-burn horror score for Reeves’ unfortunately pulse-less redo of “Let the Right One In” (Americanized as “Let Me In”). Thankfully, Reeves rises to a whole new level of excellence with “Dawn,” especially with Giacchino in tow for this dazzlingly ambitious sequel. Always a composer to pay professional fanboy tribute to the great maestros of yore, from John Barry in “The Incredibles” to Alexander Courage in “Star Trek” and Lalo Schifrin in “Mission,” Giacchino gives proper due here to the percussive, primal sound that was truly revolutionary when Jerry Goldsmith used it for the first, classic “Apes” score. It’s a pounding, African sound that’s lost none of its effectiveness decades later, as given fresh purpose by Giacchino. Yet, he doesn’t leap into the fray off the bat, ingeniously using a lullaby piano and chorus to track the simian flu that wipes most Homo sapiens off the globe. Giacchino paints and eerie, empathetic portrait of what’s left, conveying the outward menace of its ever-evolving apes through guttural drumming. But once you get to know them, the composer uses warm, sweepingly thematic orchestral colors and noble horns. It’s regal music fit for a king, presaging the Christ-figure that Caesar will ultimately become, while his home life is conveyed through tender strings and piano. It’s a majestic, romantic feeling that isn’t too far from Barry’s “Out of Africa” when you think about it, an emotional approach that links the desire of the more virtuous humans to live in peace with the planet’s new rulers. But of course things are not destined to end well, and Giacchino jumps into the rampage with the zest of a gorilla given a big-ass gun – or several dozen of them. There are enough throttling ethnic rhythms enough to fill up several of Goldsmith’s “Hunts.” With Giacchino’s training in the “Medal of Honor” videogame series also paying off nicely with its terrific, banging battle music, complete with giant chorus. If the “Star Trek” movies get to take on the entire Klingon Empire, “Dawn” provides a hell of a warm up. But in the end, it’s the stirring emotion of “Dawn,” and the music for a flawed messiah that really elevate this score (and film) right up the evolutionary ladder of this series, music that not only impresses us with Giacchino’s passion for the subject, but also his devotion to Caesar himself. It’s the feeling that we’re followers, bowing down as a legend lopes by.
Extra Special: Perhaps it’s because he deliberately doesn’t have any Cheetah-worthy jokes to play on the score that Giacchino’s monkey business comes out on the album’s cute cue titles, whose highlights include “Past Their Primates,” “Monkey See, Monkey Coup” and “Aped Crusaders” – with apes even making an appearance in the control booth photos that line the CD booklet. Give this guy a banana, and pass him the next franchise that needs musical rebooting while you’re at it.
What Is It?: One of the most continually interesting outside-the-box director-composer collaborations belongs to Luc Besson and Eric Serra – a filmmaker whose often lunatic stylism has given particular zest to such done-to-death American standards as sci-fi and action, his gonzo sensibilities aided by a musician steeped in progressive Euro-pop. It’s a partnership that’s had a stunning range from the flowing “Big Blue” to the religious power of “The Messenger” and the cute fairy tale stylings of “Arthur and the Invisibles.” But for American fans, there’s nothing quite like Besson and Serra when they’re blasting away with big guns, or venturing to otherworldly outer limits, two activities that “Lucy” offers in psychedelically energetic abundance with this summer’s most enjoyably unique studio picture, and score at that.
Why Should You Buy It?: While they first paired on “Le Grand Dernier,” it was “La Femme Nikita” that rocketed Besson and Serra into the stratosphere as the director’s assassin fatale was accompanied by surreal military percussion, dark ambiance and sultry pop-accented synth romance – a tune that grew with Serra’s percussive and orchestral abilities for “Leon,” then took on delightfully weird grooves with “The Fifth Element,” a triptych that “Lucy” goes a long, happy way to reminding us of as a beautiful, very reluctant drug mule goes beyond brain-awakened delusions of goddess-hood. Besson divides his movie between dark, fascistic menace, exhilarating chases and cosmic wonder in a way that never allows you to peg where “Lucy” will go next. And Serra gives terrific chase as he channels “Nikita’s” unnerving tones, then starts hallucinating big time with acid jazz, weird didgeridoos that sparkle with electric fireworks and whirling symphonic grandeur. Like its heroine, Besson blasts through bubbling sensory perception as he opens one new musical level after the next. It’s a great, eccentric balancing act that dances with the beat rhythms of a tripped-out action score and music that goes for something symphonically headier, a soundtrack at once groovily into the gun-blasting, car-chasing fray and intellectually above it. Yet there’s also a nice, somewhat solemn depth of feeling to “Lucy” in its heroine’s sense of inevitability and loss of humanity, an determined poignancy for strings, voice and solo piano rushing to accomplish its mission on Earth, with her ultimate destination yielding especially dynamic orchestral results from Serra. With “Lucy,” he impressively returns with Besson to the eccentric star stuff that made the international film community take notice, a talent that’s really gotten its nutty groove back.
Extra Special: “Lucy’s” eclectic enjoyment is greatly enhanced by The Crystal Method’s “Single Barrel,” Damon Albarn’s weirdly waltzing song “Sister Rust” and a five-minute excerpt from Mozart’s “Requiem,” because nothing conveys an intellectual giant speeding towards cosmic finality like that composer’s rapturous, posthumous piece.
5) THE X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE
What Is it?: Mark Snow was already five seasons into scoring Fox’s hit sci-fi show, a way more frightening spin on “Project UFO,” which here had two FBI Special Agents not only investigating potential alien invasions, but all manner of killer earthbound mutants, ghouls and ghosts – neither denying, or confirming their veracity to maddening, cult-viewing effect. Seeing so many acolytes wanting to discover the truth, Fox put a major movie out there in 1998, along with its key on-camera and behind the scenes personnel, one of whose foremost players was Snow. It was an opportunity the composer ran with to give his relatively (and purposefully) lo-fi sound for the show a major orchestral upgrade – not to mention getting a solid big screen credit after logging over a hundred hours of TV scoring on every show from “Falcon Crest” to “T.J. Hooker.”
Why Should You Buy It?: You knew you were in a far bigger arena when Snow’s even-then iconic “whistle” theme was played by an 80-piece symphonic compliment for the first time, the show’s “black oil” conspiracy now broadened to truly epic dimensions with pounding percussion, and an emotional, “human” quality considerably amped up with a wealth of strings, brass and chorus. While the show’s scores were effective, but never all that melodic (which was another of Snow’s deliberately effective choices), the theme-filled “Fight the Future” turns into a full-on rebellion against that sort of TV minimalism, especially in Snow’s robust approach that mixed harmonic grandeur with terrifying dissonance – a powerful hybrid of the organic, and sampled, much like the Cigarette Smoking Man’s hidden creatures. It’s an all-enveloping, musical sense of unease that makes us identify all the more strongly with true believer Mulder and no-longer Doubting Thomas Scully as they get submerged in a labyrinth of killer E.T. goo. Sweeping, majestic crescendos also abounded as the show’s mythology finally began to give up the secrets its fans had been clamoring for, its revelations daring to sing with a sense of wondrous release. Overall, Snow’s work here is of an entirely different and dare I say far more impressively “conventional” thematic nature, a score that truly filled the big screen to entire those non “X”-acolytes (consider me one) who were just out to see an interesting sci-fi thriller without any idea of the episodes before it.
Extra Special: Having released nearly all of Snow’s work for the show on several impressive volumes, La La Land runs with this impressively cinematic opening up of the “X-Files” mythology, expanding on the original Elektra album to come in at an exciting 76 minute presentation, complete with a nicely designed booklet featuring new liner notes by Julie Kirgo, and Randall D. Larson’s updated interview with Snow on one of his most impressive achievements. He’d have the theatrical “X” chance again a decade later with the far less successful movie “The X-Files: I Want To Believe,” whose music was the strongest thing about an otherwise muddled head-swapping movie whose story would have been wiser to continue the black oil flow. Here’s hoping that La La Land can get around to a similarly inclusive release to truly make themselves the label that is all things “X-Files As is, “Fight the Future” remains the movie where Snow turned a creepy playground into scoring worthy of the big studio deal, opportunities he should have far more of, whether or not Mulder and Scully continue on the case.
ALSO FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
. ALL GOOD THINGS
While Rob Simonsen is now riding high with his inventive, alt. scores for the teen tsuris of “The Way Way Back” and “The Spectacular Now,” this former assistant to Mychael Danna on such scores as “Breach” and “Moneyball” showed his far more sinister orchestral talents early on with the 2010 true-life thriller “All Good Things.” Ryan Gosling brought his suave, creepy charm to a murderous rich kid who ends up showing his true colors to his impossible loving wife Katie (Kirsten Dunst). Simonsen’s work on the Danna brothers-scored Gosling courtroom thriller “Fracture” certainly paid off here as lush, Hermann-esque seduction pulls Katie into a spider’s web of the twisted Manhattan rich, gossamer chords capturing both the elegance of their lifestyle, as well as the victim-to-be’s growing sense of anguish and betrayal. It’s gorgeously melodic, spellbinding stuff that soon takes on a harsher, classical edge with militaristic percussion, sinister plotting that’s captured in an elegant, piano-driven melody and slashing violins as the music gets across a well-bred murderer cunningly covering all of his bases for a perfect crime. Simonsen’s “Good Things” are gripping from soft start to its intellectually nasty finish for this auspicious feature score, one that makes the anticipation to hear what Simonsen will cook up for his upcoming killer millionaire score to the already-acclaimed “Foxcatcher.” Caldera Records has brought forth Simonsen’s first score in the genre with another impressive release for the label, with Gergely Hubai’s liner notes, and an audio recording of Simonsen himself revealing the facts behind the musical crime scene, even as the actual “Katie”’s sad whereabouts remain unknown.
. DEEP IN THE DARKNESS
Subtlety isn’t something to fear with Matthew Llewellyn’s score for this Chiller Network movie. But then I suspect, having hushed music isn’t that big of a deal for the horror channel itself. However, if you’re a fan of big, old-school horror scores that proudly wear their swirling scares on their mutant hide, then you’ll be right at home with this thoroughly entertaining, rampaging score that would fit right in with the black and white Universal creature features of yore. Here the beasties are called “Isolates,” who make sure that a Manhattan doctor will find little quiet in the seemingly quaint town of Ashborough. Given this kind of a burning eyeballs-in-the-dark set up, Llewellyn (a frequent collaborator with Brian Tyler, and composer of such other DV craziness as “Alien Opponent,” “Good Satan” and “Dead Souls”) shows himself as a particular admirer of Jerry Goldsmith. The nice result is that this score’s biggest, and most welcome monster is melody, with shivering, bump in the night build ups, bat-like violins and moaning horns that lead up to crashing symphonic exclamation points of the Isolates arrival. It’s deliriously romantic horror scoring that’s perfect for a bunch of subterranean ghoulies as its is the crypt opening for a Saturday night creature feature host – scoring with a great sense of humor about the throat its going for, yet committed to its goose bumps at the same time. Indeed, Dracula would be proud to pounce with the rapturously performed strains of the Slovakia National Symphony Orchestra playing behind him.
. THE GIVER
Between such scores as “Snowpiercer,” “Knowing” and “Warm Bodies,”
Marco Beltrami has probably had more musical experience ending the world than there are actual YA (i.e. “Young Adult”) post-holocaust dystopia films. So it’s only natural that he’d finally be given a shot at one with “The Giver.” But as opposed to insuring conformity with hunger games or divergent sets of social classes, the black and white hook here is that all emotion has been numbed, with oldsters and the unclassifiable sent into the cornfield as it were. Of course, one kid finds out the full color glory of emotion, which sends him running into the great, cloud-covered unknown. With this cross between “1984” and “Logan’s Run,” “The Giver” is a far more cerebral, and emotive picture than the rest of the multiplex pack, which is likely why the best movie of the lot is the most underachieving at the box office. Yet that doesn’t discount how much soulful imagination “The Giver” has inspired from all concerned – particularly when it comes to Beltrami’s excellent contribution. In fact if you discount the very few action cues for the drone and super-bike chases that it seems the filmmakers had to throw in, “The Giver’s” score is positively un-Beltrami. It’s as if the frequently nightmarish composer has been infused with the soulful spirit of Cat Stevens in just how peacefully flowing its vast, intoxicatingly thematic melodies are for orchestra, samples and chorus, getting across the sense of beauty that can be found in a drug-induced sameness. It’s some of the most graceful writing for a sterile, high-tech world since John Williams’ “A.I.,” reflecting a sense of discovery in a character who sees his ultra-clean life for the nightmare it is. Beltrami gradually lets in the rapture of true humanity. With a repeating, hypnotic style that’s just as reminiscent of John Adams as it is of Williams, Beltrami lets us feel this heavenly flood of new sensation, while also keeping the rhythmic suspense going of how long it will be before our hero is found out. “The Giver” raises the bar yet again for the composer in putting soulfulness into oft-done genre material, creating a real journey of musical discovery that touches all the emotional senses.
. HER ALIBI
In the 1980s, Frenchman Georges Deluerue’s ultra-melodic talents had him well ensconced in Hollywood as a composer who could play tragic, heavy drama like no American’s business with the likes of “Platoon,” “Silkwood” and “Agnes of God.” But no genre at the time particularly suited the composer’s true joie de vivre like such studio comedies as “Twins,” “Maxie” and “Biloxi Blues.” Amid the frothy list, one of the most delightful Delerue soufflés has now finally risen to release with the Hitchcockian rom-com of 1989s “Her Alibi.” Director Bruce Beresford, who’d worked with Delerue on the less flighty scores to “Crimes of the Heart,” “Rich in Love” and “Black Robe” showed an unexpectedly sweet touch with the lethal near-misses that a mediocre mystery writer has when he takes a potential murderess under his wing, only to begin thinking that he has similarly bad taste in writing as he does women. Delerue delights in bringing out the suspects for romantic concern, contrasting lush, swooning orchestrations with the speedy, plots-afoot rhythm of finding out the truth of a potentially lethal amour, whose Romanian origin gives Delerue the chance to engage in Klezmer music and chilly cimbalom intrigue that at times makes “Alibi” play like a less threatening version of “The Third Man.” Deleue also has much fun twisting about his tuneful cheer into the sound of lethally ironic domestic bliss, while also getting to play the attraction between femme fatale and potential victim with touching heartstrings. “Her Alibi” is also nothing if not eclectic, with diversions into gossamer, classical music a la “A Little Romance,” galloping western rhythms and a whole album’s worth of circus-calliope music for the revelation of the mystery woman’s knife-throwing skills. Adding up to a generous 79 minutes that plays as well for merry go rounds as it does tender thrills, “Her Alibi’s” is a real joy for Delerue amours, a none-too threatening, richly tuneful score where at least the musical innocence of true love is never in doubt.
. THE IN-LAWS (1,500 edition)
Next to any classic Mel Brooks comedies made during the 70s, Arthur Hiller’s singularly hilarious pre-nuptial teaming of a mild-mannered (and soon outraged) New Jersey dentist (Alan Arkin) with a wily, self-professed CIA spook (Peter Falk) stands as one of that decade’s most beloved screwball pictures. Playing their chase that leads from the big city to banana republic was no less than Brooks’ muse John Morris, whose oft-repeated, bouncily cartoonish theme that melds Bondian-spy music with wedding bells and a soft-shoe shuffle is the next best thing to laughter-filled instant recall. Oddly enough between satirizing Frankenstein, Rudolph Valentino and Beau Geste for Brooks and his compatriots, “The In-Laws” was the only “straight,” present-day movie that Morris scored during those ten years next to Brooks’ Hitchcock spoof “High Anxiety.” But while there might be a “North By Northwest” quality to its chase, Morris’ approach is way more Carl Stalling than Bernard Herrmann. Charge-ahead brass, chopsticks percussion wacky synths, slurred trumpets, orchestra and cliffhanging runs of the piano hilariously convey the clash between a freaking-out Arkin and sweetly in-control Falk in a silent movie manner that feels like the Marx Brothers chasing after Bugs Bunny. And once the plot lands us with Richard Libertini’s dictator and his Senor Wences-esque smooching hand friend, Morris brings in another hilarious layer of Latin shenanigans. But while the music is never less than jokey, or outrightly absurd, there’s a wonderful sense of melodic control to it all, a lush nostalgia that distinguishes such other Morris comedy classics as “The World’s Greatest Lover,” “Clue” and even his very serious efforts like “The Elephant Man.” The slapstick score obsessed La La Land does a fine job at showing “The In-Laws” is just as vibrantly hilarious as ever, with Randall D. Larson’s liner notes doing a great job of breaking down a score that still has us breaking up.
Scottish composer Paul Leonard-Morgan has made an electronica-heavy impression in Hollywood with his cool, beat-driven scores for “Limitless” “Dredd” and “The Numbers Station.” But recently he’s been able show his exciting, primal effectiveness with an orchestra for the feature version of “Walking With Dinosaurs,” a rocking sense of excitement and humor that started off with the prehistoric critter that’s bugging a Chinese village in “Legendary” (i.e. “Tomb of the Dragon”). While there might not be a big Asian element at play here in the big, percussive action cues, “Legendary” offers a lot of fun, unexpected musical diversions in its race between “Expendable 2” stars Scott Adkins’ let-it-live zoologist and Dolph Lundgren’s blast-it big game hunter, among them pokey spy heist music, a ripping rock guitar, sentimental sweetness, cliffhanging thrills and downright goofy comedy. “Legendary” is certainly one of the most eclectic and eccentric scores to grace a Dolph Lundgren movie. Better yet, its rhythmic, and melodic determination to have a ton of “dragon”-chasing fun makes this a very listenable, and well-performed score given the obvious CGI beast restraints at hand. “Pleasantly Dynamic” could be the better title here, musically at least, in showing as composer who’s just as adept at good-natured popcorn excitement for the younger set as he is at electrified adrenalin for far more violent adult action.
. THE LION KING: THE LEGACY EDITION
Few movies, or soundtracks better represent Disney’s feature cartoon renaissance than 1994’s mostly traditionally animated re-telling of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” and “Macbeth,” a tale of royal backstabbing, revenge and assuming adult responsibility – as turned into talking animals on the Serengeti. It was kid’s stuff with an appealing, all-age bite, graced with an Oscar-winning Elton John and Tim Rice song “Circle of Life,” and a rousing African-styled styled score by Hans Zimmer. It was certainly a long way from “Rocket Man” for the pinball wizard, and a big step up pride rock for the German composer who’d begun his Academy ascent with a 1989 nomination for the funky, tribal beat score of “Rain Man.” For a studio with enough re-issues of movies and albums to fill the big box store veldt, Disney takes its fourth shot at holding up “The Lion King” album with its best presentation yet, its glossy, lyric-and-art filled booklet leading to two CDs that not only contain all of the songs and score, but demos and alternates as well. Listening to the Broadway-made likes of “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” along with Zimmer’s thunderous score, it’s easy to know why some properties have no end of re-issuing, though this “King” album will be hard to top. But the real treat is hearing Zimmer’s work in all of its complexity and splendor. Having re-visited Africa in musical terms many times since “Rain Man” with “The Power of One,” “Millennium” and “Green Card,” Zimmer was making a move out of his distinctive synth-orchestral combos into a far bigger symphonic realm, a transition that gives even more regal power to his dance between ethnic rhythms, the trumpeting voice of Lebo M., humorous toon music and the religious power of a giant father in the sky. “The Lion King” stands as one of the rare animated scores to have a sense of fun (if not jazzy craziness at times) and utter, chorally important seriousness that would befit a Wagner opera, scoring that gave “The Lion King” the roar of animated myth, not to mention fully making “world music” the soundtrack rage. Heard in this kind of splendor, “The Lion King” continues to hold his baby as a timeless accomplishment in the annals of animated scoring, as many times as it might come out.
. MOOD INDIGO
Filmmaker Michel Gondry is full of flowery, poetic whimsy when it comes to his dream-like taste in visuals in music, an at-times wonderful madness that the French seem to possess in particular. Having previously employed Jon Brion and Jean Michel-Bernard for his more personal surreal affairs like “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and “Be Kind Rewind” (I think we can count the otherwise fun James Newton Howard-scored “Green Hornet” out of this list), as well alternately nostalgic and hip artists like Beck, Billy Preston and Fats Waller, Bernard’s newest, and perhaps most exuberant exercise in love it or leave it surrealism serves up another wonderful bouquet of arch musical delight. Jazz appreciation is again another Gallic predilection that’s led off with Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” (and continues with the artist’s “The Mood to be Loved” and “Sophisticated Lady”) as a bachelor-inventor falls in love with “Amelie’s” Audrey Tautou. Her very presence dictates an equally charming and magical underscore approach, provided very ably by Etienne Charry. With his other feature score being for a movie called “Robert Mitchum is Dead,” you know this is one musician who isn’t going to be playing with a conventionally full deck. “Mood Indigo” certainly shows him as a composer after Gondry’s own crazily romantic heart, conjuring wondrous, dream-like passages for shimmering percussion, retro 60s romance for organ, humming and guitar and breathless, humming bird-like passages of the orchestra that’s all hearts aflutter – yet with a sense of darkness that creates the dread of crashing to earth. At its instrumental best, Charry’s “Indigo’s” weird bouncy, longing, bell filled passages and cute, unearthly percussion is like hellzapoppin collision of Nino Rota and Danny Elfman at their most bizarrely romantic. And when it comes to songs, Charry’s tune “The Rest of My Life” is certainly the off-kilter rival for a Lennon-esque Jon Brion tune. From winking nostalgia to nicely wacky underscore, “Mood Indigo” colorfully shows that Michel Gondry’s musical taste remains as wonderfully French as ever.
Though David Shire is better known for playing groovy subway-robbing action (“The Taking of Pelham One Two Three”), government conspiracies (“All the President’s Men”), conveying the majesty of a doomed dirigible (“The Hindenburg”) and the nobility of the common working woman (“Norma Rae”), the composer is far less recognized for his gentle touch with romantic comedy, especially when it comes to America’s leading macho man of the 70s and early 80s. Thankfully, Kritzerland is here to show off a very pleasant slice of Shire sweetness with this soundtrack to a 1981 Burt Reynolds movie, where a very eligible bachelor seeks a woman to bear his child (of course, no vials full of the white stuff will be involved in this hunky transaction). Coming at a time when Shire’s melodic touch was in full, gentle bloom with such scores as “The Promise,” “Old Boyfriends” and “Only When I Laugh,” the delightful “Paternity” is an absolute charmer. While its opening synths might temporarily fool you into thinking you’ve just joined an episode of “Three’s Company” (helped by the fact that Mr. Roper is in this) “Paternity” is more often old-fangled in Shire’s use of Stephen Grappelli-like violin swing, as few instruments better gets across a wry, sophisticated sense of humor. It’s this jazzy orchestral heart that also gets across the film’s NYC magic, especially with swelling strings to tell us conception with Burt will be a success that goes beyond the contractual act. But what really drives “Paternity” to 80s rom-com home is Shire’s zippy, effervescent themes, one for bouncy motivation and the other for tenderness – and absolute adorability when a child and adult alternately sing it’s “Baby Talk” lyrics for the main title. Kritzerland can claim proud ownership of the delightful “Paternity,” including several bonus tracks that show off Shire’s talent for arranging jazz standards like “Stella By Starlight” and making his theme feel like it’s playing from a 30s-era Paris nightclub – or from the Christmas school pageant as the theme is heard only with kid’s chorus. It’s a score that’s as impossible to refuse as Burt.
. PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE
While he started out his action career with the jovial action adrenalin likes of “Bad Boys” and “Money Train,” Mark Mancina’s need for speed has found a more kid-friendly home, especially at the Mouse House with the likes of “Brother Bear,“ “Tarzan” and most recently “Planes.” But that doesn’t mean that scoring a G-rating has meant any loss in energy, especially when those adorable, big-eyed flying vehicles take on Mother Nature’s fury in this even more action-oriented sequel to “Cars” kissing cousin. In fact, Mancina’s thematic engines and orchestral thrust are anything stronger than ever as he out-flies “Planes,” as soaring, patriotic music gives metal heroic flesh and blood in a way that will certainly please fans of Mancina’s Americana storm chasing in “Twister,” complete with a poundingly percussive sense of danger that’s just light enough for the little ones. But while Mancina certainly pay off the tyke audience by differentiating the characters from military pomp to pokey jazz, “Fire and Recue” truly captures the magical thrill of swooping about the sky, given his distinctively melodic brand of blazing, thematic patriotism that’s just as ready made for Jerry Bruckheimer as it is Mickey Mouse. Whether it’s chorus, country rock guitar or a majestic orchestra blasting this exceptionally performed score, this new “Planes” is a top flight score that continues to show Mancina as having the right, soaring stuff that’s lost none of its daredevil impact.
. RED SKY
A long time orchestrator for Tyler Bates on such energetically rocking scores as “Doomsday,” “Super” and “300” (not to mention “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Timothy Williams has increasingly been making inroads as a solo composer on such dramatically versatile scores as the WW2 resistance of “Walking With the Enemy” and a fateful relationship under “The Mulberry Tree.” But if you’re looking to hear what Williams is capable of in all of his rock ‘em, sock ‘em glory, then “Red Sky” delivers on the action thunder as an unjustly demoted Top Gun pilot jets after redemption by blowing up a WMD plot. Lots of lethal espionage, explosions and smoking hot babes ensue, all under cover of William’s terrific theme that’s all about bravery and solemn nobility, all given exceptional symphonic production value. And with the usual Islamist and Russian suspects, Williams also shows off a flair for scheming, ethnic villainy, which of course will go down under the tomahawk missile flair of rapid-fire percussion and blazing rock guitar, which kicks into a female “Red Sky Anthem” in the album’s coolest bit. Maverick and The Goose would definitely dig how Timothy Williams has enthusiastically continued to fly with their musical spirit, especially in how his music spruces up a DV plane with feature film polish.
. SOUNDER / DECISION FOR CHEMISTRY
Among the classic scores that Intrada has put out by the maestros whose innovations led film scoring into a brave new world, perhaps none embodies that go-to spirit with as much periodic table spunk as Alex North’s “Decision for Chemistry,” an otherwise obscure 1953 industrial short that the composer scored as he was ascending up Hollywood’s ladder through such revolutionary scores as “Viva Zapata!” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” While this look at Zinc Oxide and You might have burned with the scintillating presences of Marlon Brando or Anthony Quinn, North’s rousing work does its darndest to wow audiences over with the increasing wonders of modern science with a score that’s every bit as futuristic as his modernist writing. Energetically bringing home the enthusiastic message that the film’s pre-seed sponsor Monsanto wanted to wow audiences with (especially given a subject that otherwise would’ve put people to sleep), North’s music if full of brash, brassy dynamism. It’s the sound of exuberant energy in motion, as well as the mysterious Pandora’s box being opened by these brave scientists. I’d dare any other composer of the day to make a cue called “Phosphorous Plants” as piano-banging, jazz-swinging exciting as a city on the march. “The Silkworm” spins like a dynamo of modern classicism, while a “Spin Dope” is a run of whacked-out, neo-Oriental percussion. Even “The Soil Demonstration” has a yearning feel of Americana in a score that’s the embodiment of can-do innovation for our corporate masters, given all the enthusiasm of a composer on the vanguard of a film scoring revolution. Intrada pairs “Chemistry” with another North score debut for 1973s Best Picture nominee “Sounder.” Martin Ritt’s poignant film told of a black sharecropping family (and their titularly named hound) desperately trying to stay together after their patriarch’s arrest for stealing food. North’s orchestral score is full of tenderness, but in a way that never overpowers this intimate story. But beyond its nicely muted drama, what’s surprising about “Sounder” is the gentle humor that North brings to the tale. While a guitar and harmonica atmospherically play the south, “Sounder’s” also full of upbeat, 1930s style jazz. For a composer who got across the music’s improvisational energy within film score restrictions with his groundbreaking score for “Streetcar,” North’s rural swing here feels authentic, from a lonesome, humorous horn and piano to a big band ensemble, all of which capture the spirit of a black musical art form that had its beginnings in this kind of grinding, rural poverty – which North’s music poignantly tells us won’t keep this family down despite the adversity they face. Where North unaccountably had his score replaced by “Sounder” actor (and not to mention musician Taj Mahal), this album at last lets us hear a North masterwork, with “Chemistry” given still-vital audio quality as well. Nicely nostalgic graphic layout by Joe Sikoryak and justifiably reverential liner notes by John Takis shine for a musician who often embodied a heroic, American spirit, from the halls of the industrial complex to family nobility.
. THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY
Any sap meeting a new “best friend” in international waters should know to stay away, especially if they’re at all familiar with Patricia Highsmith, the “Ripley” authoress on whose tale this movie about a scenic, seemingly friendly relationship gone wrong is based. Stylishly adapted by “Drive” scripter Hossein Amini in his directorial debut, “January’s” intrigue is exceptionally served by composer Alberto Iglesias. He’s a Spaniard who knows his way around Oscar-nominated international intrigue with the English moles of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and the corporate havoc wreaked on Africa in “The Constant Gardener.” Told on a more intimate scale that takes us from Greece to Turkey, Iglesias creates a mesmerizing, suspenseful feel of exoticism with ethnic instruments that distinguish both locales while also tying them together as a con man, his unhappy wife (here’s looking at you again Kirsten Dunst) and an out-of-sorts tour guide flee a murder rap. Set in the 50s, this is the kind of good-looking film where everyone’s in the height of American expatriate fashion. You can feel the sultry, heat-soaked mood where characters are either getting seduced by sex or money in Iglesias’s brooding, Herrmann-esque string melodies, haunting flutes, or more outré repeating violin rhythms, indigenous percussion always letting us know that the police are on this trio’s tail if they don’t expose each other first, with all Kasbah roads leading to a dynamically indigenous foot chase. Like his Spanish composing compatriots, Iglesias has a subtly unabashed feel for soothing, fateful melody, which becomes the height of deception in “January,” which stands as yet another impressive, and subtly intelligent entry into Iglesias’ exotically suspenseful repertoire.
CLICK on the album covers to make your hardcopy or download purchase, and find the soundtracks at these. com’s: Amazon, Intrada, iTunes, Movie Score Media, Perseverance, Screen Archives and Varese Sarabande
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences handed out the Creative Arts Emmy Awards yesterday. Some of the nominees with winners noted are as follows:
Original Main Title Theme Music:
- WINNER - [t.39789]Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey ([c.201]Alan Silvestri)
- [t.38319]Black Sails ([c.1238]Bear McCreary)
- [t.33984]Magic City ([c.710]Daniele Luppi)
- [t.37723]Sleepy Hollow ([c.361]Brian Tyler & [c.10106]Robert Lydecker)
- [t.39676]The Spoils of Babylon ([c.2349]Andrew Feltenstein & [c.2350]John Nau)
- [t.33760]House of Cards ([c.674]Jeff Beal)
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score):
- WINNER - [t.39789]Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Standing Up in the Milk...
[c.237]Hans Zimmer, [c.752]Alexandre Desplat and [c.4506]Pharrell Williams are the most familiar names among the first nominees that were released by the World Soundtrack Academy. Besides Film Composer of the Year, the World Soundtrack Academy also published the nominees in the categories for Best Original Film Score of the Year and Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film. The WSAwards, one of the most prestigious events in the world of film music, is the closing event of Film Fest Gent and will take place on 25 October at Kuipke in Ghent.
World Soundtrack Academy
Launched in 2001 by Film Fest Gent, the World Soundtrack Academy aims at supporting the art of film music & sound design and its worldwide promotion. In fourteen years time the membership of the...
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.1738]Brian Byrne ([m.41794]Boychoir), [c.564]Christophe Beck ([m.41793]Cake), [c.1555]Ludovico Einaudi ([m.41791]Samba), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here.
There were 19 new soundtrack albums released this week. [da.2014-8-11]Click here for the full schedule.
Opening nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.38021]The Expendables 3> ([c.361]Brian Tyler), [m.38924]The Giver ([c.14]Marco Beltrami), and [m.39884]Let's Be Cops ([c.564]Christophe Beck & [c.3914]Jake Monaco).
Among all new theatrical releases, we are tracking song credits for:
- [m.38021]The Expendables 3...
Varèse Sarabande Records will release [a.12289]Bates Motel Original Television Series Soundtrack digitally and on CD [da.2014-08-25]August 25, 2014. The soundtrack features the original score composed by [c.1590]Chris P. Bacon ([m.31233]Source Code, [t.33418]Smash). [t.36164]Bates Motel will premeire its third season in 2015.
"In my early conversations with the show's producers about the score's direction, they made it clear that we are not trying to re-create or pay homage to the original [m.20884]Psycho, which was good news because that's one of the most iconic and recognizable scores of all time and my attempts to emulate would most likely come across as a cheap imitation," explained Bacon. "[t.36164]Bates Motel is not so much a horror show as a...
In the world of modern classical-cum-film composers, few musicians are doing more to stretch sonic boundaries than the German-born, London-located musician named Max Richter. Making his way from stage to ballet and concert hall ensembles, Richter’s early work impressed as it often combining beautifully solemn string melodies with an alt. electronic attitude. Concept albums like “Memoryhouse” and “The Blue Notebooks” sung with Richter’s unique admiration for such composers as Philip Glass and John Adams, not to recently mention his wittily hip deconstruction of Vivaldi for “The Four Seasons.”
It was this mesmerizing sound that mixed aching melodies with a hip beat that no doubt attracted Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman, who was looking for a similarly unique dance partner to accompany his groundbreaking animated 2008 film “Waltz with Bashir,” a war movie unlike any other that used animation to play the wracked conscience of an IDF soldier involved in his country’s invasion of Lebanon. Nominated for a Foreign Language Film Oscar, “Waltz” propelled Richter into a film scoring career that’s continued to impress as it hauntingly opened the door to The Holocaust in “Sarah’s Key,” detailed an apocalyptic loss of feeling in “Perfect Sense,” rhythmically tied together the screwed-up L.A. residents of “Disconnect,” and even got to play a red planet zombie plague ravaging “The Last Days on Mars.”
However, none of the often-metaphysical worlds that Max Richter’s music has trod upon breaks into a whole other plain of existential existence like “The Congress,” which also marks Ari Folman’s featuring return after too long an absence. For if movies like “Being John Malkovich” or the Paul Giamatti-starrer “Cold Souls” have taken real life actors into smartly-played “meta” situations, then Folman goes many steps further by having a purposefully blank Robin Wright sell her acting imagine in eternal perpetuity to pay for her son’s medical care. Folman’s questions of art versus commerce, and humanity itself are hotly debated at a “Congress” called Abrahama, a bizarre animated thinktank retreat that would give Roger Rabbit pause. Stuffing his movie with a veritable “Where’s Waldo” of pop star imagery, Folman’s very slow, yet transfixing pace is somewhere between Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World,” Hayao Miyazak’s “My Friend Totoro” and Andre Tartovsy’s “Solaris,” whose author Stanislaw Lem also provides mind-bending story inspiration here.
Richter’s musical palette of ethereal percussion, majestic orchestral themes, electronically berserk alt. cartoon music and poignant piano and violin solos powerfully expresses Folman’s meditation on identity with equal hypnotic power, linking live action and animated worlds with a lush melodic tapestry and beatific attitude. It’s Richter’s most impressively intellectual, yet accessible score yet, a work of astonishingly controlled power that sooths as much as It entices the listener’s own thoughts of self. If any “Congress” should be celebrated, it’s this impressive re-connection between one of two of international cinema’s most thought-provoking artists, with Folman once again inspiring his experimental muse to break into a new, transfixing musical territory that truly finds Toontown Zen.
Your music has always struck me as being at once “intellectual” and accessible, a la such post-modernist composers as Philip Glass and John Adams. What struck you about their approach, and how do you think they contributed to your own style as a “new” classical composer?
I think of music as a continuum. As composers, we do what we do because we love music and want to be in some way part of it. The composers you mention are definitely part of my musical hinterland, as are many others – among those I would cite Purcell, Stravinsky, Xenakis, Bach, Schubert, Webern, Mahler, Byrd and Gesualdo…
Given your concert and progressive work, was making the jump into film music easy for you?
I think of music as essentially a story telling medium so it was a fairly natural process for me to be involved with another way of telling stories. Also, I love collaborating with other artists so I enjoy that aspect of it.
“Waltz with Bashir” was a breakthrough picture for both you and filmmaker Ari Folman. What do you think it was about your music that drew him to you?
I can’t answer that question for Ari, but he told me that he wrote the screenplay during four days in the desert, holed up in a little house, listening to my record “The Blue Notebooks” on a continuous loop.
No one had quite seen an “animated” film like “Waltz with Bashir,” or heard a score for one like it – let alone could expect Ari to make a movie like this. What was your impress of “cartoon” movies, and music before “Bashir,” and how did both you and Ari want to change it?
I can’t speak for Ari’s intentions regarding the medium as a whole. What I can say is that when I saw the material I was convinced that this was some sort of landmark project – a completely new way to tell stories and I was thrilled to be part of that. I immediately had a sense of how the music could play a part in this and decided to treat it from a score perspective as though it were not animated,. In other words “everything we are seeing is completely real” was the guiding principle for me.
When Ari first came to see me we spent our time together just talking about music in general – mainly Bob Dylan actually. Then he went back home and I delivered the full score about two weeks later. He gave me enormous freedom to pursue whatever direction I wanted to take with the project – and very little changed from that initial delivery. There wasn’t a temp score apart from a few pieces from my albums, and the music was finished way before the film, so Ari could mould the picture edit around it.
It’s taken Ari quite a while to return to directing with “The Congress.” Did you feel his absence, even as your career built with scores like “Penelope,” “Sarah’s Key” and “Disconnect?” And how do you think you’d grown as a musician by the time you re-teamed with him for “The Congress?”
That’s funny .. I thought he returned to directing very quickly actually. Animation just takes time which is maybe why, from the outside, it feels like a long gap. Ari and I started discussing the new project as he was promoting „Waltz“ and we kept in close contact throughout his development process. I am always inspired by Ari – his willingness to take risks, his boldness and intelligence.
Whether or not I’d grown as a musician in the meantime is for other people to judge! I just try to keep on keeping on…
Did you want the score to delineate the live action sequences from the ones at The Conference? Or is the point that reality and hallucination are one in the same?
Yes exactly! Our biography is a fiction we tell ourselves.
How did you see the “character” or Robin Wright? Did your impressions of her come from the starring her that you’d seen, or did you get to meet her in person?
I worked with Robin closely on the songs on the film. She is a pleasure to be around, and her performance is brilliant. The character in the film both is and is not her – and that is one of the fun things about the project, the way reality melts away before our eyes.
There really seems to be the opportunity for “The Congress” score to go crazy with all of the surreal possibilities. But for the most part, it keeps a cool, slow dramatic restraint that’s in line with Ari’s direction. Was matching his visual rhythms particularly important here, especially given the places that the visuals go to?
Ari was keen that the score be a (relatively) steadying presence in the whirlwind of images that make up this world, so, yes I did keep it on the down low for most of the film, rather looking to speak to Robin’s emotional trajectory than doing too much illustrative material…
Given that score’s restraint, was it fun to kick it up with jazz-funk thrash like “On the Road to Abrahama 2?”
I had a lot of fun on that one with the band. My natural tendency is to write emotional, somehow delicate music … and sometimes it’s just great to do the opposite. And I LOVE to play the Hammond B3!
We also had a lot of fun with the other “Road to Abrahama“ track – Robin’s on a long car trip at that point – so I wrote a jokey homage to my favourite childhood band Kraftwerk and their legendary “Autobahn”.
How did you want to play the hallucinatory aspects of the film?
I look at them in a variety of ways – often they are played completely straight, just as the characters perceive them, or I use an electronic palette to illustrate that heightened sensory situation at some points…
What kind of role did you want “futuristic,” electronic music to have in “The Congress?”
It is a kind of amniotic fluid for the “Brave New World” aspect of the story. Actually the “futuristic” aspect is intentionally retro-futuristic – a vision of the future from the perspective of the psychedelic era. Nice to give some of those old synths a workout!
Did you ever become puzzled by the movie’s heady themes while you were scoring it, and have to make your own conclusions about what it was trying to say?
Sometimes in this movie looking for answers is missing the point – its about the journey not the destination.
The score keeps a powerful balance between epic, sweeping orchestrations and more intimate moments. How important was that balance for you?
Absolutely important – the interior and exterior realities are strongly contrasted and the music reflects that – the smaller instrumentation and solo lines convey that emotional interiority very strongly – less is more. I use the larger forces – including some very large orchestral moments – more in the manner of the narrator’s voice or as a landscape for the story to inhabit.
Robin’s “character” is very much of a cipher, and doesn’t really express strong outward emotions. Given that, how important was it for your music to capture her feelings? One gets the feeling that she carries a great deal of sadness around with her, especially given the prominent role the violin has here.
Yes. Robin’s character is basically trying to salvage something for herself and her family from a wrecked life, but she doesn’t emote in an overt way – the music does her emoting for her.
One of the most effective moments in the score is when Robin is essentially tricked by her agent into exhibiting all of her inner moods for the mo-cap process. How did you want to approach this sequence?
I just wrote her feelings as I saw them. The music, which is her “biographical theme” is constructed on a passacaglia structure which circles around her as she gradually lets fall her various masks. Anyone who knows my work will recognise my fondness for variation forms from “Memoryhouse”, “The Blue Notebooks” etc – and of course this is another connection to Purcell and earlier music.
How did you arrive at the choice of Schubert as a major piece of source music, no more weirdly than when it gets an retro-electronic “In the Cosmic Lobby?”
Both Ari and I are obsessed with Schubert. He had The Piano Trio in the film already, as a sort of homage to Kubrick, and I wanted to use “Winterreise” as a source because that is where Robin’s journey home starts – in an icy landscape.
A more contemporary, and beautiful song used here is The Pretender’s “Forever Young,” which seems a pretty obvious choice given the movie’s themes of eternal, cartoon existence. But what stands out is the synth orchestration behind Robin’s voice. How did you hit on that sound here?
Actually it is a Bob Dylan song. I used those colours to speak to the imagery during that sequence – which is very trippy – and to contrast it with the punk aesthetic I established in the main part of the song.
There’s an alternately classical, and Glass-ian sound to “The Congress.” How do you think that post-modern, rhythmic approach is particularly fitting here?
I intentionally work with a diverse range of techniques in this score, to reflect the polychrome nature of the world the story inhabits. My own musical language was forged out of a range of influences including the minimalists, the post-minimalists, electronica, post-rock, as well as my studies with Luciano Berio… it’s all in there somewhere!
Where do you think movie technology is heading, and how do you think it will affect the sound of its scores?
Technology will continue to develop apace. It has a normalising effect of music generally, in that, as everyone uses the same tools things sound increasingly similar. I always intentionally work against this – to fight the good fight – using the machines as enablers rather than as content generators. And, in fact, much of the technology I use is analogue for this reason.
But I don’t think technology is the most important aspect of what I do. For me one of the acid tests of anything I write is “is this still interesting when played only on piano” i.e. do the notes themselves stand up, is it harmonically coherent? Is the voice leading perfect?
In the beginning, there’s a bit of dry humor pointed at the Oscar’s “Holocaust award.” Having scored movies like “Sarah’s Key” and “Lore” which dealt with that event, and as a German yourself, do you think there’s any truth to their points about trivializing the Holocaust via Hollywood. And on that note, have you ever felt the pressure to go for “prestige” movies from your own career advisors?
It’s true that cinema sometimes uses traumatic material as a kind of short-cut to evoking feelings in the audience – the problem is that it actually desensitises us to the reality of suffering. Both “Lore” and “Sarah’s Key” seemed to me to be serious works looking at aspects of wartime history that are not widely known, and were directed by people who had a real commitment to their stories. So I didn’t hesitate to accept those projects.
One of your more commercial, and visceral scores was for the astro-zombie film “Last Days On Mars.” Would you like to do more straight-up genre movies like it?
“Last Days On Mars” was great fun to do, and as an obsessive fan of vintage Sci-Fi it was a pleasure to explore that musical universe.
What’s the experience like being scoring a post-rapture America for HBO’s “The Leftovers?”
Its been great working on this project. It is one of the best things I’ve seen in a while and I look forward to each episode landing in my inbox. I have been given immense freedom to invent the musical landscape of the show and Damon (Lindelof) and the team are great to work with. I’m finishing the last show in this season next week, and it’s been interesting being able to spend so much time with those characters.
A particularly interesting score you have coming up is “Paradise Lost,” a stranger-than-fiction story that you could say is “Meet the Parents,” except dad is the drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Yes it is a very intense bit of storytelling – Doomed love is great for composers!
Do you think you’re drawn to scoring particularly flawed, haunted and wounded characters as an overall theme in the movies you score?
Directors normally approach me because of my solo albums, so perhaps this filters the sort of material I am offered?
One thinks about the wages of combat witness in “Waltz with Bashir” more than ever given the current situation in Gaza. What kind of understanding to that combat do you think “Waltz with Bashir” gives us now?
In war there are no winners.
Do you think that film music has essentially morphed into classical music? And would you say your sound comes closest to the original style, while evolving it into new soundtrack directions, especially with a movie like “The Congress?”
My film music is not the same as my concert music or my record projects. It cannot be so since these things have vastly differing functions – film music is part of a composite narrative structure, whereas when you listen to a record you have the whole story told musically, without images.
My records are essentially me saying the things I want to say about the world, and of course when I’m working on a record I have 1000% control over every aspect of the work, while film is a fundamentally collaborative medium, but I do think my film scoring work shares some musical DNA with my other projects.
Listen to Max Richter attend “The Congress” HERE
Animatedly enter the world of Abrahama HERE
And go waltzing with “Bashir” HERE
Visit Max Richter’s website HERE
[c.11114]Kim Planert, an award-winning film and television composer, became a Gold Medal Winner earlier this week at the Global Music Awards when he won "Best Original Score" for the indie drama [m.39608]A Reason. His score was also nominated late last year for a Hollywood Music in Media award for "Best Score: Indie Film".
[m.39608]A Reason is an indie film directed by Dominique Schilling that tells the story of a family gathering that forces Aunt Irene to rethink her views on family, love, and forgiveness. The film stars Golden Globe nominee Marion Ross, Magda Apanowicz, Nick Eversman, Roxanne Hart, Ron Melendez & Madeleine Falk.
The Global Music Award's goal is to celebrate truly independent musicians, rather than being like other music talent competitions that...