Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Rob

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 19/10/2017 - 22:24

In a wave of retro-horror scoring that’s sweeping film and television the world over, few composers are as diverse in channeling the golden synth age of Goblin, John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream with a stylistic voice far beyond them than France’s Rob (aka Robin Coudert). Starting off in his country’s alt. rock scene with such instrumental albums as “Don’t Kill” and “Satyred Love” while also playing in the band Phoenix, Rob made his scoring debut with the short “Pink Cowboy Boots,” directed by wife-to-be Maria Larrea. Rob’s striking synth voice truly made its bloody splash with director Franck Khalfoun’s slick POV reboot of the grindhouse slash film “Maniac” in 2012. But far from remaining an acolyte of sinisterly pulsing keyboards, Rob expanded into the realm of revenge caught between heaven and hell with the American-set “Horns,” dealt with the cold evil of Islamist terror with “Made in France,” and created the symphonically mesmerizing sound for Natalie Portman’s starstruck ghost talker in “Planetarium.”

Now in another, twisted move from France, Rob takes up residence in a house that’s internationally known as a place to get out of as Dimension’s long-delayed remodel of “The Amityville Horror” has finally, and officially landed on the net and dvd. Once again pairing Rob with Kahlfoun, this latest unwise residency finds Jennifer Jason Leigh’s single mom moving her comatose son to the Long Island neighborhood for medical care, where he awakens with a severe case of “Patrick” possession – mute, but communicating terrifying visions of flies, ghastly rashes, mayhem and ultimately murder as the house once again tries to convince a young man to kill.

Yet what’s unexpected is Coudert’s approach. Though again drawing on his love of old school 70’s and 80’s horror scoring for his score’s foundation, Rob conjures another haunting and vital score that doesn’t go for the musical scares you’d expect. Instead through the use of female voices, undulating rhythm and bizarre samples, Rob’s stay has the mesmerizing, melodically otherworld power of a waking nightmare one can’t break out of. It’s a hypnotic approach that shows the continued creativity emanating from Rob, whose own scoring back home continues to range from wacked-out drug smuggling suspense to an epic, symphonic apocalypse in a career that suffuses whatever genre it touches with the unexpected.

Tell me about your initial explorations into music, and what part film scores played in them?

I started to play the trumpet when i was 8, but I soon faced some lung issues that made me quit and move on to the keyboards. I had the chance to possess an AtariST with MIDI plugs, so when I was 10, I discovered the pleasure to observe the relationship between computers and musical instruments. I was tripping for hours by playing some Bach midi files with synths sounds, or to play them slower or reversed. My passion for music started with an electronic approach.

As a kid i also watched tons of cartoons and shows on TV. French networks were filled with Japanese programs during the 80’s, and the scores were beautifully made by a guy called Shuki Levy, mainly on synthesizers. “Les Cites d’or” and “Ulysse 31″ are still a huge inspiration, Those scores were adventurous, cosmic and mystical, which was exactly the kind of music I loved. I should also mention the TV show “Chapi-Chapo,” a program for pre-school kids, scored by the great French composer Francois de Roubaix, who was an electric pioneer. I think this show traumatized everyone in my generation !

How did the name “Rob” come about?

It’s taken from my full name, which is Robin Benoit Cecil Norman Coudert.

You started out working on instrumental albums, and with the band Phoenix, before transitioning to film scoring. What gave you the impetus to move into that arena?

My music’s always been cinematic, I’ve always tried to create music that makes you experience a journey that brings pictures and strong feelings to your mind. I’m not really interested in composing for the dance floors, nor for the radios.I first wanted to be a painter, and i did some fine arts studies in Paris, which might have influenced my work as well. I married a director, and my first score was actually for her first movie “Pink Cowboy Boots.”. She was studying in a Parisian cinema school, where I also met Rebecca Zlotowski, Teddy Modeste etc… I’ve been quickly surrounded by directors, and they simply asked me for music, so my way towards cinema was very natural, and was probably meant to be.

Your international breakthrough was with 2012’s “Maniac” for director Franck Khalfoun. What inspired a retro horror synth approach to it?

Alex Aja had seen Zlotowski’s “Belle Epine” and he loved it. This movie takes place in the 80’s so the score was already kind of Tangerine Dream, or Suicide sounding. It’s the sound i dig anyway, but Alex had the intuition this would fit the aesthetic of “Maniac.” But more than this, what was important to me was to sound very emotional, in order to embrace the feelings of the murderer instead of the victims. And this is how i like the synths the most, when they get very sad, melodic and emotional. The fact that they sound 80’s brings a lot of nostalgia, that comes with the melancholy, that i was looking for – something related to childhood, and primal emotions. Giorgio Moroder is a great inspiration for this in the way he uses synths and melodies, especially in “The Neverending Story.”» They’re so sad and truly beautiful.

You’d soon be able to show an orchestral side to your work. How difficult was it for you to write for one?

Working for an orchestra has always been a fantasy. I’m a huge fan of French arrangers from the 70’s like JC Vannier (who did beautiful arrangements for Serge Gainsbourg and Melody Nelson), Michel Colombier and Georges Delerue.I started experimenting while working on my first album “Don’t Kill,” but working with modern computers has brought me to the next level.It is quite easy now to compose for a symphonic orchestra using some samplers and sequencers, and even though I’m self-taught in that matter, I start to understand how it works. I go to the classical concerts as soon as I see one interesting, and I also work with a great assistant/arranger, Moritz Reich, who helps me translate my demos into proper scores. I feel that my electronic and rock background is real plus, because it pushes me towards unexpected orchestral fields. My unexperienced naive vision forces me to sound original. And anyway, a 50- piece orchestra is an instrument among others, with a larger manual, But after a few sessions, step by step, you get to know it better. It’s like a ultra large new synth.

Your next genre release for “Horns” showed a very different side to your horror scoring with its mix of spiritual emotion and hellbent revenge. What was this opportunity like for you, as well as the chance to work with “Maniac” producer Alexandre Aja on an American horror movie?

I have a lot in common with Alex, and especially a romantic, almost naive and childish vison of human feelings. We like to cry at movies. So again, Alex wanted me to sound very emotional. Then the movie is also about faith, and the relationship between inner good and evil. So this was a great occasion to sound spiritual, almost religious and elegiac. I really loved the twisted mood in “Horns.” It reminded me of David Lynch’s features, where everything seems normal, but nothing is actually, with a dark humor omnipresent. This was also a great chalenge because this was my very first experience working for an American studio, with screenings etc…I learned a lot then because it is very different from the French way, where the director is the person who decides in the end. The industrial aspect of the cinema wasn’t that obvious to me before. I much admire Alex Aja to manage to keep his movies that much original and personal working with studios.

What are some of your favorite horror scores?

I think “Rosemary’s Baby” is one of my favorite movies ever, and Krzystof Komeda’s score for it is sublime. I think the contrast between the tenderness, the emotional melodies, and the satanic moods work amazingly. I love the use of the choirs and the vocals in general. The idea of having Mia Farrow singing the main title is pure genius and make me fall instantly for her.I am an enormous fan of Komeda and Polanski’s American career. “The Fearless Vampire Killers” remains my #1 movie AND score. I love the jazzy input mixed with harpsichord and satanic choirs, it is so cool! I love how evil is designed here to be hilarious and terrifying. DePalma’s “Carrie” is also one of my favorites. Once again, the balance of fear and tenderness, the psychotic and the sweetness, makes it really unique. And Pino Donaggio is a true master to me. « Carrie’s « score is a masterpiece, in every aspect.

Were you aware of the “Amityville Horror” legend, and films before you took on the remake? And did you believe in the actual haunting?

I don’t believe I’ve seen any of the Amityville movies, though i knew about it of course, as it is legendary, even in Europe! I think the concept of haunted places is part of the American culture, probably related to the history and birth of the nation, the “Poltergeist” case of the Indian cemetery, the voodoo vibes in New Orleans or Key West, or even the « Ghostbusters » scenarios. Ghosts are part of the American mystic. My family owns a house in the French countryside, in a swamp area. It was built in the 16th century. During the war between Catholics and Protestants, a pastor had to hide in the house and his kids got killed in the underground tunnel under the house that was meant to let them escape. He buried them in there. I have to say that knowing this story makes the sleeps there a bit agitated. But It’s always better to believe in instead of not believe, there’s a benefit for sure when you’re living in a world where there are ghosts, it makes it more thrilling.

Given the explosion of retro genre scoring in projects like “It Follows” and “Stranger Things” after “Maniac,” how much of a “throwback” score did you want to make “Amityville?”

I didn’t intentionally make a retro score for “Amityville.” It wouldn’t have made any sense! Plus, I worked on “Amityville” in 2015, so there’s no link at all with the retro thing in scoring it. But, the sounds of John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Moroder are really part of my DNA. It is pretty obvious for anyone visiting my studio in Paris that I’m into synthesizers, and i love to use them whenever I can. They’ve been very helpful on “The Amityville Horror.”

What’s the difficulty in playing evil that’s essentially inanimate – from a possessed structure to the comatose man it’s possessing?

In “Amityville,” evil is in almost every shot. Whenever you see the house, you should feel an evil presence. The house is the main character in a way, and it gives its tone to the movie. So I tried to design a general mood or tone that would bathe the whole movie. You want to feel the house breathing without even noticing it, to make it alive and powerful.

There’s an effective sound design quality to the “Amityville” score, with one sample even sounding like the Martian death ray from the original “War of the Worlds.” How did you want to create a flow between effects and melody?

The movie uses some traditional effects, like “jump scares” for instance. They’re very classical, yet effective, and i tried to emphasize their power as much as i could. I love when music jumps out of the picture, when it becomes almost too loud and annoying, and i felt this was great on Frank Kahlfoun’s pictures. Also, as I said, i’ve tried to create a sound that would be almost present during the whole movie, like a mud bathing the whole thing, in order to create a permanent, subtle discomfort. I believe it’s a great thing to approach the music with, keeping in mind it has a to be also a physical experience, and to work on the textures and melodies all along. That’s why it’s very important to me to produce the music myself, to be able to control precisely the sound and create my own original sounds.

Your main theme has an interesting, “chopped” effect in its rhythm. How did you accomplish that?

This is a typical producing trick i like. It’s a synth sound that goes through a noise gate, synchronized with the tempo of the song. It’s simple, but nicely violent. I’ve heard that the « chopped effect » has a very strong impact on the brain, that’s why it’s often used in the trailer As a sound design effect. I chose to use it on the theme.

Where more visceral scoring a la “The Conjuring” goes for outright fright, your approach to “Amityville” is more dream-like than dissonant. How did you arrive at this approach?

It’s a bit too easy to be dissonant to express fear or discomfort. I’ve tried to reach the same feeling with melancholy and sadness in the chords, to use what’s good in the characters and situations to contrast with the sordid out of it – to hear a beautiful and emotional melody while watching a disgusting or uncomfortable situation is very powerful to me. It really makes me feel bad, and I love that mind twisting effect. Also, this movie is much about brotherly love, and faith, so it had to be nice sometimes. There are a lot of dream hallucinations in the movie, and the feelings are always a bit mixed in a dream, with good and bad frontiers that are blurry. This is a very interesting thing to explore.

How important in a film like this is it to set up a creepily placid atmosphere before the real horror gets unleashed?

It’s all about creating the right state of mind to allow the audience to let their feelings go, to abandon themselves in a way, so that any emotion will be emphasized. It’s like musical hypnosis that puts the audience is in a trance state, and then slashes them up with a huge sound effect. That’s quite amusing, because it’s what you expect when you go to see a horror movie. It’s like a roller coaster, highly sensational.


Tell us about the use of female vocals in the score. Would you say they give the music a religious quality?

I didn’t mean it that way, but that’s interesting point of view. To me, using voices was more the reflection of the innocence, the inner voice of the main character and her purity. So considering this, the voices have something religious about them, because it’s good against evil, something like sort of an angel, maybe? But really, I just thought it was nice to hear some pure female vocals, where I could have otherwise used the flute.

With this “Amityville” being produced by many of the people behind the Blumhouse brand, do you think there’s a “formula” as it were in terms of genre filmmaking, and what they want their scores to accomplish?

I was hired by Frank Kahlfoun directly, as we did « Maniac » together. So he was my only contact during the whole process, We did it in a very short schedule, so I didn’t really had time to realize what I was doing. But retrospectively, I think there’s both good and bad things in every formula. Good is that you know what works, what’s efficient, and you go straight for this. You should always try to invent within the formula, to be original, to never repeat things. I had the feeling that Frank had to fight to save his genuine idea of the movie. And i’m glad he succeeded in keeping the score in its original form. But again, cinema is an industry.

Photo by Charlotte Ortholary / Figure.fr

When you do a film like this, is your goal to scare yourself?

My goal is to explore new directions, and to serve the purpose of the movie. So in that case, it had to be scary, but I wanted it to be moving, to make the scary parts even darker. But it’s true that it is very intense to work on a movie like this, especially when you have a tight schedule, because you literally live with it for a few weeks, and you reach some weird states of mind. It happened to me, to stay up late at night, alone in the studio. I experienced some really scary hours then. But I took that as a sign of good work!

Now having come out of two remakes of cult genre films with Franck, what do you think makes the re-imagining of these stories work, especially when it comes to their music?

I think it’s important not to consider the remake as a tribute, but more to consider the original as a mythology that you can interpret your own way. It’s not even trying to modernize it, but rather doing another reading of the story. To me mythology’s important because it contains the essence of our culture, and “Maniac” or “Amityville” could pretend to contain some roots thoughts about fears, neurosis and family. It’s nice to think this movies have a meaning, at least it helps me find inspiration. But for sure, I didn’t take Lalo Schifrin’s original as a source of inspiration for my music. I tried to create some real new vision of the story, along with Frank’s work.

It’s rare that horror films of this sort have an end song, especially one as cool as “True Love” with Chloe. Could you talk about writing it, and how you wanted it to match with the score that’d come before it?

Photo by Charlotte Ortholary / Figure.fr

I like the idea of placing this type of movie in the pop culture. And what’s better than a pop song to aim for it? I did work with Chloe Alper for the ending song in “Maniac” already, and I loved the effect of achieving this hard journey with a sour candy feeling, a pop song that’s sad and sweet. We worked on it in the very beginning of the process, so we knew from the start how it would end, and it sort of showed us the way. Chloe is amazing, i just need to send her the instrumental and a short brief about the mood of the movie and she does everything else by herself. She writes, sings and sends back the vocals, it’s as easy as this. To be able to compose songs for cinema is a great way for me to continue to express my love for pop music along with a great cinema tradition of an end title song. The two songs composed by Pino Donaggio for « Carrie » are classics to e, and that’s the kind of detail that I adore in a score.

You have an equally impressive talent for unusual, dramatic scores, some of which of are out on France’s Music Box label. A particularly stark soundtrack is for “Made in France,” which is about homegrown terrorism. Does it make it far more emotional to score a film like this having been in a city that’s been repeatedly attacked by Isis?

We worked on this movie before the wave of terrorism we just had in Paris. So it was rather a very scary prophetic thing. It’s been a big question to know if it was right or not to release this movie in theaters. The mood in France after the Charlie Hebdo attack was very tense and emotional, and though the movie is very clever and tries to ask the right questions, there was a real ethical question of releasing it in that context. We didn’t want to take any profit out of this nightmare.It was very interesting to find the right tone to score this story, and the idea of telling the story from those lost guys’ point of view was very challenging and made the film very strong. It allowed me to compose a genre score whose subject is very serious. The music makes these men even more pathetic.

Some of your most unusual and striking work is heard in “Planetarium,” which collects your work for director Rebecca Zlotowski, with a range that goes from “Maniac”-like retro grooves for “Belle Epine” to intimate ethnic music in “Grand Central” and then the symphonically lush and magical approach to a period film about cinema-obsessed mediums with Natalie Portman. Could you tell us about that collaboration and the creative avenues it’s given you?

Rebecca Zlotowski is the first director to have asked me to score a long feature. We started 10 years ago with “Belle Epine,” and we’ve been working together ever since then. It feels like our careers have grown up together. It is a very nice feeling to share that level of artistic intimacy with a director. It’s like we understand things along with someone who’s the same age. That’s a very precious collaboration to me. She is a very demanding person, and one of the most brillant I know. Her brain is very powerful machine, and I feel she needs my more intuitive way of working. Rebecca really uses my sensitive inspiration along with her rather intellectual approach, which is why we complement each other so well. We have tried to re-invent the nature of our work on every movie together, so these three sound very different, as you mentioned. I learned a lot working for her.

With “Seuls,” you’ve composed your first score for the “YA” sci-fi genre with an emotional, epic “fusion” score for orchestra and electronics. What was it like to approach the genre here given kids in a seemingly depopulated Paris?

This movie was very ambitious. I don’t think i’ve ever seen any French movie of this kind. The atmosphere is very unique because it is a genre movie, sort of a film noir, quite dark and pessimistic but for kids! Then it is quite violent, epic and wild. It had to be scored with these strange and specific directions so I decided to use a bigger orchestra and some synths all together that allowed the music to be huge, violent, experimental and modern. I’ve worked quite a lot on this one to make the score sound massive, which was a great challenge.

With your recent score for the drug smuggling comedy-thriller “Gangsterdam,” you have an obviously great time mashing together the sound of orchestral suspense, Tangerine Dream, club music and “The Third Man.” Do you look towards opportunities where you get to be musically all over the place like that?

My love and interest for music has no boundary. Any type of music can reveal its treasure, and I’m always in demand for new fields of expression.
It’s true that I had fun scoring « Gangsterdam, » even though comedy remains the hardest type to score. But the director really trusted me and let me go for it! So I mashed up different styles, thinking it would be fun to create such a colorful soundtrack. Plus it was a fantasy to do a “Trouble Man”-like score, with funky grooves, orchestras and mini Moog solos. That could all sound very random so the challenge here was to stay coherent and to bring a strong artistic direction to the movie. But it’s not an exercise that I especially look for, though i really like to explore new directions like « Gangsterdam » whenever I can.

Do you think scoring is now meant for artists who can stylistically move between the alt. music, rock and film worlds?

I think the cinema industry has always been looking for original profiles to work with, depending on the project. That is why Wendy Carlos, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh or Francois de Roubaix appeared, from other circles, and opened up the width of cinema scores. Even if you think of Quincy Jones, who would be considered as kind of classical composer, he’s a jazzman, and produced songs for Michael Jackson, so… That is why i like scoring so much, because it’s all about music, any kind actually, as long as it serves its master, which is the movie itself.

What’s up ahead for you, especially when it comes to getting your name out their for American projects?

I just finished the third season of “The Bureau” that is out in the US too, and I just started another TV show for Netflix called “Troy,” which is about the Greek mythology. Next month also start my new collaboration with Alex Aja, it’s VR project called “The Campfire Creepers,” which is horrific obviously. And I’m on tour with my teenage friends Phoenix. We’ll be playing in New York and at the Hollywood Bowl. So it’s been pretty busy times for me !

At what point do you think you’d move out of a house like “The Amityville Horror’s?” Or would you stay for the musical inspiration?

I believe i would never have moved in, because me and my wife are very sensitive to the vibes that come out of a place, so we would have instantly felt bad. I remember, i puked once staying in an old French house that I found out later that was a Nazi headquarters during WW2. So just trust your instinct !

Watch “Amityville the Awakening” in the comfort of your home on Googleplay HERE, or on dvd HERE

Get Rob’s scores for “Maniac,” “Planetarium,” “Seuls” and “Made in France” from Music Box Records HERE

Get Rob’s score for “Horns” HERE

Visit Rob on Spotify HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Tom Howe

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 11/10/2017 - 13:22

A memorable super hero often arrives like a bolt from the blue, the same can be said of a gifted composer, especially when riding the phenomenon of “Wonder Woman.” But when it comes to Tom Howe’s beautiful score for “Professor Marston,” we aren’t talking about musically embodying a potentially Sapphic, and likely one-man woman given the discretion of a PG-13 rating. For in this decidedly adult, if still tastefully restrained R-rated movie, non-prudish fans of Princess Diana will be likely surprised, and then aroused to find that she hails from the decidedly progressive mind of William Moulton Marston (aka comic book writer Charles Moulton), who turned his intelligent and erotic passion for a long-lasting ménage a trois into a kid-friendly, if bondage-heavy icon that’s stood the test of time. That the polyamorous relationship happened way before its time in the late 1930’s, to be hidden with the secrecy of Clark Kent, gives the score a feeling of erotic discovery, iconic creation and fear of being found out that makes for Howe’s standout soundtrack.

Directed by “D.E.B.S.’” Angela Robinson, “Professor Marston the Wonder Women” chronicles the shackles that come off between Marston (Luke Evans), his hyper-intelligent wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and their student aid Olive (Bella Heathcote) who becomes far more to these inventors of the lie detector and the wielder of the truth-telling golden lasso. It’s a glowing hue of discovery that Howe at first conveys with playfully sparking, clip-clop percussion and lush strings. They weave a gossamer, yet strong emotional bond through memorable themes that define Marston’s ethos of dominance, inducement, submission and compliance. Indeed, where bondage has usually been portrayed as a dangerous, forbidden fruit in the movies, Howe’s score captures restraint with tenderness and desire, no more so than when Olive is transformed into a backlit vision of a super heroine to be. Awash in gorgeous rhythm, romance and then heartbreak in the face of an uncomprehending, hopelessly square world, Tom Howe’s score is indeed a thing of romantic wonder, no more so than when it might seem that super-strong symphonic themes might be going the way of the golden age of comic books.

A well-storied composer back in England with over seventy credits, Howe has gradually been creating his own breakout in Hollywood with additional music for such Rupert Gregson-Williams scores as “The Do-Over,” The Legend of Tarzan” and ironically “Wonder Woman.” But it’s the revelation of the real women who provided Marston with his inspiration that’s going to open up new solo pages for a composer who can capture delicate femininity with all the assurance of an Amazon.


Tell us about how you got into composing? And were you always drawn to melody?

Although I had a classical background, I initially pursued songwriting as a career. I supplemented this with composing music for adverts and jingles (and some teaching in schools). All of these disciplines are short form and require not only different stylistic approaches but also a strong hook and melody. I also sung as a chorister and later in a band so melody has always been king for me. I think that has filtered into my writing, or at least I hope it has.

You’ve done quite a lot of work on British television. What were your favorite shows to score, and why? How do you think it contributed to your work as a film composer?

I have been fortunate enough to score a lot of varied projects in the UK. The one that is probably best known is “The Great British Bake Off.” I had just finishing working, with director Andy Devonshire, on something else for the BBC when he called me and said, “You’re not going to want to do this but please can you help me out with some music for a baking show”. The show went on to become a global hit. No one knew it would be. It was just one of those things where the stars aligned. The music had to have a British sensibility about it and I had a great time doing it. Other things that I have loved being a part of are “Locked Up Abroad” and “Paranormal Witness”. These were both quite cinematic and the production wanted a “Hollywood” sound. Trying to sound like the latest Hollywood score on a small budget is a great thing to try and accomplish. I did so many different things ranging from classical to dubstep and I think that all helped on my journey to be a film composer. Getting used to tight deadlines helped too!

You have the distinction of scoring both Marston and his creation. Could you tell us about your additional composing on “Wonder Woman?” And did that lead directly to “Doctor Marston?”

I had written additional music for Rupert Gregson-Williams on several other projects when he called me about “Wonder Woman.” I had spoken to Angela around the same sort of time, but I knew that I would have time to work on “Wonder Woman” before I launched into “Marston.” Though working on “Wonder Woman” did not lead to “Marston,” it was interesting to see the character from different perspectives. I had no idea about her “real” origin.

Tell us about your collaboration with “Martson” director Angela Robinson.

Tom Howe and director Angela Robinson

Angela and I were introduced by a friend. We set up a skype call as she was on set at the time and about to start shooting, so we couldn’t initially meet face to face. I had read the script and loved it so we spoke about story arc and character and what she wanted the music to try and achieve. I went away and wrote a 15-minute suite of ideas based on our call and the script. Angela told me she listened to this on set everyday and the main “Marston” theme came from this. Once filming had finished Angela visited my studio often and I would write with her in the room so I could try and get things just how she wanted them and understand from her the nuances of the and scenes. She has a real energy and it was a great way to work. I was also able to try things out with instant approval, or not! These sessions together also bore the idea of spanking and bondage sounds for percussion.

How did you want to convey the sense of erotic discovery in Marston’s polyamorous relationship with Elizabeth and Olive, as well as how “forbidden” it was?

We didn’t want the music to accent the taboo of their relationship. Instead, Angela wanted the music to play to the heart of the film: A passionate, defiant, sometimes even naïve, love story.

How did you want to play both the gradual bonding, and character differences of Elizabeth and Olive?

Throughout the film, we really focus on the dynamic between Elizabeth and Olive. Initially the music highlights the tension between them, but as the film develops we realize that, unlike Professor Marston, Olive is able to make Elizabeth more of a submissive, even though she perceives herself as being in control. It was important for the music to guide us through the development of their relationship.

Your score has an interesting, almost metronome-sense of percussion. How do you think it embodies Marston, let alone his invention of the lie detector?

As a psychologist, Marston is naturally inquisitive and a thinker. The “metronome-sense of percussion” felt right to capture this mood. There are many moments in the film when he is thinking what he might do next or how something will play out.

What’s the challenge of having a protagonist, who’s a psychologist, yet has some particularly unorthodox personal approaches to sex and bondage, ones that people try to declare him a deviant with?

The challenge is treading the fine line where music captures Marston’s beliefs without superimposing an idea of what is right, wrong, taboo or normal.

There’s a lush sense of classical, thematic elegance to “Marston” that recalls the period. How do you want to capture that sense of a “period” score as such, while making it contemporarily vibrant?

It’s always a challenge with period dramas because, as you say, there needs to be something that gives it a fresh voice. In this case, I kept the orchestration fairly traditional but peppered in some unorthodox sounds, percussion-wise, to try and add a fresh approach. Some of the more percussive cues are actually recorded with sounds of spanking and bondage, with things like belts and whips.

There’s also a real charm, and non-judgmental attitude to the Marstons, let alone one that has a sense of fun. How did you want to play that “magical” approach?

I tried to have fun with the music and instrumentation. That was key to keeping the score light throughout the first half of the film, and then to juxtapose that with what happens later into the film.

Which character were you most drawn to?

Elizabeth. She seemed to go on this journey of being in control of everything and then ultimately giving that up for Olive.

There’s the cool, if anachronistic use of the Nina Simone “Feeling Good” when Marston, Olive and Ethel finally realize their passion. What do you think that unexpected song adds to the film, and how did you want your score to come in and out of it?

I think it plays a big role in the pacing of the film. As far as the score, we wanted to fade in and out of it using long reverb tails, almost to imply a shift into a dreamlike haze that lingers.

How did you want to score the sequence where Olive becomes the real-life embodiment of Wonder Woman?

It’s the final phase of her “transformation” both emotionally and physical. Even though she knows that Elizabeth doesn’t approve of her interest in “rope tie,” she gets in costume. I wanted the music to guide us through the transformation, some hesitation at first, a bit of Elizabeth’s initial reaction, and finally a downplayed grand reveal of Olive dressed as Wonder Woman. There was very little foley in this scene and after we get the grand reveal and having built to this moment I decided to go small. This felt right, as even though Olive is an amazing spectacle in her outfit, she is also very self-conscious about it at this stage.

Do you think it’s particularly hard for a male composer to capture the emotional idea of feminism, much in the way that Marstron drew on Elizabeth and Olive to empower Wonder Woman?

I think it’s a question of time, an open mind, and a deep desire to empathize with the characters on the screen. It is difficult, but as a composer part of my job is to try and develop a sensibility so that I can understand the characters I’m writing for. I was also lucky enough to have Angela to help guide me.

There’s also some fun big band music from the era in your score. Was it particularly fun putting jazz into a bit of the score?

Whenever there is an opportunity to write a cue that contradicts the rest of the score it’s always great fun. One of the things I studied was jazz, so I really enjoyed doing those cues.

How did you think the score changes as the Marstons are seriously buffeted by the morals of their neighbors, and society at large?

There is a very clear moment when their bubble is burst. It all spirals downhill from there and it was important for the music to drive home this abrupt shift. All of a sudden we go from an almost dreamlike state to “reality”. From this point onwards, the score drops all of the “plucky” and “playful” instruments and I introduce darker harmonies to add weight and density to the energy of the film, that was key to scenes like the one where Olive leaves.

Recording Professor Marston


On that note, given how emotional your score becomes, what do you think that “Marston” have to say about true love and all of its possibilities?

That we’re all deserving of it, and happiness. Who cares what people think?

Tell us about your upcoming score for “Charming.”

“Charming” comes out through Sony in the New Year. It is an animation fairytale score, so it’s very different to “Marston.” I was lucky to have Harry Gregson-Williams as the score producer. The score wasn’t a million miles from “Shrek” sonically (as both films have the same producer) so Harry’s input was valuable. I scored at Air Studios in England over a few days with a big orchestra and choir and just had a lot of fun doing it.

Given that “Professor Martson” is the movie that truly introduces you to Hollywood, what do you think they’ll take away from your music and your abilities?

I hope they enjoy the film and get a sense of how much I enjoyed scoring it, especially with how source music and non-score tracks weave into the fabric of the film to guide us through the decades and time period.

How do you think that “Wonder Woman” fans drawn to this film will react to “Professor Marston?”

I’m hoping that after the success of “Wonder Woman” that people are eager to dive into an origin story like no other.


“Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman” opens on October 13th, with Tom Howe’s score available October 20th from Sony Classical Music HERE

Visit Tom Howe’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records Announces 'Wonderstruck' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Di, 10/10/2017 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release the [a.21551]Wonderstruck - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally October 20th and on CD/LP later this year. Simultaneously second version of the album, containing three bonus tracks, is also being released as an [a.21784]Amazon Exclusive Special Edition[]. Both releases feature original music by [c.24]Carter Burwell[] ([m.39926]Carol[], [m.8255]Fargo[]). Based on Brian Selznick's critically acclaimed novel, in [m.47184]Wonderstruck[] Ben and Rose are children from two different eras who secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known, while Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: October 6

Soundtrack News - Za, 07/10/2017 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.58]Danny Elfman[] ([m.50121]Dumbo[]), [c.16693]ToyDrum[] ([m.50716]Future World[]) and [c.159]John Ottman[] & [c.1620]David Buckley[] ([m.50718]The Gifted[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 35 new soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2017-10-03]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this weekend are (with music by): [m.45794]Blade Runner 2049[] ([c.237]Hans Zimmer[] & [c.1354]Benjamin Wallfisch[]), [m.42915]The Mountain Between Us[] ([c.1065]Ramin Djawadi[]), [m.45108]My Little Pony: The Movie[] ([c.13568]Daniel Ingram[]) and [m.50175]The Stray[] ([c.9578]Christian...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records Announces 'Mr. Robot' Vol. 4 Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 06/10/2017 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release the second of two volumes of music from the second season of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-Winning USA Network series [m.43390]Mr. Robot[].The [a.20968]Mr. Robot V.4[] soundtrack features original music by [c.3207]Mac Quayle[] ([m.48533]Feud: Bette And Joan[], [m.33054]American Horror Story[]). Volume 4 will be released digitally and on CD October 13th. Later this year, Invada Records, in partnership with Lakeshore Records, will release the Volume 4 soundtrack on LP. "If the first season of [m.43390]Mr. Robot[] took us into Elliot's mind, the second season drew us deeper into his subconscious," said Quayle. "As we learned, it's pretty dark in there and so naturally the music followed suit. Darker,...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Varese Sarabande to Release 'The West Wing' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 05/10/2017 - 02:00
The next release in Varese Sarabande's WE HEAR YOU series will be [a.21749]The West Wing[], a masterwork in composition from beloved composer [c.500]W.G. Snuffy Walden[] - available directly from Varèse Sarabande on October 6, 2016. "As I turned the pages of that first script, the rich characters and informative stories captivated me" said Walden in describing his first reaction to [m.28103]The West Wing[]. "I was convinced: this would be an opportunity that was very rare in network television. As the project got deeper into production, it became obvious that this was exceptional work and I was blessed to be a part of the experience." "With our schedule and its breakneck speed, we hardly had time to give a second thought to what...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Alcon Sleeping Giant (ASG) Records & Epic Records to Release 'Blade Runner 2049' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 04/10/2017 - 02:00
Alcon Sleeping Giant (ASG) Records, under exclusive distribution through Epic Records, will release the [a.21699]Blade Runner 2049 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] on Thursday October 5, 2017 at all digital retailers. A special 2CD pre-order of the physical album is live now. A true collector's item and piece of [m.45794]Blade Runner 2049[] history, the 2-disc set is numbered and limited to only 2,049 copies. Get it [url.https://bladerunner2049.shop.musictoday.com/store/]HERE[] while supplies last. All physical copies additionally unlock a digital download. The soundtrack highlights the entrancing, ethereal, and enigmatic original score composed by Academy Award winner [c.237]Hans Zimmer[] and Golden Globe & Emmy nominee...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Joseph Lo Duca and Don Mancini

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 04/10/2017 - 01:57

In the annals of knife-wielding psychopaths seeking to slit your throat while needling your funny bone, no killer has cut quite a diminutively powerful, Comedy Store-ready figure like Chucky. Ever since Charles Lee Ray used his dying breath to transport his twisted soul into the body of a Good Guy in 1988’s “Child’s Play,” there’s been no putting down the sinister brainchild of Don Mancini over the course of seven pictures. Grabbing the franchise as both writer and director with 2004’s “Seed of Chucky,” Mancini sowed an even crazier, fourth-wall slashing mythology for his characters that even possessed real-life doll bride Jennifer Tilly. The filmmaker wouldn’t miss a one-liner beat when he picked up The Good Guy’s adventures with 2013’s “Curse of Chucky,” which took the idea of the Chucky-verse to even more wackily ironic lengths by having the Brad Dourif-voiced doll torment his actress daughter Fiona Dourif as the wheelchair-bound Nica, as well as bringing the very first kid he menaced Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) back into the grown-up fray.

Now Charles’ embodiment pushes Nica right over the edge of her previous mansion abode into a sterile madhouse for “Cult of Chucky,” where of course no one will believe that trying to cure her with multiple Good Guys might not be such a good idea. Mancini once again turn his undying saga into a family affair by drawing on Chucky’s past mayhem, while showing a fiercely hilarious and frightening panache that makes the series more vital than ever as the last doll standing among the 80’s psycho superstars. The same can be said for the fiendishly fresh voice of “Cult” composer Joseph Lo Duca, who broke out with friend Sam Raimi in 1981’s “Evil Dead.” Suddenly transformed for Detroit rocker into horror score star, Lo Duca has often brought his rampaging (and sometimes darkly funny) talent to any number of terror soundtracks like “Army of Darkness,” “Boogeyman,” “The Messengers,” “Pay the Ghost” and “Burying the Ex,” all while charting a prolific career composing for such fantastical shows as “Hercules,” “Xena” and “The Librarians,” and now a groovy return to “Ash Vs. the Evil Dead.”

But nobody quite brings out Lo Duca’s little devil like Chucky, as could be heard in the claustrophobic, crazily escalating Grand Guignol strains of his first teaming with Mancini for “Curse.” Now thrust into a sterile looney bin whose white walls are escalatingly splattered with blood, Lo Duca first joins Mancini’s “Cult” with weird samples and twisted electroshock rhythms, yet with an old-school orchestral resonance – or course topped with evil child-friendly bells and tinkertoy percussion. But given multiple dolls with a mission, it isn’t long before this fiendishly thematic score becomes more twisted and funny with Chucky’s growing confidence for chorus, rock guitar and crafty metal ratcheting. It’s a killer stand-up act that’s refined itself like never before for a composer-filmmaker team made in horror-comedy hell – especially given just how well this “Cult” takes on an operatic, Herrmann-esque swagger that Brian De Palma would likely smile at, let alone a killer doll before making mincemeat of his two enablers at the top of their Good Guy game.

As a lifelong fan of film scores, what are some of your favorite horror-comedy soundtracks?

DM: I love horror-comedy, and I love the challenge of walking the tightrope between legitimately frightening an audience, and then making them laugh at what has frightened them. “Death Becomes Her,” the Danny Elfman-Tim Burton stuff like “Beetlejuice,” Jerry Goldsmith’s “Gremlins”… These movies also all bear the unmistakable signature voices of their composers. I liked that. I’m not into anonymous-sounding scores. I wanted “Curse of Chucky” and now “Cult of Chucky” to have the unmistakable, unabashed voice of Joe Lo Duca.

In particular, how did Joseph’s scores for the genre impress you?

DM: I was always impressed with his versatility, his dexterous comfort-level and expertise in any number of genres and even media, as well as his ability to mix traditional orchestral elements with modern electronics. His scores were romantic but not sentimental; witty without being silly; and never condescended to the material. Plus, of course, I am a huge fan of his work fro Rami’s “Evil Dead” universe.

Right from “Evil Dead,” you’ve often been in a position of scoring horror films with no small amount of laughs in them. What do you think makes your style suitable for that kind of gory black comedy?

JLD: Perhaps it is because I truly like and get the filmmakers I work with in that genre. In my experience, the writers and directors who make horror movies are among the nicest people I know! On a dramatic level, it’s all about tension and release, predictability and surprise. When it’s well done, it’s like great music. Comedy can be the release, but sometimes-gory violence can be the release, too. It puts a temporary end to the suspense and dread you have worked together to set up.

How did you become involved with “Curse of Chucky?”

JLD: Richard Kraft, my agent for many years, introduced me to Don Mancini. He thought we would be a good fit. And he has uncanny instincts about people and pairings. The fact that I composed the scores for the “Evil Dead” trilogy didn’t hurt. I have learned it gives me instant street creed in that world.

What did you think of the previous Chucky scores? And what did you hope that Joseph would bring to them with “Curse of Chucky?”

As a film score fan, this part of the process is always very exciting for me — meeting with the composer, talking with him or her, spotting the film, and the thrill of hearing the cues for the first time… I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of very talented composers over the years throughout the Chucky series. But working with Joe has been my favorite experience, and has resulted in my favorite music from the franchise. His Chucky motif is perfect — sinister yet playful, as befits a child’s toy. I knew Joe would bring an exciting mix of traditional orchestral elements blended with a modern, electronic vibe. And he always plays the characters, not just the situations.

Having scored some of genre’s most iconic characters, how did Chucky stand for you in horror superstar pantheon? And was he a character you hoped you’d score one day?

JLD: A film composer never knows or expects when he will be invited to the dance. Getting to work with Don on “Curse” was a welcome surprise. Honestly, I did not seek out horror movies growing up. They made me queasy. Then I got to know Sam Raimi, and I came to view horror as the exercise of a prankster who gets unabashed glee from getting a rise out of an audience. But even though there is a lot of humor in the “Chucky” and “Evil Dead” films, the humor is rarely reflected in my scores for them. But every once in a while we go for it!

What do you think makes a good director-composer team?

Communication, a shared vision and a common language certainly help -which theoretically can get tricky if the director is not a musician, which I am not — although I do have a musical background (I sang in chorus throughout my school years). But what I do have, like your readers, is a fairly encyclopedic knowledge of, and passion for, film music — including, specifically, the music of Joe Lo Duca. I am definitely a fan of his! It’s definitely helpful (as well as incredibly fun) to discuss film scores with Joe in the course of our work. Joe also approaches the music character-first, which is how I approach writing and directing. And then there are the surprises, the stuff he did that was completely unexpected. He had to create a whole weird soundscape, to capture the warped psychologies of these mentally ill characters.

Given that Don is a horror and music fan to begin with, does that give you shorthand when collaborating?

JLD: Don has immense background in all things film-related. The fact that I could see the link between “Curse of Chucky” and “Lady in a Cage,” an obscure 1964 thriller starring Olivia de Havilland and James Caan, got us off to a great start. The best directors sweat all the details. Don is one of those. He is also aware of the expectations of his fans. In a few scenes on “Cult,” he resisted my taking a classic Hollywood approach because his fans might consider them glib. I find that if I ask the right questions, we can address challenges that are posed in the music. It helps that we have a lot of respect for one another.

Do you hear the unborn score in your head as you’re directing?

DM: Well, I’m listening to stuff all the time for inspiration, and like a lot of writers I raid my soundtrack collection and cull a bunch of stuff that seems in the ballpark, musically and dramatically, for what I’m writing at the moment. While I was writing the “Cult” script, I listened mainly to a combination of Joe’s score for “Curse” and Cliff Martinez’s score for “The Neon Demon,” the latter of which of course has a distinctly trippy, electronic vibe. That sound struck me as evocative of this world, a somewhat abstract sound for a mental hospital populated by a bunch of warped minds. A kind of psychedelic feeling is what I was after. Joe captured that, in his own way, of course; the resulting score sounds nothing like Cliff Martinez. Nor did I want it to. I just wanted Joe to give me HIS version of an abstract, psychedelic vibe.

With “Cult,” did you want to return the series back to the first film’s idea of having a doctor doubt an inmates “ravings” about a killer doll on the lose? And how did you think music could add to that?

DM: I thought the setting provided for a fun twist on the traditional “boy who cried wolf” scenario we exploited in the first three films, but in “Cult of Chucky,” it’s “the whacko who cried wolf.” Before, no one would believe a kid; now, no one will believe a crazy person. Also, our goal really was to humanize the patients, to depict and convey their sadness… And Joe’s score really does manage to capture a certain bleak mournfulness, which is of course augmented by the modernist environment and the freezing, snowy realm outside.

Right from its title, the idea of a perverted child’s plaything has been embodied in the “Chucky” scores. How did you want to convey that twisted “toy” bell motif here?

JLD: Coming on board on “Curse,” it was surprising and liberating to me that this iconic character did not have a theme. The idea of an out-of-tune little jingle came to me immediately. “Chuck-y is my spe-cial friend…”. What’s creepier than a beat up toy piano?

When you’ve got a lethally wisecracking character like Chucky, how do you want to balance the humor and horror?

JLD: Most of the time, you stay away from the humor and let the score play the straight man. I’m Dean Martin; it’s actually funnier that way. Musical camp usually involves parody. I tend to stay away from that. Chucky gets all the good lines. Let’s let him have them.

DM: One of the things that most impressed me about Joe’s score was his ability to navigate these hairpin turns, to juggle serious, even tragic horror on the one hand, and the wackiness that Chucky and Tiffany represent — sometimes in the same scene. The music is a really crucial factor in making such tonal changes work. It can make or break the movie. And Joe just has great taste; he’s very sensitive, for example, to the danger of tipping over into the objectionably goofy, or the too sentimental.

Like our best horror “heroes,” there’s an evil part of us that roots for Chucky to succeed. How do you think the score adds to that?

DM: Well, there’s an intrinsically humorous aspect to Chucky, a twisted playfulness that’s appealing. Chucky really loves his work. Joe captures that sense of mischief with his toy piano motif for Chucky, which he introduced in “Curse,” and which in “Cult” is lavished with all kinds of thrilling new orchestrations and variations.

JLD: The music imbues Chucky with immense, unstoppable power. For example, despite his diminutive stature, his musical footprint is always huge. He is mischievous, but the music tells us to be very afraid. He always wins, so one might as well join him, ‘cause you can’t beat him. And he’s a funny guy, though I can’t say the score adds to that.


Is it more fun to score a character that enjoys killing?

JLD: I talk to my fellow “decomposers” about this. Horror movies are the most fun to score for the sheer fact that there are no rules. You can be as crazy as you wanna be, and if the psycho killers are having fun, too, so much the merrier. With Chucky, there is as much a “Gothcha’!” aspect to his murders as the poetic injustice of the murders themselves.

What would you say are the links, and differences between your two “Chucky” scores?

JLD: Both are rather lush and traditional in many respects. Both have central thematic material. “Cult of Chucky” has a more modern sound, with a lot more electronic sound design and manipulation of traditional instruments. I’ll confess. I like melody and harmony. Constructing dissonance is merely an extension of those elements.

Chucky has always involved the idea of family, whether it’s the doll tearing apart Andy’s life, or trying to create his own “nuclear” family of sorts. With the gang back together here, how do you think that idea plays into the score?

JLD: I think the score informs the viewer that the characters are all damaged people that have been literally ripped from their families. So their sadness and despair, and the desperate measures to which they are driven are very much in the music. I guess you could say fate has brought Vincent, Nica and Tiffany back together as a cursed, dysfunctional codependent family. You might say that the reflection in the score is the sense of doom, futility and inevitability.

The dulcimer gets a particularly fun workout here. What do you think makes the instrument so ideal for Chucky?

JLD: In “Cult,” what you are calling a dulcimer has more of an electronic bent. There’s something about the biting, percussive nature of the sound that feels right. It is sinister, and let’s not forget that Chucky’s favorite method of execution involves cutting of some kind.

What does having multiple Chucky dolls bring to the score?

JLD: Each Chucky has it’s own personality. The score gets to have a little fun with that. It is not a major feature, though. Without giving anything away, what happens to Nica is a much more important to the score and the story.

“Cult” makes use of some particularly creepy sampling that’s both echoed and metallically gnarled. Could you tell us what went into this score?

JLD: I did a lot of programming and processing of the sounds in this score. Don and I are very pleased with the result. There are sounds and techniques I discovered on this project I never thought to try before – processes like time stretching already warped string samples, and ring modulating the brass into shards of metal.

You could call both “Chucky” films “old dark house” pictures in how he maneuvers about them to terrorize his victims from a mansion to mental asylum. On that end, how hard is it to score those sort of “creeping about” sequences?

JLD: I don’t find those challenging; the fun is always in setting up a good scare that will likely follow. I do find extended action sequences tiring. I find there is a physical component that goes along with scoring the action. ”Curse” most definitely plays on the haunted house trope, but I found “Cult” quite different. The asylum is stark, cold and blue, so electronic sound was a better choice. By contrast, Andy’s cabin is warm and woody, so strings and woodwinds predominate.

DM: Well, while we on set, I’d often hum a tune, or a rhythm, to get the camera operators in the mood, and to ensure that our timing is in the right ballpark. And on “Cult.” very often I was humming something of Joe’s — whether from “Curse of Chucky,” or sometimes something from an “Evil Dead” movie. I knew those staccato string pluckings from “Evil Dead” would totally work for Chucky wandering around and spreading mischief.

Was it important for Joseph’s scores to start out “straight” and then get more satirically demented as they go along – especially in the case of “Cult?” where organ, evil chorus and a Spaghetti Western rock guitar ultimately join the jam?

DM: Yes, because that’s basically what the movie is doing — it’s going crazy. The story and camera work are designed to make the viewer feel that he or she is right there with Nica as she starts questioning her own reality and her own sanity. As I said, one of the huge accomplishments of Joe’s score is that it manages this tonal change with such style and energy and wit, really. Joe’s “main title” music is, to me, like a thrilling celebration of the psycho-slasher genre, complete with his own version of shrieking violins, and Chucky’s “toy-piano” motif interpolated. The rock guitar at the end was an interesting case, because the scene in question represents a huge turning point for Chucky – a moment of incredible, unprecedented, swaggering triumph for him. We knew it had to be “big” in an interesting way. At first Joe had a choral element there, but it wasn’t quite right. While the voices captured the supernatural gravity of the situation, it was still missing something — a sense of Chucky strutting. Ultimately we realized what it needed to be: Chucky as rock star. Hence the guitar. (Which Joe had utilized at one point in the “Curse” score, as well).

JLD: All of the Chucky movies ramp up to a rollicking climax. So goes the music. Anything goes. However, the palette remains fairly consistent. If a new sound pops up during a score, I hope there is good reason for it. That said, the rock guitar idea might have come from Don.

With its voices and rampaging dulcimer and finally hugely sinister orchestral statement, would you call “Cult” a Grand Guignol score?

JLD: I think my favorite parts of the score would classify as ‘psychological thriller’. Chucky is on the loose in an asylum. The patients project their psychoses onto him. And he kills them for it. It’s more like “Snakes on a Plane” of the insane!

In the midst of this madness, what it important to give genuine emotional empathy to the wheelchair-bound Nica?

JLD: She is our doomed heroine, yet she is also survivor. Fiona Dourif is so good in this role. Her performance needs no help from the music. Yet at times we want to underline her powerlessness, or her growing panic. There are long sequences that Don portrays this sans dialogue, doing it instead with crafty editing and music.

You’ve made a specialty of bringing musical presence to smaller-budgeted horror films. What tricks have you learned along the way to getting the biggest musical bang for the bloody buck?

JLD: I am the only performer on both scores. Don told me that Pino Donaggio (“Carrie”) was a bit miffed because he told Pino he did not have budget for a live score. Pino was surprised to learn my score was all samples. I’ll take it as a compliment. I am always trying to realize the music I hear. And that takes a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, we had so little time. 80+plus minutes of music in three and a half weeks is not humane. But there are no short cuts.

Can you tell us a bit about your work on “Ash Vs. the Evil Dead,” and what we can expect from the upcoming season of “Ash Vs. Evil Dead?”

JLD: “Ash” is just as nutty as ever. I had to score a scene where he is attacked by all the instruments in the high school band room. Who knew a harp could also be a face slicer. Need I say more?

You’ve also scored the pot comedy series “Disjointed” on Amazon. What’s it like to be able to do something unexpected like this?

JLD: D.J Javerbaum, our show runner and creator, is also a gifted lyricist. We have written some great songs together on this show. I work with the cast, headed by Kathy Bates, on their performances. I got to record LA’s finest jazz players for all the bumpers. That just doesn’t happen on a sitcom, that is, unless you have David and Chuck Lorre behind you. Wait till you see how next season opens. “Disjointed” has been a real highlight for me this year.

What do you think that Joseph has brought to the “Chucky” series? And how do you see his music continuing for them, or your movies in general?

DM: Joe has brought his distinct voice, and his impressive pedigree and experience from his iconic work in the horror genre, but also other genres and media, as well. I’m excited to see where we’ll go together next… both in the “Chucky” universe, and hopefully in other frontiers, as well.

There’s never an end to Chucky. Where do you see your films, and scores going from here for him?

JLD: The answer to that is in the mind of Don Mancini, and I’ll gladly go with him on Chucky’s next adventure!


Join the “Cult of Chucky” on Netflix, blu ray and digital asylums HERE

Listen to Joseph Lo Duca’s scores for “Curse of Chucky” and “Cult of Chucky” on Backlot Music HERE and HERE

Fight the Evil Dead with Ash and Joe HERE

Visit Joseph Lo Duca’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Classical Announces 'Professor Marston and the Wonder Women' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Zo, 01/10/2017 - 02:00
Sony Classical proudly announces the release of [a.21718]Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[]. Featuring composer [c.5141]Tom Howe[]'s original score, the soundtrack will be available digitally and on CD October 13. Stage 6 Films' [m.49411]Professor Marston and the Wonder Women[] premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival. On October 13, the film will be released in U.S. theaters in association with Annapurna Pictures. "Working with Angela was fantastic," exclaims Howe. "I was lucky enough to join the project before Angela filmed anything. Early conversations with her about the characters and story arc meant I was able to write a suite which she listened to on...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Ubisoft Announces Dan Romer as Composer for 'Far Cry 5'

Soundtrack News - Za, 30/09/2017 - 02:00
Ubisoft announced that [c.2590]Dan Romer[], the award-winning film composer, songwriter and music producer, is composing the score for [m.50683]Far Cry 5[] in addition to writing songs for the game. The [m.50683]Far Cry 5[] soundtrack will be available closer to the game's launch on February 27, 2018. Known for his film score work on [m.33502]Beasts of the Southern Wild[] and [m.42348]Beasts of No Nation[], and for producing the Grammy-winning single, "Say Something," and worldwide hit, "Treat You Better," Romer sought to create a soundtrack that transports players into fictional Hope County, Montana, where fanatical doomsday cult Project at Eden's Gate has taken over. Utilizing many Americana instruments, including...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Music to Release 'The Foreigner' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 29/09/2017 - 02:00
Sony Music proudly announces the release of [a.21621]The Foreigner (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[] with the music by Grammy nominated composer [c.124]Cliff Martinez[] ([m.31372]Drive[], TV's [m.39039]The Knick[]). The soundtrack will be released digitally and on CD on October 13th, 2017. [m.46152]The Foreigner[] from STXfilms opens in U.S. theaters the same day. "This is a unique score for me - my first time doing a score for a nonstop action film," said Martinez. "Director Martin Campbell trusted me and left me alone to do what I do best. The music is all electronics with a couple of hardware synthesizers - it's really dark and tense." Martinez added, "There's a recurring theme in the film where Jackie [Chan] keeps...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Nathan Barr

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 28/09/2017 - 00:59

When Nathan Barr scores the grim reaper’s representatives on earth, one can be assured that he will be granting no pleasure trip for their one-way ticket to the great beyond. From the flesh eating disease of “Cabin Fever” to the thrill kill torturers inhabiting the “Hostel” and the immortal vampires of “True Blood,” Barr’s sanguine, multi instrumental talents have viewed death in terrifying ways – which is now what makes his latest voyage to the other side particularly unique for “Flatliners.

With a fresh young cast of afterlife thrill seekers, Director Niels Arden Oplev (“Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) gives a new jolt to Joel Schumacher’s 1990 thriller, for which composer James Newton Howard originally provided a mixture of heavenly chorus and pulse-pounding thrills for medical student out-daring themselves to momentarily die for a glimpse of the other side. And as with that cult film, this reboot once again proves that there is some things that man was not meant to know, as forces from death’s domain hitch a ride back to the earthly plane to pull them back to the final destination.

Though Howard’s work, and much of the memory of “Flatliners’ precursor might be wiped from Barr’s memory, his soundtrack proves a worthy spiritual successor to score that first impressed with its mixture of hipness, wonder and fear. Using electro-rhythm like an EKG, Barr energizes his score with the thrill of stopping and starting hearts in the nick of time, while cool alt. rock rhythms impress with the groove of exhilaration, then fear. Creating an eerily transfixing atmosphere of unearthly sounds for visions of the afterlife, Barr elongates the score’s suspense, nervously waiting to shock the system before it’s too late. And when showing that the ultimate answer is left itself, Barr creates some of his most beautifully emotional orchestral work in his prolific career. It’s a new take on “Flatliners” that doesn’t sever its melodic chord to the past, all while showing how next-gen composers like Nathan Barr are pushing the boundaries of scoring with death-defying attitude to spare.


Though you’d begun your career with scores like “Beyond the Mat,” “Going Greek” and “Double Down,” were you surprised that genre scoring for films like “Cabin Fever,” “2001 Maniacs” and “Hostel” provided your most popular way into Hollywood?

     

A lot of composers first cut their teeth by scoring horror films, and I have been no exception. I happen to be a huge fan of the genre and so I was happy that many of my early scoring experiences lived within the world of horror films. I think my abilities as a composer span across many genres and my career has really begun to expand in many other directions as of late. I think if anything, my musical beginnings speak to an ability to walk between multiple genres and styles, and I am grateful I have a career that allows for that.

How did the first “Flatliners” impress you?

I have not seen the original film since it came out 27 years ago, so I remember very little about it other than that it freaked me out and left an impression.

“Flatliners” fits into the “mad doctor” genre. Do you have any favorite scores in that domain?

“Young Frankenstein” immediately comes to mind. Also, and it may be a bit of a stretch as far being a part of the “mad doctor” genre, but Coppola’s “Dracula” film with Tom Waits as the mad doctor has that beautiful score by Wojciech Kilar, which is one of my favorites.

How did this new take on “Flatliners” come your way?

I put together a reel for Spring Aspers who is the head of music at Sony. She distributed that to the director Niels and the producers and based on the strength of the 16 tracks on that reel I was brought on board to replace the first composer. I had 31/2 weeks to compose over an hour of score so the fact that I can write very quickly when required also put me at the top of the list.

What was your collaboration like with director Niels Arden Oplev, and what kind of fresh take do you think he brought the story?

I came onto the project so late in the process that we never had a spotting session. I was hired on a Monday and hit the ground running on Tuesday. And so three weeks later I had 45 minutes of score written and an orchestra session just days away. It was a wild ride!

Niels asked the picture editor Tom Elkins to give me direction at the very beginning because Niels was tied down with a mountain of visual effects and reshoots. And so I didn’t have my first conversation with Niels until I’d written about 20 minutes of music, or about 10 days into the process. Fortunately, Niels and Tom were generally in sync with what they wanted the music to accomplish, and Niels responded very favorably to that first batch of cues. From then on we were in regular touch.

If I had to sum up Niels’ direction for the score it was to always make sure that there was breath in the score so that each scene had the opportunity to develop organically. He wanted to avoid being too manipulative with the score. A couple times he humorously gave me the same note the King gives Mozart in Amadeus, “too many notes.” But I knew right away how to adjust, and so it was a good piece of direction. I really enjoyed my collaboration with Niels and the sense of humor he brought to discussions about serious things.

I avoided re-watching the original, as I know Niels wanted to approach the story through a contemporary lens, and I believe he achieved that. There’s a youthful energy to these characters that is a bit different from that of the original, if I remember correctly.


Could you talk about your approach to “Flatliners,” especially when it comes to the difference that music takes for young, hip doctors then and now, especially when it comes to the alt. rock elements in the score?

Having a strong electronic component in the score was important to Niels as he felt it was a good way to acknowledge the target audience of film that is rated PG-13. And so the orchestral elements were really about bringing some cinematic grandeur and emotional depth to the story, while the electronic elements were about the fun, intensity and ambition of the characters in this story.

What are your own thoughts about what happens when you die? And how were they reflected in the score?

My belief in what happens when we die varies from day to day so it would be hard for me to pin down a philosophy. Having said that I can say my own feelings about death was not a part of the composition process. It’s all up there on the screen for me to enjoy and interact with!

How did you want to approach the “flatlining” sequences?

Some of the more complicated sequences in the film to score from a technical standpoint involved navigating the back-and-forth between the afterlife and the hospital room while sounding cohesive. Oftentimes what a character is experiencing in the afterlife has quite a different emotional space than the panic of the hospital room where their bodies await their souls’ returns. And so finding a musical thread that could exist underneath both was a challenge.

How did you want the score to reflect the high-tech equipment the Flatliners are using to kill and resurrect themselves?

I think the electronic and synth elements that drive the score in many scenes all help reflect the high tech equipment and feel a part of that world.

Could you talk about the “heartbeat” of your score?

The heartbeat in the score is an electronic pulse that propels the score forward in a way that can feel contemporary even if there are orchestral elements over the top of it. It’s perhaps a bit on-the-nose at times to have a heart-beat element in a score about flatlining, but it’s also a way to have some fun with the overall conceit of the film.

Flatliners Scoring Session

How did you want to combine the electronic and orchestral elements of the score? And what do you think your approach has to say with the more human, emotional element of the story as opposed to the technology and excess the characters indulge in?

When Niels and I spoke about the score, he wanted to be sure the score was breathing with the characters and not forcing a feeling on the audience that wasn’t earned. Oftentimes he would give me a note that he wanted half as many chords in the cue. What I came to understand he was asking for was more space between chords so the scene had a chance to unfold without interference from the score. This note was largely limited to the orchestral elements in the score. I was constantly pairing the orchestral parts back as Niels felt they were too adult and traditional for these young characters. In another case he literally had me cut the tempo of a cue in half and that gave him the emotional impact he was looking for in that particular sequence.

Could you talk about your sampling here, from the eerier moments to the rhythmic element of the score?

As a general philosophy I shy away from using samples created by sample libraries. But when there is so little time to write a score I inevitably lean into samples more than I usually do. I definitely managed to get some of my homegrown sounds into this film, but in other cases I was grateful to have ready-made samples to aid in a jump scare or quick set of cuts that needed accenting.

What were some of the more unique instruments you used here?

I used an instrument called an Array Nail Organ which was built for me by Bill Wesley and Patrick Hadley who created another instrument I own called the Array Mbira which is essentially an electric kalimba. I love the way these guys think about creating and making musical instruments and had seen them demonstrate their Nail Organ online. It’s a series of nails of different lengths mounted to a resonant wooden box with pickups. Once you apply powdered resin to the fingertips and rub the top of the nail head it produces a pitch determined by the length of the nail. The highest pitches, or shortest nails, produce a whistle sound you will hear clearly in the main title track of Flatliners, as well as throughout the film.

I have a harpsichord and have all sorts of fun recording that and manipulating the sound afterwards. That can be heard in a couple of the film’s more tense moments as a 16th note pattern that floats over the top of various propulsive elements. Another favorite of mine that started all the way back with “Cabin Fever” is a bowed Indian instrument called a Dilruba. All of the above instruments are part of my process in bringing a unique sound to my scores.

How did you want to use voice in “Flatliners?”

Even though it’s a bit cliché at this point to musically associate voices and the afterlife, there is nothing more ethereal than a group of human voices, and so I, like many composers before me, leaned into that trope a bit in several of the afterlife sequences.

What about the score’s more horrific elements that go back to your more visceral genre work?

I’ve gotten pretty good with several of my bowed instruments at creating the sound of sheer terror and so I leaned into those a bit, as with the Dilruba I mentioned above.

How did you want the score to cross over from the wonder of near-death to the terror that comes back from the other side?

Niels wanted the scary moments to be scary regardless of whether they happened in the afterlife or post-flatline. And so there wasn’t much to do with the crossover between the two, so long as the emotional impact was achieved.

When you’ve got a film where characters might, or might not being imagining things coming to get them, what kind of freedom do you think those “hallucinations” give to the score?

The perspective of the score depends on what the director wants to accomplish in a given sequence. In the case of this film we wanted to play up the horror of certain moments regardless of whether it was in the character’s imagination or not.

I do think however that as a general rule hallucinations in films do free a composer up to really explore tone and texture and instrumentation just at the director might experiment with camera angle and color and editing. A sequence in “True Blood” and one from the first season of “The Son” both come to mind as musical moments that I had fun with because they occurred over hallucinations.

You’ve also been exceptionally busy on television with “Sneaky Pete,” “The Son” and “The Americans.” What kind of doors do you think the boom in the medium is opening up for you, and is there a particular kind of show you look for?”

I look for a show with characters I can imagine spending many hours with. In the case of the three shows you have mentioned, each one has very intriguing and complex characters that are a joy to write for. Interestingly, each of these shows centers around a protagonist who is the epitome of an anti-hero. And so it’s gratifying to take the con man from “Sneaky Pete,” two Soviet spies from “The Americans” and the murderous patriarch from “The Son”” and humanize them with the music so they become more relatable to audiences. I think on some level everyone likes the irony of rooting for the dark side of a human being who may be trying to achieve something good through dubious means.

I think we can all agree that some of the most entertaining, intriguing and smartest storytelling in the world right now is happening on television. It’s exciting to see so many companies committed to creating top-notch stories driven by complex characters.

You’ll also be dealing with death in your forthcoming score for “The Parting Glass.” What can you tell us about it?

“The Parting Glass” is a film directed by Stephen Moyer, written by Denis O’Hare, and starring Anna Paquin, three members of my “True Blood” “family”. It’s a deeply moving autobiographical story from Denis O’Hare’s life that deals with suicide and a family’s struggle to process and recover from it. Steve shot it in a very naturalistic style and so there is not a lot of score in the film, but when there is score, it’s very important. It was so great to be back in creative mode with these three talented artists.

From L to R_The Parting Glass composer Nathan Barr, director Stephen Moyer and singer Sam Lee

In your spare time, you’ve been assembling an organ? What’s your attraction to that instrument, and what do you hope to do with the end result?

Three to four months from now the studio I have spent the last decade-plus envisioning will be complete. I didn’t want to build just another recording studio, but instead wanted to create a unique space that really spoke to my diverse interests as a composer and musician and also showcased my large collection of musical instruments, some of which are quite large. I also wanted to build a space that would be a meeting place for musicians from all over the world to come together and record and make music and be inspired.

My imagination was first captured by a pipe organ when I was around 10 years old and my mother explained to me that when I pressed the keys on the organ’s manual at church there were pipes in rooms up in the walls that when filled with wind made a sound. This was a musical “aha” moment for me and filled me with wonder and mystery. Years later I heard a Wurlitzer Theater organ accompanying a silent film and it went straight into my heart and imagination and cemented my fascination with pipe organs.

Nathan and his unrestored Wurlitzer organ

I started to get to know people in the pipe organ community about 8 years ago, and when I mentioned I was keen on installing one in my studio, a gentleman who owned the former Twentieth Century Fox Studios Wurlitzer offered to restore and sell me that instrument. I jumped at the chance to include it in my studio. It “lived” on the scoring stage at Fox from 1928 to 1997 and was used by everyone from Bernard Herrmann in Journey To The Center Of The Earth to Alex North in The Agony And The Ecstasy to James Horner in “Cocoon,” and many more. It’s an instrument that physically occupies 6 rooms and so the possibilities for experimentation are endless given all the exciting pipes and other instruments that make up the entire beast of this organ.

Seeing the instrument restored and given a proper place to live has been an obsession of mine over the past couple years. I have literally built the building around the organ, and it speaks onto a scoring stage that will accommodate up to 60 players. I look forward to reintroducing this important piece of film music history to the world in new scores and music. The first film it will find it’s way into is my next collaboration with Eli Roth, “The House With A Clock In It’s Walls,” which stars Cate Blanchett and Jack Black and hits theaters next year.

In the end, do you think there’s a spiritual connection to your work and James Newton Howard’s original score?

I always strive to keep my voice as a composer as unique as possible and so I deliberately avoided listening to JNH’s score because I wanted this score to be as much my own as possible. At times being completely unique was a struggle on this one given the schedule gave me no time to experiment and a temp score existed that some were very committed to. But now that I am done, I intend to watch the movie again and give it a listen out of sheer curiosity. And if there are indeed similar elements, that would be pretty amazing, and then yes I would say there would be a spiritual connection between the two.

What do you think makes “Flatliners” different from the genre films you often score? And what does it show about where you can continue to venture in the worlds of horror, and now science fiction?

“Flatliners” is more sci-fi and psychological thriller than straight horror. And this was a conscious choice on the part of Niels. There are certainly some very scary moments in the film, but at its heart it wants to be more. And so there are a couple of story moments that allow for beautiful scoring that one might not expect in a straight-ahead horror film. In that way, I’d say “Flatliners” has more sci-fi elements than I have worked with before.

Do you think the ultimate mystery of death is both the creepiest and most wondrous thing you can score?

I don’t honestly know – certainly one of them!

If someone offered you the opportunity to flatline, with the surety of coming back, would you do it?

I don’t think I would because I would never look at life on planet earth the same way. I think there’s something very important in knowing that our time here is limited and that one day we will be gone from the planet with no idea of what’s next. Embracing the fear and excitement that comes with that brings a richness and mystery to life that would probably go away pretty quickly if we knew what existed on the other side.

“Flatliners” opens on September 29th, with Nathan Barr’s score available on Sony Classical Music

Visit Nathan Barr’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Classical Announces 'Goodbye Christopher Robin' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 27/09/2017 - 02:00
Sony Classical announces the release of [a.21435]Goodbye Christopher Robin (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[] with an original score by Academy Award-nominated composer [c.24]Carter Burwell[]. The soundtrack will be released digitally on September 29 and on CD on October 20, 2017. The film will be released in the US on October 13, 2017. [c.24]Carter Burwell[] said about the score: "One of the riskier decisions Simon Curtis and I made with the score was to withhold the main theme until the middle of the film, when A. A. Milne begins to write and his friend Ernest Shepard begins to illustrate "Winnie The Pooh". We did this to make that moment especially noteworthy, to make it the turning point of the story. Before that point,...

Read the full news item

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

September Soundtrack Picks

Film Music Magazine News - Di, 26/09/2017 - 20:26

Soundtrack Picks: “IT” is the top soundtrack to own for September, 2017

Also worth picking up: GOOK, THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD, HONEY I BLEW UP THE KID, MIRACLE MILE, UNREST, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY? and many more!

To Purchase the soundtracks from this list, click on the CD cover

THE TOP PICKS

1) GOOK

Price: $8.99

What is it?: This year has provided a virtual renaissance of great independent filmmaking, small-scale movies that have born similarly resourceful scores from budgetary resourcefulness. Perhaps none is more uniquely powerful than “Gook,” Roger Suen’s abstract city symphony, which plays in searing service of triple-threat writer, director and star Justin Chon. With a profanely in-your-face balance of humor and tragedy, that returns us to 1992, the year that LA’s ethnic enclaves were set upon during the city’s riots. Singled out were the stores belonging to Korean immigrants, strangers in a strange land trying to make a hardscrabble life from a financially devastated hood, the more vengeful members of whom use the titular slur for their perceived exploitators. “Gook’s” impactful emotion derives from the relationship between a black girl who hangs out at the truancy-enable shoe store owned by argumentative Korean brothers, a hilariously good-humored relationship that you’d expect to see in “Clerks” but ultimately turns to the far darker impact of “Do the Right Thing.” But thanks to Suen’s provocatively creative score, “Gook” manages to sample both films and their urban vibe to far better effect than either.

Why should you buy it?: With work as a programmer on “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” and “X-Men Days of Future Past,” Suen’s additional composing is more in the superhero realm of “Daredevil” and “The Defenders,” with sole credits on the dramas “Sacrifice” and “Lady Bug.” Taking an alternately realistic and surreal approach here. With a malleable, intimate theme that varies from poignant piano to plucked bass, Suen captivates with his urban tone poem. He constructs an isolated store from melancholy guitar and lonely jazz trumpet, while giving its sneaker-hungry clientele oddball pep with a tango. Sometimes using retro synth beats straight outta Casio alongside free form jazz riffs, Suen casts an oddball mood for its unlikely cross-cultural friendship, charting the film’s course from humor to anger and reconciliation, then all out madness as a fire-lit night descends upon the area.

Extra Special: Suen handles the tonal shift of “Gook” with devastating results, while creating near unbearable tension for characters on a tragic collision course. He ends on a note of somber self-reflection that makes “Gook’s” can’t-we-all-just-get-along message all the more impactful as a female singer providing a heavenly elegy. In a movie where characters are constantly screaming at one another to hilarious and gut punch effect, Suen is a real voice to watch out for.


2) THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

Price: $11.99

What Is it?: Since making his first Hollywood splash with the kinetic conspiracy score to 2008’s “Vantage Point,” Icelandic composer Atli Orvarsson’s action stylings have mainly veered to swords and crossbows with the entertaining likes of “The Eagle” “Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters” and “The Mortal Instruments.” Now he comes roaring back to the present with “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” a gleeful R-rated cavalcade of car chases, shootings, stabbings and barroom brawling.

Why Should You Buy It?:
Given a virtual checklist of multiplex action mayhem, both score and film invest a welcome screw-this attitude that thankfully makes this “Bodyguard” a bit more than going through the usual motions. One big reason is that a Sam Jackson is holding a gun in one hand and a harmonica in the other as he belts out the F-bomb blues. Similarly, this is a score that gloriously doesn’t give a shit as it’s pouring on a comic world of hurt. Orvarsson goes for a sound that’s way more caper than crime from its opening theme title track with voice, organ, funk guitar and orchestra, setting up a mighty fun ride. Like a descendent to Danny Elfman’s “Midnight Run” score on steroids, Orvarsson’s score is all badass attitude at embodying Jackson’s too cool for school assassin. It’s antic energy versus facepalm exasperation in how groovily “Hitman” gets its funk on, the fact that it’s playing in international locations making the approach all the more fun. A bit of sadness almost turns into a gospel lament, while “Kincaid’s Gospel” gets an Eric Clapton-style guitar theme that “Lethal Weapon’s” Martin Riggs would be proud to call his own (the theme even getting a sweet accordion and Hammond organ spin later on). Gary Oldman doing his scene-munching villain thang gets an evil Eastern European cimbalom, because who can musically call himself a tyrant from the region without one? Yet it’s a cliché that gets a big boost when a metal guitar roars in with an orchestra. Composer Dimitri Golovko is also on hand to abet this craziness with the retro flutes and guitar for a boat chase. It’s all part of the truly fun, subversive quality that makes Orvarsson’s score, and the film, so much more enjoyable than the kind of action sampling we’d usually get for this kind of stuff, let alone filmmaking.

Extra Special: When you’ve got the kind of smirking, blood-covered humor of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” you’d better count songs being used to obvious, yet impactfully ironic effect. You can be sure that Sam Jackson’s got the blues soul with “Nobody Gets Out Alive,” preaching it with a hand-clapping ending. Authentic, harmonica-blowing hangdog grooves are provided by Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band, with retro R&B by Chucky Berry giving the soundtrack its soul power, Other iconic, now gooey love songs play out against ultra violence to obviously knowing effect, from Lion Richie’s “Hello” to Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” and King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight,” while Spiderbait does a cool heavy metal spin on “Black Betty.” The end result is a song-score soundtrack that’s a blast on both ends, killing clichés, while indulging in them with delightful vengeance.



3) IT

Price: $13.49

What is it?: Having last musically terrorized a bunch of kids with “Annabelle Creation,” Benjamin Wallfisch gets perhaps the ultimate evil play pal to work his dark magic on with Pennywise. Indeed, the possessed doll and dancing clown could be kissing cousins given the lush, melodic approach that the composer applies to the idea of bonding against the cackling face of childhood-friendly evil. But if “Annabelle” is a quite good spin from Blumhouse’s “Conjuring” franchise with all of the expected shocks, Stephen King’s iconic creation definitely gives Wallfisch’s music a bit more young meat to chew on.

Why should you buy it?: Perhaps it’s Wallfisch’s English background that’s given him an unusually classy approach to horror scoring with such ghostly works as “The Thirteenth Tale” the criminally underrated insanity of “A Cure for Wellness” – while also showing he could go for the scare-a-minute approach of “Lights Out.” But with a generation-spanning story “It” Wallfisch gets a horror epic on an small scale It’s fertile storm drain ground from which to weave a mythic fairy score. Given how many horror soundtracks are now are all dissonant shock and awe, Wallfisch’s generally symphonic approach comes across as a welcome, lush throwback to the days when composers like Bruce Broughton and James Horner created the nightmare fuel of a geek generation brought up on the likes of “The Monster Squad” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” But make no mistake here that twisted, raging impressionism is lurking around in doorways, basements and drain pipes amongst the evil carnival music, waiting to spring while hypnotizing us inside with bells and whispered voices. It’s the rare score that really does scare the shit out of you, no more so than in Wallfisch’s sampling of screaming kids. But if Pennywise were just Jason in white makeup as opposed to a hockey mask, it’s likely no one would care about the film. For it’s that we’re rooting for these kids to triumph not only against ancient fiend, but real-world bullies and parents alike that make the film and score particularly affecting. Wallfisch’s empathetic score helps make us truly care this Loser’s Club, creating a feeling of camaraderie even within the darkest cues, all while giving a cosmic sense of the much bigger bright light dimension from which Pennywise hails.

Extra Special: Horror films seem to demand as much music as comedies, and Wallfisch’s hypnotic score is spread over two generous CD’s, never becoming tiring amidst the tension. Better yet amidst a veritable amusement park of musical evil, we get a delicious bit of calliope for Pennywise doing his happy dance. It’s an evil organ that to send us off salivating for what Wallfisch will be doing for the next even more tormented, grown-up chapter of “It.” In the meantime, there’s much to savor from this rare example of a horror score being as moving as it is terrifying.


4) MIRACLE MILE

Price: $24.95

What is it?: There was a cool futurism to the Tangerine Dream scores that distinguished their 80’s heyday, a moodily electrified sound that made fantasy all the more beautifully strange in such soundtracks as “Legend” and “Firestarter.” The German collective gave a surreal atmosphere to such distinctly American locales as upscale Chicago (“Risky Business”) and the southwest (“Flashpoint,” “Near Dark”). But TD was no more beautifully chilling, or percussively suspenseful than when thinned to two members with group founder Edgar Froese, whom along with Paul Haslinger was awakened in the middle of the LA night, answering a phone call that signaled the end of the world for 1989’s “Miracle Mile.”

Why should you buy it?: Though dealing with the nuclear end of the earth, filmmaker Steve De Jarnatt’s powerful conceit was to make “Miracle Mile” an intimately scaled love story, beginning as a tar pit museum meet-cute between a musician and a waitress. The score accompanies their dream date with ethereal voice and melody, creating a saintly glow about the adorable couple. But the minute night falls, time becomes the score’s essence, especially as the seemingly milquetoast sax player turns into a warrior for true love, risking everything and everyone around him for the impossible goal of saving the instant meaning of his life from Armageddon. Tangerine Dream’s percussive clock starts running out from the moment its hero takes a fateful phone call outside of a diner, gloomy, sizzling sustains sinking in the shock of the missiles flying. Much like anyone’s perceptions at some ungodly hour, Dream’s music makes Harry’s race all the more surreal, their thematic rhythms winding into breakneck, rock and roll pace with a driving electric guitar. Dream’s talent was to layer in elements while keeping a straight line, a trademarked groove that keeps the music frantic, yet in melodic control. All roads lead inevitably to the heartbreaking rhythm of doomsday clock, music that’s all the more devastating as any sense of hope drains amidst its relentlessness, making “Miracle Mile’s” elegiac ending all the more devastating as its music is stripped back to a singular, tragic theme.

Extra Special: “Miracle Mile” was first released on an out-of-print soundtrack on Private Music, it’s soundtrack essentially different from the films with remixes, something Dream often did with their official releases, But now Dragon’s Domain Records reveals the full, rhythmic scope of this more relevant than ever cult film in a two-CD edition. The first contains the entire score and its especially unsettling washes of nuclear dread, as well as several ambient and rhythmic tracks, making its unwinnable race against time all the more suspenseful and emotional. The second disc reprises the original soundtrack that stands as its own conceptual album, with Randall D. Larson providing informative liner notes on a movie that’s sadly, and scarily more relevant than ever, even as the rhythmically inimitable sound of Tangerine Dream sound has found new retro favor amidst the likes of “Stranger Things” and “It Follows.”



5) WATERWORLD

Price: $29.98

What is it?: As one of the most notable composers to rise from the post-John Williams generation, James Newton Howard has often been called upon to unleash his massive orchestral skills under apocalyptic scheduling situations – emerging with a masterworks that sound like he’s had years to develop their wealth of themes. One big case in point is 1995’s “Waterworld,” a much-maligned Hollywood “disaster” that was actually nothing of the sort for the kind of press that would later try to sink “Titanic.” Though awash in the usual creative differences, longtime Kevin Costner-centric director Kevin Reynolds (“Fandango”) essentially turned his star into Namor the Sub Mariner (even given that last name) in a globally warmed and flooded-over earth. The result, which Costner ended up taking over with his “Wyatt Earp” composer on deck, was an entertainingly lavish film whose zillions of dollar were on the screen, and hugely abetted by Howard’s veritable tsunami of symphonic forces.

Why should you buy it?: Having delivered vast, yet atmospheric scores with “Flatliners,” “The Fugitive” and “Outbreak,” “Waterworld” balances a haunting, synth-inflected world music portrait of a drowned earth with cliffhanging heroics that might take place had the planet been covered by Sherwood Forest. With humanity collected into armadas of rusty ships, Howard brings in tribal percussion with exotic percussion and wind instruments, as complimented with rhythmic keyboards that show Howard’s own musical origins arranging in the pop world. A biblical chorus impresses as it bestows judgment upon the sunken ruins of civilization, while the evil “smokers” are given brash, brassy imperiousness – no less than the positively Nazi-esque Sturm und Drang march of Dennis Hopper’s oil tanker pirate commander. The Deacon’s,” foe is at first a surly Gillman only out for himself a la Mad Max, an attitude conveyed with apprehensive strings. But give The Mariner a ragtag woman and a kid to soften him up, and Howard is happy to oblige with rousingly noble music that explodes with old-school swashbuckling excitement, often as Costner is swinging like Robin Hood over fireballs. While at times beautifully languid for its water ballets, Howard invests furious pace into “Waterworld,” especially in The Mariner’s climactic assault on “The Deez, the music’s thundering momentum positively western. But then given that Howard was awarded “Waterworld” based on his epic score for Costner’s “Wyatt Earp,” it should come as no surprise that his hellbent-for-dry earth approach plays like that sheriff is back in town.

Extra Special: “Waterworld” is filled with enough music to make two-CD’s worth, fluidly connected by Howard’s inter-weaving of any number of striking themes. Having done similarly terrific jobs with such copious scores from the composer as “Wyatt Earp” and “The Fugitive,” La La Land’s reveals this complete “Waterworld” as a masterwork of take-no-prisoners action scoring, complete with demo versions of several cues that show just how good that Howard’s orchestral emulation was. The composer also offers unusually candid thoughts on the unbridled zest that he threw himself into with this awesome “orchestral violence,” as spoken within Tim Grieving’s entertaining liner notes. But perhaps most touchingly on a label known for its end-of-album treats is six minutes of sincere humbleness as Howard gives his appreciation for the orchestra’s yeoman work, followed by Costner’s own sincere tribute to what the composer pulled off under the gun.

ALSO FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

. BATTLE OF THE SEXES

“The Battle of the Sexes” may have been tennis version of a grudge wrestling match, but it had the very real effect in showing people that professional tennis wasn’t a boy’s club. Still, one might have expected the fateful game between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King to have been played with the wacky spirit of “Dodgeball” and scored as a sports comedy by way of Bill Conti. However, viewers will likely be surprised to find that the team between “Little Miss Sunshine” have made an unusually meditative movie that at first concentrates far more on Jean’s discovery of her sexual identity. So it’s no surprise that they’ve brought in the Oscar-nominated composer of “Moonlight” to play Jean’s awakening with that same muted sensitivity, giving a hairdresser’s touch a beautiful, translucently echoing approach for piano and synth that typifies the movie’s psychological approach to the match of that century between women’s libber and chauvinist pig, whose antics betray an ironic, circus-like emptiness in Britell’s hands. It’s an interesting, interior way of playing the expected the demands of a “sports” score that highlights the difference between a loveable, talented yahoo who’s putting on act for the world to see, and the interior tenseness of strings and percussion for a woman out to win a personal struggle as much as she is to prove her brethren’s worth. Yet that doesn’t mean that Britell can’t have some traditional sense of excitement, as a swirling, rhythmic orchestra carries inspiration that could fit a Rocky training montage. As we get to the big day, Britell creates a sense of introspective apprehension with organ and piano, finally landing on the thunderdome with a sound so mighty you’d think that Billie Jean was about to enter an alien’s space rift. It’s an unexpected, impactful way of translating the awe of just what she’s gotten herself into. But even the most alternative sports film or score has got to pay off for the big game, which Britell does in style as he brings his orchestra to the fore with thematic back and forth, taking a singular melodic idea and terrific varying it about for nearly ten minutes that conveys both the breathless excitement, and suspense of two competitors stripped of their soundbytes, with their eye on the bigger picture ball. It’s a bit like hearing a poetic bookworm suddenly run for a touchdown, and Britell’s always-intriguing approach shows just how well-crafted his building thematic strategy is. Equally empowering is the concluding song “If I Dare” by Sarah Bareilles, her powerful voice over Britell’s melody soaring with a pride that shows the way bigger picture of a game its composer wins with unexpected, cerebral serves, game, set and match.


. BODY DOUBLE (Reissue)

When Bernard Herrmann passed away before he could continue an association begun with Brian De Palma on “Sisters” and “Obsession,” the filmmaker came up with a solution worthy of “Vertigo” in finding an Italian composer who spoke the same grand guignol language, then having him dress in operatically thrilling, if sensitive garb. But to say that “Don’t Look Now’s” Pino Donaggio was just some Herrmann imitator is to miss how wonderfully he gave it his own deeply personal style with the likes of “Dressed To Kill” and “Blow Out.” But no film in the Donaggio-De Palma collaboration reached the bombastically lurid awesomeness of 1984’s “Body Double,” which almost broke some kind of film scoring fifth wall in having Donaggio sex up Herrmann into a porn star’s leather and lingerie outfit. Had Herrmann been given more years, he just might have picked up on the Reagan era’s pop groove in the same, cooingly delicious way as Donaggio does here. Right from the shrieking, shivering strains of a cheesy B vampire movie that finds its rather pathetic hero unable to act his way out of a coffin, Donaggio of his score’s insane and romantic wares hang out. And that’s part of this deliriously thematic score’s delicious, bat-flapping, power-tool penetrating humor, as well as its far more demure passages for silken pantie suspense. As its protagonist is lured into an impossibly labyrinthine plot of deception, Donaggio one-ups his suspenseful music-only passage from “Dressed to Kill’s” Museum of Modern Art spying, convey a pseudo-stalker’s desperate yearning that’s certain to end in bloody disaster. In other sequences, wonderfully cheesy synth work captures a groove that would fit easily into porn as much as 80’s horror, while wet synth rhythm and hypnotic female cooing leads us into a self-exploratory silhouette dance. But it’s a measure of Donaggio’s score of how he transfer it’s melody into shimmering sensuality, of course to be interrupted by the roaring brass of an ominous “Indian” stalker that embodies camera-swinging claustrophobia. Listening to “Body Double” now not only makes us hear how much we miss Herrmann, but just how well Donaggio suited the twisted Hitchcockian auteur at his most insanely devoted. As we pine for Donaggio to really give up the ghost for De Palma again, it’s certainly great to have the long out-of-print “Body Double” back on Intrada with even better sound, with the trailer music by Jonathan Elias to boot for this edition that we like to watch.



. FEUD; BETTE AND JOAN / MR. ROBOT VOL. 3

Television has yielded any number of dramatic contrasts for Mac Quayle (“American Crime Story,” “American Horror Story”), especially when it comes to two women fiercely in the pubic eye and a male computer hack struggling to stay off the grid. While “Feud” may have sadly taken home no gold in an Emmy ceremony awash in suburban white privilege as opposed to retro Hollywood’s, Ryan Murphy’s miniseries about the legendary rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford will likely stand the test of time as a wondrous tribute to tinsel town’s glamour and its sad, if not vicious underbelly. Beautifully done from start to miniseries finish, a real gem in “Feud’s” Emmys that should’ have been was the gorgeous, spot-on soundtrack by Quayle. Given lush strings worthy of the golden scoring age, Quayle channels the spirit of every composer from “Vertigo’s” Bernard Herrmann to Henry Mancini a la “Charade,” if not Robert Aldrich’s favored Frank De Vol and the raging strains of “What Ever Happened To Baby Jane” and “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.” What made “Feud” so good was that Murphy let the story’s camp value speak for itself, having some catty fun with the material without ever treating it without condescension. Quayle’s alternately sleek and operatic sound works in the same way. With an ironic noir theme, he captures two grand dames whose movie personas rule their real lives, while also hearing the scared souls inside of their PR personas. Wounded violins interplay with the glamorous high life of cha-cha’s and big band jazz, while a smoky trumpet positively calls Jake Gittes romping ground. But Quayle isn’t after period pastiche, let along a Louella Parsons-worthy poison pen at these fallen idols trying to claw their way back up top over each other. It’s swooning, sympathetic work that’s way more big screen than small in capturing movie magic, and the façade behind it.

Things are considerably colder for hacktivist Elliot Aldersson as “Mr. Robot” enters its third season, which is a particularly good time for Lakeshore Records to release a third volume of Quayle’s electronically intensive scoring – cleverly packaged yet again with the soundtrack’s “let’s play a game” instructions. Where retro Tangerine Dream scoring is now in vogue, especially when it comes to computer-intensive shows, Quayle’s antihero is too quirky for even that cool, rhythmic sheen. Instead. “Mr. Robot’s” latest musical hacks are far more foreboding and unique. You’re not about to hear an ersatz “Tron” game grid on this lonely, often harsh soundscape as Quayle conjures string ghosts in the machine, weaving them with isolated piano, child-like bells and crafty percussion. The result is ever-mutating, hypnotic rhythms and gnarled samples that resound with the threat of shadow government data. It’s suspense served in droning, bubbling and synthetically growling style, as frightening and hypnotic a musical approximation of being sucked into circuitry and a topsy-turvy conspiracy world as you’re likely to hear. All the while, Quayle doesn’t forget to digitize the haunted, human factor whose musical virus only continues to be consumed in the dawning age of Skynet.



. HONEY I BLEW UP THE KID (Expanded)

There’s a special magic to Bruce Broughton’s music when it comes to capturing the pure, child-like innocence of so many beloved kid-friendly genre films like “The Boy Who Could Fly,” “Harry and the Hendersons” and even the perhaps not-so adolescent “Monster Squad.” Yet it’s that fear factor that Broughton delightfully subverted as he leveled up the cheerfully destructive antics of “Honey I Blew Up The Kid.” On the film’s 25th anniversary, Intrada unleashes what’s arguably Broughton’s most thoroughly fun genre matinee score in its full, outsized form. With James Horner taking a Nino Rota-esque circus approach for the original “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” Broughton gives the sequel more of 40’s-style big top sound that salutes the classic toon stylings of both Bugs Bunny’s Carl Stalling and Tom and Jerry’s Scott Bradley. Indeed, Broughton’s main theme sounds like mad science itself as personified by Rick Moranis’ lovably dweebish inventor dad, baby bells and big brass. But that’s only a small part of the enormous wealth of melodies that fill up the score that show’s Broughton’s range with a full orchestra, The often woozy brass is used at its lowest register to impress us with a toddler behemoth on the march, his rhythms bouncing about like “Peter and the Wolf” while familial bonding is conveyed through sweet electric keyboards. “Honey” is no more delightful then when its kid takes on Vegas, as Broughton turns the rampaging music of so many 1950’s giant monsters-on-the-loose scores on their juvenile head. He delightfully infantilizes them with a pounding lullaby melody and ice cream truck bells, yet doesn’t forget truly adventurous chase music that gets across the danger at giant hand, if not exactly its threat. Even pausing to play a western hoedown at the sight of Vegas’ famed neon cowboy, Broughton turns the outsized son treating The Strip as a toy into a whirling, dance-like number. Intrada’s new release of “Honey” sounds bigger, and better than before, offering numerous alternate takes, as well as Broughton’s delightful music for the “Honey”-accompanying animated short “Off His Rockers,” where he applies the Americana western sound of his majestic scores to “Silverado” and “Tombstone” to turn on a rocking hose dime.


. PAST LIFE

Crafting a score for a movie where music itself is an essential part of the story can be as challenging as it is a wealth of opportunity, no more so than when seeking to embody an Israeli composer haunted by her parents’ Holocaust past. But composer Cyrille Aufort makes the Hitchcockian most of it with “Past Life” as an Israeli musician and her scandal-reporting sister gradually discover an especially troubling act that enabled their existence. Aufort, whose credits include the richly emotional costume drama “A Royal Affair” (alongside Gabriel Yared) and the murderously sensual genetic creation of “Splice” is clearly someone who can get into a womens’ emotional skin, especially when given a journey of personal discovery. While he recalls the dark romance of “Basic Instinct” in his score’s sensually foreboding use of strings and piano, Avi Nesher’s powerful, truth-based film is about uncovering the devastation caused by love, both romantic and familial under unimaginable circumstances. Aufort’s lush, melancholy score makes effective use of haunted, female voices, the score at once subtly tragic and dangerous as it wavers between innocence and collective guilt. Particularly impactful is “The Concert,” a crazily modernistic piece written by Avner Dorfman for chorus, electric guitar and orchestra that are suspensefully used to counterpoint its performance alongside a desperate medical episode. Giving “Past Life” its deeply moving conclusion is The Time Will Come.” As composed by Ella Milch- Sheriff, on whose life the movie is partly based, the choral concert work brings together a haunted past with a plea for healing, making “Past Life” an especially resonant soundtrack in a powerful repertoire that hinges upon the emotional devastation wreaked by The Holocaust.



. POPEYE (Deluxe Edition)

Robert Altman was a director who marched to his own drummer, and any studio brass that might have expected a remotely traditional musical from him would be woefully mistaken. Yet the chance to have the superstar comic madman Robin Williams apply his stream-of-consciousness hilarity to an iconic one-eyed, freakishly muscular sailor, was to good to be true, leading Walt Disney and Paramount to threw the big budget dice on 1980’s “Popeye.” Altman and his eccentric repertory company built the surreal town of Sweetwater off the coast of Malta, with a script by famed playwright and fan Jules Feiffer creating one of the most visually faithful comic strip adaptations ever, while losing none of Altman’s own absurdity in the bargain. But even if the non-sequitur dialogue overlapped as always, the lyrics of Harry Nilsson shined through to similarly oddball, if sweetly poignant effect. That the distinctively voiced, and singularly named musician hailed from Swedish circus performers, creating a an often whimsical, if not regretful view of life in any number of hit movie and TV songs like “Midnight Cowboy’s” “Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me,” the tune-filled cartoon “The Point” and “All That Jazz’s” beautifully woeful “A Perfect Day.” For all of its scope, “Popeye” would be no less personal, with characters poignantly pining for true love, or hamburgers. Often using a Tinpan Alley approach that was well-suited to a turn-of-the-century look (even as the opening anthem “Sweet Haven” almost turns into the American one), “Popeye’s” tunes were all the more charming for seemingly not having a trained musical theater voice among the cast outside of “Damn Yankees” veteran Ray Walston, who does a hilarious proto-rap about every reason why he hates “Kids,” The brutishly typecast Paul L. Smith exclaims the joys of bullying with “I’m Mean,” Paul Dooley rationalizes that “Everything is Food,” Robin Williams proudly proclaims “I Yam What I Yam.” and Shelly Duvall deliciously gives reasons for adoring the oversized with “He’s Large,” Some lyrics are ear-catchingly adult, as when the town drunk number “Din’ We” reminisces about lost love in New York City. Varese Sarabande’s lovingly assembled two-CD edition of “Popeye” with excellent liner notes from Jerry McCulley, gather a number of unreleased tunes, along with a cliffhanging underscore by Tom Pierson (who scored Altman’s “Quintet” and “A Perfect Couple” that sounds like Wagner as crossed with the music of an old Republic serial. But better yet is the second CD that features Nilsson himself demo’ing the songs in his inimitably soulful and whimsical voice. It doesn’t get better than a ten minute take of the musician working with Shelly Duval to achieve the right, yearning tone to sing along with the pump-organ of “He Needs Me,” his sympathetic accompaniment making for the magical take that not only got her the part, but ended up much later in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch Drunk Love,” which likely will remain the lasting legacy of “Popeye.” It’s funny how a beanpole wallflower pining for a squinty, punchy sailor worked so well as the theme song between an occasionally violent, bipolar pudding lid collector and a lovelorn bank worker. And you’re not likely to have an insight into Nilsson’s magic, let alone the creative process of songwriting itself, as wonderfully lovelorn as that song might be.


. STRONGER

Anyone expecting a heartwarming exemplification of the can-do “Boston Strong” spirit won’t find any sugarcoating on this unsparingly powerful film about the a man who was thrust into embodied the resilient phrase, but was anything but that. After losing most of his legs in the marathon bombing, Jeff Bauman (excellent played by Jake Gyllenhaal) sinks into a morass of anger and infantilism that makes recovery seems impossible despite the efforts of a more-than-understanding girlfriend and an overbearing mom. It’s a situation that’s dramatic enough without having a score manipulate uplift. Thankfully, composer Michael Brook only has to subtly push to let the full emotional weight of the film sink in. Having shown a talent for ethereal scores that convey young people cut adrift from life and struggling to find meaning with “Into the Wild” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (not to mention scoring the swear-filled Boston townie spirit of “The Fighter”), Brook creates a score that’s truly light on its feet. With only a cheerful cue to begin the film on a note of way happier and ambulatory times, Brook plunges Jeff into the smoky haze of the terrorist attack’s aftermath with somber, almost transparent melody for strings, piano and synth. It’s music that’s as much about atmosphere as mood, creating a dispiritng sense of loss without being depressing about it. Through his poignant, transfixing approach, we can hear both the resilience of tender guitar and shell-shock of dark electronics. Judiciously using his orchestra, Brook’s lyrical score elevates his hero slowly, but steadily, the striving music finally triumphant with an organ and march rhythm that becomes a saying that’s frequently bandied about by every well-meaning person in the film, but one infinitely harder to reach than any patriotic feel-good reporting might have it. For a movie that wears its realism with gritty, unforced pride, Michael Brook’s powerfully subtle, poetic score knows the true meaning of what it really takes to be Boston Strong.



. THUNDER ROAD: THE FILM MUSIC OF JACK MARSHALL (1,200 edition)

It’s rare when a soundtrack oldie compilation hits you like a bolt from the blue, especially given a composer you’ve likely never heard of (though you’ve certainly heard of his piano session player John Williams, whose praises open the album booklet). Yet such is the hillbilly excitement that Jack Marshall unleashes in La La Land’s totally unexpected, but greatly welcome release top-lined by the composer’s “Thunder Road.” Imagine a finger pickin’ country guitar doing swing time excitement as Robert Mitchum runs moonshine past smokies and mobsters, and you’ll instantly light up with the delirious inventiveness of a composer who really brought the guitar into orchestral scoring. With stringed instruments in his blood from “a banjo-playing oilman” dad, Marshall is best known for his groovy fuzz guitar theme for “The Munsters.” But it’s Marshall’s harmonica-blowing, guitar pickin’ score for this 1958 actioner that set him in good course to score such seminal western TV shows as “Have Gun – Will Travel,” Wagon Train” and “Laredo.” Marshall certainly knew how to drive a great theme through the score in this drive in classic precursor to “White Lightning,” with swooning symphonic romance and two-fisted melodrama to spare. But it’s when his score hits the gas that “Thunder Road” achieves a crazy “orchestral rockabilly” nirvana in a good ol’ boy symphonic jam session, an unlikely dance between upscale sophistication and lowdown energy that’s positively inspired. “Thunder Road” also includes numbers from jazz chanteuse and co-star Keely Smith, with “The Ballad of Thunder Road” and “Whippoorwill” both co-written by Mitchum. Less crazy, but no less effective is Marshal’s score for 1959’s “Take A Giant Step,” a quite daring film about a black teenager finding his way in the white suburbs. Marshall takes a dynamic symphonic approach here, his strings giving sympathy to a rebel with a cause. “Giant” is also full of 50’s pop-jazz goodness, from big band swing to ice cream parlor jive to accordion beat burlesque. Filling out the album is Marshall’s score to 1959’s “The Rabbit Trap,” with “Marty’s” Ernest Borgnine as a more upscale working class schlub who can’t take a vacation for the life of him, leaving a caged rabbit in his distraught son’s wake. With harmonica and more jazz inflection, Marshall draws a line from the harmonica great outdoors to the big city workplace, giving a charming, upbeat tenderness to the score. As nice a discovery as a vintage release can be, “The Film Music of Jack Marshall” has ace TV music journalist Jon Burlingame filling us in on this unsung composer for a nicely designed booklet, that also features a touching appreciation from Jack’s famed producer son Frank. If anything, I can only salivate for a release of Marshall’s hot rodding score to “The Giant Gila Monster” and of course Elvis’ “Stay Away, Joe” score after these delights.



. UNREST

Matching his beyond-prolific output with continually interesting and inventive scores. Bear McCreary has often dealt with horror from the full-blooded orchestral fear of “Ten Cloverfield Lane” to the rustic eeriness of “The Walking Dead” and the southern-fried suspense of “Rest Stop.” But somehow he’s ever dealt with the awfulness of a seemingly inexplicable, real-life zombification of chronic fatigue syndrome, where once-healthy and vivacious people have the life sapped from them. Such was the disease that befell Harvard PHD student Jennifer Brea. But as opposed to letting bedridden exhaustion consume her body and soul, she decided to document her struggle to get back her life, while finding kindred spirits in this acclaimed film. It’s a still mis-diagnosed condition that creates an eerily spellbound vibe to McCreary’s work, with a chamber-like intimacy that fans of his Philip Glass-ian work for the revamped “Battlestar Galactica,” as well as the more eerily meditative music within “The Walking Dead” will appreciate listening to. Beginning with a rhythmic violin and string melody, McCreary’s perky music suggests something is off, his approach becoming more troubling as the beat of an MRI machine fills the soundtrack, a quite dreadful feeling that anyone who’s been inside of one these consuming metal beast can attest to. Yet McCreary somehow makes it remotely musical with the cello to cut through the white noise. Brea’s isolation is conveyed with piano and electric guitar as samples whip about her, the score’s consciousness descending into piercing, metallic sounds. Yet humor isn’t lost as mock theremin and lurching percussion convey “mysterious green stuff.” The essentially unplugged, subtly thematic nature of “Unrest” does much to convey his subject’s difficult switch from depression to activism, as the exotic Gamelan bells of “Joyful Tears” and sustained poignancy of CSD victims get across a muted sense of hop, but one that’s very much there. It’s a finally reassuring attitude powerfully voiced in the alt. folk of Ren Gill’s “Patience” and McKian’s “And After All.” McCreary does exceptionally well within the intimate range of documentary scoring with “Unrest,” a truly interesting score that takes us through the inner world of a heroine, and her internet-connected world of fellow sufferers, conveying the psychological power to take command of life against a spirit-against-body affliction.



. WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY?

After twice resurrecting Nazi zombies for fellow Norwegian Tommy Wirkola, composer Christian Wibe gets to indulge times seven in the director’s most excitingly twisted picture yet by asking the question “What Happened To Monday?” Though made under the Netflix prestige of dystopian respectability this time out, Wirkola is no less insane, or fun as hidden septuplets brave a one-child law to diminishing, if exciting effect. But what’s new for Wirkola is the real emotional investment that comes with the twinning effects and “Bourne”-worthy chases, especially given the distinctive performances by original Libeth Salander Noomi Rapace. Unleashing dense, propulsive rhythms for a succession of near escapes and being brutally by Glenn Close’s evil minions, Wibe’s score is terrific, throttling stuff that might speak the same alt. orchestral sample language of many action scores of its type. Yet he manages to give his propulsive energy its own identity, especially with electronics that get across an overpopulated near future that gets trimmed a bit here. But what’s particularly special about the desperately suspenseful pulse of “Monday” is the thematic feeling that Wibe gives the score, conveying the loneliness of seven sisters who’ve spent their always threatened lives in service of becoming one person for the good of the many. It’s a yearning to be free that’s reflected through a powerful, beautifully melancholy theme that invests no small amount of emotion in “Monday” as Wirkola makes the film way more than the sum of what could have been clichéd future shock Eastern Euro-shot parts. It’s a suspenseful, fun score with feminine heart, as adept at unleashing foot chases and ingenious evasions as it is making you melodically care about its singularly multiple heroines. Hopefully at the least, “Monday” will let Wibe make a deserved mad dash into a Hollywood action-scoring scene that needs all of the unique composers it can get.



CLICK on the album covers to make your hardcopy or download purchase, and find the soundtracks at these. com’s: Amazon, Intrada, iTunes, Moviescoremedia and Screen Archives Entertainment



Celebrate the legendary Lalo Schifrin’s 85th Birthday on October 7th at Glendale’s Alex Theater with an all-star band and special guests! Buy your tickets HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: September 22

Soundtrack News - Za, 23/09/2017 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.124]Cliff Martinez[] ([m.48562]Game Night[]), [c.810]Nathan Barr[] ([m.50631]The House with a Clock in Its Walls[]) and [c.3198]Johann Johannsson[] & [c.7675]Hildur Guonadottir[] ([m.48862]Mary Magdalene[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 40 new soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2017-09-19]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this weekend are (with music by): [m.46386]Friend Request[] ([c.18668]Gary Go[] & [c.2632]Martin Todsharow[]), [m.44923]Kingsman: The Golden Circle[] ([c.1480]Henry Jackman[] & [c.2159]Matthew Margeson[]) and [m.41250]The LEGO Ninjago Movie[]...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: 'Chasing Coral' Soundtrack Released

Soundtrack News - Vr, 22/09/2017 - 02:00
[a.21661]Chasing Coral - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] has been released exclusively for one week on iTunes and Apple Music on Zero Emissions Day, September 21st, and on all other music streaming platforms on September 28th. The album features the original score by [c.2590]Dan Romer[] ([m.48141]The Little Hours[], [m.33502]Beasts of the Southern Wild[]) and [c.18820]Saul Simon MacWilliams[] ([m.46538]Gleason[], [m.48989]Becoming Warren Buffet[]), as well as an original song written by [c.2590]Dan Romer[] and Teddy Geiger called "Tell Me How Long," with vocals by Kristen Bell. [m.48140]Chasing Coral[] - a Netflix Original Documentary - launched this summer to critical acclaim winning the Sundance Film Festival Audience...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Clint Mansell

Film Music Magazine News - Vr, 22/09/2017 - 01:11

Since his mad science scoring debut with the brain-drilling mathematician of 1998’s “Pi,” the former member of Pop Will Eat Itself has often gorged on excessive characters – from drug addicts destroying their bodies for the ultimate high (“Requiem for a Dream”) to an ultra competitive ballerina’s descent into madness (“Black Swan”) and a biblical prophet driven to the sacrifice his daughter to survive the ultimate flood (“Noah”). But of all of the movies where Clint Mansell has weaved mesmerizing, tone poems of electronics and orchestra to convey self destruction, perhaps no subject is better known for flaming out with such beauty as Vincent Van Gogh.

While the artist’s end is no more tragic than any other Mansell muse, the visual, and musical path to reach the final notes of a misunderstood life passionately lived has yielded an uncommonly gorgeous and haunting score with “Loving Vincent.” But then, it’s hard for any creator not to be sparked with this film’s achievement. As conceived by directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, “Loving Vincent” takes the “rotoscoping” technique of pre-filming animation as live action, and then turning the subjects to toons to a whole new dimension. Rendered as hundreds of original oil paintings that morph from one classic Gogh drawing and painting to the next, “Loving Vincent” traces the mysterious life and death of an painter way before his time, as told to an admirer from those who knew Van Gogh in the rustic village where he breathed his last.

It’s a rich palette for Mansell to color from in his fusion of sound, its waves of melody building from strokes and circular motions to fashion a sympathetic portrait of the first modern artist. French inflections weave with escalating melody, spare piano and strings fathom a tortured soul through his own narration, and echoed percussion becomes the mental illness that finds expression in the harm that he brought to himself. It’s an uncommonly rich and sympathetic portrait that finds a sense of peace uncommon for Mansell’s often rhythmically visceral work, while being equally as hypnotic in hearing creativity at its most revolutionary – as heard from a composer with no small imprint of his own with giving scoring the shock of the new.


Before you started on this film, what did Vincent Van Gogh mean to you as a creative person?

Like most people, I knew of some of the paintings and of the ear incident, But for the making of this film, the directors gave me lots of books for research, especially this book called “Van Gogh: The Life,” which was really insightful because I knew absolutely nothing about his struggles and failed career attempts, his castigation from his family, who disowned him, the loneliness and his mental health which really worked against him. Van Gogh was a troubled individual, which gave me a very rich background to work with, musically speaking.

How did you get involved with “Loving Vincent?”

Directors Hugh Welchman and Dorota Kobiela

Dorota Kobiela started working on it back in 2008. She was originally was going to make a short film on Van Gogh. But when she met Hugh Welchman, he had told her that it should be a bigger project than just a short feature. So, she started writing it as a film script, and only listened to my music while doing so. When it came time to decide who should score the movie, she did not want anybody else doing it except for me. She and Hugh had been trying to get in touch with me for years. I was basically non-committal because it was not quite there yet. But then I finally got to meet Dorota, I read the script and was completely sold on it. I then asked whom they had in mind for scoring and Dorota said that it had to be me. So I guess I didn’t have a choice in it!

This is the first animated film you’ve scored. Given that most of this genre is aimed at kids, what was it like to score something as bold as “Loving Vincent?”

I must admit I didn’t think about that at first, at least not in the animation sense. Since I’d never done a movie like this before I had nothing to compare it with. When I first saw the film, I was watching the live action version as opposed to the animated film it ultimately became. So Initially I focused on the emotions that were required from the storytelling aspect. When the animation was more complete I got to see a better picture of what needed to be done. Animated movies themselves seem to be rooted in pastiche, which is something I avoided completely as to compliment the story we were trying to tell.

Did you feel like a painter while scoring the film?

Arles Café Terrace at Night

Yes, to some degree—as all creative people start off with nothing and end up with something. Whatever medium you take, it doesn’t really matter, you know? There’s a process in finishing your work. A painter adds and adds and subtracts –very much what I do with music. Like the great Alan Moore said, “All artists are like magicians because they make something out of nothing.”

There’s a running theme in your work about obsessive characters that pursue their goal to the point of madness and self-destruction. How do you think that “Loving Vincent” fits into that?

I think he fits in well, actually. But where those films I’ve worked on before were works of fiction, this one is a work of reality.

The structure of “Loving Vincent” reminded me of “Citizen Kane”’s, where there’s a person trying to get the true story behind an icon’s death. Did the steady revelations about Van Gogh influence your approach?

Vincent (Robert Gulaczyk) in colour

Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t really know much about Van Gogh, so I scored it as if it were in real time. It wasn’t like I went into the project fully armed. But once I spent time scoring it and had a chance to listen to what I did coming in, I was able to make the needed changes and grew closer to the project as I got closer to the truth of the film.

Of all of the classic works of Vincent that the film replicates, did you have a favorite?

There are about a hundred of his works represented in the film, which made it a particularly great thing to work on. I do have a favorite but it is not in the finished film. It’s a drawing of his called “Sorrow” I found it to be very profound.

Van Gogh put layer upon layer of color into his work so that they came across as three-dimensional. Did you view your own layering of your scores with orchestral and electronics in the same way?

Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth) arriving in Auvers by train

Though I didn’t really approach scoring “Loving Vincent” in that way, I’ve got to say that it had that same quality. One of the things I looked at was where Vincent was at that time of the film’s setting. Yet I didn’t want to do a Gaelic-sounding score. It would seem very confusing to many watching the film. So when I was writing I was focusing on those instruments of the time, I also wanted to feel his speed where he would make pieces in such short amounts of time.

Your scores have always been hypnotic, very mesmerizing. We feel lost in them, the same way we would in becoming absorbed by Vincent’s work.

I want to be transported as viewer, and I try to do the same with my scores. I don’t know if that’s the right thing for films at times. But if I can get people lost in the movie with the music, then I feel that was what I wanted to achieve. So, there is a sort of hypnosis to my work.

You use female voices in an especially haunting way for “Loving Vincent.” Do you think they make the film tragic?

Marguerite Gachet (Saoirse Ronan) at the piano

You get to feel that Vincent’ life was tragic, even though he has been immortalized. He’ll probably be around as long as we’re around. Even though he made magical work, he never got away from himself.

The film ends with Don McLean’s song, “Starry Starry Night,” which I never realized was about Van Gogh until I saw this film. Can you talk about Lianne La Havas’ version for “Loving Vincent?”

Landscape Starry Night over the Rhone

I knew it as a kid back then, but I never retained that information until later in my life. When the film came up I sort of remembered it, almost to the point where I almost joked about it, like “Oh, we’ll never do THAT.” But as time went on, it started to make sense, especially when I did a version with me on the acoustic guitar. It just sort of grew from there. Matt Dunkley and I worked out an orchestral arrangement that would have the flavor of the score, and everybody just loved it. We asked Don McClain for the rights to re-record it “Starr Starry Night,” and got a letter back saying that we’d need X-amount, which we couldn’t afford. So we sent Don a package with a clip of the film with the music. And when he saw that, he just loved it and said we could have the song. Then we needed someone who cold bring it to life, and Lianne La Havas was a friend of a friend.

You scored the most popular episode of “Black Mirror” this season with “San Junipero.” What was it like working on the Emmy-winning episode, especially as it centered around songs?

“Black Mirror” was really strange. I liked the episode I worked on. But I thought, “My God, this is so different from the other episodes. Is this going to tank?” I did the mixes, but never produced them in stereo, as I thought we’d never need them, especially as there wasn’t much time to score it So when the episode came out and people went crazy for it, I went back in the studio and did new mixes for the Lakeshore album. I wasn’t prepared for the reception “San Junipero” got. It’s quite amazing, and really wonderful. The songs weren’t a problem to be honest, in as much with working with them. They figured them all out from the get-go. It was sort of like finding the right tone, because the director Owen Harris wanted the score to feel like a John Hughes movie, which felt right to me. I did some stuff that he felt was too dark. So we did another take on it that lightened it a little bit. But then the show’s creator Charlie Booker thought my score had to be darker than that, so we found a middle ground between the two approaches. But finding the right tone is no different than any project really. It’s those nuances that make it work. The next time I do some live shows, I’ll be playing music from “San Junipero.”

If you could score another animated film about an artist done in the same way as “Loving Vincent,” whom would it be about?

I’d love to do one about Jack Kirby and call it “Loving Kirby.” That would be great!


“Loving Vincent” opens on September 22, with Clint Mansell’s score available on Milan Records HERE

Listen to Clint Mansell’s score for the “Black Mirror” episode “San Junipero” HERE

Visit Clint Mansell’s website HERE


Special thanks to Alexander Portillo for his transcription of this interview

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Audio: Interview with Matthew Margeson

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 20/09/2017 - 15:27

ON THE SCORE is sponsored by La-La Land Records

Just as Harry Hart apprenticed an upstart punk named Eggsy into wearing the Savile Row suit of a Kingsman in ass-kicking style, the slightly less violent English composer Henry Jackman oversaw the not-quite as defiant Yank named Matthew Margeson through such scores as “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter,” “Man on a Ledge” and “Monsters Vs. Aliens” to the point where his protégé became his own memorable man of action on “Skyline,” “Eddie the Eagle” and “Rings.”

Matthew Margeson (L) and Henry Jackman (R)

Yet perhaps neither either musician is quite as wackily memorable as when called to save the world by filmmaker Matthew Vaughan, a filmmaker often in satirical superhero service to graphic novelist Mark Millar with “Kick Ass” and “Kingsman.” Sure the latter’s retro espionage scoring might not have been new. But it was the sheer thematic joy with which Margeson and Jackman wore their John Barry suits that made the first “Secret Service” into a joygasm of lush, 007-tailored excitement as it breathlessly took down a magnate with dreams of apocalyptic grandeur.

Now faced with an even more attractive evildoer out for domination, the dapper Kingsman must team with their ugly American counterparts the Statesman in “The Golden Circle.” For Margeson and Jackman, it’s a deliciously adrenalized opportunity to combine British spy spirit with the twangy Spaghetti Western-isms of cowboys with attitude. It’s a hoedown of brassily symphonic excitement, steel guitars, lightning-fast fiddling and flag-waving pride that puts a new spring into their music’s lethally fun step – a spy action rodeo that Matthew Margeson now talks about suiting up for in a new episode of “On the Score.”

Click above to Listen Now or Click Here to Download

Buy the Soundtrack: KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (available September 26th) Buy the Soundtrack: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE Buy the Soundtrack: KICK-ASS Buy the Soundtrack: EDDIE THE EAGLE



Celebrate the legendary Lalo Schifrin’s 85th Birthday on October 7th at Glendale’s Alex Theater with an all-star band and special guests! Buy your tickets HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Varese Sarabande to Release 'Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin'

Soundtrack News - Wo, 20/09/2017 - 02:00
The result of a concert performed by [c.1581]Jean-Michel Bernard[] celebrating the music of legendary composer [c.193]Lalo Schifrin[] at the 2016 La Baule Film Music Festival in France, Varèse Sarabande will release a new studio recording of [a.21533]Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin[] digitally and on CD October 6, 2017. The album features three piano duets performed by Bernard with Schifrin himself! In addition to this wonderful release, Varèse Sarabande, together with Musicians at Play and Music Fund Los Angeles, will be celebrating the 85th birthday of Schifrin with a special concert on October 7th in Los Angeles, at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale ([url.http://bit.ly/2h8cyXO]click here[] for concert...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Classical Announces 'Teen Wolf' Score and Soundtrack Albums

Soundtrack News - Za, 16/09/2017 - 02:00
Sony Classical proudly announces the release of two albums celebrating the MTV original series [m.35943]Teen Wolf[]. The [a.21507]Teen Wolf – Original Television Soundtrack[] features beloved indie rock and electronica songs used throughout the series from artists including Young the Giant, Mikky Ekko, Fink, and the haunting cover of "Bad Moon Rising" performed by Mourning Ritual feat. Peter Dreimanis. The [a.21617]Teen Wolf – Original Television Score[] features original music written by composer [c.8653]Dino Meneghin[] ([m.42937]Eye Candy[]) including "Teen Wolf Main Title." Loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name, MTV's [m.35943]Teen Wolf[] and stars Tyler Posey as a teenager named Scott McCall, who is bitten by a...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws
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