ScreenSounds

Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Sunday, November 20, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP - Week Ending 20th November 2005

Film

John Debney recently enjoyed an unprecedented three top ten hits in one weekend at the U.S. box office, with Chicken Little, Zathura and Dreamer. They placed 1, 2 and 9, making a combined total of $50,000 over the weekend ending 13th november. No other composer in recent memory has accomplished this feat. Earlier this year, Debney received ASCAP's Henry Mancini Lifetime Achievement Award and premiered his The Passion of the Christ Symphony in Rome, where he received a pontifical blessing from the Vatican. He subsequently performed the piece in Southern California's Crystal Cathedral to benefit the American Red cross' Hurrican Katrina relief efforts. But now he has returned to film scoring with a vengeance, having also just wrapped on the score for Cheaper by the Dozen 2, with Idlewild, Yankee Irving, Evan Almighty and Lucky 13 forthcoming. Look for reviews of his Zathura and Dreamer CDs here in the near future.

Another busy composer is Graeme Revell, whose scores for the games Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: The Big Red One will shortly be covered here, as well as his CDs for the recent remake of The Fog and the sci-fi actioner Aeon Flux (both on Varese Sarabande Records). The latter is set 400 years in the future, where most of the Earth's population has been wiped out by disease, save for aone walled city-state, and stars Charlize Theron as the top operative in an underground rebellion, sent to kill a government leader, but who uncovers a world of secrets along the way.

Games

Interesting things are happening on the game music front these days and, as well as covering the aforementioned Call of Duty scores, I will shortly be reporting on Chance Thomas' exciting score for Peter Jackson's King Kong, a couple of Medal of Honor scores by Christopher Lennertz, Tim Larkin's Myst V: End of Ages and Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, and Socom 3: US Navy Seals by James Michael Dooley. In the meantime, here's some news:-

Jesper Kyd's latest Hitman score is for Hitman: Blood Money, for which he utilised the 150-member Budapest Symphony and Hungarian Radio Choir, as well as composing several electronica tracks. Kyd says "it is a dynamic and diverse score that closely follows the latest exploits of Agent 47, the most challenging score in the series yet, and I firmly believe it will be the best sounding Hitman game to date." The game will be released in Spring 2006 on Play Station 2, Microsoft Xbox and PC. Hopefully, like others in the series, a CD will be available.

Richard Jacques of Headhunter fame has completed his orchestral score for Empire Interactive's Starship Troopers game, which expands upon the events and storylines developed in Paul Verhoeven's film of the same name. Jacques says "the score is very much in keeping with the Starship Troopers movies, and a variety of new themes and musical settings have been created. It is a 'symphony of bombast' that the fans demanded." Describing his approach to writing the major themes, he added "the Bugs have a simple motif comprising of a rising interval, giving them a spikey edge as if they were to just come out of nowhere and lunge forward to attack. The Troopers, in contrast, have various heroic major key themes and the interplay between the two is evident throughout." The composer's main theme premiered as a live symphony suite during the 2004 "GC" - Games Convention concert at the Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, Germany, performed by members of the Prague Symphony. Currently there are no plans for a Starship Troopers soundtrack album, which is sad news indeed.

Nile Rodgers' Sumthing Else Music Works have a growing reputation for releasing game soundtracks and they recently released David Clynick's score for the Xbox 360 title Perfect Dark Zero. Set in the year 2020, three years before the original Perfect Dark game, players of Perfect Dark Zero assume the role of Agent Joanna Dark in a sci-fi thriller centering on espionage, conspiracy and a mysterious global conflict. Clynick, along with Grant Kirkhope composed the score for the original game and for its prequel he has combined epic sci-fi soundscapes with a hypnotic, electronic dance feel that sets the pace and tone for one of the most highly-anticipated Xbox 360 launch titles. The progressive style of the game's surreal and melodic score is complimented with adrenaline-pumping tracks written exclusively for the game by cutting-ege band MorissonPoe and San Francisco house music DJs Kepi and Kat. Album producer Nile Rodgers says "the Perfect Dark Zero soundtrack is one of the tightest, most exciting, kick ass high tech/emo/groove/dance soundtracks ever to drop. It's gonna rock your world! This is the beginning of the future of game soundtracks."

Another Sumthing Else release is Steve Burke's score for another Xbox 360 game, Kameo: Elements of Power, featuring the City of Prague Philharmonic and Kings Choir. The action/adventure game is a larger-than-life journey full of intense combat, magnificent exploration and innovative morph-into-monster action. The future of the world depends on Kameo, who must master her new ability to transform into various warriors and harness their elemental powers to save her family from Thorn, the evil troll king. I'll try to get a hold of both these CDs to review for you in the near future.

Game score veteran Inon Zur has composed the original score for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, the expansion pack to THQ Inc and Relic Entertainment's real-time strategy hit Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Jonathan Dowdeswel, Relic Entertainment's producer for Dawn of War, says "coming off of Dawn of War, we realised that we had underutilised the effectiveness of music to enhance the user experience in the game. For Winter Assault, we wanted to strive for a much tighter connection between action, music, and story. We decided to work with Inon Zur and focus all of the music composition to relate directly to the Signle Player campaigns. Each mission would have its own theme and mood. Inon did a great job of establishing those themes." He adds "on top of all that, Inon offered to spend some time in our studio discussing exact musical placement in our missions with our Lead Designer, which took the musical experience up another notch. It has been a fantastic working relationship. We're really happy with the results, and look forward to working together in the future." Unfortunately, very little of Inon Zur's music is available away from the games he composes for and, as yet, there is no news of a CD release for this score either.

CD Releases

Intrada have announced a December release for their premiere presentation of Bruce Broughton's complete score for the 1985 western Silverado, taken from the original 24-track session masters for the first time, in collaboration with the composer and original studio session engineers. This 2-CD set offers over a half hour of previously unreleased music with state-of-the-art sound. All-new packaging and liner notes from the composer add a finishing touch.
For cover art, track listing and sound samples, visit http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.ACCT67745/it.A/id.4573/.f

Also set for December on the label is the premier release of Laurence Rosenthal's score for the 1998 Hallmark Hall of Fame production The Echo of Thunder, which is based on the award-winning novel by Libby Hathorn and directed by Emmy Award-winner Simon Wincer. The story vividly captures the struggles and triumphs of a close-knit Australian family. Rosenthal fashioned a probing, sensitive orchestral score, with a focus on haunting themes and sensitive orchestrations. Solo writing for clarinet, flute and oboe against strings are standout features. Balancing these gentle colours are several exciting pieces accompanying numerous outdoor sequences. In addition to a full symphony orchestra, Rosenthal incorporates the distinct sound of the digeridoo in a couple of key sequences to identify the locale. A special limited "Signature Edition" of 1000 copies, you can check out the cover art, track listing and sound samples by visiting http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.ACCT67745/it.A/id.4574/.f

Exciting news from La-La Land Records is that they are to release a 40th anniversary limited edition 2 disc set of music from the fondly remembered sci-fic series Lost in Space, featuring more than 65 minutes of previously unreleased music and a collectable 16-page CD booklet with in-depth, exclusive liner notes. For further detail, samples, and to order your copy, go to http://www.lalalandrecords.com/LostInSpace.html. I hope to review the set for you in due course, but don't delay, as I'm sure it will sell like hotcakes!

Howard Shore's complete score for the first Lord of the Rings film The Fellowship of the Rings will be released shortly on the Reprise label, in the States at least. I'm sure it will be a pricey item, but one that many film music fans will not want to be without.

Varese Sarabande announce their new Club titles tomorrow, and I'll bring you details as soon as I have them.

Internet

You have probably heard the sad news that Film Score Monthly are to cease publication of their print magazine. Well, they have just announced that they are going forward with an online pay site -- FSM Online -- that will provide all of the content of the print magazine - plus a lot more to come - and to prove it they have uploaded a sample, which is accessible at their site http://filmscoremonthly.com. Lukas Kendall says "Film Score Monthly is very personal for me - I've literally been publishing it for half my life - and it broke my heart to think about ending it. The financial decision had to be made, but it left me horribly sad. So I can't begin to express my hope and joy that the magazine can continue online, and be even better than it was before, as FSM Online. He goes on to say "these next few weeks - days, or hours even - will be pivotal as we need enough subscribers to go forward for 2006. If enough people sign up, FSM Online can continue virtually indefinitely. If not, I don't know what we'll do."
Lukas and the guys also recently began podcasting, with a discussion on Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams' new film in release. For details of how you can listen to these podcasts, again visit their website.

Go to http://musicfromthemovies.com for interviews with Patrick Doyle on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Julian Nott on Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. They also carry the news that Christopher Young, who scored the train sequence in Spider-man 2, will be writing the complete score for the third film in the successful series.

At http://soundtrack.net you can have a "first listen" to Harry Gregson-Williams' music for the eagerly anticipated The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the CD of which will be released on December 13th. You can also read a photoessay on the recording of the score.

Both these sites are regularly worth visiting, as they carry the latest news and CD reviews, and another worth visiting is http://soundtrackcollector.com fo similar reasons.

Two Spanish language sites worth visiting for their English translations of most of the interviews they carry are http://bsospirit.com/entrevistas.html, where their latest are with Debbie Wiseman, Inon Zur and John Ottman; and http://scoremagacine.com/Entrevistas.php, where you can read interviews with Vladimir Cosma, Asche & Spencer, Graeme Revell, Gary Stockdale, Trevor Rabin, Dario Marianelli, Mark Isham, Alex Wurman, Winifred Phillips, Ramin Djawadi, Lalo Schifrin, Bill Conti, Bruce Broughton, Rolfe Kent, and Sir Malcolm Arnold.


The premiere site for game music news, reviews and interviews is http://music4games.net, where their latest interviews are with Perfect Dark Zero composer David Clynick and Kameo: Elements of Power's Steve Burke.

That's all for now. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring you details of those Varese Sarabande Club releases tomorrow - and a couple more CD reviews.

1 Comments:

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2:26 AM  

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