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

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Welcome. Here you will find news and reviews from the film, TV and game music worlds, but first I suppose a few words about me are in order.

As an English child of the '60s, I grew up on the TV shows of the time, both British and American, and I guess even then the music of these shows made an impression. I would play at being Napoleon Solo with Jerry Goldsmith's theme for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. running through my head, and other themes I remember with fondness from those times include Edwin Astley's for The Saint and Danger Man, Paul Sawtell's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, John Williams' themes for Lost in Space and even the music for continental imports like The Singing Ringing Tree and The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe left their mark.

At the cinema, John Wayne was a hero and Henry Mancini's Baby Elephant Walk from Hatari was an early favourite, but Dimitri Tiomkin's music for The Alamo was a major influence. Many times I would recreate the climactic battle with my toy soldiers, always with the music for those scenes running through my head. I had no soundtrack albums, but the music just seemed to stick. This too was one of the first experiences where I found music alone could bring a lump to my throat.

My first album purchases were double LP collections of western themes and music from the James Bond films, plus a cassette of Elmer Bernstein's music for The Magnificent Seven and Ennio Morricone's RCA LP of selections from the first two Dollars films.

As I grew into my teens, my visits to the cinema became more frequent and that was when the film music bug really hit home. I began buying up soundtrack albums for films I had seen, but also, as I learned more about the art and its history, I invested in great scores of the past. My favourites included the aforementioned composers, as well as Miklos Rozsa and, through my discovery of Charles Gerhardt's splendid RCA series of albums, Korngold. Curiously, I remember not having a particular likeness for the late great Jerry Goldsmith's film work at the time, finding it hard to appreciate away from the screen, something I still find today with the equally great Bernard Herrmann, whose work on the Hitchcock films I particularly admire. My stance on the former was later to change as one great score followed another during that mid-'70s to mid-'80s period. Another who became a great favourite of mine and possibly yours too was John Williams, who first came to my attention splendidly accompanying Paul Newman's helicopter flight at the opening of The Towering Inferno. But again I had my doubts initially, finding his Star Wars theme somewhat like a sped-up Lawrence of Arabia and so declining to join the initial clamour for it. A viewing of the film however soon had me jumping on the bandwagon, and that finale from Close Encounters - well, need I say more.

All this time I was gathering info wherever I could; joining every film music related society I could track down and subscribing to every magazine that came along - and often too quickly went. A modest, but always regular publication continued solidly on its way throughout and I soon began a frequent correspondence with Colin A. Adamson's New Zealand Film Music Bulletin, eventually being offered a regular column. The Jeff Hall Report, as it became known, ran right up until Colin's retirement at the end of 1999 and I built up many valuable contacts as I sought to bring news and reviews of the latest and best in film music.

Feeling these contacts were too valuable to lose, and with the increasingly exciting situation of so many great scores from the past being made available, often for the first time, I took the plunge and produced my own equally modest publication, which Colin kindly allowed me to call Film Music Bulletin. I very much enjoyed the venture, though it was hard work on my own, and gradually expanded the content to include interviews with composers, aided now by the wonders of the internet and e-mail, but after failing to reach my target number of subscribers, reluctantly I had to call it a day, the last issue appearing in January of 2003.

A loyal follower of both incarnations of the Bulletin, David Ades of The Robert Farnon Society came to the rescue, offering me a column in the Society's quarterly magazine Journal Into Melody, and thus a third incarnation of the Bulletin appeared, albeit in its most modest form yet. I'm proud to say that my column appears there to this day but, as my contacts continue to grow, the volume of CDs that come my way is such that there is no longer enough room in my column to do them justice. Therefore I made the decision to set up this site.

I hope you enjoy my new venture, and will visit often, and that you will find my CD reviews particularly helpful. I do my best to cover just about everything I can get my hands on, from all corners of the globe, whether it be film or TV music, both new and old, and am finding the new developments in the videogame music industry particularly exciting. So watch this space. I look forward to your company.


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