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Friday, January 12, 2007

CD REVIEW - Cinemusic - The Film Music of Chuck Cirino

Cinemusic - The Film Music of Chuck Cirino
Music by Chuck Cirino
BSX Records BSXCD 8824 (U.S.A.)
25 Tracks 76:42 mins

I realise some of you may not be familiar with the music of Chuck Cirino. I first came upon his work through my interest in low budget "scream queen" fare, starring the likes of Michelle Bauer, Monique Gabrielle and Brinke Stevens, continuing through erotic thrillers starring former Bond girl Tanya Roberts, and I have always been impressed by his flare for a good hummable melody. That written for Deathstalker II is a classic!
So for years I've been dreaming that some of his film music would be released on disc. Well, so far I've not been rewarded with any of the material more familiar to me from those times, but this collection, a 1000 copy limited edition from the guys at BSX is at least a start.
The majority of Cirino's music over the years has been electronically realised, and the material here is no different, so if you're not keen on electronic scoring this may not be for you. I'm usually not keen myself, but have to say that Cirino is one of the better electronic composers and there's certainly plenty I enjoy here.
The three films represented here come from recent TV projects, two from the legendary low-budget film director Jim Wynorski who, along with producer Dan Gilboy have written liner notes from this release. Wynorski's 2006 production A.I. Assault, about secret military robots running amok on an island, leads the way and is the most consistently enjoyable of the three scores presented. The opening "Robokill" develops into a propulsive theme, with the following "Main Title" a typically catchy, metallic-edged theme. "Jungle Bungle" is an exciting, propulsive action cue; whilst "Killbot" is briefly sad, before becoming a powerful, beat-driven cue. "The Tower" is a high octane action set-piece, with more exciting action to be found in "Into Oblivion." The easy mover "Home Free" concludes the score.
Winorski's 2005 production Komodo vs. Cobra follows, another cautionary tale about scientific experiments going wrong, and the "Main Title" starts light and airy, but eventually develops into a big and bad, drum-based theme. "Bora Bora" follows, an easy going, lightly tropical theme, a mood which continues in "Reasons to Die," but gradually gives way to variations on the main theme. More variations on the theme can be found in the largely mysterious and suspenseful "The Trek;"whilst "Cobra vs Cameraman" starts mysteriously, gradually building to action before ending mournfully. "The Decision" is low-key and reflective, whilst the brief but fabulous "Sleeping Giant" is right out of a spaghetti western, big and bad, with electric guitar.
"Escape from Isla Damas" is a lengthy piece, initially threatening and suspenseful, but becoming menacing with drums, before ending with a brief quote of the main theme. The closing "A New Breed" is quietly reflective.
The final score for Paul Ziller's Solar Attack, a disaster movie from 2005 about a solar storm ignited Earth's atmosphere, is something of an anti-climax, not really warming up until the last few tracks, after much ethereal sampled voices, suspense and threat in the earlier tracks. "The Sky is Falling" is the first cue to feature any sustained action; whilst "In Russia" has a powerful mid-section. "Arming Missiles" follows and is very purposeful and features a variation on the muscular main theme, previously only heard in snippets. The best cue is "Race in the Sky & Sea," a bolero-like action cue; with the closing track "Surrender" providing a calm-after-the-storm feel, with keyboard, ethereal choir and synths.
For selfish reasons I really do hope that this release is a resounding success, so that maybe consideration can be given to releasing some of the composer's more memorable earlier works.
Purchase your copy from, and for further information on the composer, visit


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