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

Saturday, March 29, 2008


High Tide
Music by Alan Williams
Silverscreen (USA)
27 Tracks 66:07 mins

Here's another release from composer Alan Williams, this time of selections composed in 1996/7 for the TV series High Tide, which concerned a couple of surfer brothers, who had all kinds of adventures pursuing the cash to maintain their lifestyle.
The music featured on the album is split into two sections, with the more dramatic scoring, found in later episodes, contrasting with the electric guitar flavoured approach for earlier episodes. The first ten tracks are pretty much what one has come to expect from many contemporary shows, with quite a propulsive, percussive, feel to the action writing and suspenseful interludes; with synths and keyboards often taking the lead where melody is required for breezier and more emotional moments. This music accounts for the first ten tracks, with a further 16 representing the original guitar-dominated, often rhythmic and percussive approach, with Nick Nolan the featured player.
Both kinds of scoring have their plus points, but I cannot recall the show ever making it to terrestrial TV in the UK, so it's impossible for me to compare their effectiveness. What however the music does display is the versatility of its composer.
For further details of this and other Silverscreen releases, go to

North and South
Music by Bill Conti
Varese Sarabande VCL 0208 1072
Four Discs of over 260 minutes of music

Just time for a quick mention for one of Varese Sarabande's latest limited edition club releases. North and South was a 1985 mini-series, starring a then virtually unknown Patrick Swayze, James Read and Lesley-Ann Down. A number of big-name actors, like David Carradine, Hal Holbrook, Gene Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons and Elizabeth Taylor gave splendid support in this tale of two families caught up in the approaching American Civil War.
Bill Conti, at the height of his powers, and having not long received the Oscar for The Right Stuff, was given a punishing three weeks to write the score, but somehow came up with this monumental work and yet another great theme to add to his repertoire, equally compelling played sweepingly at the opening of each episode, or more propulsively at the end. But of course there is much more to the score than this theme, welcome though its is when reprised in variations throughout. All I know is that I loved the series and have wanted the score ever since. Now, what with this, and the Intrada release of The Blue and The Gray, I am highly delighted.
One slight complaint however is that the fourth disc is wasted on "music of the era," which is not what we, as film score fans, can really use. Better perhaps would have been to feature some of Conti's score for North and South Book II, but this is a minor quibble and, who knows, we may yet get to hear that score too at some point.
It's amazing the number of scores from my "wish list" that have appeared in recent times. In these days of sound-alike scores, many of which could use a good theme, it's often these gems from the past that keep my interest going.
I would recommend the always helpful if you're looking to pick up a copy of this splendid set, which also comes with a colourful, informative booklet.


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